Toxic Relationships: Get Out or Be Poisoned
In hindsight it seems obvious: we look back on bad relationships and think, “Why didn’t I end it sooner? Why did I stay so long?”
Staying in a toxic relationship—romantic, platonic or business—is a surefire way to compromise your ability to thrive. Toxic relationships harm us emotionally, and undermine both mental and physical health.
If you feel like something is off in one of your relationships, ask yourself these three questions:
What is the overall pattern?
Every relationship has ups and downs: one moment may be blissful, and the next erupts into an argument that seems impossible to resolve. Don’t ask yourself how you feel in this moment. Look at the overall pattern. Are there more highs than lows, or more lows than highs? Has there been more anger than joy when you look back on your relationship in its entirety?
Are both parties invested in the health of the relationship?
In a healthy relationship, both players put “us” before “me.” If your partner, despite all you’ve said, constantly overlooks the good to put you down, to the point you can’t be your genuine self in the relationship, it’s time—if not past time—to leave.
Am I contributing to making the relationship toxic?
Be honest with yourself. When you feel hurt or angry, do you express those feelings or do you engage in passive-aggressive behavior? Are you listening when your partner expresses his or her feelings? Are you willing to compromise?
Sometimes we ignore red flags because we don’t want to go through the emotional upheaval of ending a bad relationship. It takes courage and willpower to walk away—but when the alternative is to stagnate or suffocate, the right choice is clear.