Signs of a Toxic Relationship

SIGNS OF A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP
By Deborah Tensley-Jones

Have you ever been so close in a situation that you didn’t recognize the danger signs or red flags that were present? This is often the case when in a toxic relationship. Something that is toxic causes damage to you, drains you, or depletes you. A toxic relationship similar, it is a destructive relationship that can definitely cause you emotional and psychological harm.

Being able to see a situation for what it is and accept that it isn’t going to change can be empowering. It gives you the ability to look at things through an objective lens and make a decision that is in your best interest. To help you get there, I have identified the biggest signs that you’re in an emotionally toxic relationship.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

• Lack of Communication or Poor Communication. If your partner no longer communicates with you in a calm respectful manner, but is critical, says demeaning things or even calls you bad names.

• Hypersensitive and Defensive. If your partner is always on guard, hypersensitive to everything you say – taking it negatively and is defensive all the time.

• Lack of Encouragement for your passions. If your partner doesn’t take interest in or supports your interests and actually criticizes and makes fun of things that are important to you.

• Lack of Acceptance for your flaws. If your partner does not have tolerance and forgiveness of your imperfections. After all, no one is perfect and you will make mistakes. If your partner does not have tolerance for your human-ness and blames you for everything that goes wrong, that is a BIG red flag.

• Lack of Acknowledgement of your Friends/Family. No one person is an island, and you had friends and family before you met your partner. A toxic partner will want to isolate you from your friends and family. This is a method of control and manipulation – RUN!

• Lack of commitment. If your partner wants 100% commitment from you, but is unwilling to reciprocate – that’s a problem. The relationship is unbalanced and headed for trouble.

• Passive Aggressive Behaviors. Healthy relationships are built on mutual trust, open communication and each partner accepting the others’ true, authentic self. If your partner is not comfortable with you, and uses passive aggressive behavior instead of being direct, this is a path to unhealthy communication and behavior.

To create a safer, more secure relationship you need to know what a healthy relationship looks like. Healthy boundaries are identified by being able to;
• Say no without guilt
• Ask for what you want or need
• Take care of yourself
• Do things out of interest / desire not obligation
• Behave according to your own believes and values
• Be supported to pursue your goals
• Feel Energized and alive
Setting boundaries is difficult, but possible.

For more information regarding identifying and setting boundaries dealing with a toxic relationship watch for the upcoming workshop

Setting Boundaries in Toxic Relationships: Dealing with Hidden Abuse” offered by Gateway of Hope.
SAVE THE DATE: July 15th, 2017; 9:30 am – Noon; $40 registration fee.

Another resource for you, website on defining healthy boundaries.  Click here

 

How To Do Self-Care During Recovery

This blog post, written by our Program Director and Life Coach, recently appeared at www.angeladmeyer.com.

When one of our loved ones is working through an addictive behavior, the focus seems to be on him and his problem. After all, he’s the one who made these destructive choices, so he’s the one who needs to deal with the consequences.

However, recovery is a joint process – a journey for everyone in the family.

rjt - 2013 picWe can’t help our loved one if we aren’t in a healthy place ourselves. As the airlines know, Momma can’t help the children unless she first grabs the oxygen mask for herself.

So how do we find ways for self-care while our loved one is going through recovery?

We first have to admit we are holistic people. Our physical selves affect our mental capabilities and our spiritual health affects our emotions.

So let’s look at each of these aspects:

Physical

Taking care of our physical selves will help us have the energy to deal with this difficult situation.

It’s important to make nutritious meals, to stay away from the sugars that cause brain fog and keep us from thinking clearly.

Exercise will release healthy endorphins and give us the endurance we need for this long recovery journey.

Sometimes taking care of ourselves physically also means doing some extra good things for our bodies: massage, yoga, a mani/pedi or a new haircut.

Making sure we’re in bed at a decent time with a solid eight hours of sleep will help us deal with whatever we face the next day.

If we feel better physically, then we can deal with the mental battle we face.

Mental 

Keeping our brains healthy will enable us to make difficult decisions and set careful boundaries.

Nutrition does play a factor here. Including healthy herbs such as rosemary and turmeric can help keep our brains in working order.

Another way to increase self-care on the mental front is to have plenty of resources available. Research about his addiction helps us learn how to cope. Reading brochures, pamphlets or books about addictive behaviors increases our knowledge so we can make wise choices.

And taking the time to just read a good book will also refresh the brain. Angela’s Meyer’s 1st book, “Where Hope Starts” and the new one, “Where Healing Starts” are great examples of good books that also teach important points about addiction and recovery. Check out her books at: www.angeladmeyer.com.

Remember this maxim: whatever is good for the heart is also good for the brain.

Emotional

When we’re dealing with recovery, we experience a bucket full of emotions. Shame, regret, false-guilt, sadness, rejection, anger…to name just a few.

It’s important to acknowledge these emotions and realize it’s okay to be sad or mad. God made us emotional creatures, so when we feel these things – that means we’re being authentic.

But how can we deal with them? We need to honestly grieve what has happened to us and to our family. It may help to journal through the emotions or share with a good friend how you feel.

And counseling can also help. At GateWay of Hope, we offer counseling, coaching and support groups to help women deal with the difficult emotions of recovery.

As we take care of ourselves emotionally, we begin to heal and find that sacred place inside that needs God’s touch.

Spiritual

Many women who have journeyed through recovery with an addicted spouse recognize their true Husband and Maker is God (Isaiah 54:5). He is the one who will never reject them, never fail them and never abandon his covenant with them.

It’s possible to grow spiritually even while going through the consequences of a husband’s betrayal. And with God’s help, we can become stronger each day and eventually share what we have learned with others.

How do we make certain that self-care includes the spiritual aspect?

Stay deeply dependent on God. Trust him with all your heart. Tell him exactly how you feel, because he feels your emotions anyway.

Share prayer requests with your most trusted friends – those who will keep your requests confidential yet will pray for daily encouragement.

Spend extra time with God’s word and journal about what God tells you. The Psalms are a wonderful place to camp.

Be willing – in time – to consider forgiveness. This is a process and only God can teach us how to forgive those deep wounds. But if we’re at least willing to learn about forgiveness and to step forward in that direction, God will teach us how to release the pain.

As you’re going through this scary and difficult journey, take care of yourself. God still has a good plan for your life and you want to be healthy when he reveals it.

©2016 RJ Thesman