Orlando Trauma Counselor Kelli Skorman shares the signs of toxic relationships, the effects on physical and emotional health and offers hope with 7 tips for moving forward with your life in a healthy and productive way.Kelli Skorman, MS
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
It is unfortunate, but what starts as a great relationship can sometimes turn toxic. Busy lives attending to children, careers, health issues and many other variables can affect our perception of what is taking place. We hope for the best in our relationships and so we either don’t notice or ignore the signs of unhealthy patterns that may begin to show up. When we do notice, we work harder at the relationship and on ourselves, essentially we keep trying to push a magic button in hopes of getting the relationship back to beautiful and loving again. But what we begin to notice is that while all this effort and energy may work temporarily, our partner never seems to remain satisfied with us. It feels like no matter how hard we work to “please” them, to make them happy with us and with the relationship, we can never get it right. We begin to get worn down. All of this effort and energy takes a toll over time, and eventually our physical and mental health begins to suffer.
In looking at a toxic relationship from a biochemical perspective, high stress levels can manifest into a plethora of health issues. Many studies have shown a high correlations between toxic relationships and a wide range of physical and emotional health concerns. These problems can range from heart disease and high blood pressure to auto-immune disorders, anxiety and depression just to name a few.
Becoming aware of some of the signs of a toxic relationship can be helpful. When we refer to toxic relationships here we are referring to being in a relationship with someone who is physically or verbally abusive, or emotionally manipulative and who is unwilling to take responsibility for the pain they are creating. We always encourage the first step be letting them know how their behavior feels. Their failure to accept some responsibility and work with you toward change is a clear sign that you need to begin prioritizing care for yourself over trying to “fix” the relationship.
Signs of a Toxic relationship:
- Feeling tired or emotionally drained all the time, especially when with your partner.
- Feeling bad about yourself all the time
- Feeling like you are always “giving” and never “receiving”.
- Feeling like you do not belong, or as an “outsider” in the relationship
- Feeling emotionally and physically unsafe
What to do if you think you might be in a toxic relationship:
Some may answer yes to many of the signs of being in a toxic relationship, but feel no hope or chance to get out of that relationship. There may be a fear of loneliness, isolation or even a full blown identity crisis-“who am I without this relationship?”. Parents do not want to break up a family and fear of financial loss is often a concern that comes up. There are so many reasons that people stay in a toxic relationship and many of them make logical sense.
One of the easiest steps to take is to seek therapy from a Qualified Relationship Therapist. The therapist will be an unbiased resource that will remain neutral as you explore your feelings about the relationship and yourself. You will have the freedom to share your feelings and gain a new perspective at the same time.
How therapy helps when considering leaving a toxic relationship:
- Helps you move forward with your life
- Helps you realize what a healthy relationship looks like
- Helps you realize that you do not have the power to cause others to change
- Helps you to feel and accept the pain of the loss and realize it won’t last forever
- Helps you find tools to release the pain
- Helps you become reacquainted with the you that got lost in the relationship
- Helps you realize that life’s difficulties can be overcome, one choice at a time
If you think you may be involved in a toxic relationship and would like help sorting through your feelings, making decisions about what comes next, and finding the strength you forgot that you had then please call Life Skills Resource Group at 407-355-7378 to schedule a free phone consultation. One of our Orlando relationship counselors will walk with you on this journey of healing and help you to become whole again as you gain a new perspective on life and remember what happiness feels like.