“Why can’t you get anything right?”
“Are you stupid?”
“You are just dumb!”
“For once try and do this like I told you a hundred times before!”
Does this sound familiar? Are these statements that come hurtling at you regularly from your partner? If so, you may be in a toxic relationship. If you are shaking your head and saying, no but we love each other, you need to think about what your life is like right now. Compare it to what it was like in the past and if you see things have changed. Should you notice that indeed things are not as loving as they were, you need to accept the fact that your relationship has bottomed out and then deal with it.
When did things begin to go bad?
It was love, at least at first. Every little wish you expressed became a priority for your partner. You were feeling pampered and special and loving every moment of it. Then things changed. Just a little at first. Your partner needed help and you were more than willing to do your bit to lend your support. Then the demands began to increase. If you really loved your partner, why would you not do a few simple things to make them happy?
However no matter how much you did, no matter what you contributed, be it in material terms or emotional ones, it was never enough. You were made to feel guilty where you were in no way to blame, and now it has come to stage where the only place you feel peaceful is one where your partner can not reach you. Things went bad and you never noticed the difference because it was phased out over a long period of time.
Identifying if you are in a Toxic Relationship
Each relationship is different. No marriage is similar to another one as each individual is unique. Some people are more independent while others are more dependent on their partners. However if you find that you are never able to do something to the satisfaction of your partner, something may be wrong. Do you find yourself apologizing all the time? Think about how often you say sorry, and how many times you are actually at fault. Or do you just apologize to keep the peace in the house.
Is it always about them and never about you? Toxic partners do not consider anything beyond their own needs and wants. They do not ask for your opinion and if you offer it reject it and ridicule it. Do you get respect in the relationship? Can you be yourself and relax near the person you are in an intimate relationship with? If you are never allowed to express how you feel and what you need, you may be in a toxic relationship. If you feel that you are facing this situation in your current relationship what should you do about it?
Give and Take in Equal Measure
As in all things in life balance is the key. If you are giving a lot of time and attention to the needs of your partner, you must also get something in return. In a toxic relationship a person has no place to grow and change. Any effort you make to improve yourself is met with mockery from your partner. There is no support forthcoming to help you meet challenges you have undertaken and there is no encouragement at all to meet your goals. This hurts you as a person and damages the relationship as a whole.
Sometimes the toxic relationship develops without either partner realizing that it is happening. In these cases it is unintentional and the fault is yours for not bringing up the matter before. You can resolve the issues by doing some plain speaking with your partner and letting them know exactly how used and abused you are feeling. If they did not intentionally want to hurt you, and they still genuinely love you, the partner will make an effort to control their toxic behavior. However this can only work when the person genuinely wants to be in a loving and generous relationship.
You are Not Your Partner’s Parent
The misbehavior of a partner does not reflect on you personally. You have no reason to feel ashamed of the immature manner in which your partner behaves. Do not go out of the way to apologize on behalf of your partner. Do not lie to common friends about why you cannot make it to their house for dinner. Do not make up excuses to miss watching a film you really wanted to see with your friends. You are not their parent or keeper.
It will surprise you at first, but people will actually know that you are the one suffering and will offer you support. At first it may be embarrassing to realize that the private humiliation and misery that you have been going through is actually common knowledge in your friend circles. Then it can be quite liberating. You no longer have to be the responsible one in the relationship. You no longer have to keep up appearances of being a happy couple either.
If despite all your efforts to change and improve the relationship, things stay as toxic as ever, you may consider a more permanent solution by ending the relationship.
Feature Writer : Cashmere Lashkari