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Toxic Relationships - How to Deal with them.

Toxic relationships are damaging to the health - physically and mentally.

Young lady of African origin drawing away from the hand of a partner pulling her towards him.
Image by Jospeh Marrufo from Unsplash

Whether you start off in a toxic relationship, or a beautiful one becomes toxic, its effects are the same.

The impact can also spread to work and other relationships.

Toxic relationships can also develop at work - with colleagues, or superiors.

Of course, this can create serious issues for work, but sometimes there is a formal process for dealing with these.

Workplace bullying is a form of toxic relationship and more common than we realise.

For some victims, they feel they have no options, especially if financially constrained and choose to stick to the job instead of confronting the relationship.

It's toxic - what next?

The first step on the road to recovery is recognition and calling the relationship what it is.

This is simple to say though not as easy to do.

However, in a personal toxic relationship; confronting the problem is key.

Guilt

In toxic relationships that start as loving ones, there may be guilt that plays on your mind - especially when there seems to be apparent 'repentance' after episodes of abuse or an argument.

The toxic person avoids self-responsibility and tries to get you to buy into the claim that it is not their fault, but a problem they need your help to deal with.

They may even blame the problem on you - your 'insensitivity', or 'stupidity' or 'weakness' as they see it.

These are lies, of course.

But in itself another clue.

Learning to accept responsibility or share responsibility for something that you are responsible for is a 'grown-up' skill.


Safety

Think about safety. If there has been violence or potential for violence, direct confrontation should be avoided.

Instead, make plans to create as much distance as possible - taking into account others who may be vulnerable like young children.

Even if there are no kids involved, people involved with a toxic partner should explore ways of limiting then ending the association safely before it escalates.


Avoiding or Enduring?

Some people think they can endure a situation and the self-sacrifice can result in a positive outcome.

Toxic relationships are unfortunately not known to benefit from such interventions.

Distance from the relationship actually allows freedom and a clearer assessment for you.

Put simply, ending the connection and avoiding future contact beats enduring it all the time.


Support

This is an important part of recovery.

No one who has been on the receiving end of a toxic relationship is guilty or responsible for their partner's behaviour.

Taking back control of your life by addressing the situation is possible - with support from friends, relatives, therapists etc.

Financial Independence

This can be a real, crippling aspect and prevent people from releasing themselves from a toxic relationship.

One must realise that staying in a toxic relationship doesn't get better, and a person's physical and mental health could be in danger.

Some charities offer support for people involved in domestic abuse and apart from friends or families, should be considered as a refuge.

Conclusion

Taking the first step is the hardest but can be incredibly liberating.

This can be a seriously distressing problem - contact us here is you want to share your concerns or seek advice.

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Founder's Corner
Dr Sylvia Kama-Kieghe

Founder, AskAwayHealth

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