What Does Toxic Relationship Mean?

Milos Dimic/E+ via Getty Images

What Does Toxic Relationship Mean?

Know the signs
What Does Toxic Relationship Mean?

Milos Dimic/E+ via Getty Images

The love and support of friends and family is vital to a happy and fulfilling life, as being with our loved ones can boost happiness hormones and help us deal with everyday stressors. However, no matter how much someone matters to you, their presence and effect in your life can actually be toxic, meaning it does more harm than good.

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“A toxic person robs you of your self-esteem and dignity and poisons the essence of who you are,” writes Dr. Lillian Glass, a communication and behavioral psychology expert, in her book “Toxic People: 10 Ways of Dealing with People Who Make Your Life Miserable.” “He or she wears down your resistance and thus can make you mentally or physically ill.”

Avoiding the mental and even physical symptoms of stress that come with being in any sort of relationship with such a person can be extremely difficult. Toxic habits that might be hurting your relationships include holding grudges, refusing to apologize, lying, invalidation, emotional blackmail, gaslighting and violating boundaries.

Toxic people can express themselves in different ways, and thus toxicity can present itself differently in different relationships. However, there is generally an attitude of negativity and often jealousy in their interactions with others.

“Toxic people are not life-supporting. … They are not happy to see you succeed,” writes Dr. Glass. “Their insecurities and feelings of inadequacy often cause them to sabotage your efforts to lead a happy and productive life.”

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To lead your best life, it’s important to cultivate the right relationships and to end or distance yourself from relationships with a toxic person.