Your Relationship Isn’t Healthy
You know this, but something is making you stay. Some days you feel happy and content. But, some days are so draining and exhausting that you wonder how you’re still standing. You want to be happy and feel loved and supported, but you’re not sure how to get even your most basic needs met.
My friend, you’re in a toxic relationship.
I hate to say it, but it’s true. A toxic relationship is defined by expert Dr. Lillian Glass in her book Toxic People. It’s defined as:
“any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.”
Dr. Glass goes on to specify that all relationships go through their ups and downs. But, toxic relationships are bad at a constant level. So much so, one or both individuals in the relationship are hurting.
You may have known deep down that your relationship is toxic. Or, this realization may be hitting you like a ton of bricks. Either way, I want you to know that healing is possible. But, you have to understand why you entered into this relationship in the first place. This also includes why you’re choosing to stay even when you know there are basic issues present.
The Link Between Relationships and Self-Esteem
I believe, toxic relationships and poor self-esteem are linked in an intrinsic way. Poor self-esteem is likely the reason why you chose to date or marry your partner. And, it’s also the reason why you’re staying despite all the red flags. Unfortunately, poor self-esteem, if left unchecked, only gets worse with time. It can have a variety of negative impacts on your life in so many ways. But, one of the most common is by pushing you to be in a toxic relationship with someone who isn’t good for your mental health. If they harm your mental health, they will likely only make your self-esteem even worse.
This often happens because you seek constant validation from others. In fact, you thrive off of it. So you’ll take it whenever it’s given by whoever delivers it… even if this person is toxic. You struggle to see the good in yourself. As a result, you don’t question it when other people say harsh and mean things about you. So you’ll stay with a person who in one breath validates you and in the other brings you down and hurts your feelings.
Furthermore, poor self-esteem leads them to believe they couldn’t do better.
You think so poorly about yourself that you don’t think anyone else would want you with your obvious flaws. You believe that any love and affection is better than nothing. So, why disrupt your life and ruin a relationship that is sometimes okay. Plus, things could change if you could do better, right?
If you can relate to what you’re reading, then you may be panicking right now. I mean, it’s scary to think that your relationship is what’s considered to be “toxic.” I get it. A failing relationship is only one more disappointment/failure to add to your list. But, I want to assure you that things can change. You only have to be willing to do work on your perception of yourself. This means doing things that will boost your self-esteem on purpose.
First of all, I want you to realize that you, my friend, have options. You are not stuck in this relationship and you don’t have to put up with poor treatment. You’re worthy of love and respect and you don’t have to settle for someone who doesn’t offer you that. Please allow yourself to sit with that knowledge for a moment. Now, if you want to stay. That’s okay too. I respect your commitment to your relationship. There may be more good than bad and you believe there is hope. But, if you’re going to stay in a relationship that many would consider toxic, then I strongly recommend you read on to learn how you can take care of yourself. This may include working on developing better self-esteem.
Spend Time With Yourself
You may often seek validation and love from others. As a result, you may often want to be around others or talk to others. But, I recommend you spend some time all by yourself. Use this time to figure out what you actually want in life. Write down your hopes, goals, and aspirations. Allow these to guide your actions. When you feel lost, revisit the list you’ve made for an extra boost.
Remember, Self-Care is Important
You need to take care of yourself and do things that will boost your mood and your self-esteem. It’s very important. I recommend starting by doing things that you used to enjoy before you were in this relationship. Connect with the person you used to be and try doing those things again.
One thing I ask my clients to do when they come to me for online therapy is journaling. Sometimes, my clients do this in an unscripted way. They may write down whatever is on their minds or whatever they’re feeling in the moment. Other clients, use journal prompts. If you’re not working with a therapist or online therapist like myself, look for a journal on Amazon that offers prompts. Or, begin by writing down things that you’re grateful for each day.
Talk With Someone, Ideally a Therapist in North Carolina
I can’t stress this enough, your mental health is very important. Especially in a situation like this. You need to be talking with people who will lift you up and not bring you further down. It’s fine to talk to trusted friends and family members but to be honest, it’s not the same as working with a therapist. When you work with a therapist you get the guidance and support of a well-trained specialist with the tools to improve your mental health. I be honored to help you cope with the issues that are bringing you to counseling in the first place.