Is my relationship toxic?

What is toxic in a relationship? and for heaven sake how do I know if I’m in or getting into a relationship that is toxic?

The definition of toxic as it relates to relationships, can be defined as unhealthy behaviors derived from a person being wounded and never learning how to take responsibility or control for their own actions. Therefore, they participate in manipulative behaviors to try to control the other person.

Toxic relationships are not always easy to identify, at first. Learning and identifying red flags is the first step to prevention.  Many times, comments, controlling behaviors, and negative feelings about interactions are just ignored by those experiencing these red flags, justified if you will.  This is the start.  I tell my clients that abuse, such as verbal or mental abuse is usually underhanded and silent. Especially, for many of us that have had less then stellar modeling of healthy relationships.  This silent abuse can be compared to a faucet that is turned on to just a drip and if a rock is placed under the drip, it takes a while to leave a dent.  Nevertheless, the erosion has begun.

I’m sure many of us have heard it before, that we can only control ourselves and we cannot control others. Well, it’s true! Therefore, here are three steps you can take no matter what scenario you are in at the moment. 1) Begin by asking friends, colleagues, or family members that you believe are in pretty healthy relationships, or even ask yourself,  if there are concerns about your idea of or the partners you most commonly seek out. 2) Make a list of what you don’t want in a relationship as well as what you do want and then share this list with the person you trust. 3) If you believe that your perspectives needs changing or you know someone who gravitates toward toxic relationships, seek out a therapist/counselor in your area that can help.

So whether you or someone you know have been in a relationship that you believe to have been toxic, are in a relationship that is toxic, or want to prevent EVER getting into a relationship that is toxic, remember, the process for change begins with YOU.

Kristy Palacios, LPCC

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