Are you still in a toxic relationship or marital life?

Two weeks back, it sent shock waves across the state of Kerala, following the deaths of three married women, mainly due to abuses, harassment and dowry problems. Yes, despite being claiming as the most literate state of India, violence against women is also reported high in this state. Sadly, abused girls include highly educated, coming from good financial background too. This article was published in Vanitha Magazine in Malayalam, and I am simply translating adding a few more points, in belief, at least a few will be benefited.

Just imagine a glass of milk with a single drop of poison added. Will you drink the milk, assuming it will be wasted or it’s nutritious? Will you wait for some time for the poison to settle down? Definitely not! Relations should also be handled the same way. Remember, when you teach them to tolerate and keep quiet, it may end in death or some severe condition similar to it. Some of them may live for a lifetime in mental stress, equal to death or a condition worse than that, with severe mental problems. It’s meaningless to carry problems in head, which you are not able to. Is it not better to avoid such things?

Though most of you agree with above problems, how many of you will really think this way? Truth is that, many people are carrying such toxic relations, knowingly or unknowingly. How to know, the relation you are carrying forward is toxic or not? If so, what are the reasons to carry such relations for a lifetime? How to overcome such a situation? Through this column I shall provide answers to many such doubts, opinions given by experts.

An atmosphere where you can’t breathe….

Physical and verbal abuses can create great wounds in marital relations. Mental torture is much more sometimes, giving deep wounds not easy to forget or heal. Lack of mutual respect, insulting partner taking use of situations, not giving mutual support, not expressing co-operation, behaviour to break the partner emotionally etc are the common things which point to a toxic or abusive relationship.

Are you facing these situations?

To check if your married life should be flagged as toxic status, check the following points. It can be a combination of several points too.

Obedience – Some people believe, life partner means someone who you should fear and remain obedient like slaves. Sadly, even in present generation, girls are being taught to remain so, while boys are never given such lessons. They will never oppose partner for any deeds, and believe it’s their duty to accept wrong things too, and obey them. This system is centuries-old and still in full swing.

Society and circumstances – Though the relation turns worse, they never gain courage to live alone, leaving behind the relation. They give so much importance to the society and its thoughts, sacrificing their dreams and happiness. Though they are well aware, this relation is only harming them, for the sake of society, they silently tolerate everything. Some people think about parents and family honour, and keep breaking inside repeatedly. Relatives and other pressures from society force them to continue in an abusive or unhealthy relation.

Lack of financial freedom – Those partners, mostly wives who don’t have any other source of income are forced to remain in a toxic relation. Those without financial freedom also continue in toxic relations.

Giving a chance or time in relation with a glimmer of hope – Some people believe, as the time passes by, the partner may understand mistakes and return/accept. They believe time can bring love back. They may also hope counselling can bring positive results in the relation. 

Not identified toxic relationship yet – Some people may have toxic characters. But it doesn’t mean, they will show every time. They may physically abuse and later give a lot of love and care too, thus giving both. In this case, some partners take love as alms and try to find satisfaction and happiness in what the small amount getting.

Future of kids – Though the partner is financially self-dependent, she decides to remain in a bad relation only for the sake of kids. Remember, a good parent doesn’t guarantee a good partner. Children will get love from both father and mother, though the relation between spouses is worse – some people think this way, sacrificing their personal happiness.

Cursing/believing fate – Some people find their own answers to their troubling questions, cursing fate. They may believe, even if I attempt a lot, I will meet with same fate and can’t hope for a better tomorrow; it’s better to continue in this relation.

Not want to get into legal issues and time constraints – Some people just want to avoid legal difficulties and time lag in divorce cases, and decide to stay together in a dissatisfying relation.

Lack of self-confidence – ‘I deserve only this’, some people decide to spend remaining life with such sad thoughts, never hoping for another alternative. Giving less importance to oneself thinking ‘I deserve only this’ is one such situation. People with good education qualification and high job designations also belong to this group.

Red flags are in front of eyes

Red flags are alert signals to know if you are in a toxic relation, and here I list a few.

Broken communication – Finding difficulty in communicating with the partner is one of the early red flags in a relation. Instead of open conversations, partners are forced to hide unpleasant truths and take extra care to avoid conflicts. But frustration in minds build up in this case, increasing distance between hearts.

Diverting facts to avoid real situations – To cover his own mistakes in the relation, he may blame dependent partner like, if you had a job, you would have already taken kids and left me. You can watch one of the best instances in 2021 Malayalam movie, Great Indian Kitchen. When newly wedded wife says about pain during sexual intercourse and the need for foreplay, husband trickily diverts things and puts blame of her saying, “So, you know everything about this, right?”. Then he gives a silly dialogue, “I should also feel so, right?”. Here things get turn around within a matter of few moments and partner turns numb and confused in thoughts.

Recollecting mistakes from past – Some partners have the habit to recollect old mistakes and use as new weapon for fights. When they do so, they forget the virtues of the partner too.

Forcefully imposing orders – Some partners turn so submissive when the other one start imposing things like orders. To wear what, what not, to call which people and who not, career choices, to maintain friendship with who, restrictions to interact with family members ….the list is long and it differs in each case. When personal freedom is curbed, the person changes to another person, adjusting to situations, sacrificing their ambitions and decisions. Slowly it destroys the self-confidence of that person.

Selfish partner – Some partners are so selfish that they think about personal pleasure and satisfaction only. The partner feels neglected and it’s something like a mental torture. For example, if wife goes to some relative’s home for a stay, the husband might tell, if you go, who will look after me and kids, prepare food, do home chores etc, giving less importance to other person’s emotions.  

Not accepting the responsibility of committed mistakes – Everything doesn’t end with a simple sorry. You need to put in action and never repeat the mistake again. Justifying mistakes or seeing them in a simplified manner are other derivatives.

Mistakes and comparisons – ‘Good things are done only by me and only you are responsible for the bad things happened in our life’ – blaming partners this way can only worsen the relation. Comparing partner with other family members, neighbours or friends is also not a good sign.

People who never desire happiness – Toxic people can never remain happy. It’s something like ‘walking on egg shells’ and never make noise. They will never allow their partner to share their happiness and sorrows.

Jealousy – If your partner is not happy with your success and fame, and not appreciating it, mark it as red flag.

Threatening – Many partners threaten with divorce, to win a fight. Body shamming also comes under it.

Physical abuse and domestic violence – It’s highly toxic to physically abuse the partner, even if it’s mild. Mental abuse can also cause deep wounds in minds. Some people ask pardon after abusing, but it never brings an end to their toxic behaviour. It keeps repeating, and the partner slowly takes it for granted.

Be aware of these traps

Suppose a triangle, toxic partner at one corner, the other person in the second corner and a mediator in the third, may be a family friend or relative. This is called triangulation. The toxic partner is tricky enough to know the hidden intentions of the other partner through mediator, and can use it as weapon in future.

Pink cloud is the method used to sustain a partner in a toxic relation, through tricks. Though the partner wants to break the toxic relationship, the other person will retain the relation by giving precious gifts, taking for a journey, fulfilling wishes, giving new promises, saying sorry etc. When partner showers this kind of love, the other person who craves love decides to stay.

How to come out of toxic relations?

1. Self-care is the first step. Ask yourself, what you want. Before thinking, what will others say, give importance to personal happiness. Instead of surviving in a relation equal to death, find other good things you can do on this earth, which keeps you happy. Replace toxic relationship with good hobbies, healthy relations, career building etc to mention a few.

2. If you have realized it’s a toxic relationship, you will never get happiness in it. First thing to do is to stay away from such a person. If the toxic person is beyond correction, tell him/her directly and never give chance to correct again and again.

3. Seek legal help. Be prepared for the consequences and legal protection too, if needed.

4. Though you come out of a toxic relationship, things are not easy. As it’s emotionally connected, loss of partner may seriously affect you. You can seek the help of a therapist if needed. It takes time to come out of a relation and it differs in different persons, based on varying factors. Allow enough time for yourself.

5. If there is any possibility to rekindle the relation, instead of blaming partner like you are cruel, you can put your thoughts like, this deed of yours hurt me. You can also consult a therapy together.

6. Every person has a personal space and his/her partner should respect it. Make things clear.

7. It’s always better to know each other at the beginning of a relation. It helps to understand partner better. Through proper communications, put healthy boundaries of do’s and don’ts.

Image source: Pixabay   

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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