Signs of a Toxic Relationship & What could you do about it?

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Highlights
Every relationship is unique and has its own destiny. Everyone has their own unique experiences as a result of their story.Our stories can be similar but not the same. This one is based on my experiences, learning, beliefs, and perceptions. Read it, but take only that what reasonates and connects with you. Hope this helps.

If you are laying in bed at night doing Google searches about someone's behaviour, then it is clear that they are toxic. This, however, will occur much later in a toxic relationship. Until then, you would have invested a lot in the relationship and in your partner.

The reason detachment from that partner becomes incredibly hard is because you are intensely invested by then. Before realizing that it is a toxic relationship, you try and give more than necessary to make it work. You change yourselves a lot to adjust to your partner’s preferences and needs. Still, when it does not work out, the pain of it not working out lingers for a long time. Moving on from that phase of life is heart-wrenchingly difficult. However, the signs that can alarm you at an early stage are as below.

1. Your Self-Worth Decreases

You begin to feel less confident in yourself than you did previously. It becomes difficult for you to make any important decisions. Somehow, you are still unsure if the decision you made was the right one or not. The reason you are dealing with this issue is that the partner you are with has made you believe that whenever anything goes wrong between you both, a fight or an issue happens, you are the sole reason for it and that they have been wrongly accused. Eventually you get into a habit where you are nourished to believe that everything you think and feel is wrong.

Whenever you try to confront them about their behaviour or mistakes, they will make you feel drained. You will want a healthy discussion over it. The same will become an unwanted debate for them. These cyclical patterns will soon make you believe that there is something wrong with you and not with them. The decrease in self-worth will impact your other relationships in life as well.

 

2. You Receive Silent or Cold Treatment Often

After a dispute or disagreement, you always receive silent treatment and be treated coldly. This trait should make you cautious about moving ahead with that partner. Any relationship's foundation is built on effective communication. After every fight, they use the "silent treatment" as an offensive tactic to assert control over you. It's natural to be dissatisfied, disappointed, or even angry with your partner from time to time. However, if someone has the constant habit of refusing to speak to their partner for hours or even days at a time, they are abusing their partner by dictating the terms of the disagreement and discussion in general.

3. If They Have Multiple Personalities

It is concerning when a person is one person in front of you and a completely different person to their close friends and family. If you are confused about their real nature, then they aren’t real to you. Don’t let them convince you with things like their unfiltered version is only for you, or they want their real self only accessible to you, etc. No normal and stable person’s behaviour will change from person to person. A nominal level of difference is okay because it has more to do with comfort levels that one shares with different people and that changes behaviour with different people accordingly. However, if there is a significant difference other than a nominal difference, it is a toxic sign.

4. If they Gaslight, Manipulate, and Isolate Habitually

In its simplest form, gaslighting is the act of causing someone to doubt their own reality. It is the most devastating form of abuse because it causes a person to question their sanity, beliefs, and judgments. Manipulation is when you alter a communication while narrating it as a third party in order to benefit yourself rather than the truth. Isolation is when somebody tries to keep their partner away from other people and activities in order to keep them close by and controlled. It is frequently expressed in the form of love and care. This, on the other hand, is a control mechanism designed to keep someone separated from life outside of the relationship.

These three extremely toxic traits will not only ruin your relationship with yourself, but with all the other people close to you in your life. When you routinely face gaslighting from your partner, you begin to doubt your self-worth. You second-guess yourself; you feel drained, trapped, vulnerable, and insecure all the time. You will spend all your time worrying that you are too sensitive, not worthy, confused, and alone.

5. You Feel Lack of Trust, Support, Respect and Understanding

It is all give from your end and there is no receiving happening. The effort, energy, trust, and support you give to your partner is never returned to you. They aren’t happy and cheerful about your achievements and special occasions. They are not as happy for you as you are for their success. They don’t trust you with their liberty or finances or understand your side of the story anytime. Since the beginning of the relationship, all you have felt, often times, is disappointment and sadness.

There is no valid reason to continue to be in a relationship where you don’t feel appreciated, cherished, and respected. Trust, support, respect, and understanding are the pillars of any relationship. If they are absent, then there is certainly no future ahead for that relationship.

What can you do to come out of it?

There is no shortage of warning signs of toxic relationships, but I have two very practical paths to follow to move on from them.

1. Acceptance

Acceptance is the first step toward letting go. Pay attention to the red flags that have been coming your way since the beginning. Do not let your pure love for your partner overpower the toxicity he or she brings into your life. Accept that this phase of life was meant to happen to you and that you were meant to face it so awfully. Sometimes your heart needs time to accept what your mind already knows.

You deserve better the moment you start to question if you do. Never mistake what you've been given for what you're worth. Giving up takes the greatest amount of courage, and you'll need it to give up on this person and your unhealthy relationship with them. Don't try to fit in places where you don't belong. Period.

2. 21 Days Detox

When you can't change someone, you have no choice but to replace them. You have to let go of them and move ahead with your life in order to replace them. Take a 21-day detoxification from your partner to start the process. Since years, there has been much disagreement concerning the effectiveness of the 21-day challenge in establishing any new habit. Numerous studies have been conducted in both its favour and against it. The reason for keeping the 21-day process has nothing to do with research. It's just based on the simple fact that it's an adequate number of days to determine the change you'll experience in yourself. My own experience informs the method I propose. I won't be shy about accepting that. 

Evaluate your mental, physical, and emotional health before and after the 21-day detox. Pursue a complete no-contact with your partner. When I say no-contact it means no updates or staying in touch at all. It's up to you whether or not you want to acknowledge them before taking this step. It's entirely up to you. It all depends on when you're taking this step and where you're at in your relationship at that point.

Allowing yourself the freedom to feel the way your soul desires is a must in this healing path. Keep yourself as occupied as possible with your career or something you actually enjoy. At the same time, if you're feeling tired and low on energy, give yourself permission to snuggle and embrace your heavy heart. When you're ready, reach out to anyone you feel comfortable talking to about this. Loving yourself, pampering yourself, and doing whatever else makes you happy and offers you serenity are all good things to do in these 21 days.

When you rejoin your partner after these days of complete detox, there will be no one better in the world to decide what is best for your future than you. Is your current partner the right match for you? Was the relationship toxic? What does your relationship's future hold? All questions will be answered, and all ambiguities will be addressed. If they do not make you glow, grow alone; it is as simple as that. 

These 21 days will be awfully painful, messy, and devastating. But you have to go through it just to know what you want from this relationship in your life. The end of these 21-day journey will bring you to the beginning of your next chapter of in life. The journey of healing the damage inside will be much longer than these 21 days, hold on to yourself with love and courage. You got this!

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