24 Jul Who is the Toxic One?
You Got to Get Out of That Toxic Relationship!
I know there is a lot of talk when it comes to toxic relationships. However, there are certain facts that are almost undeniable. Change is a natural part of who you are, so holding on to someone or the idea of someone might actually bring you more suffering than finishing the relationship. Just because you have a history with this person and you are loyal, that does not mean you have a future and/or have to continue in the relationship forever. You can let go of the past and you might want to let go of the fantasy. In fact, the pain you experience as you ‘end’ the relationship has very little to do with what you really had once. You are losing the person you were with this someone, for starters, and that in itself is enough reason to grieve.
These are clear signs that you might be ready to move on before things get out of hand:
- You don’t get happy or excited at the thought of seeing that person
- You feel you cannot longer communicate or understand each other
- This person brings out in you some of your worst behaviors
- You feel drained after you talk and/or see him or her
- That person does not allow you to be who you are
- You feel they won’t support you in who you want to be
- You no longer trust that they have your best interest in mind
- You don’t remember the last time you had fun or felt connected
Are Your Relationships Toxic or Are You Toxic?
It is human to assume that the ‘toxic’ person is ‘them’: your friend, your sister, your colleague or your partner. Projecting onto someone the unwanted is a classical defense mechanism. Jung introduces the somehow poetic concept of ‘the shadow’ as everything that is outside a person’s consciousness or the dark side of personality. ‘The shadow’ unknown to the person is generally rejected and projected as a flaw or the worst in someone else. The ‘fight or flight response’ also occurs as a perception of threat, being perception the important word here. And so you fight with your partner or friend when you are in unfamiliar territory, or you hide from other ‘toxic’ people. Last, you usually function in autopilot as responsibilities and repetition pile up, and there is no time to think or stop to reflect. The idea here is to understand that you are not conscious about every aspect of your personality or in control of your defense mechanisms, or ‘awake’ all the time. And certainly, relationships are no exception to these ‘rules’.
Before You Bail Out, Challenge Yourself
In the light of these fundamental theory and research, and the importance of relationships on your well-being; I simply suggest that you look at the 8 signs of a toxic relationship (above) and answer the following questions:
- What is going on with your ‘mood’ lately? When is it that you feel discontent/bored? How do you feel when you are alone? What else is going on in your life?
- How do you communicate? Are you an active listener? Would you say you are an empathetic person? How often do you express your opinion, needs and wants?
- Are you a healthy person? How do you regulate yourself? What are your habits? What is your ‘vice’? Do you feel accountable for your actions or do you tend to blame others for your wrongdoing?
- How much do you work with people? How do you disconnect from it all? Do you have enough alone time or time for yourself? How do you re-charge? Being social or going inside for introspection?
- Who are you? Do you feel you need permission to express yourself? How much of your sacred values and strengths do you express in your relationships? Would you describe yourself as a passive, assertive or aggressive person? How would others describe you?
- What are your aspirations? Do you have a vision of yourself in the future? Is the other person in the relationship there with you? How did you guys get there? Do you get things done by yourself or tend to ask for help?
- What is the seed of the relationship (how did it get started)? How well do you know each other? How honest are you? How do you feel about people in general? What are some of the best and worst experiences you’ve had?
- How does your day look like? How much does your work or responsibilities weight on your day? Do you have time for recreation, socializing or intimacy? Are you present (really there) in your relationships? How would you love to spend your time?