It’s never easy to admit that you’re in a harmful, unhealthy relationship. In fact, it’s so difficult to face that most of us are in denial about it for a very long time. We don’t want to admit that toxic love has leaked into our lives so we just go about our day as if nothing’s wrong.
But that’s super unhealthy and can have lasting harmful effects. When you ignore the negativity in your life, you’re not preventing it from taking hold. Instead, you’re actually allowing it to dig its claws deeper into you and take control.
How to know if there’s toxic love in your life
First, you really have to be open to the idea that your relationship may be harmful for you. If you don’t acknowledge that, you’ll never see the problems. Then, you really need to think about how you feel around that person.
Are you drained or are you excited and content? Does your temper increase or are you pretty calm and patient? These things, among many others, are major signs your relationship is unhealthy.
Think about the way they treat you and if you’re proud to talk about the things they do for you. Do they brag about you and support your goals? Or do they insult you and make you feel worse about yourself? I think you can determine which is toxic and which is healthy. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]
How toxic love can permanently or severely damage your psyche
You might think it’s not a big deal if your partner picks on you from time to time. And while certain teasing is cute and fun, other comments could end up hurting you a lot more than you think. Here are some ways toxic love can derail your mental health in long-lasting or even permanent ways.
#1 It can increase your anxiety. When you’re in a toxic relationship, anxiety runs amuck. You’re constantly overthinking your own behavior and that of your partner. You never want to upset them and make them angry so you’re worried about what you’re doing all the time. This can have lasting effects and you could end up living with that anxiety long after you’ve ditched that toxic person. [Read: What it feels like to experience anxiety in a relationship]
#2 You’ll become more insecure. In a toxic relationship, insecurity is increased immensely. Your partner is continuously making you feel as though you’re not enough.
When you’re repeatedly put in that mindset, your brain will start to think it’s true. And the worst part is that it’s easier to become insecure than it is to build up that confidence again. Meaning, the effects last a very long time.
#3 You may harbor trust issues. Not being able to trust people is a major issue. If you can’t trust others, you won’t be able to form solid friendships or even other relationships. And since toxic love creates huge issues with trust, it’s just one of the lasting effects of such a negative relationship. [Read: How to get over trust issues]
#4 You can become depressed. Depending on how severe your relationship is, you can become depressed. Many unhealthy relationships separate you from your friends and the things you enjoy in life.
You’ll also have bigger issues with trust and insecurity and those things can easily cause you to become depressed. And depression is no joke. It’s a serious matter that can impact nearly every aspect of your life.
#5 Your job can suffer. If you’re depressed and struggling with life in your relationship, that’s almost guaranteed to bleed over into your work life, too. That means your career can suffer greatly and you may not be able to advance or have the job you truly desire, all of which can impact your future in major ways.
#6 Your health can decline. Because you can fall into depression and have anxiety, your health can suffer. You’re more likely to get sick and have to take off work because your immune system can be compromised with excessive anxiety and depression. [Read: 18 emotions you shouldn’t feel in a healthy relationship]
#7 Your other relationships can be ruined – for good. I bet your friends and family have already made their distaste for your relationship known. If that’s the case and you didn’t see the problem before, you probably grew apart from them.
This is very common with toxic love. Your other relationships can sometimes be permanently damaged because of your inability to see clearly in the relationship you’re in.
#8 Future romantic relationships could be jeopardized. If you don’t think your current relationship could ever impact your future ones, think again. Toxic love can be a major problem in your love life down the road.
Allowing someone to continuously make you feel awful will make it more difficult to trust others and form deeper connections later in life. [Read: How your first love can affect your future relationships]
#9 You can become overly negative. When you’re in such an unhealthy relationship, negative will become your new norm. And that alone will cause major problems in your friendships, your work life, and with your general outlook on life.
#10 You may end up feeling as though you don’t deserve love. This might be the worst impact toxic love can have on you long-term. When people are in unhealthy relationships, they’re often meant to feel as though their partner loving them is some special thing.
Their significant other can manipulate them into thinking their love is rare and they won’t get that love from anyone else. This can make a person feel like they don’t deserve love and, as a consequence, stop pursuing love in all forms. [Read: A real-life example of accepting the love you think you deserve]
How to get out of toxic love
If you’re ready to face the fact that you’re in an unhealthy relationship and you want to get out before things get too bad, here’s how you can do it.
#1 Reach out to a support system. You may not be getting along with your friends and family, but they’ll always be willing to help you get away from something awful for you. And if you still have a healthy relationship with all of them, that’s even better.
Talk to them and let them know how you’re feeling. They can offer you solutions and just be there to help you get through a really difficult time. [Read: How to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you]
#2 Talk to your partner. If you don’t feel safe doing this by yourself, have someone in your support system go with you. Tell them you can’t be with someone who’s so bad for you and then leave. Don’t allow them to try and get you to stay.
If the relationship is bad enough to be affecting your life in such a negative manner, you can’t even work things out. You need to just step away from the relationship and end things for good.
#3 Get professional help if you need it. If you were in a negative relationship for too long, you may have some lasting effects. You might not be able to work through things by yourself and that’s perfectly okay. Seek professional help in the form of a therapist or psychologist so you can start healing.
[Read: How to recognize and end toxic relationships]
Toxic love can mess up your life more than you think. If you’re afraid you might be in an unhealthy relationship, get away before you can’t fix what’s been broken.
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