When starting a new relationship, no matter if it's a romantic one or not we rarely think about its possible downfall. We often think about how cheerful, affectionate and healthy it's going to be but not consider the negativity it might bring to us.
Unfortunately, the possibility that your relationship might turn into a toxic one, if it isn't already, is much higher than you can imagine.
No, I'm not telling you to focus on the negative aspects of every relationship that you're going to have in the future. I'm simply telling you to not completely overrule its possibility either.
According to a survey, 84% of women and 75% of men report having a toxic friend at some point. At the same time, every 1 in 3 young people (in the US) will be in an abusive or toxic relationship in their life. Now those are some disturbing stats.
Let’s focus specifically on the word toxic, instead of the relationship part for a moment. What exactly comes to your mind when you think about toxic substances? Poisonous, Hazardous and dangerous things? Something potentially deadly?
Now, associate all those things with a person and relationship and there you have it. A toxic relationship. Which is as dangerous as those toxic things. A relationship that can hurt you mentally, emotionally and even physically to an extent where it gets hard for you to rise above it.
Now, what are you to do if you are somehow trapped in such a relationship or how will you know if your relationship is toxic? The first step in the process of eliminating or fixing a toxic relationship is recognising the signs of a toxic relationship.
I have already written three articles to provide you with in-depth knowledge on various major, minor and even those signs that most people confuse for healthy behaviour.
This article is the 4th one in my toxic relationship series and here we are going to focus on how a toxic relationship can be saved, fixed, mended or cured (whatever you want to call it).
If you are not sure whether your relationship is a toxic one or not, then be sure to go through my previous articles to make up a clear mind.
7 Major signs you’re in a toxic relationship.
8 Signs you’re in a toxic relationship.
7 Toxic relationships signs that couples mistake for a healthy one.
Can a toxic relationship really be fixed?
Before going into long depths, I want to adhere to the above question. There are a lot of people who believe that toxic relationships are doomed to end but this isn't the reality of every toxic relationship.
A short answer to the above question— it is possible to save a toxic relationship. Difficult? Very. Impossible? Not really.
The long answer being, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment, self-introspection, open communication, honesty and sometimes even professional help (individual or couples therapy, depending on the situation and the type of toxicity of your relationship). In simple words, Loads and loads of effort.
The other factor that plays an important role to save a relationship apart from the group efforts of a couple is the level of toxicity in the relationship.
Yes, toxic relationships can be saved but there comes a level of toxicity which becomes too much to overcome or overturn. The best option in such situations is to simply get out of such relationships and move on for the sake of your sanity as well as safety.
Important note: When I speak about the toxic relationship in this article, please know that I'm not talking about abusive relationships.
If your relationship includes violence, physical or emotional abuse, it crosses the line of toxicity to a crime. The best thing you can do in such a situation is to call your local domestic violence helpline and try your best to get out of this relationship as soon as possible.
Here are the steps that you can follow to subdue the toxicity of your relationship and possibly heal it.
#1. Identify the problems.
Identifying the problem is the first step of solving it. Like I have mentioned in one of my previous articles, toxicity like any other disease needs a proper diagnosis after which you'll know the extent of toxicity in your relationship, the major areas that are affected and in some cases even the cause of such behaviour.
It's impossible to change a thing that you don't even recognise.
Sit back and evaluate your relationship with a clear mind, write down the things that you find are problematic in your daily or weekly schedule and then talk about those things with your partner.
Point to note: You will have to stop giving excuses and accept that your relationship is facing problems or is toxic (if it is). The faster you identify and eventually acknowledge the problem, the better will be the chances of saving your relationship.
#2. Take a break, you need some rest.
No matter If you were already aware of the toxic behaviour in your relationship or if you've just identified them, you're most probably exhausted.
Toxic relationships tend to have such an effect on us. It drains us mentally, emotionally and physically as well. Hence, you won't be able to think clearly in such a situation. The best thing to do in this case is to cut the toxicity off for some time, take a break and have some rest.
When your mind is calm enough, decide whether it is possible to mend your relationship or if it's too late to do so, whether you want to fix it or let go. Once you have decided the above things, come back and give it your all.
#3. Take responsibility for your actions.
Usually, it is not the behaviour of a single person that turns a relationship toxic. There's a good chance that your own behaviour hasn't been healthy either.
You probably have been adding to the toxicity directly or indirectly. Directly would be by means of Toxic behaviour and indirectly would be by means of giving excuses for your partner, encouraging toxic behaviour, having a relationship scorecard, giving up your identity etc.
The acceptance of your part in turning the relationship toxic and taking responsibility for it will help a lot in the healing process of your relationship. Both the partners have to be present and have a conversation (no matter how difficult it is) about their part of adding to the toxicity.
#4. Stop playing the blame game.
You can only move forward towards a healthy relationship when the centre of your communication shifts from blaming each other to understanding each other.
Acceptance is the key here. You have to accept your own faults as well as your partner's faults to move past the bitterness. Instead of blaming your partner for the downfall of the relationship, try to understand their motive behind why they did or encouraged this toxic behaviour.
The more you try to talk to each other, the more comfortable you'll get to discuss these harsh truths and eventually the easier it would be for you to decide in which direction the future of this relationship should go.
#5. Let the past rest.
This is one of the most important points to keep in mind if you're trying to mend your relationship.
To walk towards a better future, you must let the bitter past rest. A wound can't heal if you keep scraping it regularly, just like that a relationship can't heal if you keep bringing the negativity of the past into your future.
You must not link your present with your past, you will have to resist the temptation of relating the mistakes, behaviour and even memories, of your past with the future.
Sure, the process of fixing a relationship requires talking about your past and figuring out what and where exactly you went wrong? But once you have done it, you'll have to drop the baggage of the past from your shoulders to move freely towards a healthy future.
#6. Understand the triggers.
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” ~Unknown
Do I even need to add more? Okay, okay here it is— you will have to leave your comfort zone even if it's very peaceful to stay in there.
The above saying not only applies to relationships but almost every aspect of our life in general but just because we are talking about Toxic Relationships, we are going to focus on them at the time.
When we talk about toxic relationships, it's rarely the relationship itself but the action and reaction of two partners that make it toxic. Hence, to eliminate the toxicity you will have to focus on the root of the action.
You have to closely understand the triggers that make your partner or even you go all nuts on each other and eventually work on not reducing those triggers but trying to reduce the extent of effect these triggers have on you and your partner.
#7 Set boundaries.
Some major signs of Toxic Relationships include lack of privacy, Possessiveness, all give and no take, lack of identity and not to forget the controlling behaviour. What is the contributing factor for these signs? Not setting up the boundaries from the very beginning.
Yes, humans are social beings but we also need to have our personal space in order to have some mental peace. Now, do I even have to put in words the importance of mental peace for your health and eventually your relationship?
Obviously you can't go back in time and set up those boundaries in your relationship but fortunately, you can still fix things with a little bit of effort and a need for change.
What you can and should do now is change your mindset from making your partner the centre of your world to seeing them as who they are — your partner.
You should make your mental health, your identity, your privacy, your needs and your personal space a priority and set up healthy boundaries accordingly.
Note: This is the first part of this article and hence contains only the first seven steps of this healing process, the next ten steps (follow-ups of the above points) will be presented in the next article.
To conclude this article I would say, toxic relationships are very demanding for human beings. They demand our mental health, our energy, our emotional stability and sometimes affect our physical health as well. Therefore, it becomes necessary for us to deal with them as soon as possible.
The only two options that are left on our part to deal with these relationships are :
Get out of this relationship as soon as possible and break all the contacts with your partner (if he's the cause of the toxicity). An option that is the right thing to do in most cases if not all.
Accept that your relationship is toxic. Take necessary steps to mend it and walk towards a better as well as healthier future together. Keyword: together.
If you are reading this article, you're most probably considering the second opinion.
Yes, it will take a lot of effort, no it won't happen overnight but if you believe in your relationship, you will definitely come out of that bitter stance one day.
Thank you for sticking with me till the very end.
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