Recently, a number of my close friends have all been going through a detox – a relationship detox. One friend has disassociated herself from her family, another is awaiting divorce papers, and another has decided to travel for twelve months to detox from her own toxic troubles.
In fact, it’s something that most people in my life are going through different stages of – after all, no one is immune to destructive relationships. No matter how clever, mature, or friendly a person is, they can still fall victim to a toxic relationship easily.
Even I have had many toxic relationships, and I have discussed one of these in the past regarding my family.
See, toxic relationships aren’t just of the romantic type but involve our family, our friends, or any other person we have regular associations with, and they can be with both men and women. Any person can create an unhealthy environment. And although some forms of toxicity are easy to recognise, such as those that involve violence, many other forms are much more difficult to recognise, especially those involving family and friends.
Let’s think for a moment though on why it can be difficult to recognise these types of toxic relationships: If you had a splinter in your finger you would identify the potential for infection straight away, and so you’d remove the offending splint, and treat the wound with antiseptic to prevent infection.
Toxic relationships aren’t as easy to recognise as a splinter in our finger, as they don’t always leave physical marks. A dangerous relationship can involve physical, emotional, psychological, or even financial abuse, so much harder to recognise or even admit to.
Regarding the people I know going through these different detox stages, it got me wondering not so much as the “why” they ended up in these situations, but the “how” they recognised the fact these associations were negative, before deciding to detox themselves from that person. After all, it can take years to recognise that the relationship isn’t healthy; as I’ve mentioned above, not all toxic relationships involve partners or violence, so sometimes the realisation can be much more difficult to come about.
After some thought and conversation, we discussed how to recognise toxicity in relationships, and although the below isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a start for someone who may be having doubts about a certain friend, family member, boss, or even boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.
Hopefully this lists helps you identify the toxic people in your life, and helps you start on your own detoxing journey:
How To Identify a Toxic Relationship
- The try to isolate you from your friends
- They hurt the people around you (physically, emotionally, etc)
- They are dismissive or disinterested of your passions
- They constantly “Neg” you
- They dismiss/deny your emotions
- They insult you in front of your friends
- They demand you support their goals to the detriment of your own
- They insult or are rude to your friends
- They lie to you constantly
- They project their own emotions/thoughts onto you
- They refuse to discuss or negotiate, i.e. stonewalling
- They spend your/shared money without approval or discussion
- They steal from you
- They throw/punch things when upset with you
- You are scared of being physically hurt by them
- You feel the need to choose your words carefully, and can’t speak freely
- You feel the need to lock your phone/PC around them
- You find reasons or excuses not to spend time with them
- You start to feel depressed/anxious around them
- You feel you can’t trust them or their word
- “Victim Blaming”
How else do you recognise the toxic relationships in your life? Let me know in the comments!