There’s a lot of talk in the media about loving yourself when in a relationship. And that involves maintaining a healthy relationship with others and ourselves. Also involved is a pretty tough feat of being able to see through the red flags in a relationship.

And the more time we’ve got to spend at home, we’ve come to realize that even though building a healthy relationship with your self and others takes work, it is rather important. With the nitty gritty details of our lives, often barging into our heads looking to party when we’re trying to sleep, it certainly feels like even more hard work sometimes.

Also because that hard work usually involves criticizing our actions and choices. All so we can try and get past them to build and maintain a healthy relationship.

In that process then, we often times come face to face with toxic behaviors. Sometimes our own behavior in a relationship with ourselves and others, and sometimes other people’s behaviors towards us.

What does toxic mean in a relationship?

First, stop singing ‘you’re toxic, i’m slipping under’ in your head.

The thing is, there’s no clear definition of what toxic means in a relationship – especially when you’re in it. And this holds true for the relationship with yourself as well as when you feel trapped in a relationship with someone else.

In brief, a toxic relationship is one where you constantly doubt yourself and have reduced self esteem. And these are just a couple of the many red flags that we choose to ignore when in a relationship. And then it’s all a matter of degree – of HOW toxic a relationship really is.

Needless to say, it’s not just romantic relationships that are toxic. Friendships, families, jobs, and even your relationship to yourself can be toxic. It’s just a matter of recognizing and then you realize that all your relationships come together in a semblance. And there’s no ONE reason you find yourself getting into toxic relationships.

So what should we do when we recognize the toxicity?

If you’re one of the victorious ones who have managed to step outside of your relationship and really look at yourself in a relationship, you might be a bit wiser now that you can step out and see the toxicity. And for that, give yourself a hug. You are now one step closer to begin building a healthy relationship with yourself and others.

Now maybe you’re trying to get out of the toxic relationship you’ve realized you’re in. Or you’ve successfully left it behind, and are now self evaluating and contemplating as to why you ever got into one. Or maybe you’re evaluating how you can stay the f*ck away from toxic relationships and people as a whole.

Do we deliberately ignore the red flags when someone’s toxic?

Although reddit says this quote originated from Bojack Horseman, no matter the origin, this one hits home when we talk about red flags in a relationship.

When you look through rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags

Author unknown

And well, there you have it. This is why when you newly get in a relationship and everything’s rosy and wonderful, we seem to miss out on the red flags in a relationship. And the sad truth about being in a toxic relationship is that you avoid looking at the red flags in a relationship long after the rose colored glasses have come off. And maybe that’s when love truly becomes blind.

Why do we put ourselves in a relationship that is toxic?

Mental health expert at Lifehack, George Alonso lists a number of reasons why we get into toxic relationships – which mostly ring true.

And deep down, the ones who get into toxic relationships do know when they’re in one, (and this is the opinion of the writer only, not of the organization) but we also enjoy it to an extent.

Not to say we’re all masochists by nature. But we enjoy it in the sense, that when our brain knows a kind of love that is toxic, it’s always on the hunt for known patterns, as opposed to trying something new.

Think about how soon you can get bored when learning a new skill and you hit a roadblock, as opposed to continuing to scroll through Instagram thinking ‘I wish I was as talented as that person.’

Known patterns are the traps of our own minds, even when we know we could do better.

What can we learn from toxicity in a relationship?

As mindfulness suggests, when we’re trapped in something because of set patterns in our mind, the first step, and sometimes all we can do is to observe our own patterns, thoughts and actions.

The truth is, it’s often simpler to say that the other person is toxic. ‘My boss, parents, SO, friend or roommate is toxic.’

But it’s tough to sometimes accept – that I might be toxic too – to others and to myself.

Or it might go the other way in a relationship and you constantly cover for the other person. Additionally putting the entire blame on yourself.

However it may be with you, all we’re saying is: stop trying to find something or someone to blame. No good ever comes from that.

Is there an approachable starting point to break the pattern?

The first step is to understand yourself. Understand why you went with it in the first place. Was it a desperation or fear of being alone? Or maybe you thought you couldn’t do better?

Was it because you’ve only seen toxic relationships in your family? Or if it’s a job, you think you’d never find a job that treats you better? Or was it because the other person was manipulative and charming like most toxic people are.

Because understanding yourself is how self love in a relationship can begin. And that’s the only way that toxic relationships can end.

So when you finally see the flaws in yourself and others, forgive yourself, and forgive those around you, but don’t forget! Take as many learnings from it as you can. And hopefully, you’ll start a new chapter in your beautiful life and never look back.

Good luck and love to you, dear reader!

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