Identifying Toxic Relationships in Your Life
Whether it’s friends, family, or romantic partners, our relationships can build us up, help us relax, or make us better people. But not all relationships are healthy for us. While we used to just call them “bad friends,” the term toxic relationship brings a deeper differentiation from just a friend who doesn’t call on your birthday. Instead, a toxic relationship is one that is actively worsening our lives in some measure. Worst of all, it can be difficult to determine a toxic relationship because the toxicity may be mixed with good memories or fun times. Identifying a toxic and unhealthy relationship in your life can improve it immeasurably by allowing you to begin fixing the situation.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
One of the problems of the toxic relationship term is how broad of a definition it can have. Most tend to focus on individual traits or signs a toxic person may display. While these can be helpful, the signs also can differ because the context of your relationship is important in defining its toxicity. Instead, we should initially boil down what it is at the fundamental level.
A fulfilling relationship should support you when you need it, build you up to feel happier and secure, and not make you feel weak, scared, or ridiculed.
Any type of relationship can become toxic, but almost all toxic relationships lack support and respect. A fulfilling relationship should support you when you need it, build you up to feel happier and secure, and not make you feel weak, scared, or ridiculed. This person should also respect your autonomy, your beliefs, and your time. Together, respect and support are the cornerstones of a good relationship. A relationship that lacks these elements is missing what makes a friendship or partnership worthwhile.
More Specific Traits of Potential Toxicity
Now that we’ve addressed what toxic relationships are at their core, we can begin to look at some key signs of a toxic relationship and ways you can determine if you’re in one.
They are always criticizing or putting you down.
They are a bad influence on you.
You don’t like yourself when you are with them, i.e., they bring out bad traits in you.
They are always at the center of drama.
You can’t rely on them, but they demand reliability from you.
You feel manipulated or used by them.
They don’t respect your boundaries.
The spotlight must always be on them, even when it should be on you (birthdays, promotions, weddings, etc).
You feel relief when plans with them are cancelled.
There is outright abuse or bullying occurring within the relationship (get help immediately, if so).
The problem is that since the context matters so much, those traits can fit a lot of relationships. A strained friendship isn’t necessarily toxic. It’s important to consider how many of these traits are displayed regularly and in a pattern.
How Can You Find Signs if the Relationship is Toxic?
Even still, it can be difficult to identify a toxic relationship since you’re so close to the subject. You may even find yourself mentally writing-off red flags because you enjoy the friendship. Talking to trusted friends or family members who have witnessed the friendship or partnership or visiting a therapist can give you an important outsider’s perspective.
If you’re still not sure, you can test for certain traits. Testing a relationship normally isn’t a nice thing to do, but in this case, you’re specifically watching for signs of toxicity. For example, if your friend is overly critical, the next time you’re together, make a mental note of every time they criticize you. If they expect you to do all the work in the relationship, stop contacting them or planning get-togethers. If you don’t see or hear from them for a long period of time, it’s a clear indication of where they stand.
If you find that it doesn’t make you feel happy or a better, more fulfilled person, it may be a toxic relationship.
Finally, take an objective look at the actions and habits of your friend, family member, or partner (almost like a pros and cons list) to get a clear picture of the health of the relationship. If you find that it doesn’t make you feel happy or a better, more fulfilled person, it may be a toxic relationship.
What Can You Do About the Toxic Relationships?
If you believe you’re in a toxic relationship, you have a few routes you can take. An early step can be talking directly to the other person to discuss your concerns. From there, you can set clear boundaries in order to establish control and comfort within the relationship. This may be your only option if your toxic relationship is a family member, for example, so it may be worthwhile relying on a family therapist. If the person is willing to work on the relationship to improve it, you may be able to salvage it! If they are resistant or unwilling to, however, it may be time to take it to the next step.
Ultimately, you are prioritizing your mental and physical health over someone who hasn’t shown you support or respect to this point.
Here, you may want to simply spend less time with them. While this may not resolve the issue, it may allow you to maintain the relationship while keeping them at an arms-length. Instead, you can fill that time with other, healthier relationships in your life. This may not necessarily work with a romantic partner or someone who demands your time and attention.
The final step is to simply end the relationship. If the friendship or romantic entanglement is a detriment to your life, it may be for the best. This may be emotionally difficult, but you shouldn’t feel guilty. You’re prioritizing your mental and physical health over someone who hasn’t shown you support or respect to this point.
● ● ●
Ultimately, what’s most important here is your well-being. Friendships can be life-changing and enrich our lives beyond measure, but only if they are built on care, support, and respect. If you find you’re in a toxic relationship, resolving it is one of the healthiest things you can do.
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to Lucerne
- Is Expensive Cookware Worth It?
- The Drug Prices Medicare Can Directly Negotiate
- Does Medicare Ever Cover Cosmetic Surgery?
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to Barcelona
- How Does COBRA Work with Medicare?
- Different Ways Medicare Can Cover Drug Costs
- All About Enrolling in Social Security
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to the Madrid
- Does Medicare Cover Open-Heart Surgery?
- Exercise Tips for Summer
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to Lisbon
- Hosting a Safe Summer Barbecue
- Senior Summer Barbecue Tips
- Does Medicare Cover Biopsies?
- 5 Foods to Avoid if You Have High Blood Pressure
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to the Finger Lakes
- Does Medicare Cover Endoscopies?
- Ways Seniors Can Recover from a Workout
- Is Chocolate Healthy for You?
- Understanding Adult ADHD
- How Does Medicare Cover Hypertension?
- The Symptoms and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease
- How to Determine What Temperature to Use When Cooking
- Eating Healthy on a Budget
- Keeping Fit on Vacation
- Is Your Tonsillectomy Covered by Medicare?
- Tips for the Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Kitchen First Aid Tips
- What Does FDA-Approved Mean?
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Guide to New York City
- How to Caramelize Onions
- Why Do We Celebrate That? April Fools’ Day
- Medicare and Powers of Attorney
- The Essential Role of Eggs in Cooking
- What are Different Types of Complementary
and Alternative Medicine?
- Tips for Remembering to Take Your Medicine
- What is Medicare Part E?
- Building Your Basic At-Home Senior Gym
- How to Make Stovetop Popcorn
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to New Orleans
- How to Navigate & Read Academic Articles
- Phytonutrients: What Plant Color Says About Nutrition
- How to Prevent or Reduce Inflammation
- Osteoporosis: Risk Factors, Signs, and Treatment
- How to Make Homemade Pretzels
- Researching Your Ancestry and Family Tree
- How Medicare and Social Security Work Together
- What is Nordic Walking?
- Food Questions You've Been Embarrassed to Ask
- How Medicare Changed for 2023 and Beyond
- Tips for Using a Microwave
- How to Clean Your Ears Safely
- Skiing as a Healthy Hobby for Seniors
- 3 More Great Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve
- Why Do We Celebrate That? More New Year's Eve Traditions
- Panettone, the Italian Christmas Dessert
- A Simple Homemade Gingerbread Recipe
- How to Make Christmas Decorating Jollier
- The Science of Winter Weight Gain
- Seasonal Picks: 3 Foods You Should Try This Winter
- 5 Tips to Make Getting Your Christmas Tree Stress-Free
- Show-Stopping Potato Side Dishes for Thanksgiving
- Dishes to Impress Your Friends: Boeuf Bourguignon
- Holiday Travel Tips to Reduce Stress
- Does Medicare Cover Pain Management?
- Is Hunting a Healthy Senior Hobby?
- Ways You Can Get More Politically Involved
- What are Medicare's Lifetime Reserve Days?
- Spooky Spots for Seniors Halloween 2022
- How to Make Soul Cakes for Halloween
- Jack O' Lantern Carving Tips for Halloween
- Easy Ways to Peel a Potato
- 2023 Social Security COLA Largest in Decades
- Exercise Tips for Autumn
- How to Make Candy Apples at Home
- Why are Medicare Insurance Sales Calls Recorded?
- Here's What Medicare Costs in 2023
- CMS Updates Medicare Enrollment Rules for 2023
- Medicareful Travel: Senior Trip to London
- Does Medicare Cover Insomnia Treatment?
- Healthy and Easy Homemade Dog Treats
- The FDA Finalizes Ruling to Increase Access to Hearing Aids
- What the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Means for Medicare
- Tips to Make Flying and Airports Less Stressful
- CMS Projects Lower 2023 Part D Average Costs
- The 15 Golden Rules of Airplane Etiquette
- How Often Should You Shower?
- What are Medicare Pilot Programs?
- How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware
- Confronting a Loved One About Hurtful Behavior
- What Does Creditable Coverage Mean for Medicare?
- Using Za'atar in Your Cooking
- Dealing with Canceled Flights
- Protecting Your Vacation from Flight Disruptions
- Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Medicare Coverage?
- Which is Better: A Bath or Shower?
- Are Weight Loss Medications Healthy?
- Healthy Strategies for Anger Management
- The Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- The Difference Between Common Cooking Papers and Foils
- What are Medicare I-SNPs?
- Identifying Toxic Relationships in Your Life
- Healthy Ways to Spice Up Your Water
- All About Medicare Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans
- Medicareful Travels: A Senior Guide to All-Inclusive Resorts
- Does Medicare Cover Occupational Therapy?
- Lower 2023 Medicare Part B Premium Could Be on the Way
- Which is Better: Natural or Artificial Sweeteners?
- Tips for Vacationing with Pets
- Is It Better to Work Out Harder or Longer?
- Tips for Traveling with Your Pet
- Are Medicare Part B Giveback Plans Worth It?
- Introducing the Medicareful Living Family Cookbook!
- Medicare Coverage for Treatment of PTSD
- The Causes and Treatments of Nasal Congestion
- Dishes to Impress Your Friends: Spring Rolls
- Medicare Freezes Late Enrollment Penalties for Qualifying Enrollees
- What is a 5-Star Medicare Plan?
- What is PTSD?
- What is Inflammation?
- What You Should Know When Buying Cast Iron Cookware
- Does Medicare Cover STIs?
- The Different Types of Potatoes & When to Use Them
- Does Medicare Cover HIV Screenings and Treatment?
- Gun Safety Rules for Seniors
- 3 Surprising Ways to Feel Better When You're Sad
- Can Your Knee Really Predict the Weather?
- What are Federally Qualified Health Centers?
- Does Medicare Cover Incontinence Treatment?
- The Health Benefits of Cumin
- How to Make Dried Herbs at Home
- The Dangers of Toxic Positivity
- Which is Better: Fresh or Frozen Meat?
- COVID Tests to be Covered by Medicare
- Important Terms and Tips When Reading a Health Article or Study
- Do These 3 Most Common Natural Supplements Actually Work?
- What are State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs?
- The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
- The Difference of Cooking with Fresh and Dry Herbs
- Dangers of a Cold Home for Seniors
- Measuring Your Health Apart from Weight Loss
- Using Cumin in Your Cooking
- This Year, Focus on Health, Not Weight
- Does Medicare Cover Respite Care?
- Health Benefits of Gift-Giving
- How to Make Homemade Candy Canes
- Why Do We Celebrate That? Classic Christmas Tree Decorations
- 3 Classic Christmas Cookie Recipes
- Cooking for Beginners: Frying Tips
- Why Do We Celebrate That? Hanukkah Traditions
- The Value of Family Recipes
- What Does It Mean to be a Caregiver?
- Here’s What Medicare Costs in 2022
- Can I Prevent Aneurysms or Ruptures?
- How Can I Trust My Insurance Agent Has My Best Interests at Heart?
- Using Chinese Five Spice in Your Cooking
- What You Should Know About the COVID Booster
- Spooky Spots for Seniors Halloween 2021
- What Does MACRA Mean for You?
- Dishes to Impress Your Friends: Homemade Lobster Ravioli
- Reading and Understanding Your Blood Pressure
- How to Be a Snowbird in Retirement (18 Questions to Ask!)
- Learn the Basics of Medicare | Medicare Basics
- Understanding Medicare Part D’s True Out-of-Pocket Limit