The word “toxic” is thrown about a lot these days: toxic workplaces, toxic masculinity, toxic positivity, toxic relationships.
In using the word “toxic,” are we being overly dramatic in how we characterize our relationships? What happened to simply being “caught in a bad romance?”
Because of the potential damage to our self-esteem, relationships that make us feel unappreciated, disrespected, or “less than” qualify as toxic.
I’m speaking of all kinds of relationships – the ones we have with parents or other family members, friends, and even our bosses. Toxic relationships are not limited to the ones we have with romantic partners.
Related: Relationships are a reflection of yourself
Six Signs You Are In A Toxic Relationship
(Please note that any one of these signs would make this a toxic relationship for you)
1. The relationship makes you feel bad more often than it makes you feel good.
2. You feel you give more than you receive, and this imbalance upsets you.
3. The other person does not honor your boundaries, including making demands on how you spend your time, energy, and money.
4. The relationship is full of negativity. Negative words, thoughts, and actions are the norm.
5. The other person is unsupportive of your needs, successes, and dreams.
6. You have considered leaving the relationship, but you remain because of shared history or out of a sense of obligation or guilt – not out of love, caring, and mutual support.
7. (Bonus tip for romantic relationships): You feel butterflies. We associate butterflies with excitement for a relationship, especially a new one, but butterflies after the first few dates are actually a telltale sign of anxiety and nervousness. Butterflies can indicate the insecurity our romantic partner triggers in us, a lack of clarity on where we stand in the relationship.
My rule on relationships: To become our best selves, we must love ourselves more than anyone else. This requires us to eliminate toxic relationships from our lives.
To protect my own well-being and self-worth, I learned to recognize toxic friendships and relationships – and I have removed myself from them.
I even cut ties with both of my narcissistic parents who represented two of the most toxic relationships in my life.
Not once have I regretted these decisions. Had I stayed in these relationships, I would never have reached my current state of happiness and success.
Freeing myself from the negative energy of these relationships lifted me up!
When you are ready to create your best life by eliminating toxic relationships, try answering these three questions with clear-eyed honesty:
1. Why do I keep this person in my life?
2. What value do they add to my life?
3. What if I were to stop communicating with them? Would my life be better?
Let your answers guide you. You’ll know what you need to do. And I’m here for you.
In my book, “I Love Me More: How to Find Happiness and Success Through Self-Love” , I share ways that we can practice self-love – including identifying and eliminating toxic relationships – as a pathway to becoming our best selves.