Before we start talking about how we can maintain a healthy relationship, we also have to know how to recognize the signs that show a toxic relationship.

Now that Valentine’s Day is approaching, one of the best possible gifts for your partner may be to work a little on the relationship. Do you want to discover how to do it?

Toxic relationships: how to recognize them

The definition of toxic couple was coined by Liliam Glass in 1995. Thus, these are couples where there is no support or respect, and in whose conflicts, one party tries to stay above the other instead of solving the situation.

In other words, a toxic relationship is a relationship between people who do not support each other, where there are conflicts in which one tries to “do less” of the other, where there is an unhealthy competition< /strong>, and where there is no respect, cohesion or trust.

Toxic relationships are dysfunctional and capable of creating mechanics that harm us mentally and emotionally, and that in many cases, generate emotional dependenceand they exhaust the people who find themselves in it. We must keep in mind that toxic relationships can appear not only with our partner, but in our work environment, our friends, or even in ourfamily.

Where does it come from?

A toxic relationship usually occurs when one member of the couple begins to be possessive and begins to lose trust in the other party. It is also common for there to be a feeling of incomprehension, or even humiliation.

People who end up in toxic relationships often share some reasons and characteristics:

  • They feelalone.
  • They areinsecure, often because of previous bad experiences.
  • There is some type of common addiction.
  • These are people who are not in possession of full faculties: they may need therapy, are sick or suffer from an addiction that prevents them from thinking clearly. Easily influenced people can also be included at this point.
  • They are obsessive or they have spent time idealizing the person who ends up becoming toxic.

Eye! It is common for all of us to have toxic attitudes at some point, but the most important thing is to know how to redirect ourselves and try to eliminate this type of behavior before it becomes worse. cause a problem for ourselves or the people around us.

How to distinguish a toxic partner?

For some time now, the term red flagor red flag has become popular, which are notices or warnings strong> that we can see before starting or during the relationship with a person, which tells us that certain toxic behaviors are probably going to occur.

Some common red flag are:

  • Toxic people are usually self-centered, they seek to be the center of attention, they tend to belittle others and require a >constant validation.
  • Leave aside your social relationships, interests, hobbies, etc.
  • Possessiveness, jealousy, lack of freedom and control appear.
  • Sometimes, the toxic person tries to change the other, whether physically, their behaviors, etc.
  • There is a feeling that you cannot talk to the other person, that is, there is a lack of communication.
  • After a while, you are aware thatthe relationship is not working, but you try toignore yourself.
  • One of the people feels that the other does not support them, but rather competes with them.
  • Communication becomes toxic: instead of an empathetic conversation, sarcasm, criticism, barbs and hostility appear. In the worst cases, gaslighting can appear (if you don’t know what it is, take a look at our article about it).
  • Constant stress appears.
  • There is a constant perception that something is not working.
  • Guilt is induced in one of the members of the couple.

Phases of the toxic relationship

Obviously, no one would start a toxic relationship knowing it beforehand. What at the beginning is a relationship that we consider “normal”, is transforming into a toxic relationship step by step without, many times, its own members (or at least one of them) realizing it. Furthermore, since everything begins with a phase of falling in love, we can overlook the red flag that we mentioned in the previous point.

But let’s move on to the phases themselves:

  1. Idealization: With falling in love, we tend to idealize the other person. At this point, your environment may notice certain negative behaviors towards you on the part of your partner, which you defend and/or downplay.
  2. Devaluation: Once in the relationship, we begin to feel afraid that some of our actions will anger our partner. Here, there are two responses: avoiding conflict, or responding with the same hostility. Self-esteem begins to suffer.
  3. Explosion: After a while, and seeing that the problems are not solved, the members face each other in search of a solution. strong> solution or end the relationship.
  4. Reconciliation: generally, the common thing is that, after the “final discussion”, the entire cycle is restarted, since it becomes very complicated to finish with the relationship. However, in some cases, and with great merit, we end the relationship and get rid of the weight on our shoulders.

Building a healthy relationship

On the other hand, a healthy relationship is based on trust, respect and healthy communication. When we are in a healthy relationship, we feel valued and comfortable in any situation, and we naturally seek that intimacy with the other person.

Just as in toxic relationships, there are also a series of characteristics that indicate that we are in a healthy relationship. These characteristics can be built, improved and worked on with the help of psychotherapy. Do you want us to help you? Contact us without obligation!

Characteristics of a healthy relationship

  • Lose the idealized vision of the relationship and accept the changes that we will undergo throughout our lives.
  • Make an effort to take care of the relationship, fight together against difficulties and attend to each other’s needs regularly.
  • Spend quality time together: through common hobbies, activities for both of you, or simply seeing that you share an effort to be with the other person. Many times we make mistakes, for example, now with the issue of teleworking, and we confuse being together physically (working, or doing other tasks), with spending time together. When we spend time together, we give all (or almost all) our attention to our partner, and above all, she sees it and recognizes it.
  • Assume and learn to live with differences, and take advantage of them as a source of strength instead of conflicts and arguments. These differences enrich us as individuals and as a couple. Likewise, we must learn to accept that there will be things on which we will never agree, and that that is not bad either.
  • Not wanting or expecting to change your partner: you have chosen them just as they are. Yes, we can communicate effectively and talk about what makes us feel bad or certain behaviors that we consider negative or uncomfortable towards us, but we cannot try to change their way of being. If we feel the need for it to change, maybe that’s not where it is.
  • Work on adequate communication: active listening, without criticism, not judging the other person, and trying to empathize are the keys so that it really helps to have certain conversations with our partner. Honesty and sincerity are essential, but taking care of the forms and the way in which we transmit certain words to our couple.
  • Trust is the key: even if it costs us, sometimes we have to give a vote of confidence to our partner. If there are no solid reasons to distrust, it is important not to show distrust.
  • Affective responsibility: both for ourselves (our happiness is our own responsibility), and with our partner (we must understand and try to take care of your emotions when interacting with them).
  • Maintain individuality: we are a couple, but above all, we are people, and we must maintain our identity.

We wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!


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