We’ve all heard the saying that “love is blind,” but it probably wasn’t until our late twenties that we finally started to understand what this phrase actually meant. As more and more people cross our paths in life, we start to realize that people are very diverse and unique. Sometimes, when two people meet, they become great friends. Other times, there is a clash between personalities, character, morals or values. It can be said that the phrase “love is blind” could be applicable to romantic partners, friends and even family members. As we grow as people, we may find ourselves clinging on or even protecting people that we should actually be letting go of or establishing boundaries with. Good relationships should make you feel secure, content, respected, and free. Toxic relationships on the other hand will make you feel drained and upset. This year, keep an eye out for the following signs pertaining to toxic relationships, and consider whether you should keep certain people in your life or not. It should be noted that most of these signs pertain to romantic relationships, but they could also apply to family members or friends.
1) You feel as if you are “walking on eggshells” around this person. This could pertain to feeling physically threatened or feeling scared to share your opinions out of fear of someone’s emotional reactions to what you have to say. If you find yourself hesitating to speak up, or feel like you have to be very cautious around someone, consider it a red flag for a negative and unrewarding relationship.
2) You don’t feel healthy, and there is no exact medical explanation for your ailments. This could be inexplicable aches and pains, respiratory issues, chest pains, etc. These physical or biological symptoms that doctors are having trouble explaining could be a sign that something is stressing you out – and it could be one of your relationships. It could be your partner, your sibling, your parent, your coworker, etc. Our bodies are very good at detecting things. For example, when something gets stuck in our eyes, we start tearing. When we are stressed, our hair starts to fall out. When we eat something toxic, our body tries to vomit it out. As such, our body can most certainly react to stressful people in our environment as well. Consider what is on the back of your mind, and tackle it.
3) You are always arguing with the person. Small arguments are considered healthy for any relationship, but constant blow-ups are not good for anyone. If you are struggling to meet common ground with someone and always fighting, you should consider making some changes. As you get to know someone better (and for longer) there should be a shift towards understanding him or her and communication should improve, rather than get worse, over time.
4) There’s always drama. Would there be less drama in your life if a certain someone wasn’t a part of it? Some drama can keep life interesting and bring people closer together; but incessant turmoil can become a major source of stress and displeasure. If someone has tried to physically assault you, or is hurling hateful and degrading comments at you, you are better off cutting this person out of your life. It should be noted that physical assaults are easy to detect, but mental abuse is harder to spot. Be mindful of people who try to manipulate your mind, lower your self esteem, and generally make you feel bad about yourself.
5) You find yourself being isolated from important people in your life. Is someone trying to make you feel like your close friends and family members don’t have your best interests at heart (while you know without a doubt that they actually do)? This isolation is potentially a sign that this individual may attempt to control you and doesn’t want anyone to interfere when they do.
6) The relationship is starting to feel like a competition, where you two are going back and forth trying to hurt each other. Once this cycle starts, be sure to put a stop to it or end the relationship. The past shouldn’t be continuously brought up to hurt someone in the present. Mistakes should be used as a tool for growth, change and progress in a relationship.
7) Walls are being put up when important topics should be discussed. Communication is key for any successful relationship. If someone is putting up barriers, throwing tantrums or running away when important things need to be discussed, something is wrong. These types of reactions are toxic and immature.
8) You feel like this person is bringing you down rather than lifting you up. Pay attention to your gut feelings. If you feel like someone is getting in the way of your goals, dreams, ideas or other relationships, consider making some changes or cutting them out of your life. Otherwise, you will begin to resent him or her for the opportunities that could of been had.
9) You feel like you are always giving, while the other person is constantly taking. Are you always bailing this individual out of problems that they themselves have created? Are you always going out of your way for this person, while they never do so for you? Does the relationship feel imbalanced with hard evidence to support your feelings? If yes, it’s time for an important discussion.
10) You feel like you can never do anything right. If you are always “wrong” in someone’s eyes, no matter what you do, the relationship is definitely wrong. Some people cannot accept their shortcomings and will project their issues onto you. You have three options with these types of individuals: either you can understand and accept that this is how the relationship will be, or you can try to convince the other person that they need to change and are making you feel this way, or you can end the relationship.
This year, be mindful of those you surround yourself with. Life is short, and shouldn’t be wasted on people who don’t add to your life in a positive way. You can’t always choose who enters your life, but you can choose how often you interact with them.