Toxic Relationships and Friendships…Recognising the Signs.

However you spent Mothering Sunday this March, we hope you were mindful and kind with your communication on social media, if you posted at all. More often than not, these awareness days can be triggering for many of us who do not have ‘conventional’ relationships, if any at all, with families. I am lucky personally and blessed to have a loving and respectful relationship with mine. However, I have been in toxic relationships with partners and also friends in the past. Some people might well have toxic relationships with their parents, or no relationship at all or may have sadly lost their families. When we refer to ‘toxic’ relationships, it does not necessarily have to mean in a partnership. It might refer to in the workplace, friendships, families,

Firstly, you must recognise the signs of a toxic relationship/friendship.

Some signs of these could be (but are not limited to), the following:

  • Feeling drained after interacting or spending time with an individual
  • Questioning if you are being too sensitive or overreacting to a situation
  • You think your memory of events is incorrect
  • You often feel guilty and that everything is your fault
  • You walk on eggshells around the individual, wondering that confrontation will set them off
  • You doubt your ability to perform basic tasks
  • They present as jealous of your other relationships
  • Consistent patterns of disrespect and dishonesty such as humiliation, name-calling and more
  • Communication might be inconsistent or over the top and overbearing
  • Abusive, whether that be financially, physically, emotionally or mentally
  • You lack confidence when you are around them.

If any of these sound familiar and repeatedly occurring in your relationship, you might well be in or experiencing a toxic relationship. You are not alone. It’s important to focus on our wellbeing and health. It is no secret that people who bring us down do not contribute positively to our growth and personal development as human beings. How can we expect to grow into confident and happy human beings if we are constantly being dragged down, neglected and hurt? Pain does not always have to be physical as we all know, mental pain can be equally as damaging to our minds and bodies. Much like a plant, if we do not get the right sunlight, nutrients, water and care from our surroundings, we will inevitably wilt and eventually die. Sounds morbid, right? However, it is true.

What should a ‘positive’ and healthy relationship or friendship provide?

  • Mutual respect and understanding
  • Love and care
  • Kindness
  • No imbalance of power
  • Respect each other’s independence and decision making
  • Fear plays no part in the relationship
  • Honesty and open communication
  • Effort and compromise
  • Boundaries
  • Trust
  • Support.

The above should be present in any relationship or close friendship, right? If these concepts sound alien to you, you need to reflect on the people in your life and how they treat you. Of course, ending or leaving an unhealthy and/or toxic relationship/friendship is never easy but it can be done. We are incredibly powerful humans and are capable of pretty much anything.

If you believe you may be in a toxic relationship and want to speak to someone, I cannot recommend Jessica Valentine’s services highly enough. You could also contact the free service of the Samaritans. Talk to us on the Phone | Samaritans Click this link to do so.

close up photo of dying sunflower
Photo by Sigrid Abalos on

How do you manage your mental health?