Mandy Kloppers

The dynamics of toxic relationships

A relationship can be toxic if your well-being is threatened, whether it is your emotional wellbeing, your psychological well-being, or your physical wellbeing.

Relationships where you feel unsupported, misunderstood, overtly or subtly attacked, or in other ways demeaned can also be toxic. If a relationship makes you feel worse rather than better it can be toxic over time.

A toxic relationship can occur in any context – a romantic relationship, family relationship or even a work relationship.

One sided relationships can also be toxic if one person gives and the other takes. The giver ends up exhausted and depleted and the taker ends up ‘richer’ at the expense of the person they are supposed to love. Sometime, we want to be loved (or be in a relationship) so much that we take on far more negativity than we should. Self respect can be lost over time if you consistently allow someone else to treat you badly. If you are regularly criticised or subtly made to feel inferior, this will ultimately affect your mental health and emotional well-being.

At times, it’s the interaction between two people that creates the toxic dynamic. If you tend to bring out the worst in each other and you bounce off each other in an unhealthy way, the relationship is encouraging toxicity. People who have had unhappy or abusive childhoods tend to be drawen to each other and in this way the toxicity from childhood gets recreated in adult relationships.

If you find yourself repeatedly being attracted to toxic partners, it may be time to discover the underlying reasons with a therapist. A toxic relationship will wear you out, decrease your confidence and leave you feeling ‘less than’. No relationship is worth that amount of self-damage.

Mandy X


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