How To Deal With A Toxic Relationship

How To Deal With A Toxic Relationship
13.04.2021 LISTEN

1. Think about the power structure. Your partner blaming you could be a part of a larger problem. They could be trying to manipulate you, gaining power over you and the relationship. If they do that consistently, it's likely emotional abuse, and you need to think about whether you should stay in the relationship or not. If you decide to stay, you need to start to stand up for yourself by asserting yourself in the relationship.

That is, think about whether your partner uses tactics like thinking and telling you that you're always wrong to change the way you act or to gaslight you (convince you that what you know to be true is wrong).

In other words, say you go to a movie, and you think that the main character was rude. Afterwards, your partner tries to convince you that you're wrong, saying things like, "The character wasn't rude; he was just standing up for himself. You just don't know how to stand up for yourself. You're weak, which is why you couldn't get along without me."

Your partner is using emotional abuse to convince you that what you think or feel is wrong, with the intention of gaining control over you. In this situation, you could say, "I disagree, and I have a right to my opinion. That character called his wife a dirty name with no remorse. That's rude."

2. Look for ways your partner manipulates you. Telling you you're wrong is one way of manipulating you, but you may find other ways your partner is doing that once you start looking. That is, your partner may be trying to bend you to fulfill their needs. Just identifying the ways your partner manipulates you can help you to start changing the relationship. However, once you identify those times, you can start resisting that manipulation.

For example, your partner may make you feel guilty, even about things you should be enjoying. If you decide what movie to go see, your partner might say, afterwards, "Well, I'm glad you're happy, but that wouldn't have been my first choice. I mean, obviously that other movie would've been better, but you had to see that one, so I guess it's okay." You could reply, "You're not going to make me feel bad about seeing that movie. I enjoyed it, and I'm glad we went."

They may also make you feel bad because of the insecurities they hold. Maybe you decide to go out one night with your friends, and your partner doesn't like it, saying, "I'm sorry, but I don't like you going out with your friends. I should be enough for you, right?" You could say in return, "It sounds like you're feeling a bit insecure about my other relationships. I do value our relationship, but I also value my friendships. I can value those friendships without devaluing our relationship.

3. Don't take responsibility for their feelings. Your partner may also make you take the responsibility for the way they feel. They might say, "It's your fault that I'm angry. You didn't do this the way you should have." The only person who should be responsible for their emotions is that person. Try to refrain from apologizing for the person's emotion. Instead, you could say, "I hear that you're upset. I'm sorry I didn't do this the way you wanted, but I did try. Your anger seems misplaced. What are you really mad at?

4. Resist their attempts to put you down. Another way a relationship can be toxic is if your partner turns your own insecurities against you. They can use the way you feel about yourself or the world to keep you under their thumb, always staying because you feel like you're not good enough.

For instance, your partner might say something like, "It's a good thing you're with me because you're getting kind of chubby. No one else would have you." You could say, "That's kind of rude. I'm proud of my body, and I won't let you shame me for it.

While you can try to counter this type of talk, you should consider whether it's worth the emotional pain to stay in the relationship.

5. Consider whether you both benefit from the relationship. When you're with someone, it should be give and take. You both should be giving to the other partner things that they need in terms of support. Now, think about your relationship. Do you receive as much as you give? Are you getting the support you need out of the relationship? If you're not, it may be time to think about ending the relationship.

You can discuss this with your partner. You could say, "I feel like I give more to this relationship than I take. I have needs that aren't being met.

Isaiah Dakudji
Isaiah Dakudji

Relationship and parenting contributor
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