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FRIENDS & RELATIONSHIPS

Managing Toxic Relations

What is a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships can occur anytime, anywhere and to anyone. The other person in your relationship or friendship may be making you feel humiliated, attacked or even just unsupported, anything that makes you feel you’re wellbeing, and what you believe in, is being threatened. This is a toxic relationship. This is when another person makes you feel small, helpless, and upset.


There’s a big difference between having a fight with someone, and them manipulating you all the time; if you feel you are in a toxic relationship, it can be hard to say what exactly it is about the other person that is making you feel uneasy or upset. Often, it’s hard to talk about and defend yourself, because it looks like you’re overreacting or ‘making a big deal’.

Toxic relationships impact our sense of self, confidence and independence. You might feel like you are always walking on eggshells as you’re constantly worried about offending them.

Toxic relationships can make you feel like you’re not you anymore, like you don’t have the same confidence that you used to. You may feel like you have to be careful when you are with the other person because you are worried about making the other person angry.

How to know if you’re in a toxic relationship
Every relationship is different, but there are certain signs you can look for. If you feel another person is constantly making you feel uncomfortable and upset, you could be in a toxic situation. If this person makes you do dangerous things or brings out the worst in you, this is another sign of a toxic relationship. Someone could even be ‘gaslighting’ you. In other words, instead of taking responsibility for their behaviour, they blame you, and make you feel crazy.

How to manage and resolve toxicity
Toxic situations can easily appear in our relationships, due to our natural desire to be close to others. It is hard to completely avoid toxic relationships.  However, if you want to steer clear of these types of relationships, the best thing you can do is educate yourself on the signs of toxicity, maintain assertiveness, and implement healthy boundaries.

Often, toxic people gravitate towards people who they believe can be easily manipulated. However, this isn’t always the case so remember that at times it takes two to tango - both people in the relationship can contribute to toxicity. It’s important to maintain open and healthy discussions about your relationship. Calling out concerning behaviours as soon as possible can be daunting but the other person needs to be aware of your boundaries.

Keep in mind that some relationships are unsalvageable. This is a hard pill to swallow, but you might be better off releasing toxic people from your life, because they may never change.

Change your perspective and uncover a way forward for you!

Here are some things that can help you with that.

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Great
reads

How To Be a Person In The World by Heather Havrilesky
A hilarious, frank and witty collection of responses from the “Ask Polly” column in New York magazine’s The Cut. From toxic relationships, to breakups, this book deals with all the modern challenges of being a young adult in the world.

Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood
This book is a must-read for people who find themselves trapped in self-destructive relationships. Norwood describes loving too much as a pattern of thoughts and behaviour which end up being your worst enemy.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
In this warm, supportive, and straightforward guide, Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi offer a way for you to practically and realistically take stock of your relationship and move forward.

Great
Films

Zoe
This sci fi romance follows two colleagues, working together in a science lab. What's their project? Uncover what makes the perfect relationship.

If I Stay
Mia and her family suffer a terrible accident. She falls into a coma and has an out-of-body experience where she must make a life-altering choice of whether to stay, or let go.

Freaky Friday
Freaky Friday tackles a strained relationship between an overworked mother and her daughter. After a strange occurrence in a Chinese restaurant, the two switch bodies and are forced to adapt to the other’s life for one day.

Spotify

This might just help you navigate difficult relationship. See and hear if anything speaks to you.

Podcasts

It’s not Normal, It’s Toxic
This toxic relationship specialist helps listeners identify and recognise red flags, and have the courage to move forward in a life that is free from the control of others

Love and Abuse
Helping you to identify toxic communication, emotional abuse and manipulation in relationships. Tips and advice for your friendships, family, love life and marriage.

Modern Love
Each week, hosts Daniel and Miya explore and recite their favourite stories from the New York Times’ Modern Love column archive.

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