There are tons of relationships these days that are completely toxic. There are many relationships that end that were non-toxic, and some which continue to perpetuate year after year even though they are completely harmful and destructive to both people involved.
I’m not only talking about relationships that involve verbal/emotional abuse and physical abuse. Anybody with a brain in their skulls can recognize that life can be improved if they remove the abuser from their life. All that requires is enough self-love to see you deserve better. There are also times where a relationship may appear dysfunctional at times, but is actually just acting as a mirror so that they can grow as individuals. All relationships will reflect back to you things you need to work on.
The kind of toxicity I am talking about is much more subtle and persists over time, almost as if it is under a disguise. Sometimes, you may not even notice it is there because you have become so used to it.
Statistically speaking, you are either in a relationship right now or you will be at another time in your life. To save yourself the pain and misery of spending years of your life involved in something that doesn’t serve you, it’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs that a relationship isn’t right for you. Or maybe you are even in a toxic relationship right now.
Here are 3 warning signs that you are in a toxic relationship:
1) You Can’t Truly Be Yourself
You have to hide a part of who you are because the other person simply lacks the necessary understanding to accept you for who you are. You can’t freely be yourself without worrying about being judged or rubbing your partner the wrong way. Maybe you have to keep quiet about the reasons for your dietary choices, or your belief systems. For me personally, I was in a relationship where I was unable to discuss my spiritual practice and the lessons I was learning in meditation and research. I was heavily involved in something which was the passion of my life, and I was unable to share that with my partner.
Being able to express your true essence is the most important thing in a relationship. You shouldn’t feel like you are walking around in a mental or spiritual prison, and you sure as hell should not have to censor yourself around them. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to walk on eggshells with someone who is supposed to love you for who you are. You need to be with someone who sets your heart free and gives your mind fuel to expand, not someone who judges or condemns you for your interests (even if they are a little different).
Don’t be afraid to tell your partner what your convictions, beliefs, and passions are, and ask them to respect them. If they don’t respect them and support you with them, you need to look elsewhere for a partner. How can you be in a healthy relationship if you aren’t supported? If you can’t be yourself, get out of the relationship. It is toxifying your soul.
2) You Are Bored/Comfortable
People meet, they go through the honeymoon phase, and then they get comfortable. I think we as a society have confused love with comfort and familiarity. It’s really important to reflect on if we actually love someone, or if we are just comfortable with them. We passively accept our relationship with our partner out of a sort of convenience, because starting over would be too much work. Meeting people all over again, going through pain, and turning a new page is all scary, so the relationship is preserved because it requires less effort.
It’s important to reflect on why it is we feel it is acceptable to be bored in a relationship. We often carry around holes within us, and look to others to fill those holes for us. When we encounter someone who seems to fulfill those holes in us, it gives us a sort of emotional comfort. Perhaps we are scared of being alone. We are frightened by the thought of not having someone super close to us in our life. We are terrified by the thought of laying down to sleep each night without resting on the emotional cushion of being in a relationship. We thus often times confuse love with that which comforts our fear.
When we achieve what appears to be love, we later realize down the road that we only really wanted to be in a relationship with them because we lacked (x) at a certain time in our lives. Maybe we lacked confidence in ourselves, and the idea of having a partner made us more confident. Maybe we lacked excitement in our lives due to spiritual stagnancy, and were looking to a partner to preoccupy our bored minds. And we only stuck around for so long because we were scared of the thought of being alone or of having to start all over from the ground up. We thus fall into relationships that are boring and comfortable. We comply with stagnancy.
Sometimes I see people who have been married for years, even decades who just look miserable. Are they actually happy? Or do they just accept that strings are tied now and like the comfort that comes from having someone there? Boredom in a relationship is a sign that something needs to change. Create a spark, do something special and adventurous, or spice up your love life. Compliance with boredom in a relationship is a sign that YOU need to change.
3) Lack Of Trust
If you don’t trust your partner, it is toxic to you because it gives you anxiety and pollutes your mind with thoughts of worry. It’s also toxic to your partner, who has to constantly defend themselves and try to prove their commitment over and over. If you keep experiencing lack of trust in your relationship, there is usually only 1 main reason why this is happening:
Someone is insecure. Maybe they have a history of abandonment and have been emotionally damaged. This may make them a little more needy than the average person, because they need to know that they are genuinely appreciated and loved. They will look way too deeply into little things their partner says and does and conclude that they must not love them, even though there is no problem. Their partner may begin to get annoyed and irritated, which is why this is toxic to both people involved.
It’s kind of like training really hard summer after summer to be on the basketball team. You diet properly, get proper rest, and play the game extremely well. The coach sees you take a break for a minute during tryouts and then accuses you of not wanting it enough, even though you have already proven to him that you do. You would feel both angry and hurt.
This can actually be made into something non-toxic and actually spiritually healing of they are both open and transparent about why it is they feel insecure. It may be a chance for that person to heal from their damage, and maybe their partner can work with them to talk it out and build them back up. When people say things like “B*tches be crazy”, when they really mean is “My girlfriend is insecure and doesn’t know how to reach out for reassurance. I am either not making her feel loved enough, or she has defense systems in place from past relationships to protect her from getting hurt”.
What lack of trust usually means is that someone doesn’t trust themselves with the ability to go through the pain if the relationship were to end. They ultimately lack self-trust and the confidence that they can deal with the emotional weight of an ending. Once again, this needs to be openly communicated or else it will continue to be corrosive for both parties involved.
Notice how 2 of the 3 mentioned in this article have to do with communication. Communication needs to be the foundation of the relationship. You can’t share a close space with somebody if you secretly resent them for something or having something on your mind you need to share. Without communication, false assumptions will be made, emotions will get bottled up, and insecurities will corrode attraction.
Not being able to be yourself, feeling bored and bland, and experiencing trust issues are all warning signs that your relationship needs to be ended or repaired. It’s simply not a sustainable way to live, and certainly is not the best way to live. Don’t be afraid to love yourself enough to ask yourself this question:
“Do I deserve better than this?”