Toxic relationships are more common than most people know. A toxic relationship is simply a relationship that involves negative patterns and cycles that involve control, jealousy, selfishness, manipulation, and more. It is toxicity intertwined between two people trying to have a relationship.
Some people call it codependence or love addiction. Either way, toxic relationships can really harm individuals in several ways and oftentimes lead to an addiction, as men and women try to numb the pain and negative emotions that they are experiencing as a result of the toxic relationship.
I understand the dynamics of toxic relationships, because I have been in several. I have seen my own toxicity poison the relationship and I have seen my partner’s toxicity poison it. The internal and external drama that occurs sucks the energy right out of everyone involved and even when we know it, 9 times out of 10 we will keep plodding down the same toxic road. I remember so many times both of us thinking, “This is insanity! We keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.” Yet, we were stuck. We didn’t know how to break the cycle.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say things like, “She drove me to drink!” or “He dragged me down so far. I felt so badly I just reached for anything that would numb the pain.” This is tragic! Sometimes men and women don’t realize that their relationship is toxic, so they continue the cycle and if addiction is involved, it can get pretty bad. I’ve seen it affect beautiful people. I’ve seen it take them from caring and thoughtful individuals into angry, depressed, lonely, cold addicts little by little, day after day. Addiction plus toxic relationships are a recipe for spiritual, and sometimes physical death.
In order to deal with the toxicity and the addiction, it is important to first understand a bit about toxic relationships.
How do you know if you are in a toxic relationship?
Here are some common characteristics of those in a toxic relationship:
You feel bad a lot. You are unhappy and your partner doesn’t seem to be all that happy either. Is there verbal abuse going on? Are you put down? Made fun of? Are you at odds most of the time?
Jealousy prevails. Jealousy acts as a toxin in a relationship. Is there a lot of jealousy going on between one or both of you? Do you feel like you can’t have any friends? Do you get 20 questions every time you walk through the door? Do you feel like there is cheating going on all the time?
Is one of you codependent? Are you a classic codependent and cannot seem to live a minute without your partner? Or vice versa? Do you NEED your partner’s every minute of attention? Are you controlling? Do you feel terribly alone when your partner is gone or upset with you? Is insecurity running rampant?
Manipulation. Is there a lot of manipulation going on? Do you try to control your partner’s feelings? Do you shoot him down when he expresses happiness? Does he make you feel bad when you discover something that you enjoy?
These are some signs that you could be in a toxic relationship. Bet and believe toxic relationships are ample opportunities to become addicted to alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, food, sex, etc. At the same time, addictions can lead to toxic relationships. It’s a dance that goes both ways.
What can you do?
First, it is important to realize that you are in a toxic relationship and it is important to fess up to any addictions. Once you can gain acceptance of where you are, you can take a step forward in a positive direction. Counseling is a great option to learn more about how to tackle toxic relationships and begin a recovery process. There are also drug and alcohol treatment centers that will help in both areas.
I’ve been in toxic relationships and I’ve allowed them to be my excuse for acting on an addiction. When the pain got great enough, I began to do things different. I did not want to live in a world of pain anymore. I found support via counseling and programs designed to help in both areas. It wasn’t easy, but the effort was well worth it, as I learned a lot about myself and my potential to live free from toxicity and addiction.
So can you!
Written by Dominica A.