You've just had lunch with someone you considered a friend and are totally exhausted. The whole conversation has been about them and their drama and you've probably uttered two words throughout the meal.
And then with another friend, you've spent the afternoon listening to them telling you how to manage your life and what you should do about your partner, work, family, health and anything else that comes up, and you experience a complete sense of powerlessness and helplessness because you finally decide that you haven't got the brains to make your own choices.
There are many signs that we have allowed ourselves to become part of a toxic relationship, but any relationship that causes you to feel powerless, controlled and exhausted may be considered toxic.
Signs of a toxic relationship whether its related to love, work, family or friendship
1. You feel drained instead of invigoratedThink about how your relationship makes you feel. The person you're with should have a positive impact on your mood.
Relationships should feel energizing and invigorating. If you find yourself feeling drained after interacting with your partner or friend, feel like avoiding spending time with them or feel like you have to walk on eggshells, that may be a warning sign this is not right for you.
2. Your self-worth takes a dive
Healthy relationships should spur us on to be our best selves, not cause us to fade into the background.
Healthy love relationships bolster and ideally give us courage to try new things and expand ourselves in other areas of life. If you're finding that your self-confidence is fading, and you're feeling insecure or starting to question your worth, your capability, your attractiveness or your decisions, it's time to re-evaluate your relationship.
3. Your partner is always negative
It's one thing to have on off day, but if your partner is constantly complaining about every little thing and always sees the negative in situations. Take a step back and asking yourself whether this is something you want to deal with in the long term. If you think your partner may be suffering from depression and he is willing to get help, you may decide you can work though the negative spell together.
4. They are jealous of your other relationshipsNo one who has your best interests at heart would want you to push your loved ones away.
A healthy person will encourage you to expand your relationships with family and friends, not to shrink or eliminate them altogether. If you feel like you need to cut off important relationships in order to keep your partner from feeling jealous or angry, that is a sign of a toxic pattern that needs to be addressed.
5. Unpredictable and extreme moods
Though a hot and cold personality may keep you on your toes, never knowing what kind of mood your partner is going to be in when he walks through the door is not a good sign. This flip-flopping can go from loving and caring to anger and rage in an instant.
6. They want to control your money and time
A healthy partnership means the person you're with supports your autonomy and decision-making. While he might not always agree with how you spend your time and money, he's willing to share concerns and preferences.
If your partner is insisting on calling the shots when it comes to your resources – money and time – that's a big red flag that should not be ignored.
7. They play the guilt trip with you
A healthy relationship means being able to say NO without feeling guilty. If you end up bargaining or trying to appease the other person's irritation because you can't help them or can't do something they want, then you need to consider what sort of relationship this is.
8. Your gut tells you something isn't quite right
For better or for worse, we all have a sixth sense or a gut feeling that creeps in when something doesn't feel right. This feeling is your body's way of telling you something might be wrong, says Hanks. Listen to your sixth sense, no matter how well things might be currently going, she advises, and look closely at what could be causing these feelings.
There are several consequences of not attending to relationship red flags: You waste your precious time and emotional energy, you may suffer needless emotional drama or injury, you may bring a child into an unhealthy situation or the toxic relationship may escalate into an abusive one.
Once you've allowed this relationship to infiltrate your energy field, it becomes second nature and you feel that its normal and you think there's something wrong with you or that you are being paranoid. Then one day you wake up and have an aha moment whereby you look at all the people around you and realise that you've been living in a dream and that the real you needs to emerge.
As we all know, however we are not helpless pawns in any situation and each one allows us to realise what is going on and then assert ourselves accordingly. You may be dealing with the energies of toxic relationships that stem back to childhood and now its time for you to look at where this comes from so that you can release the energy and patterns that surround it. Every relationship that we have is there to teach us something about ourselves and how we interact with the world.
You can choose to stay in the toxic relationship and continue to allow your self-confidence or energy to be eroded or you can look at the triggers and what its showing you about yourself. And don't discount the fact that you too may be the one who is the toxic element in the relationship. It works both ways!!!
Once you have assessed the root cause, you can work towards inner healing and then either eliminating that situation or if you can't, then make a decision to take your autonomy back and know that no-one has the power to run your life or your emotions.
For a personal consultation and tips for working with toxic relationships, please contact Yvonne@spiritualworld.co.za or Yvonne at 083 258 4497