The Differences Between a Healthy Relationship And a Toxic One from The Differences Between a Healthy Relationship And a Toxic One
The Differences Between a Healthy Relationship And a Toxic One
The Differences Between a Healthy Relationship And a Toxic One
Real-life relationships can be tough, and there’s no such thing as a fairytale. Arguing is common, some say healthy. But how do you know when to walk away when it becomes too much to handle or happens too often?
It’s important to educate yourself on the differences between a healthy relationship and a toxic one. You need to be able to identify if your relationship is just going through a rough patch or if it’s time to remove yourself from it for good.
Toxic: Blaming everybody else (or things) for your problems
“You don't take responsibility for the part you play in conflicts that arise in your relationship,” Julienne B. Derichs, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), says. Instead you say "It's not my fault, it's all on you." Not taking personal responsibility for the part you play in your romantic relationship is a sign of dysfunction, she adds.
Healthy: Making healthy contributions
“Look at the ways you contribute to the health or dysfunction of your romantic relationship and decide what changes you can make to help your relationship become healthier and more functional,” Derichs says.
Toxic: Not having any time to care for yourself
“This can, and often does, lead to resentment. Resentment can easily turn into anger and chronic anger makes a relationship dysfunctional,” Derichs says. “Also, caring for yourself allows you to take some time to gain some perspective. Are you staying in this relationship because you have put everything else in your life on the back burner and you are afraid to leave because you have nothing to go back to?” Be kind, express compassion and show empathy, then lead your life and see who shows up for you, she adds.
Healthy: Couples who create healthy boundaries
“If you don't feel safe and secure with your significant other, listen to your gut feeling and create some healthy boundaries with them,” Derichs says. “A healthy boundary might be saying ‘No’ to things you don't want to do or telling them ‘I don't it like when you.’ If your SO begins to respect those boundaries then it is possible to reset the relationship norms so that you can turn a dysfunctional relationship into a functioning one.”
Toxic: Your significant other minimizes your feelings
“Romantic relationships that work to keep you off your center are ones that you should think twice about maintaining,” Derichs says. When your significant other accidentally sabotages the relationship by breaking small promises about calling, texting, or being on time, you’re left feeling that something isn’t quite right, she adds. “When you finally bring it up with your SO, they minimize the missed calls and texts as you ‘overreacting,’ and say you are ‘crazy’ for thinking anything could be wrong with your relationship.”
“True intimacy is not created by being totally honest at all times or never holding back,” Derichs says. “It is brought forth by acceptance of one’s self and others (partner, friend, etc.) as imperfect and finding how you can make those flaws work, together, to form a meaningful connection.”
Toxic: Sharing too much
“In relationships ‘venting’ to your partner about how much they irritate, frustrate or anger you may feel good in the moment, but is incredibly dysfunctional and damaging in the long term,” Derichs says. “Intimacy, comfort, and closeness is often confused with ‘unbridled self-expression’ which is where a person lets the flood gates open and out pours the unedited ways that his/her partner does not measure up.” Sometimes Derichs hears people say “I'm just trying to be open and honest” in defense of their behavior. “Being ‘open and honest’ does not mean spouting off thoughts and feelings without consideration of your partner,” she says. “Hurtful words and feelings cannot be ‘unheard’. They can carry a sting that lasts a lifetime.”
Toxic: Negative energy and emotions
Pay attention to how you feel and your energy levels when you spend time together or invest time in the relationship. “When we spend time with people we tend to adopt some of their energy,” Michele Peppler, Soulful Connections Mentor & Life-Coach, says. “It’s important to notice if you are often feeling drained, depleted, depressed, fearful, anxious, heavy or contracted when you interact with someone.” Life isn’t all sunshine and roses but if this is the norm rather than the exception, chances are you’re in a relationship with an energy vampire, she adds. “They walk away feeling better because you’ve filled them up and now you’re empty.”
Healthy: Both of your needs are met
“Relationships are those where both of you are having your needs met and leave both of you feeling inspired, uplifted and feeling full after the connection,” Peppler says.
“Misery loves company,” Peppler says. “Sometimes we stay in relationships because they make us feel better about the way we are living or decisions that we make that don’t support us, but relationships based on mutual complaining or bonding over destructive behaviors rarely end up serving either of you in a positive way.”
Health relationships consist of two people supporting each other with their goals, dreams, visions, and hopes for the future. “A real friend or partner will hold you accountable to a higher standard for yourself and won’t enable your excuses or ‘poor me’ story,” Peppler says. “Rather they’ll encourage you to follow through and you’ll both support each other.”
Toxic: You are not achieving your full potential
“Unhealthy relationships detract from our potentiality and make us lesser versions of ourselves. When two or more people come together with a shared intent, common cause or aligned vision they are much more powerful and can achieve things faster, better, stronger through collaboration and shared ideas and resources,” Peppler says. “As a team, group or community they thrive.”
“A great relationship is synergistic – that is you are a team and able to create or achieve things together that wouldn’t be possible as individuals,” Peppler says.