Most of us find it easy to recognise the role of a toxic environment in poor physical health, but hard to recognise the role of toxic relationships in our emotional and physical wellbeing. Strong, healthy relationships matter; they make our lives better (and longer sef!).
Being surrounded by the wrong people, on the other hand, can seriously undermine your quality of life. In extreme cases, failing to recognize and deal with toxic relationships can even be fatal. You need to avoid toxic relationships but first, learn to recognize it when you see it. It’s not just limited to romantic relationships, so feel free to tell toxic friends to carry their wahala and be going!
You know it’s a toxic relationship when he/she:
1. Belittles you
You know how some people just look down on any achievement you make or try to pass it off as luck? Or how they constantly remind you of your flaws and pass it off as “being honest”? Yeah. Those are toxic relationships. A true friend/ally celebrates your achievements as much as, if not more than, you. S/he reminds you of why you deserve all the good things that come your way. A true friend also tells you the truth when you’re wrong, but doesn’t feel the need to tear you apart with the telling.
2. Disrespects you
This can show up in how they talk to or about you, your personal choices, space or privacy. Sometimes it’s really subtle, but you need to keep your eyes open for those times when that “friend” insults you “jokingly”, or calls you by the nickname s/he KNOWS you absolutely hate. It could also be that s/he uses your prized possessions carelessly and/or without your permission. Mutual respect is a key feature of healthy relationships, so don’t tolerate such deliberate disrespect.
3. Controls you
No one should make you do anything you don’t want, or try to coerce you into doing things you feel uncomfortable with. If you find yourself always giving in to the other person’s wants and choices “for peace to reign”, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Also, if someone is constantly threatening, subtly or overtly, to leave your life if you don’t let them have their way, please hold the door for them on the way out.
4. Lies to you/manipulates you
If you never feel quite sure of whether or not you need to look out the window when that friend tells you the time, you may need to take another look at that relationship. Trust is vital for any kind of relationship to flourish. You might also want to look out for people who make you feel like you’re always ‘chasing’ them. Unless you’re actually a stalker (check yourself, Lol.), you should be wary of anyone who keeps pointing out that you need them more than they need you. No one should manipulate you into elevating them over yourself in a healthy relationship.
5. Sabotages you
This one can be very hard to detect depending on how well such a person covers it up and how close such people are to their victims. Toxic spouses and family members are the most effective with this tactic. But it can get a little easier if you know how to spot it. Such people do a good job of LOOKING like they’re supportive. The say all the right things and even flatter you in addition. But watch out for how that friend always finds a way to create situations that stop you from taking advantage of opportunities. While once may be a coincidence, a pattern of repeated “accidents” and “ailments” just when you’re about to take that promotion or transfer, or start at that new job or course, is no coincidence. Check that saboteur real quick!
We hope these tips help you to recognize and gently walk those enemies and “frenemies” out of your life. And while you’re at it, make sure you’re not the person who is toxic! Learn how to cultivate good relationships instead.