Relationships are everywhere.
Healthy relationships help to mirror, balance and support us and our needs. Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthy and it’s a jagged pill to swallow that these toxic associations may also be a mirror to where the healing and detoxing needs to happen within ourselves.
How do you know if it’s a toxic relationship?
If toxicity is a state to which your health and balance is compromised and poisoned, then a toxic relationship could be described as a relationship where you allow yourself to be pulled away from your healthy, balanced and authentic self by giving your power away. Often this leaves us feeling drained, frazzled.
Actively participating in relationships that are toxic is like having a diet stapled on daily fast-food binging. In fact, the quality of these Mc-Relationships daily is unhealthier that we realize. If allowed, ongoing debilitating relationships are internalized and transmuted into energy that shows up in our own health. Stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia are not uncommon.
An article published by Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter in Psychology Today informs us that a study with “10,000 subjects for an average of 12.2 years discovered that subjects in negative relationships were at a greater risk for developing heart problems, including a fatal cardiac event.”
Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life, suggests that our physical ailments are stored energy precipitated by a thought process and emotion. Therefore, when we are in unhealthy and toxic relationships, for example a relationship that is confusing, fearful and difficult to digest, we may experience abdominal and stomach pain. Or if you are in a job that is toxic, varicose veins suggest standing in a situation you hate and feeling over-worked and overburdened.
As you review my short list of types of relationships and you find some relatable, I invite you to inquire with non-judgment and love. Why is it relatable? What is it mirroring? What needs to change?
Look into the mirror within: Often the way we think and feel about ourselves is the premise for all other relationships. If you have more than one toxic relationship in your life, you must understand the common denomination in them. You. Toxic relationships reflect thoughts, feelings and beliefs (conscious or subconscious) about us. If we don’t appreciate ourselves, why would anyone else?
Jerry Maguire relationships: “You complete me.” Whether it’s a friend or partner, a relationship that is built on the idea that they will take away your problems and elevate you to a state of wholeness and completeness is seriously flawed. These relationships as romantic as portrayed, set us up for failure by looking outward to another person for our happiness, contentment and wholeness. Not only is it unrealistic, it is unfair and ends up eroding in the long run. We must accept our own completeness with self-love, as a priority.
Wounded Bird Syndrome: “I will complete you.” A relationship of codependency, where your actions and thoughts revolve around another person and completely disregard your own needs, is very toxic. Codependency can stem from pity for their pain, usually mirroring our own unresolved and unhealed pain. These martyrdom relationships are self-abusive as we don’t take care of ourselves. They can lead to resentment, anxiety, exhaustion and ailment. Allow each person in the relationship to be responsible for their thoughts, actions and ultimate consequences.
Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me: While I don’t advocate shaming yourself, relationships where we allow ourselves to participate in ongoing hurt are mirrors to something deeper within ourselves. Of course, our feelings will get hurt from time to time in healthy relationship but actively allowing and partaking in continued derogatory, demeaning and demoralizing attributes is a very damaging and toxic wasteland. Remember, the best indicator for future behavior is past behavior. It’s time to ask some hard questions and get some healthy guidance.
F.O.G. (Fear. Obligation. Guilt.): When we act and react in relationships from a place of fear, obligation or guilt we are adding doses of toxicity to our relationship and lives. The physical and emotional bodies have very strong reactions to these emotions. When we are choosing, responding, participating and staying in relationships of F.O.G., we are off balance and out of alignment from our authentic selves. To see clearly, go inward and respond from your heart.
The See-Saw Bully: Imbalanced relationships: When one person is giving, giving and giving and the other person is taking, taking and taking it leaves us feeling very imbalanced. Whether we are on either end of the inequality, the disproportion leaves us feeling much like being stuck at the top of the see-saw by the heavier bully that is sitting at the other end. When we can find balance of giving and receiving in a relationship symmetrically, we find more alignment and harmony in our lives.
Amusement Park Relationships: They’re exciting and adventurous when they start. Then after some ongoing dramatic and extreme dips, dives and turns you feel like you are on a never-ending roller coaster. After awhile these toxic relationships leave us feeling dizzy and nauseated. All relationships have dips and dives, but if they are ongoing and extreme, you may want to examine the drama and get off that ride to find subtlety and proportion.
Stagnant Water: These relationships stay still. No room for growth. No room for change. There’s a focus on the past, blaming, victimizing with no expansion. They leave us feeling stifled and murky like a stagnant water pond. And like a stagnant pond, it will grow toxic and foster disease. We are here to grow, to learn and to expand!
Relationships are within and surround us. Romantic, professional, friends and family. We are active participates. Start with yourself and get clear on your own self-love needs. Avoid engaging in a toxic conversation, or from the F.O.G. or perhaps distance yourself. Reach higher. The relationships that allow us to expand and shine and be our true and authentic selves are the ones that we want to nurture and embrace, starting with the relationship with yourself.
(Happy Healthy YOU is a wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast! If you would like to see an article on a specific topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).