how-do-i-know-im-in-a-toxic-relationship

Your Relationships Should Be A Safe Haven, Not A Battlefield

I came across this quote from my mom, and I believe I need it now more than ever. Maybe you need it, too:

 

“Your relationships should be a safe haven, not a battlefield.”

 

It has taken me five years of major unlearning and undoing of dysfunctional patterns—ones that tolerated treatment I didn’t deserve.

Here’s the fact: I’ve recently had to make some tough decisions regarding some personal relationships in my life. I deserved much better than what I was being given, and I ultimately chose my feelings over the feelings of others. I won’t lie, it was a hard call to make, because guess who was on that list?

Family.

Here’s another truth: I didn’t go silently. I used my voice to speak my truth and let the offenders know exactly how they made me feel—that I will no longer allow them, or the situation, control me any longer, and that I’m choosing to execute my plan to walk away.

Yep, that’s right. I actually told them why I was walking away and how I planned to do it!

I chose to write mine in a letter, simply because I feel I’m better with expressing my feelings in writing versus face-to-face. But everyone is unique, which means that whatever way you choose to express yourself will be unique to you. The important part is that you say what you feel. When you say what you feel, you are taking back your power and taking away their excuse to blame you.

Chances are, they will still try to blame you, simply due to their lack of self-awareness. However, remember that you’ve done your part. You are now free and clear to walk away without regret. You’ve said your peace respectfully, ditched the passive aggression and handled your communication like an adult.

 

How Do I Know I’m In A Toxic Relationship?

 

I promise you, after you get over the nervousness of the backlash this may cause, or the fear of disappointing others, you will feel so much lighter and energized. When I made this shift personally, my energy level increased. It’s amazing how things like this—things like relationships that are supposed to give you happiness and connection—can zap you of your energy, even physically!

But I know what you’re thinking: “Achea, I have a feeling I’m in a bad spot with my family/friends/significant other, but how do I know for sure?”

Chances are, if you have a feeling in your gut that something’s not good, then you’re probably right. But just to be sure, I’ve put together a few questions to ask yourself before hashing it out with those people in your life. Take a moment to answer these either on a piece of paper or in your head before taking the leap:

 

1. “Have I done anything to cause this toxic behavior exuded by the other person?”

If so, apologize first and take responsibility for your part.

 

2. “Have I done everything I can to try to make this relationship better?”

If not, write down a list of ways you could improve the relationship.

 

3. “Am I okay with this person never being a part of my life again?”

If not, maybe try a less permanent solution like taking a break from them, even if it’s family. Sometimes, all it takes is a slight shift in the relationship to make things better.

 

If you answered “yes” to the first question and “no” to the last two, then it’s time to do some self-exploration. Don’t worry—it may feel icky at first, but being aware that you’re a part of the problem is half the battle. You can now move forward and start enjoying the relationships you want in your life!

If you answered “no” to the first question and “yes” to the last two, congrats! You are well on your way to becoming emotionally free from relationship strain and pain. To celebrate, go buy some pretty stationary and a cool pen to celebrate the awesomeness that’s coming your way! It may feel uncomfortable writing that first letter, but as long as you are speaking from the heart, aka your truth, you have nothing to fear.

Psst…you might also find that once you disconnect from toxic people you will need less caffeine.

Get to it, bellas! You’ve got this!

——-

Are you experiencing personal turmoil in any of your relationships? If so, how are you coping? Are there any mechanisms you use personally that have worked? Leave a comment below!

Achea Redd

Achea Redd

about the author

Achea Redd is a mental health advocate, author of “Be Free Be You” and founder of Real Girls F.A.R.T. — a space to empower and equip women with the necessary tools to use their voices and become their best, most authentic selves.

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