As humans, we are prone to develop as many connections as we can throughout our lives but with this tendency, we also have difficulty stepping back and deciding if all of these relationships are worth our time.
Relationships and friendships are not always built to last. People grow and change and if the other person isn’t going at an equal rate, they are bound to get left behind.
Though it seems like a hard pill to swallow, it’s actually better to be able to recognize this rather than holding onto a dead-end. Unhealthy relationships, whether a romantic partner, friend or family member, can cause physical and mental unhealthiness.
“Toxic relationships are more widespread…[they] create a state of internal negativity that could come in the form of negative inner self-talk, self-doubt or judgments. They are relationships where there’s no inner calmness, happiness, joy or clarity of thinking,” explains Ann Clark, San Diego Human Service Expert.
Along with low self esteem and depression, unhealthy relationships also raise the stress levels in a person's body. This leads to high blood pressure, sleeping issues, weight fluctuation, headaches and fatigue or lack of motivation.
However, just because a person feels these effects that a relationship is having on them, it doesn’t mean they are eager or confident enough to cut it off and move on.
What’s difficult for many people is they feel trapped in these relationships because they either invested a lot of time into it, they believe things will get better or they simply don’t want to lose that person.
It’s important to remember that a bad relationship with somebody doesn’t completely equate that either are a bad person. Sometimes two people just don’t blend well together and relationships turn sour.
On another note, there are some people who are too deep in denial or blinded by their love and admiration for the other person and they cannot tell if a relationship has gone toxic.
Luckily, there are a few easy-to-spot red flags. Dr. Steve Albrecht talks on common feelings and signs of being involved in an unhealthy dynamic.
“Hallmarks of a toxic relationship are feeling bad after being around the other person and not always knowing why; feeling a sense of dread when seeing the person’s number appear on caller ID; or feeling uneasy after spending time together because they leave you feeling fearful, angry or frustrated,” he explains.
Just as there are ways to tell if a relationship with someone is unhealthy, there are ways to tell if a relationship with someone is beneficial and worth investing time and energy into.
These types of relationships can be summarized by the three C’s: communication, commitment and compromise. Whether romantic or platonic , these three key words can be used universally to describe a secure, happy and healthy relationship.
A romantic relationship or friendship with another person should make you feel fulfilled. You shouldn’t be fueled by jealousy, insecurity, fear or guilt. It’s about understanding, supporting and caring for another person without feeling strain. It should fill you up rather than leave you empty and drained.
A healthy relationship is not only enjoying who another person is but enjoying the person you are when with them.
If you catch yourself in a mess of toxicity with another person, it’s okay to leave the relationship behind to take care of yourself and your mental health. Not everything is meant to last forever.
Developing healthy relationships and learning to selflessly love another person can help manage stress levels, cure sleeping issues, improve heart health, raise self esteem and overall lead you to a happier life.
The bottom line is to not be afraid to confront negative feelings you have about someone. Communicate what you can and if nothing changes, let the relationship go to rest.
At the end of the day, everyone just wants to be happy and life is too short to be holding onto something or someone that is stopping you from reaching that.