Poisonous. Dangerous. Harmful. Destructive. The key word: toxic. Toxic might describe the quality of river water next to a chemical plant, or perhaps the noxious brew of whatever your favorite fast food chain puts into their chicken nuggets. Toxic, as in detrimental to your health and wellbeing, can also be used to describe relationships- the kind that you need to get out of!
Brittney Spears made Toxic seem like something incredibly erotic and dangerous (in a fun way). Sure, it’s a catchy tune (and who wouldn’t want to play sexy flight attendant now and then?); but, there’s nothing glamorous or exciting about someone who manipulates, blames, plays the victim, creates drama, and is ultra-critical and needy. Sound like anyone you know?
Ms. Spears got it partially right when she describes the toxic man in her life as being addictive and how his effect on her is making her “slip under.” Toxic people are highly skilled at attaching themselves to people they can control, then psychologically hijacking their minds to make their victim feel responsible for all of the poison partner’s problems, slowly sucking the life out of them.
If you’re in a toxic relationship, you may feel as trapped as a defenseless fly in a spider’s web. One might have a toxic relationship with a lover, friend, or relative. The closer the relationship, the harder it is to break free because there can be genuine love and fear of losing them. If the toxic relationship partner is a mother, spouse, or sibling, imagine the guilt in cutting off ties, let alone the pain of eliminating someone who has been an important figure in your life!
How do you know if someone is toxic and that you need to take an antidote for their lethal actions?
1. Does he or she always have to be right, to the point of ignoring your opinions or feelings?
2. Do they refuse to apologize for their misdeeds, almost as if they’re allowed to mistreat others without consequences?
3. Are they extremely critical and judgmental- their way or no way?
4. Do they belittle you and, in other ways, make you feel as though you’re never able to do it right and not good enough?
5. Are they always the victim?
6. Is everything always about them? They have to be the center of attention and will go out of their way to bring the spotlight back onto themselves if another achieves something positive or becomes the object of sympathy.
7. Are they manipulative, always bringing the focus back around to what they want and need?
8. Do they force ultimatums or make you demonstrate your love and loyalty through sacrifice or expectations of gifts, taking their side, or lavishing them with affection and praise?
9. Are they disinterested in your activities, accomplishments, and ideas?
10. Do you feel that this person brings more drama and chaos to your life than benefit or pleasure?
11. Do you feel that it’s impossible to please them?
12. Do they fail to take control of their own actions (e.g. “I wouldn’t have to get angry if you didn’t act that way”)?
If these traits of a toxic person sound all too familiar, then you need to take some serious stock of this relationship, realizing that a person who behaves this way is very unlikely to change! Interactions with toxic individuals are like being trapped in a prison of nonsense.
You will always be the bad guy.
You will always be inferior.
You will always be the cause of everything negative.
You and your needs do not matter as much as theirs.
A sentence as a toxic person’s partner can be a serious blow to one’s self-esteem and make you feel as though caught on a never ending roller coaster of inconsistency and emotion. The good times can be wonderful, but the bad times are horrendous. As time goes on, usually there are more tears than smiles, and it’s not uncommon for resentment, frustration, and depression to build to a boiling point.
At some point, you have to ask yourself:
Is the positive aspect of this relationship worth all of the negative that has to be endured?
Would your life be better off without this person’s presence, no matter how hard the split from them may be?
Does this person bring more drama and pain to your life than joy?
Do you really have to put up with this treatment?
The bottom line is that, no, you do not have to accept the abusive treatment of a toxic partner! A toxic person is like a parasite that will attach themselves to a giving and loving person and essentially use them up to fulfill their own selfish needs. A toxic person is incapable of truly loving or caring for another, so even moments that feel like love and caring may be part of the game to manipulate and con you into what they need you to do!
As difficult as it is, if you wish to maintain a relationship with such a person, you will have to set very firm boundaries, open your eyes to what is likely manipulation, develop a strong sense of self-love to counterbalance the effects of their poison, and always be conscious of the fact that you are not the bad person they will make you feel that you are!
A toxic person won’t like being called out for their actions, and they are unlikely to be able to see their behavior for what it is. Victim mentality and a strong sense of entitlement are tightly intertwined with their identity.
The most effective course of action is likely to end the madness- and your toxic relationship! This may feel like an amputation; but, sometimes an amputation is necessary to save the rest of the body! No doubt, the toxic person will find another to feed off of and control if you exit their life. You have to make a decision about how much you are willing to endure, and always be conscious of the example you set for your children because they will be likely to follow you down the path to bad relationships, if not shown a better way!