Toxic Relationships: What Are They & Why Is It Hard To Leave?

There are many ways to describe toxic relationships. Perhaps you or your partner are very angry in your relationship, or there is excessive codependency between partners. Sometimes, relationship toxicity stems from the fact that there are instances of serious dishonesty, or your partner has begun to stonewall you. It is not always easy to identify the causes of a toxic relationship, which is one of the reasons they are so difficult to heal. 

If you are struggling in your relationship, it’s important to learn more about what a toxic relationship is and what can cause it. This can help you understand more about the situation you’re in, and how to deal with it. However, if you still find yourself unable to adequately pinpoint the characteristics of your potentially toxic relationship, it’s a good idea to give remote relationship coaching a try.

What Is A Toxic Relationship?

Toxic relationships are those relationships that include behaviors by one or both partners that are primarily psychologically damaging, and can at times inflict physical harm. Healthy relationships contribute to partners’ emotional energy and self-esteem, while toxic ones tend to make one or both parties feel inadequate and unhappy.

What Causes A Toxic Relationship

The underlying trait of all toxic relationships is that they are not a safe place for one or both parties involved. Toxic relationships are characterized by feelings of insecurity, dysfunctionality, control, dominance, and other negative emotions that can originate. Constantly feeling negative emotions is what tends to cause mental harm.

Unfortunately, sometimes the toxicity in the relationships transitions into the physical realm as well, which is when one or both parties become behaving violently towards each other. This, coupled with the psychological negativity, is an extremely serious problem that can cause serious consequences. 

What Are The Signs Of A Toxic Relationship?

Sometimes, it is easy to be aware that you’re in a toxic relationship. However, at other times, you might be part of an unhealthy relationship without even knowing it, which can only damage your mental health further. Take a look at some of the telltale signs of toxic relationships: 

  • You seem to be sacrificing your own needs constantly.
  • You start to feel invisible or erased from your relationship.
  • Your relationship is beginning to feel lonely. 
  • At times you and your partner bring out the worst in each other.
  • You feel emotionally and physically tired after spending time with your partner.
  • You notice that the giving and the taking in the relationship is uneven. 
  • There are controlling tendencies from one or both partners.
  • There are frequent problems caused by jealousy.
  • You or your partner are experiencing an evident lack of respect.
  • Secretive behavior is present by one or both partners.
  • There is emotional, psychological, or physical abuse present.
  • Gaslighting is present in your relationship.
  • There are serious communication problems between you and your partner. 
  • You feel the resentment rising.
  • Only one person is in charge of making decisions. 

What Causes A Toxic Relationship?

Determining the reason, or reasons, for the toxicity you may be experiencing in your relationships is the first step in trying to resolve the problems that have been plaguing you and your partner. Here are some of the common causes behind toxic relationships:

  1. Insecurity:

    Self-doubt that stems from profound insecurity can lead to overanalysis of every single aspect of your relationship, from body language to words uttered. This can lead to one partner placing constant pressure on even the most common of activities, which results in feelings of uneasiness and even deeper insecurity. If you were neglected or abandoned in your childhood and have not done your family of origin work, you may be putting unrealistic expectations on your partner to heal this old insecurity wound. 

  2. Hot temper:

    People who have a hot temper are susceptible to fits of anger and rage, but also shame and regret, which is an emotional rollercoaster that affects the entire relationship negatively. Also, hurtful words and negative impulsive behavior are also common occurrences. 

  3. Unresolved issues:

    Leaving problems unresolved, both big and small, can lead to you and your partner developing hidden negative sentiments and potentially harboring resentment or guilt. These unfavorable feelings can turn a relationship into a place where both partners no longer feel comfortable. 

  4. Conflict avoidance:

    Sometimes, an open conflict (mature nature) can prove beneficial for a relationship. On the other hand, constantly avoiding conflict and leaving matters without closure can lead to negative feelings piling up, causing more serious problems down the line and leaving one or both partners feeling bad.

  5. Untreated attachment wounds:

    Often when one or both partners have learned behaviors from their own developmental stages in life that are not healthy, these get repeated in the couples dynamics. Many try to correct old relational wounds in present relationships.

There are a lot more causes for relationship toxicity, and not everything can be clearly categorized. The five causes above are just some of the more frequently-encountered triggers of toxic relationships that can be resolved by putting in the effort and the desire. 

Why Is It Hard To Leave A Toxic Relationship?

Although you might be experiencing several signs of relationship toxicity, and you’re aware of the reasons behind it, you’re still not ready to leave and you’re not sure you should. Apart from problems that can be resolved, there are some issues, such as physical abuse, that are serious red flags and that indicate it’s time to leave your partner.

However, even then, not everybody is willing and prepared to abandon their relationship. There are several reasons why leaving a toxic relationship is extremely difficult for some people. Let’s see what they are:

  • Your self-esteem has been severely damaged and you have no strength to leave.
  • You’re trying to be understanding and work on your relationship as much as you can.
  • You’re hoping it’s going to become good again and that things will change for the better.
  • You grew up in a toxic environment and are drawn to what’s familiar regardless of merit.
  • You’ve invested a lot of time and energy and you don’t want to see it go to waste.
  • You cannot imagine being without a partner and returning to being alone. 

PIVOT Codependency Recovery Coaching Can Help You Deal With A Toxic Relationship

What Are The Signs Of A Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationships can be very difficult to deal with, especially if you’re unaware of just how toxic your relationship might have become. Sometimes, all that you do turns out to be insufficient and the toxicity just continues to deepen, negatively affecting your mental state.

If you’re finding yourself unable to identify the underlying causes of the psychological strain your relationship is inflicting upon you, or if you’re aware of the toxicity in your relationship, but don’t know what you can do about it, you can always try coming to PIVOT and undergoing codependency recovery coaching alongside our experienced advocates.

At PIVOT, we specialize at organizing both individual coaching experiences for emotional intimacy, as well as group relationship workshops for both partners. Our experienced and educated relationship advocates are here to do all they can to help you either overcome the hurdles or assist you in knowing when the right time to leave a toxic relationship is. Contact us today and let’s take it from there.