Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

How To Protect Yourself From Toxicity In Relationships

The exact list and order you should follow to defend yourself from toxicity in relationships. The procedure is the same in romantic, business, friendship, and unhealthy family relationships.

A woman wants to rid herself of toxicity in a relationship
  1. Recognize toxicity carefully
  2. Don’t be afraid to see what’s going on there
  3. Don’t be afraid of your partner’s reaction
  4. Be prepared to confront a narcissistic person
  5. Educate yourself about toxicity
  6. Think about your goal
  7. Be prepared to confront your partner
  8. Find a support network
  9. Specify your values and priorities
  10. Practice assertive communication
  11. Set boundaries
  12. Limit exposure to toxicity
  13. You need self-care
  14. Seek Professional Help if Needed

Recognize toxicity.

This is an important first step because people in toxic relationships are often unable to recognize what is happening to them.
This happens for two reasons:

  1. Either they have never experienced such toxicity and cannot recognize it when it happens.
  2. Or they have experienced it so many times in their lives that it is normal to them, and they may even have a habit of it.

Two sources of toxic dynamics in relationships

There are four ways to recognize toxicity:

  1. Your sanity. Compare your partner’s behavior with the behaviors of partners in relationships where you are familiar with close relationships (please don’t compare it to something you assume).
  2. Assess how you really feel about that relationship.
  3. Trust your intuition.
  4. Contact a professional, therapist, or counselor to help you determine if a behavior is acceptable.
A beautiful woman

In my career, I have had countless cases where people were convinced that everything was good in their relationships but that somehow they were wrong and that they were to blame for their misfortune.

And I had countless cases where people were convinced that someone was harassing them, when in fact they were creating a difficult atmosphere.

  • A person who is used to aggression can have a subconscious need for aggression and then provoke it in a partner.

How To Recognize Hidden Toxicity in Relationships?

Don’t be afraid

People are afraid to approach this topic. They are afraid of changes, their partner’s reaction, and what they will discover. Because if they discover that their partner is now abusing them, who knows what Pandora’s box of previous events will open.

Because of this, people turn their heads and remain in very bad relationships.

However, my recommendation is that you don’t be afraid to look into this, but first you must read one important warning:

  • After you see what happens to you, after that, more back to us, unfortunately. You won’t be able to un-see it anymore.
  • It’s like having a red and a blue pill. You have to decide whether you want to enter the world of consciousness, from which there is no return.
Attractive man sitting

If you’re really afraid to go this route, don’t do it.

For some people (I have had such a case several times in my professional career), it is much more difficult and stressful to face this kind of relationship than to leave everything the same, even though it is uncomfortable for them. In that case, you can decide to leave all these changes for later, when you are bolder and braver.

Also, don’t be afraid of your partner’s reaction to what you see.

It is interesting that people are often just afraid of words, shouting, blackmail, and threats.
We must not be afraid of words. It’s just words. Sound.

Your fear may again come from the fact that you have never witnessed this type of aggression (everything unknown to us is scary), but also from the fact that you have witnessed it too many times, so you have the same emotional response as when you were children (when dad shouted, you were afraid).

  • If you think your partner’s reaction may be more violent than verbal, protect yourself.
  • To adequately protect yourself, make an evacuation plan in advance.

Be prepared to confront a narcissistic person

A man wants to rid herself of toxicity in a relationship

Note that toxic relationships are usually associated with narcissistic personalities.

Of course, toxic relationships can also come from other sources, as I said (one of them can be you, unfortunately), but in most cases, they are related to narcissistic people or narcissistic personality disorder.
You can educate yourself about them, but in short:

  • Such personalities are unchangeable
  • They are always right because they get the most benefit from it.
  • Their narcissism does not allow them to see their guilt and mistakes.
  • That’s why they never make mistakes, and therefore other people should change, not them.
  • That is why they are unchangeable
  • When someone brings them to the truth—that they were wrong—narcissistic rage sets in. Someone saw that they weren’t perfect.
  • Because of this, they punish that person (by rejecting them, giving them the silent treatment, canceling something, etc.)
  • If you’re going to do something like this, you have to be prepared for all of this.
    Because of this, once you have faced this kind of person, there is usually no going back to the old relationship. The only way to get back into the old relationship is to be punished very badly.
    But I warn you—they will remember what you did. You once saw them for who they are.

Can unhealthy relationships become healthy?

Educate yourself about toxicity

Definition of a toxic or unhealthy relationship

Am I in a Toxic Relationship?

11 Hidden and Subtle Toxic Behaviors in Relationships

Also, think about your goal.

If your goal is to change your partner’s behavior towards you.

Keep in mind that it is possible:

  • To some degree
  • If it is a narcissistic personality, it is not possible at all, but they know how to adapt. That is, to change their behavior by being more in another role from Karpman’s triangle. Let’s say if they were more aggressive up until now (verbally, emotionally, or psychologically), they could suddenly become victims (the person can become sick).
  • It takes a long time for the partner to change at least to some extent
  • You will have to be persistent in your intention throughout that period and you will not be allowed to give in.
Man and woman

If your goal is to break up

Then go for it. Explaining won’t do much if you intend to break up. You will not finally convince the person to return you by some magic. Don’t hold your breath for that person or yourself. Be cultured, explain how much you want in a nutshell, what it’s all about, and move on to your new life.

If your goal is just to punish your partner or make them feel guilty

That’s not a good idea. I understand you’re angry and hurt, but engaging in this game doesn’t make sense for five reasons:

  • Your partner is more skilled at this game of punishment and guilt. They’ve probably done it before, so the situation will quickly end up with you feeling punished and guilty.
  • You’re wasting time on something that won’t yield any results. Even if your partner admits their guilt, what do you do next? You can easily skip this step.
  • You won’t achieve satisfaction. Since they don’t have to tell you they’re sorry, and even if they do, the emotional feeling won’t be satisfying.
  • You’ll still be angry or hurt, not satisfied. Significant changes won’t occur through this because significant changes take time.
  • You’ll spend energy on this instead of directing it towards solving your real problem.

Be prepared to confront your partner

Although we do a lot of preparation here, believe me, as in any business, 805 things are in the preparation itself to deal with.

Woman in toxic relationship

Dealing with such a partner will be hard and will require enormous energy from you. Also enormous perseverance, because once you enter into that confrontation, it should be with a goal, and you should not give up until you reach your goal.
If you give up halfway, you will only go back to the old pattern, and now your partner will remember how you treated him and what you accused him of.

Think of all the potential scenarios.

If my partner says this, I will____; If my partner does that, I will___; etc. When confronting, stick to what you think and don’t let your partner lead you astray with their demagoguery.

Find a support network

Think in advance about who will be your support (not against your partner, but to protect and understand you) and who you can go to if things get ugly.

  • Keep in mind that asking friends and family for advice is usually not such a good idea.
An elderly couple

Friends and family are biased and usually favor one side. They also give advice based on their own experiences. I’ve had numerous clients whom family members persuaded to break up with someone just because one of them didn’t like them.

Also, remember that when you’re emotional, you’ll naturally seek like-minded people and support for yourself.

Therefore, you’ll likely interpret things in a certain way (shaping them so that the person in front of you becomes favorable to you). Thus, the friends could not have a complete picture and would give you wrong advice that may only temporarily be in your favor.

The decision of whether your relationship is toxic and whether to stay in it must be yours.

But support networks are necessary if you’re in an unhealthy relationship. Just knowing that we have somewhere to go can do a lot to comfort us and make us safer and stronger.

Couple in toxic relationship

Specify your values and priorities

It would help if you determined your goals, values, priorities, and non-negotiables. All your relationships should align with these determinants, even when others claim otherwise.

These determinants are your compass for the relationships you want in life. They are helpful when navigating emotional relationships and when we’re willing to compromise to avoid arguments or retain something.

A beautiful woman

Also, these determinants prevent the possibility of manipulation. If your value is that the other person must not lie to you, that is your deal-breaker. In that case, if you meet someone who lies, you won’t fall into the trap of leniency but will stick to your determinant.

Take some time to determine your values ​​and the things you won’t cross and stick to them stubbornly. That way, you will always filter people better.

Practice assertive communication

Assertive communication involves not attacking the person, not insulting them, not accusing them, not pressuring them, not blackmailing them, etc., and expecting the same for yourself and insisting on it.

If we define assertiveness, we’ll say that it’s communicating your needs without deviating from them and showing respect for your partner.

How to communicate assertively?

Couple in bad relationship breaking up

1. The conversation starts with the statement: I respect you (love you, value you, you’re important to me, etc.), but I want this/expect this/prohibit this/insist on this.

Phrases like prohibit or insist should be reserved only for things essential to you.

It makes no sense to insist on everything in your life, equally. Some are important, and some are desired. If you insist on everything, imagine how your partner feels and what role you’re putting them in. He or she will have the impression that his or her life is subordinated only to fulfilling your demands.

Also, it is impossible that everything is equally important to you. It might not be a bad idea to make a list of the importance of different things.

2. After that comes the part where you ask your partner for something or forbid something from happening in the future.

A clear expression of desires and expectations is necessary. The clearer you are and the less you attack your partner, the better the conversation will be.

What is the best way to gain self-confidence?

Woman in toxic relationship

Set boundaries

Before you set boundaries, take time to figure out your boundaries.

Consider each aspect of your relationship separately. About how you communicate, household chores, socializing with friends, etc.

Think about what you want from the relationship. Do you just want peace? Do you want a better financial situation? Better conversations? Write down on paper where the biggest problems arise.

Then, discuss each of these aspects with your partner until you find a mode that suits you.

You may need to compromise for some things, but for those that are important to you, don’t compromise; insist on them. Let’s face it, there’s no point in insisting on everything. You have to choose a few things (to begin with) that you will insist on.

Man thinking how to protect him selves from    toxicity in relationship

Also, be wise and follow good solutions to improve your relationship.

Don’t be stubborn; think about everything you expect—is it working in your favor? Does it work in favor of maintaining your relationship?

How To Set Boundaries In a Relationship – 12 Steps

Limit exposure to toxicity

If you expose yourself to a source of toxicity, you weaken yourself. If you weaken yourself, you will find it harder to change something in the future. Toxic people draw us into their dynamics.

There are toxic people in our surroundings. They’re toxic for a variety of reasons. Everyone can choose whether to continue being toxic. Potentially, people with mental disorders cannot choose how they’ll behave, and even psychologists aren’t sure about that. There’s a strong stream in psychology that claims everyone chooses, but I’m a proponent of the idea that some people still can’t choose.

However, if a person doesn’t have a mental or psychological disorder and they’re sensible, it means they can choose how to behave. If they choose toxicity, it’s their choice. Also, they can always change their behavior.

Sad woman in toxic relationship

The point of this is that there is no excuse for someone being toxic towards you. It is simply his choice.

Now that we know this, we can say that we also choose whether to expose ourselves to such people. If someone finds themselves in the company of bullies, people who harass them, aggressive people, or people who insult them, they’re there by their own choice as well. Although what I have said is scandalous to some of you (read more about it here), because you may be the victim of some tyrant, it also puts great power in your hands. If it’s a matter of choice, you can always choose to leave.

If you’re prone to exposing yourself to toxicity, realize it and start distancing yourself from sources of toxicity.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking that your presence will change that person. As I said a little while ago, everyone chooses who they’ll be and what they’ll do, so they can choose that without you. Also, please don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can help them.

What you can do is help yourself and show the person, by your example, that they can make a better choice.

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Toxic Relationships

You need self-care

Every self-care and self-improvement effort is a small act of self-love.

Couple in toxic relationship

If you’re in a relationship with a partner who behaves toxically towards you, you may easily lose sight of who you are and your worth. You can stop seeing yourself as a valuable being and someone who deserves love.

The only way to combat this is by taking care of yourself through psychotherapy, physical self-care (sleep, nutrition, exercise), and providing small pleasures for yourself.

Every small act of self-love and self-care sends you a message: You matter.

For example, if you take care of yourself, educate yourself, and work hard for yourself, it must be because you are valuable to yourself. Because you wouldn’t nurture someone and work hard around someone who is worthless. That’s the message you’re sending yourself with those little acts of self-love.

In any case, you are worth enough to be good to your mind and body. And if you matter, then there’s no sense in subjecting yourself to toxicity and abuse from another person.

Self-care can be crucial for gaining a better opinion of yourself, which leads to an attempt to defend yourself.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

Man thinking Consciously and unconsciously

Of course, talk to a psychotherapist or counselor to help you better understand the situation and decide if toxicity is present in your relationship or if there is a misunderstanding.

Also, a good counselor can give you guidance and ideas on how to work on yourself and your self-confidence, how to think, become more assertive, defend yourself, and so on. When someone tries to convince you that things are different, professionals can also assist you in avoiding manipulation by the other party and maintaining a clear mind.

Love you. Dee.

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