Toxic Relationships: How to Identify Them and What to Do


Many of the clients who I have seen (both individually and as couples) are in relationships that are full of arguing, drama, and constant stress. All relationships have their struggles, and all long-term relationships require consistent hard work and adaptation to grow and prosper. However, there is a certain group of relationships that continues on with this level of stress without relief. Oddly, many of the people in these relationships insist on continuing on in this way. I think this is largely in part to that fact that they do not realize that they are in this type of relationship, and that there is another way of living. It becomes normal with repetitive cycles that reinforce the negativity. I am writing this in hopes of helping people better identify if they are in a toxic relationship along with some suggestions to overcome this lifestyle.

Toxic relationships include:

  •  Poor Communication

  •  Mind-Reading (assumptions)

  •  Using Sex as Manipulation

  •  Repeated Derogatory, Dismissive, Spiteful, and Sarcastic Remarks

  •  Nagging

  •  Passive-Aggressiveness Behavior

  •  Lack of Trust

  •  Intimidation

  •  Using Money as Power

If you experience these on a daily basis, you are likely in a relationship that would be considered to be toxic. Detoxifying your relationship could require some of the following:

  •   Opening up Communication through Mirroring, Validation, and Empathy

  •   Setting Clear Expectations (limits and boundaries)

  •   Being Assertive vs. Aggressive, Passive, or Passive Aggressive

  •   Accepting Differences and Understanding the Motives of the Other

  •   Sexual Relations Built on Respect

  •   Stop Assuming and Use Active Listening Skills.

Sometimes, there is no avenue for detoxifying some relationships and the best course of action includes leaving the relationship completely. This can be very scary, intimidating, and complicated due to each person’s attachment styles, financial concerns, shared children, and even fear of increased aggressive behavior on the part of the partner.

Because of the difficulties people have with identifying that they are in a toxic relationship and the complexity of many of the issues associated with these problems, I highly recommend you seek out a counselor or therapist to help you and your partner improve on these skills.

For couples, marriage, and relationship counseling in Lancaster, PA, please contact me at (717) 288-5064 / and take the opportunity to improve your relationship!!