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What Is A Toxic Relationship And How To Deal With It.

What Is A Toxic Relationship And How To Deal With It.

Toxic relationships. Sounds pretty bad and serious, isn’t it?

We might think those relationships must involve cheating, betrayal or even violent physical actions. Of course, they are obvious signs of unhealthy relationships, but does that mean they are the only indicators?

And is it necessary for us to get emotionally and mentally drained before we start to think about our own happiness?

I understand that sometimes it’s hard for us to face problems in the relationship that we have invested and treasured a lot. It’s not always easy to remember who you are and what you want from the relationship. We might put up a lot of excuses and reasons for people who hurt us because simply picturing the life without them makes our heart ache.

I know how that feel and I have been there too, not only had a few broken relationships, I also experienced obstacles with my friends and co-workers. (It’s not just romantic relationship that can become toxic, my friend!)

No matter what kind of relationship it is, it’s important to pay attention to how the relationship makes you feel. Think about it this way, Listening to yourself and pay attention to how you feel is, the key to saving your relationship. Simply letting the other parties know what you really want is the key first step to regaining your own happiness again!

Here I have summarized toxic signs in different kind of relationships and solutions that might help you to get through this unpleasant stage.

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On Toxic Love Relationships

Passive Aggressive

What is it?
It is the indirect resistance to others to avoid direct confrontation. It means on the surface we try not to be aggressive but we actually are. One way is by criticisms. “I hate it when you do this but I have been keeping it to myself.” Sounds familiar, isn’t it? It happens when they try to nudge you in the direction of figuring it out yourself.

Why is it toxic?
It shows that you aren’t ready for open communication. If you feel secure to someone you’ll be open to express feelings directly instead of dropping hints for guessing. If your partner only knows you don’t like the idea but doesn’t know your real meanings, the conflict cannot be solved. You may create distance since your partner may avoid any kind of confrontations by hiding thoughts in the future.

What should you do instead?
If you to be understood, tell them your feelings openly. Tell your partner that you are not blaming him/her but you want to discuss and find out solutions together. By doing this, your partner knows it needs both parties’ effort to work it out. This also gives a chance for both of you to explain yourself clearly to each other and develop a better understanding.


Excessive Jealousy

What is it?
Jealousy is a mixture of insecurity, fear, rage, anxiety and blablabla (and the list goes on).Simply listing them makes me sick too!  A simple and obvious example is you feel bad when you see your partner get in touch (in any form) with others. What do you do? You tell your partner that’s an awful thing to do and try to control your partner by forbidding them to contact ever again.

Why is it toxic?
The emotion signifies a lack of trust. This will often lead to a loop when you start to check your partner’s phone while they are in the shower. A male friend of mine experienced this. His ex-lover checked his phone by looking at the photos, call history, and WhatsApp and Facebook messages. They ended up in a serious argument because the man found it disrespectful while the girl felt emotionally cheated. When jealousy is excessive, both parties suffer and after all the torture, it’s common to say goodbye in the end.
What should you do instead?
A certain level of jealousy is natural and is considered as a sign of affection since you show care. However, excessive jealousy is definitely toxic. Trust your partner. It is just as simple as that. Do not overthink how your partner is going to cheat you. If you feel insecure, tell your lover and let them know how you feel.

Buying the Solution

What is it?
Instead of talking through the problem, you partner try to cover it up with a good feelings and excitement that comes from gifts and treats. Imagine You and your partner had an argument in the morning. At night your partner brings you to a fancy restaurant with your favourite Italian cuisine. You want to talk about the issue but you don’t want to break the atmosphere and so both of you enjoy the pasta with casual talk. So what’s going on with the problem? Guess you guys just let it “pass-ta” away.

Why is it toxic?
You think it helps rebuild the relationship? This isn’t true. Covering up problems doesn’t work since the problem is never discussed or solved. You feel depressed instead of happy even tho you are having a nice dinner because you know your partner isn’t willing to be accountable for the problem. So the story ended up with voice unheard and a man feeling like an ATM.

What should you do instead?
Again. Talk. Talk. And Talk. Communication is always the key. Dig deep into the core problem and try to solve it step by step to make sure it won’t happen again. There’s nothing wrong to treat your lover a nice gift but never use this as a solution to your problem because it will never be. If you try to cover it up with gifts, the problem accumulates and rolls like a snowball, leading to a harmful and enormous threat to the relationship.


Blaming One’s Emotion On the Other Half

What is it?
Some people think if two people are intimate, their can rely their feelings on each other. It means that if you get angry then your partner has responsibility in causing that. Imagine a girl who just finished an exhausting day wants to see her partner asap after work. Unluckily the partner had a dinner date planned earlier so he got home late. At home, he got distracted by a business phone call while the tired girl tries to cuddle. The girl ended up losing temper because she felt like being ignored and the partner was insensitive to her feelings. She blamed him to be responsible for all the negative emotions.

Why is it toxic?
It’s just small issue and can be solved easily, but now it ended up with an unnecessary argument. This harms the relationship when the partner finds you irrational and emotional and constant annoyance can possibly reduce intimacy and of course patience.

What should you do instead?
Put yourself in his/her shoes. Think of the frustrations your other half may have in a day. If you are tired frommeant work, he or she may probably feel the same. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Long-lasting partners are meant to be supportive but not obligated to each other’s feelings. You don’t want your partner to put the blame on you for everything they feel too. So next time if you need him/her, just gently ask, ‘I just had a bad day, si that ok if you can talk to me for a while or just comfort me?”


On Toxic Friendships

Encourages bad behavior

What is it?
He or she invites you to join all those events that involve unhealthy activities like smoking or taking drugs and maybe even convince you to try it.

Why is it toxic?
We normally will compromise because of peer pressure and just don’t want to be left out. We try very hard to fit in because they are our friends. and because of that we easily develop habits that affect us because who would want to be left out alone?
However, because of this mentality, in long term, we will simply do things that we don’t want to. In a more serious way, you might also lose yourself and the power to reject.

What should you do instead?
You should understand your stand, what you like or do not like and keep it firm, do only what makes you comfortable and feel right to do. Also, you should understand that friends should be encouraging (in a positive way) and that they will not force you to do the things you do not want in life and how you guys are not on the same path anymore.


All you do is gossip

What is it?
Basically, every time you guys meet, all you guys do is gossip.
You will find yourself constantly gossiping with him or her behind people’s back and judge their behaviors, appearances or any other little things that are not really meaningful in life or have little contribution to your personal growth.

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Why is it toxic?
In order for us not to be awkward, you are forced to give he or she the answers they want to hear and gossip together with them about things that are not important in your life and constantly sending out negativity to people when you make your judgment. In long term, you are wasting your time gossiping in which you could have developed yourself a hobby, read a book and do something more positive or meaningful things to yourself or the society. You might also start to be more negative in life than before as you constantly make your judgment and see only the bad in people and fail to appreciate the others.

What you should do instead?
First, you should avoid gossiping with him or her and learn to see the good things in people around you and in your life. Spend more time focusing on yourself and your friends instead of people that are not around. Always remember to surround yourself with positive and encouraging people. 


You guys are not on the same path anymore

What is it?
You guys have different or maybe even the opposite goals in life and he or she blames you for not following her path and degrades your goals or dreams in life.

Why is it toxic?
He or she blames you for being selfish and not considerate enough to have a different path with him or her in life, in which you might then be persuaded to give up what you want in order to be the ‘considerate’ friend that he or she wants you to be. Finally, you give up what you want to do instead of perusing what you want in your life trying to make your friend, but not yourself, who is the owner of this life.

What you should do instead?

You should stand firm in face of her judgment and blame. Do not stop believing in what you want to do or to achieve in life just because of what she said. Remember that good friend should be supportive of each other despite having different goals in lives.


Everything is in competition

What is it?
Instead of feeling happy about what your friends have achieved, you feel jealous and often compare your own success with theirs. You compete for everything with him or her from what you guys eat, what you guys wear, where you guys live, your exam scores, your positions in work to every little part of your life even though it is not meaningful.

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Why is it toxic?
You start to focus so much on winning that you spend your every dollar, every minute and every bit of energy competing with her. Then, you forget your original plan or goals in life because you are too obsessed with winning her. In the end, you lose track of your goals in lives and forget many other things that are much more meaningful and important than competitions in life, like a true genuine friendship.

What should you do instead?
Don’t lose yourself. True friends should be happy for each other and encourage each other along the way instead of competing. You should know that not everything is or should be a competition and that failing does not mean losing, what is moreimportant is that you learn from your friends and know what you want to improve. Don’t hesistate to ask for help if you think they can teach you!


On Toxic Working Relationships

Pointing to the person instead of the problem

What is it?
When there is a problem at work, your colleagues blame you or your team members instead of fixing it together. Imagine something went wrong in a project. Rather than investigating the problem deeply or learning from the mistake, your colleagues keep blaming and pinpointing at one particular person, claiming that it’s all his/her fault. Sounds annoying, isn’t it?

Why is it toxic?
Does blaming help? Definitely not. Nothing will improve by simply putting the blame on someone instead of finding ways to improve. Members who are blamed will feel demotivated and embarrassed. It is also possible for them to do the same and blame the others next time.

What should you do instead?
Try to talk openly about the problem as a team instead of an individual. Make sure you talk objectively and based on fact instead of feelings. Let your team members know open communication is the only way for the team to learn and grow.


Not sharing responsibilities

What is it?
When there is a big project that requires effort from different parties, some colleagues refused to contribute either they are too busy with their own stuff or fail to fulfill what’s promised.

Why is it toxic?
How do you feel if a team member doesn’t contribute as much as the others? That’s just NOT FAIR, I bet you are screaming this in your head. The colleague who doesn’t share responsibilities is likely to be disliked by the others. It demotivates others too because they may feel dissatisfied due to the lack of contribution of the colleague. This doesn’t only ruins the relationship and it might delay the project progress.

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What should you do instead?
Always remember you are not working on your own but as a team. Whenever someone needs help, offer help. And when the work requires shared work, get involved, contribute, and take up responsibilities. Try to find out why your team member failed to contribute their part, make deep investigationa, find out the reasons and offer as much help and assistant as you can!  Again, just what we stated above, point to the problem, not the person!

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Jolie Choi

Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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