How to tell if you're in a toxic relationship

Posted by Jessica Goh on 24th May 2020

Hey Wonderful being,

How to tell if you're in a toxic relationship. It may not be as obvious at first but as soon as you can start recognising the signs that things are just not right, you may feel it's too late to turn things around and fall into the trap while struggling to find a way out.

Here are 5 red flags you need to look out for whether it's romantic, professional, family, personal or with yourself and what you can do about it.

Top 5 Signs of Toxic Relationship

1. Power struggle: Lack of equality where one person is dominant than the other due to abuse of power where the submissive person keeps giving and the dominant person just takes and expect things to be that way.This creates dysfunctional relationship dynamic where the submissive person eventually breaks down. For instance, in a traditional marriage where the man is the bread winner working long hours at work providing shelter, food, holidays and expenses or perhaps he is rich or of royalty, he provides and the woman doesn't contribute to the relationship then the man feels he has the right to control the woman or disrespects her by sleeping with other women. If the woman contributes to the relationship whether it's cleaning and cooking or working in her career to contributes to the bills and gain independence then there's less likely of a power struggle. The relationship becomes mutual.

Approach: Create vulnerability and openness in conversations how both parties can contribute and support one another to feel appreciated and acknowledged. 

2. Hostility: This is created where a person approaches you with inappropriate mannerisms, behaviours, tonality in voice, body language and choice of words to deliberately make you feel inferior and disempowered. This is quite common in the workplace and family dynamics. Let's say you approach a work colleague to ask a question and they responded back with sarcasm, "You should know that." "Can't you find that answer in your notes?" "Can you ask someone else?" 

Approach: Break the ice with either humour to lighten the situation or confront the person with direct and assertive communication, "Hey, I noticed you're being snappy, are you ok?" This will get them to start thinking about their behaviour and impact it has on you.

3. Narcissism: It's all about them. Their problems, their achievements. Extreme self-admiration where he or she thinks they are above the law and demands to be loved even when they are in the wrong. Narcissists have a tendency to show they are interested in you at first but then find a way to devalue you and make you feel like your the bad egg. They diminish your self-worth and enable you to victimhood. Extremely common in relationships.

Approach: End your relationship with a narcissist or if you're a narcissist, seek professional help. Identify who is the narcissist in your family dynamic and start working on healing trauma around it.

4. Entrapment: At first they appear a positive force which lure you in but you get caught up into their trap where you feel stuck and lost. It appears that there isn't a way out. For example in dysfunctional family dynamics, when a child, lets say that little girl is burdened with family problems,they feel obliged and responsible to take on those problems and find a way to fix it to make their parents happy. In relationships, that little girl is now a woman and she falls in love with a man who's like her parents, those feelings come back and she feels compel to rescue him and falls into his trap for her to look after him. Deep down that woman feels controlled and trapped into these false feelings and ideas to rescue people due to her perspective being conditioned by her past.

Approach: Seek professional help to peel away layers of childhood conditioning so you can feel free to honour and respect what is right for you.

5. Feeling unsafe: The vibe you sense when something's not right. Being summoned to do something that's not appropriate or dishonouring of your needs. While at the same time you feel uncomfortable. You immediately feel withdrawn, shocked and somewhat frozen. This could be being sexual harassment in the workplace where someone make a sexual comment or invading your personal space. In a relationship, you feel being forced to having sex or tolerating abusive behaviour. In friendships, you feel forced to do favours like "Hey, can you shout me dinner, I forgot to bring my wallet." They abuse your generousity and sincerity to get their needs met.

Approach: Communicate your needs and establish healthy boundaries with assertion and absolute honesty. People don't respond to passive behaviour. The react to assertion and overreact to aggression. If those people don't respect your needs, it's time to take matters into your hands with HR if it's the workplace or say goodbye to narcissist friends. Trust me, you'll thank yourself for it.

Take this golden opportunity to reconnect with yourself. There's more to life than the external world and collective chaos. Life starts with you. Help is here. Ask and you shall receive. Email or if you're in Australia, call me on 0424 181 494 to book in a free 30 minute discovery session to find out if my services are right for you.

With Love & Support,

Jessica Goh | Trauma Coach & Healer In Relationship Abuse

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