It seems like you can’t do anything right.
Most of us can admit to remaining in a toxic relationship well beyond its expiration date. Few of us get out unscathed in life in that department. We often remain in these relationships for many reasons, which are rarely any good.
We remain here until we eventually find that we can see the trees beyond the forest and we are able to see the relationship for what it is and more importantly for what it is not.
I found myself in two previous toxic relationships that overlapped in time (which are now a lifetime ago for me) — a friendship and a marriage. The friendship started when we bonded over intense doctoral demands and for each of us, an impending divorce
The friendship turned toxic when I was able to see the truth in her personality and how she treated others: condescending and often with a self-righteous attitude, which is the opposite of my value system.
As I slowly came out of my “divorce fog”, that relationship quickly ceased to exist, and so did my marriage, which was exceedingly more toxic than the friendship. I learned a valuable lesson in both of these experiences: Introspection and distance provide invaluable clarity.
I came across a blog, 5 Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship, by Yvette Bowlin, who eloquently summed up what it means to be in a toxic relationship: “Toxic doesn’t only entail obvious damage like physical abuse, stealing, or name-calling. It also represents all the internal turmoil that results from an unhealthy relationship.”
Not only could I relate to many of these things, but felt compelled to share some of the things I have learned along the way not only from my own personal experiences but from those whom I help(ed):
1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.
“The other person constantly puts you down as not good enough. They mock your personality, and you feel ashamed most of the time. You only feel pardoned when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging. Belittling makes you feel less than and takes away your power and inner strength,” says Bowlin.
When you are in agreement with the other person, the relationship is going well. When you disagree, relationship strife bubbles to the top and the relationship becomes uncomfortable. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you like this person?
Are they good for you?
Do they bring out the good in you?
Do you find that you become more negative while in their presence?
What are some of the feelings that you experience when around them?
Is there more criticism than compassion?”
The answers to these questions are important and telling.