By definition, a toxic relationship is one where the toxic partner is emotionally abusive and possibly physically abusive too. The toxic partner is self-centred and controlling. Toxic relationships can happen to men and women.
In the beginning, you feel like you are the centre of their world because the first stage is the love-bombing stage. They will tell you things like ‘you are my soul mate’ ‘I love everything about you’ ‘ you are perfect for me’ ‘you are the only person I want to be with’. This can be part of a normal healthy relationship, but if you are with a narcissist, they are doing it to control you. It is the nectar they use to draw you in. We all need praise and people who have been starved of praise, attention and affection will fall easily for this stage because they crave it more. You may find that they buy you lavish gifts, maybe a dozen bouquets of flowers instead of one, or a fancy dinner in a posh restaurant instead of a meal down the road. This is all part of the plan to draw you in and become hooked. You really do feel like this is the person who has been missing in your life, the ONE you have been looking for… but all along this was just part of their plan and that is a hard pill to swallow when you look back.
Photo by Mike Lloyd
Don’t just look at the words people use, look at their actions too. It really is true that actions speak louder than words, but they can be overlooked. Are they texting you constantly, are they demanding your undivided attention? It may feel a little suffocating or overwhelming. That is a ‘red flag’ that often gets ignored. Listen to what your gut is telling you. If alarm bells are ringing, pay attention. True love isn’t about spending every moment together. It’s about respecting each other’s boundaries and interests
Once you become hooked, they start becoming manipulative. They may be quite subtle in their approach to begin with and wear you down over time. They may try and isolate you from friends and family to that you are less likely to see the true picture of what is going on. They become spiteful and sarcastic and put you down in front of others. Nothing in the relationship is ever their fault, it will always be yours. If they do apologise, it won’t be genuine, it will be to draw you in again. They may say ‘I am sorry that you feel this way’ but rarely will they apologise for their own actions, and if they do, they won’t change their poor behaviour.
The toxic partner sets about planting seeds of self-doubt in you, pushing your buttons until you are angry, and you don’t recognise yourself and who you’ve become. Then they tell you that it is you that is emotionally unstable, and you need help. You may agree, because you don’t recognise yourself and who you have become. It is all designed to make you feel worthless, unlovable and have masses of self-doubt. You stay way longer than you should in this relationship because you falsely believe that this is all your fault, and if you can just ‘do more’, ‘be more’ the relationship will work. You may come to realise that the only person working in this relationship is you. You feel broken and lost, maybe they have controlled your finances too. You look up and don’t recognise yourself and who you have become. It is a cycle of manipulation and is often called ‘gaslighting’
Your partner stops listening to you, is completely dismissive of your needs, blanks you and is unresponsive. This often occurs when you are most in need of some emotional support. They are simply not there. They treat you as though your needs don’t matter.
Maybe now is the time to realise that it is not your job to save them. It is time to do what is right for you. Maybe that means leaving the relationship, but only you will know when that time is right.
The more time you spend away from toxic people the more time you have for yourself and for choosing to be with more positive people. It is important to have no contact as they often try to pull you back into the relationship claiming that things will change, but they hardly ever do.
Rachel Farnsworth has been in a pattern of toxic relationships herself and now helps others to
recover and thrive after them so that they are far less likely to show up in your life again by working with your subconscious mind. There are often emotional wounds from childhood that need healing so that you can feel whole and complete as you are. That is when healthier relationships become much more attractive to us. Rachel left her last toxic relationship in March 2019 and is now in a real loving relationship for the first time in her life and it only took a few months to feel unbroken and healed completely.