Talk Nerdy To Me’s @StaffWriter:
Every day, relationships come and go. Some are short-lived while others last a lifetime. Sometimes relationships can be complicated by other life circumstances such as stress from school or work. Other times, the relationship itself may be complex in nature. While it is normal to have disagreements in a relationship, healthy relationships look and feel very differently than toxic relationships.
In this article, let’s compare and contrast healthy versus toxic relationships. We
We’ll define toxic relationships and explore some signs that you may be in a toxic relationship. Furthermore, we’ll list some ways to tell if your relationship is becoming unhealthy and how to change it.
So, what’s the difference between healthy and toxic relationships? First, let’s look at the different components of both types of relationships:
Components of Healthy Relationships
- Believes in treating each other with respect and kindness (mutual respect)
- Able to ask for help from one another when needed
- Expresses generosity toward one another—doing little things for each other without expecting anything in return
- Can communicate thoughts or opinions about something without fear of judgment or contempt
Components of Toxic Relationships
- Believes others are out to purposefully hurt, harm, or mistreat them
- Feels superior to the other person in the relationship
- Treats each other with disrespect
- Emotional or psychological manipulation
- Physical control or abuse
Healthy vs Toxic Relationships (Romantic Relationships)
You can tell the difference between a healthy and toxic romantic relationship by looking at how both partners show their love and affection towards one another.
For example, both partners should feel comfortable being emotionally, physically intimate. If one partner is withholding emotional or physical intimacy because they don’t think the other deserves them, this could indicate a toxic relationship. The presence of jealousy in either partner is another indicator that there are unhealthy feelings arising in the relationship.
Also, if there is intense bickering between the romantic partners or if any form of abuse occurs, then these are signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship.
Healthy vs Toxic Relationships (Family)
Relationships with family members can be just as complicated as relationships with friends and romantic partners. Healthy family relationships may include unresolved issues from prior generations but usually do not present themselves in dysfunctional ways within the current generation’s interactions with each other.
A toxic family relationship is one in which there are constantly heightened emotions due to bickering, anger, resentment, or passive-aggressive behavior. There may be an absence of communication within the relationship or an absence of affection toward each other.
Most importantly, if you are experiencing physical abuse, emotional manipulation, or sexual abuse from your family members, it is crucial that you recognize these behaviors as unhealthy and get help immediately.
Healthy vs Toxic Relationships (Friendships)
Not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime.
That’s perfectly fine! As long as both parties leave on good terms it’s healthy for friendships to end even if they’ve lasted many years. However, toxic relationships among friends can go on indefinitely because neither party wants to end it.
In a toxic friendship, one friend may be an emotional drain on the other. They may tend to go “deep” rather quickly and they will expect their friend to always be there for them regardless of what is happening with their own life. A toxic friendship does not function as a partnership—there’s only one person who is pouring into the relationship without receiving anything in return.
If you find that you are doing all of the giving in your friendships with no reciprocation from others, then it’s probably time to re-evaluate these relationships and remove yourself from any toxic friendships.
Healthy vs Toxic Relationships (Work)
A healthy work environment utilizes individual differences and employees’ strengths rather than focusing on differences or weaknesses. In a healthy work environment, there’s likely to be mutual respect and appreciation for one another.
A toxic workplace is one in which the employees fear their superiors, lack opportunities to grow within the company, and feel that they are unable to trust their coworkers or supervisors. Communication will be stifled, and fear of failure may prevent employees from taking calculated risks in order to improve the overall productivity of the workplace.
Healthy vs Toxic Relationships (General)
You know your relationship is toxic when you notice drastic changes in yourself such as depression or anxiety, loss of appetite or isolation from others, fatigue or restlessness at night, low self-esteem, trouble concentrating at work or school intense feelings of stress and worry, or an inability to control your emotions.
If you suspect that you may be involved in a toxic relationship, try asking yourself the following questions to help identify if this is the case:
- Do I trust my partner/friends/family members with the deepest aspects of myself?
- Is there any history of abuse or violence within my romantic relationship?
- Does anyone ever feel afraid to express their thoughts and opinions around me because they’re afraid of what I’ll do or say?
- Am I able to step away from the conflict without feeling depleted afterward?
- When it comes down to having a choice between being right and being kind, am I typically more concerned about proving that I’m right?
You deserve to be in healthy relationships with people who respect you and treat you well. If not, then it’s time for an upgrade.
Healthy vs Toxic Relationship: How To Communicate Difficult Feelings
When you recognize a toxic relationship, how do you talk about it?
The first step toward a resolution is expressing how you feel to the people involved. In order for this conversation to be productive, it’s important that you avoid allowing your emotions to escalate into an intense fight that will only cause both sides of the argument to become more entrenched in their opinions.
When communicating difficult feelings with friends/family members/coworkers, start by expressing how you feel in a respectful way.
“I’ve noticed lately that I feel hurt when you don’t come through for me.”
If the person responds defensively, take responsibility for your part in the conflict. If you feel angry, it’s okay to say so in a calm tone without resorting to insults or attacks.