Bad vibes, adventures, charisma, and being cool — does it sound familiar to you? This is how most toxic people are described — a kind of “bad” girl or boy. However, although a toxic relationship starts off as exciting, it may not be a happy or healthy one. Along with all the bad vibe, drama, and excitement, many toxic people have numerous harmful traits. For instance, toxic partners are emotionally unavailable, so it may be impossible to build a healthy, long-term relationship with them.
Next, we will discuss what a toxic relationship is, what signs you should look out for, and how to avoid it — or fix it if it’s possible.
Table of Contents
- What is a Toxic Relationship?
- Signs of a Toxic Relationship
- Reasons We are Drawn to Toxic Relationships
- How to Fix a Toxic Relationship?
- How to Stop Being in a Toxic Relationship?
What is a Toxic Relationship?
All relationships go through bad times, but this doesn’t mean they are toxic. There may be times of doubt, blame, or arguments. However, a toxic relationship consistently makes you unhappy. There is competition and conflicts between partners, abuse (of any type), and partners don’t support each other.
In a toxic relationship, there are more bad moments than good ones so it can lead to lots of stress or even depression. In this case, the best solution is to opt for therapy to learn how to deal with toxic people and regain control over their lives.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
The most serious warning sign of a toxic relationship is abuse or harassment. In this case, you need to contact the authorities immediately if you or one of your loved ones are at risk. Don’t hesitate to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and if you’re in immediate danger, call 911.
In many cases, however, the signs of a toxic relationship are not so obvious. First, your relationship does not make you happy — it rather makes you feel anxious, stressed, or angry. You may feel hopeless and out of energy, and you may even envy people in happy relationships.
Toxic relationships cause massive shifts in our mental health and behaviors. For instance, affected people may develop eating disorders as a coping mechanism, as well as depression, anxiety, or a constant feeling of nervosity or unhappiness around their partner. Besides, if you feel like you cannot discuss these feelings with your partner, this is another major sign of a toxic relationship.
Some people may not notice that their relationship is toxic. Sometimes, such a warning comes from friends and family, and it should be treated seriously. In fact, many people simply get used to toxic behavior, so it doesn’t seem like a “big deal” when your toxic partner treats you badly. One may perceive toxicity as something normal — things have always been the same.
Reasons We are Drawn to Toxic Relationships
Toxic relationships psychology tends to follow certain patterns. Below, we will discuss the most common reasons why people are drawn to toxic relationships.
1. We Find It Exciting
Kind, well-behaved, and trustworthy people in our life may seem “boring”. However, no one has ever accused a toxic partner of boredom, so many people are attracted to toxic love because it is more exciting than a healthy relationship that may fall into a routine from time to time.
Toxic partners tend to be spontaneous, they might embrace new adventures and be very likable, but this comes at a heavy cost for your mental well-being.
2. We Like Someone Who’s Out of Our League
In some cases, people are attracted to toxic partners because they seem fun, adventurous, or out of their league. If you have never been the most popular kid in high school, being able to have a relationship with someone who is popular, attractive, and totally out of your league seems like an achievement.
However, being with someone for this reason alone, simply to prove to yourself that you can get them, indicates self-esteem issues. In fact, many people who accept toxic behavior have low self-esteem.
You need to know that you are enough — and worthy of love, respect, and understanding.
3. We Love the Drama
Toxic relationships are always dramatic, which is exactly what makes them so exciting and not boring. Once you get used to the drama in toxic relationships, you may end up feeling that normal people are boring and seek toxic partners, entering a never-ending vicious circle of toxic relationships.
4. We’re Not Ready to Get Serious
Everyone goes through a stage in their life when they do not want to find the love of their life, settle down, have kids, and live happily ever after. “Bad” boys and girls are fun, they do not want to commit — all they want is a new exciting adventure. You may be attracted to toxic partners because you do not want to commit either.
However, If such a person finds a perfect victim, they may not let them go easily. Quite often, people’s toxicity doesn’t manifest itself until their partners become closely attached to them or even dependent.
5. Toxicity in Childhood
Many people who went through a lot as kids end up in toxic relationships. Whether it was abuse, having toxic parents, or any other marking event, you will attract the same type of people in your life as an adult. This happens if the grownups still haven’t dealt with their emotional baggage.
How to Fix a Toxic Relationship?
If your relationship causes you emotional harm, you need to use your voice. If you are not open with your partner about how you feel yet, only open communication will help you fix your toxic relationship.
You should also embrace the fact that fixing such a relationship might be a bad decision. Quite often, the best solution is to just break up.
Discuss your concerns with your partner and decide if you are both committed to working it out. Trust yourself and be ready to endure some uncomfortable conversations. However, both of you should stay open-minded through the process and be ready to accept criticism.
A great approach is to try therapy. A licensed therapist can help partners find the roots of the problem and come up with a solution. If you suffer from toxic relationships, a therapist can also provide the necessary emotional support and help you deal with a breakup.
The cold, hard truth is that not all toxic relationships can be fixed. Both partners in a relationship must want to change a toxic relationship, and the toxic partner may feel comfortable with the way things are.
If your partner doesn’t take it seriously, it is best for you to move on.
In the next section, we will discuss how to stop the vicious cycle and avoid toxic relationships in the future.
How to Stop Being in a Toxic Relationship?
Many people are drawn to toxic partners like a moth to a flame. However, a relationship should not cost you your happiness, peace, and mental well-being. If your relationships come with more negative parts than positive ones, you need to make a change.
It is possible to break the cycle. The easiest way is to choose a partner that is not your usual type. Someone who is stable and ready to get committed may help you avoid toxic relationships. Try going on a date with someone who you hadn’t considered yet — give them a chance, and you may discover that they are not as boring as you think.
Therapy can help you change the traits that attract or fuel toxic relationships. In many cases, people with low self-esteem, those who want to “fix” others, or only prefer to see the good part in others, end up in toxic relationships. A licensed therapist can help you understand what the problem is. While not everyone has enough time for in-person therapy, online therapy platforms like Calmerry offer a more flexible solution.
All in all, the toxic relationships psychology may be more complex than it seems. Toxic love and bad relationships are interrelated. If your relationship is too draining, it’s okay to move on. It’s okay to seek help so you can find the right partner that will make you happy, understand and respect you — you deserve it!