A toxic relationship is a relationship characterised by harmful, negative, and unhealthy dynamics between individuals. In such relationships, one or both parties may engage in behaviours that are emotionally, mentally or even physically damaging to the other person. This, counsellor David Anderson said, can include manipulation, control, disrespect, dishonesty, criticism, isolation, and more.
Could you be in a toxic relationship? Have you identified that you are, but don't know how to get out?
"Toxic relationships often drain emotional energy, lead to feelings of unhappiness, and hinder personal growth," Anderson said. "It's important to recognise the signs of a toxic relationship and take steps to address or exit such situations for your own well-being."
He lists these steps to help you heal from a toxic relationship:
Acknowledge your feelings
Recognise and accept your emotions about the relationship.
Minimise contact with the toxic person to give yourself space to heal.
Talk to friends, family, or a therapist who can provide emotional support.
Prioritise your physical and emotional well-being through exercise, healthy eating, and relaxation techniques.
Consider what you've learned from the experience and how you can grow from it.
Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself from future toxicity.
Release any resentment or anger and work towards forgiveness for your own peace of mind.
Engage in activities
Reconnect with hobbies and interests that bring you joy.
Focus on growth
Set new goals and aspirations for yourself to move forward positively.
Give it time
Healing takes time; be patient with yourself as you work through your feelings.
"Remember, seeking professional help is important if you're struggling to cope with the aftermath of a toxic relationship," Anderson cautioned.