You’ve met someone who is cute, and interested in you and your space. They’re polite, intelligent, and come off as the kind of person you would want to date. You just need to talk things over with your friends. They’ve started messaging you. Then, they’ve asked you out. You’re so excited! But then, the text gets ugly. “I don’t want to date any more losers. There’s nothing to this person so you need to keep away!” Eww! Maybe they’re just really great for you after all! Maybe! Can’t you just date one person? If you refuse to listen to friends, well that’s an extreme case of what has come to be known as dating and relationship poison. It’s when you reject someone out of fear of rejection (“Don’t let them out of my sight!”). “Don’t trust him/her!” (“I am totally not into jerks!”). “There’s something wrong with them.” (“Let me tell you how much I like them!”). “This person is just not right for me.” (“What a turn off!”). “They’re literally a complete turn off for me!” (“Ew.”) Most of us are familiar with toxic relationships; at one point or another, this toxic partner has brought fear into our lives, destroyed our health, ruined our quality of life, and dragged us into an emotionally damaging cycle of destructive behavior. This toxic relationship may have started because of a conflict of values, fear of the unknown, or just perceived dishonesty. It may have started because of feelings we had not articulated, secrets we had not shared, a lack of communication, deceit, excuses for bad behavior, hurtful exchanges, name calling, anger, resentment, disrespect, manipulations, unreasonable demands, or manipulation. A toxic relationship takes place when a person uses and abuses you in an effort to justify their ongoing emotional dysfunction, instead of focusing on their own need for healing.
I have found that in most cases, toxic relationships originate between 2 people; that is, a toxic person and a toxic relationship. This toxic relationship may start over time with several sessions, or it may be an abrupt incident resulting in the two of you having a falling out. Sometimes, a toxic relationship begins at a distance with a physical distance: my partner is distant, though it may not be the case; my friends, others who are my support are present, but rarely and maybe only occasionally. Sometimes, a toxic relationship begins at a distance: my partner has and has had a history of being emotionally abusive. Sometimes, the toxic relationship starts in a love connection: one of us is attracted to the other and provides the other person with comfort, loving care, compassion, compassion, support, permission, and feelings of self-worth. Sometimes, the toxic relationship starts as pure passion: a few flirts, I’m interested, and I want to meet her/him but something doesn’t seem right. Often, the toxic relationship can be broken down into 5 categories:
Miscommunication; misinterpretation; egocentricity; arrogance and/or insolence; and purposeful sabotage
When someone is communicating with you on a real, normal level of confidence, you respond with openness and positivity; however, your partner’s words and behavior are acting on, and undermining, their claim to trust and competence; causing you to stay in a position of confusion; or thinking about your boundaries and trying to meet them, however, your boundaries are being crossed and you become angry and frustrated; or even just confused about something you may not know exactly what you’re doing.
When someone is communicating with you on a lack of candor, you are not being fully honest; however, your partner denies or minimizes what they’re saying and your silence allows them to continue doing their destructive actions and statements.
When your partner is communicating with you in a way that reflects an element of narcissism, they are minimizing your feelings, energy, and thoughts; however, your partner views themselves as entitled, understanding, and smarter than you; however, they are disengaging from you emotionally.
When your partner believes they deserve to have the power, attention, recognition, and love that only they have and they’re entitled to it because of certain ways they think you have failed, or are wrong: they are threatening to punish you for the things you did or did not do; or for not doing it more quickly, harder, and more egregiously; or at