No matter what your age, how much money you make, or how bright, independent or attractive you may be, no one is immune to finding oneself in a toxic relationship. In an ideal world, the warning signs would be evident from the start. But the longer you spend in a toxic relationship, the more difficult it becomes to see what might be obvious to your friends, family and others who care about you.
It is easy to focus on the characteristics that drew you to this person in the first place—the physical chemistry, the wry sense of humor, the good times that you have shared together. You don’t want to see the red flags. Maybe you’ve invested so much of yourself, including your pride, in the relationship that even acknowledging there are problems seems too painful to contemplate.
I often hear bright women beating up on themselves for not noticing earlier that a mate’s behaviors are inconsiderate, ultra critical, or even abusive. It seems easier to hold onto the hope that they will change or you will change.
If this sounds familiar, ask yourself if any or all of these statements apply to your situation:
- No matter what you do, it’s never good enough.
- You are often put down or made fun of in private and/or in public.
- Your partner’s words and actions don’t match up.
- It’s all about them.
- Your find yourself walking on eggshells around them.
- You find your self-esteem deteriorating over time.
- You can’t relax and be yourself when spending time together.
- Your thoughts, feelings and opinions are overlooked and/or undervalued.
- You find yourself crying and upset over your relationship.
- You don’t feel like you have much control over your own life.
Even when it becomes obvious that the relationship is toxic—and if the statements above ring all too true—it’s not always easy to take the first (or second or third) step toward getting out. Don’t let this become another reason to beat up on yourself for being “weak.” As a licensed clinical professional counselor, I understand what you’re going through and have helped many women work through situations similar to yours. Call my office if you’d like to talk and consider therapy to move onto a better place and healthier relationships in the future.