Every long-term romantic relationship I’ve ever been in has been toxic in its own way. Two of them were more palatable than the rest because the toxicity didn’t involve aggressive fighting, but they all involved me submitting myself to the perceived needs of my partner or the relationship, me being a narcissistic supply for my partner, me being lied to and me lying to myself. I didn’t understand that I had dependency issues in these relationships because frankly I was too young and unempowered to possess that kind of self-awareness. I hadn’t yet become, as a kind man I met on a flight this year who happened to be a therapist described it, “exhausted by my suffering.” That happened in 2012, when I officially closed my vagina for business. But more on that in another post…
I am not alone in this history of toxic relationships. According to the sex and love experts at YourTango, “half or more of all people have toxic relationships in their lives.” So how do you know if you’re in or have been in a toxic relationship?
The top five indicators of relationship toxicity are:
- spending more time fighting than enjoying each other
- regularly feeling like you can’t do anything right
- feeling depressed and/or anxious
- the relationship stops being fulfilling
- friends start distancing themselves from you
It should come as no surprise to most of you that “71% of experts identify poor relationship role models, including parents, as the leading cause of toxic relationship habits, followed closely by low self-esteem, with fear of being truly open with someone else clocking in third.” Of course narcissism is a huge cause of toxic relationships, as is being willing to accommodate a narcissist.
If you’re in a relationship like this right now (yes, even if it’s a marriage, and it can totally be a marriage), consider making a fresh start and breaking away from your toxic environment in 2013. If you’re looking for ways to help you feel like you can do that, check out this article, How to Kiss a Toxic Relationship Goodbye, Once and For All.
Photo credit: Flickr user Skley