5 types of toxic relationships you should AVOID

Hi Psych2Go-ers, welcome back to our channel. Have you ever been in a relationship that makes you feel trapped, yet no matter how hard you try, you cannot escape? My friend, you are experiencing a “toxic relationship.” Healthline, a medical and mental health website, defines this type of relationship as an unhealthy connection that constantly makes the people involved in it feel drained or unhappy after spending time together. 

While a healthy relationship brings out the best in you and makes you feel good about yourself, a toxic relationship poison your life. In the book “Toxic Relationship,” Abu Zahiduzzaman has found that despite the perfectly healthy appearance from outsider’s  perspective, toxic relationships only include anger, unhappiness, frustration, and annoyance in one’s direct partner and ultimately lead to sorrow. There are many reasons for a relationship to be considered toxic and these signs can usually be subtle or highly obvious, according to Dr. Carla Marie Manly. Here are the five types of toxic relationships that you should avoid.

1. Narcissistic Relationships. 

Have you ever felt that your partner rarely takes your feelings into consideration and everything they do is all about themselves? Well, this might be an obvious hint that you are in a relationship with a narcissist. This type of relationship is formed when one or both partners struggle with a narcissistic personality. 

Studies have shown that  in a narcissistic relationship, your partner is more likely to engage in manipulative or game playing behaviors and less likely to be committed long-term. Dr. Lisa Firestone, a psychologist, and author has pointed out that if your partner is all about themselves, always needing attention and affirmation, they may be a narcissist. These people usually have a difficult time loving someone else and lack the ability to feel empathy and genuine care for their partners’ feelings.

2. Controlling Relationships.

Does your partner want to have a say in everything you do, including your choice of clothes, your hairstyles, and even your timetable? If you ever felt like your partner interfered a bit too much with your personal life, it’s time to consider this relationship. In many relationships, one partner takes on the role of leader while the other seems to follow, this is completely normal in real life. However, when your partner attempts to dominate and control most aspects of your life, you are experiencing a controlling relationship. 

Relationship and Family Counselor Val Holden has identified controlling as a type of abuse in relationships.  People suffering from a controlling relationship usually feel intimidated, insecure, or guilty, and emotionally abused by  their partners. 

Some signs of controlling relationships include: overactive jealousy, invading personal boundaries and attempting to isolate you from your friends and families. If these signs ever appear in your romantic relationship, it’s important to take them seriously, make sure you are safe and can leave if you need to.

3. Codependent Relationships. 

When in love, it is normal to feel a little bit needy and dependent on your partner, because after all, nothing feels better than being taken care of by someone you are deeply in love with. However, if you ever feel like your life will fall apart without the other person or they take care of almost every aspect of your life and you cannot live without them, there’s a likely chance that this is a codependent relationship. 

Fort Behavioral Health, a Texasbased mental health organization has defined this type of relationship as a kind of dysfunctional relationship where one person is a caretaker, and the other person takes advantage. It is worth noting that codependency can severely affect both sides of the relationship, not only the caregiver. It allows one partner to sink deeper into the love addiction while forcing the other to sacrifice certain things in order to fulfill their partner.

Just like drugs, codependency is highly addictive and can be extremely destructive to your mental health. Fortunately, Medical News Today has found that taking small steps toward separation in the relationship, for example: find a new hobby, have a new pet and make new friends outside of the relationship can help forming a more positive and balanced connection with your loved one.

4. Scorecard Relationships. 

Give and take is a primary rule in a healthy relationship. In a good, loving relationship where you both genuinely care about the others’ well-being, offering and taking actions toward each other is enjoyable and delightful. But have you ever noticed that your partner brings up multiple times how they always pay for your dates or how they always take out the trash and do the dishes? This might be because they actually keep score of who contributes more in the relationship. 

This action of score-keeping seems like a normal thing to maintain the balance in a relationship, however, Dr Jeffrey Bernstein in his book “Why Can’t You Read My Mind?” has pointed out that this type of behavior can be extremely destructive to your loving relationship. It nurtures negative feelings between partners, if your partner only focuses on what you are not doing, the odds are they will only see these limitations and not look for your positive contributions towards your connection.

Whenever this situation happens to you, it’s best to resist the urge to defend yourself or counterattack, instead, you can have an open and heart-to-heart conversation with your partner. If they really love you, they will listen to your feelings and give you guys a chance to reconnect and reboot. 

5. Abusive Relationship. 

And lastly, the most dangerous type of toxic relationships is when one is being physically or emotionally abusive to the other. According to Kids Health, a non profit mental health organization, abuse means treating someone with violence, disrespect, cruelty, harm, or force. And when someone treats their partner in any of these ways, it’s called an abusive relationship. Abusive relationship can be physical, sexual, or emotional, or it could be all of these. It’s not always obvious to realize that you’re in an abusive relationship and it’s common for the victim to believe that it’s their own fault and that they somehow ‘deserve’ the abuse. 

However, it is important to know that you’re never to blame for any abusive behaviors your partner treats you. Some emotionally abusive relationships look perfectly normal on the outside and the abuser can be either man or woman. It’s not unusual to feel afraid of leaving the person who’s abusing you, and it can feel like you aren’t capable of making it on your own. It’s important to remember that there are people who can help you every step of the way.

If this situation ever happens to you, if you’re feeling threatened and harmed in your relationship, it’s best to seek help from someone you trust and explore other options that can get you out. Loving is all about bringing you joy and happiness, not sorrow and fear.

Did you find yourself in these toxic relationships? Getting out of a toxic relationship with someone you are deeply in love to might seem impossible, but trust me, you can do it. 

If you’re dealing with a toxic partner, there are a number of organizations that can offer you help and support, talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, counselor or youth worker. Remember that you are not alone. Share this video to anyone who may benefit from it and we will see you in another video from Psych2Go.

References:

Bernstein, J. (2017, Sep 24). 3 Signs That Scorekeeping Is Destroying Your Relationship. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201709/3-signs-scorekeeping-is-destroying-your-relationship  

Buffalmano, L. (2022). 11 Types of Toxic Relationships. The Power Moves. https://thepowermoves.com/toxic-relationships/ 

Firestone, L. (2014). In a Relationship with a Narcissist? What You Need to Know About Narcissistic Relationships. PsychAlive. https://www.psychalive.org/narcissistic-relationships/#:~:text=Narcissistic%20relationships%20are%20formed%20when,a%20deep%20need%20for%20admiration

Fort Behavioral Health. (2021, May 25). 9 Warning Signs of a Codependent Relationship. https://www.fortbehavioral.com/addiction-recovery-blog/9-warning-signs-of-a-codependent-relationship/#:~:text=A%20codependent%20relationship%20is%20a,people%20with%20substance%20use%20issues

KidsHealth. (2021). Abusive Relationships. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/abuse.html 

Lamothe, C and Raypole, C. (2022, Jan 11). Is Your Relationship Toxic? What to Look For. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/toxic-relationship  

Medical News Today. (2017). What’s to know about codependent relationships?. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319873 

Relationships Australia. (2020, May 1). Signs of a Controlling Relationship. https://www.raq.org.au/blog/signs-controlling-relationship 

Zahiduzzaman, A. S. (2015). Toxic Relationship. AuthorHouse. 

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