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What is a toxic relationship?

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Insight, Relationships | 1 comment

There are different types of toxic relationship. It could be a codependent relationship, or even a narcissistic relationship.

But ultimately, a toxic relationship is one where:

You feel you can’t bring all of yourself to the relationship or where you feel like you have to pretend to be something you’re not.

Because if either of these are the case, you’re very likely to start compromising your authentic self to stay in the relationship and keep it stable.

How do I know if I’m in a toxic relationship?

You might notice that you feel like you’re being judged. Your partner might try to control you, or tell you what to do or wear. You might even feel like you’re being manipulated. You may start to feel like you losing yourself, your identity, what you love to do or be.

Is it my fault or their fault?

The short answer is: Kinda both. And at the same time, kinda neither. Let me explain…

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but even when our partner isn’t treating us fairly, there’s always something we can do to improve the situation for ourselves, and we should definitely take that responsibility for our own lives. That doesn’t mean we have to leave the relationship, that’s one solution, but it’s quite extreme, we’ll discuss some less extreme options below.

So if we both play a part in this dynamic, how can it also be neither of our faults? Well, here’s the thing: All our relationship dynamics are learnt from a very early age in life. They were passed on to us, and we were conditioned to act and respond a certain way in order to receive love. This goes for both partners in a relationship. Even when those behaviours feel quite manipulative, you or your partner may not even be aware how corrosive the pattern is.

Let’s be clear: None of this excuses domestic violence or let’s anyone off the hook in taking responsibility for their actions, quite the opposite. It just says we need to keep doing the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt.

What can I do about it?

There’s a lot you can do. Often the immediate thought is: I can always leave. And yes, walking away is a self-empowered option. But once you’re truly empowered you will start to see many options to adjust the dynamic and free yourself from self-imposed or other-imposed oppression.

Try the following:

  1. Step 1: Forgive yourself for any mistakes you’ve made and for tolerating less than the treatment you deserve.
  2. Step 2: Forgive your partner for their faults and mistakes.
  3. Step 3: Take ownership for what you can do better next time (just say it to yourself).
  4. Step 4: Commit to continue to work on yourself, to continue your journey to feeling truly empowered.

Hey, how that’s all about me… What about them??

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get your partner to change? Next to impossible right? This is a mine field, and we don’t have time or space here to uncover why this is so tough. But trust me when I say…

The only way to get your partner to change is for you to change.

This doesn’t mean it’s all your fault and you have to do all the work, it simply means this: When you change, become more empowered and raise your vibration they will feel drawn to follow your lead, work on themselves and do the same. Or, they will naturally drift away. And trust us, either way is for the best for you.

This is how you can create or find your Wholehearted Relationship!

When you’re ready to level up in your relationship, let us know!

About the author

Andrew Ramsden

Founder Peak State and host of Alpha Geek Podcast

Andrew Ramsden is a speaker, trainer, coach and podcast host specialising in digital and technical leadership.

Andrew founded Peak State to help organisations keep up with the ever-changing world around us.

He has a particular passion for leadership development, especially helping technical professionals level-up and unleash the great leader within.