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  • Natasha Rani

Toxic Relationships

“Sometimes people victimise themselves so they don’t feel guilty for the things they did you.”

Let’s set the scene; there’s something bothering you. A hiccup in your relationship. That little bit of dread thinking about seeing a family member at an event. The irritation of having to sit in the same room as a negative friend.

I am notorious for being able to give sound advice to people. Whether it’s about relationships, friendships, job concerns, whatever. I am the ‘go to’ for solving problems and I would say I’m *mostly* logical. However, if we switch the roles around, I am also the one person that can barely take my own advice. How does that even work? How many of you are the same?

Toxic defined literally means poisonous. As someone who strongly believes in energy, I trust the vibes I get.

(Please note that toxic relationships can refer to friends, partners, family, parents etc)

Recognising The Signs


1. The Bad Outweighs the Good


I’m a firm believer of the 70:30 rule; if it’s amazing 70% of the time, I will take 30% of times which may present hiccups. Relationships are full of ups and downs, disagreements and misunderstandings, but you should be aiming to grow and understand each other more and more over time. If it’s more like a theme park oblivion ride, it’s time to question where it’s going and what you truly want from your relationship.


2. The Walking on Eggshells Feeling


Have you ever had that awful feeling of dread, trying to over-analyse a person’s mood and determine which conversations you should/shouldn’t have? This is the epitome of walking on eggshells. You should feel equal in any relationship or friendship. If you find yourself second guessing how you should act or speak, the chances are you aren’t fully being yourself. You should be accepted for who you are.


3. Dismissing Your Own Feelings to Save Theirs


“That comment really upset me but if I bring it up, he’s going to be mad.”


I think it’s really common and natural to put your partner first when you’re in a relationship. However, this shouldn’t be at the expense of your own heart. If someone truly respects you, they will consider how their actions have made you feel and take responsibility for it.


4. Lack of Effort & Communication


Doing the bare minimum will give you the bare minimum in return.


I don't always think communication can always be equal. For example, if you both work different hours, work different days etc. it’s tough, sometimes one person has to take the lead. However, a phone call to check in on someone can go such a long way. It’s about finding the balance. If you love romantic gestures but your partner doesn’t believe in them, don’t compromise what your “idea” of romance is. It’s about finding a middle ground and making the effort to show one another how much you care.


5. Being “Picture Perfect”


We’ve all been here. Portraying ourselves as the happiest people in the world, when behind closed doors it could be so different. Imagine you’ve just had the biggest argument in the world (I’m talking WW3 with your partner). The next day you’ve kissed and made up and your partner is posting pictures of you both all over social media. The truth is, the world probably doesn’t give a fuck about your relationship and most likely, the world hasn’t noticed the cracks (sounds harsh but true).

So what is the message it’s sending? Is your partner proving to the world you’re okay before proving it to you? Does the picture perfect social media post validate your relationship? Is your partner more concerned with the way the world sees you, before taking the time to work on the things that need fixing? Remember that bullies try to hide their behaviours from others.


6.The Battle to be The One in Charge


“If I say jump, you say how high.” How many Indian households do you know, where the man is in charge? He runs the house, he manages the finances, he gives the final ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ when really and truly the woman is usually the one keeping the family alive.


I guess I’m slightly old school in the sense that I want to be the one running my household- I want to bring my children up, providing a safe and comfortable home. However, I also think a man should be able to cook, clean and hold down his household too. Money is not the be all and end all, to the roles of a relationship. Albeit, it helps, but there are so many other bricks that build the foundations of a home. You’re both in charge of your own roles. Does your partner truly appreciate your contribution to your relationship?


7. Manipulation


The image of being controlled like a puppet springs to mind.

Manipulation is a huge characteristic of narcissistic behaviour. The way someone responds to you doing something you‘ve chosen to do, will tell you what you need to know.


Do they give you the silent treatment when things don’t go to plan? Do they make you feel guilty for going to see your friends? Do you choose to do things that will have the least amount of repercussions from them? Do you worry about their reactions? Manipulation means that the person is judging your choices and trying to control them to their own benefit. Control and coercion is a form of abuse. Look for the signs and share your concerns with someone you trust.


8. What is Privacy?


I am such an ambassador for privacy. I think it’s healthy to have boundaries in a relationship but at the same time, be open enough to share everything if asked. Do you hate when your girlfriend picks up your phone and scrolls through it without asking? Do you hate when your boyfriend checks your social media when you’re not looking? Boundaries mean having limits and asking for consent. Outside of your relationship, you are your own person. Trust is the most fragile thing on earth but the cement to a home, and privacy is like having the option to open and close the windows to let the fresh air in. It comes down to respect and trust. In my opinion, when these are compromised, it compromises a huge piece of your relationship.


9. Burning yourself out


Sometimes it’s easy to forget you are one person & you can only do so much. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying to spread yourself out, and to be made to feel guilty for wanting “me time.” Burning yourself out means that you are more likely to fall ill, both mentally and physically. Challenge any expectation where you’re made to feel you “have to be” somewhere. If you’re being made to feel guilty or forcing yourself to have the energy to show up, the chances are that A) you’re not going to enjoy yourself and B) you’re going to eventually end up unhappy. You are a priority and choosing yourself is totally acceptable.


10. You


Have you ever heard that calling a child ‘naughty’ reinforces them to behave that way? If you tell someone that they are the problem over and over, it’s a matter of time before they believe it.


If you are being made to feel that you are the issue over and over, (and the above applies), I urge you to take control of the situation you are in and evaluate whether you are truly happy. It is easy to fall into depression when you are surrounded by negativity, but it is also easy to fall into a routine of accepting this behaviour.


Toxic defined literally means poisonous. Whether it is a partner, a family member or a friend, you have a choice whether to surround yourself with that person portraying these behaviours.


There is not a single person on earth that is worth your piece of mind. Sometimes, the most important choice you will ever have to make, is whether you choose to be happy. Trust me, the grass is greener on the other side.



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