Hello beautiful souls!
This article is all about… “Am I in a toxic relationship?” After doing this work for a lot of years and coaching numerous people, I have learned that there are very specific warning signs that not only myself have gone through in life, but many of you as well. And sometimes I feel like just putting them out there as a checklist can really be helpful.
For those of you who are new to my work – I am a spiritual coach. What that means is I help you heal your inner wounds to really live your life as your authentic self. A huge thing that happens when we have been wounded or still have some wounds around and they’re somewhere, is we attract toxic people and we can find ourselves in unhealthy relationships.
So, I want to talk about some very key signs to know if you are in a toxic relationship. And if you are, there’s inner work to do, which I’ll talk about.
I notice with highly sensitive people specifically, we tend to self-blame. So, if something’s going on in the relationship or we’re being emotionally manipulated, sometimes we don’t even know we keep looking in the wrong direction to try to figure it out. Now, oftentimes people ask me, “What’s my part?” Your part as you’ve probably seen in previous videos that I’ve done is that you don’t have the boundary around that yet, because you probably are an emphatic and you’re attracting this without the boundary, which means you’re taking on other people’s stuff. You probably don’t know about this type of a behavior to even be aware about it enough to have discernment to not be around these people.
So, here are some huge warning signs.
Number one, how do you feel? Are you having anxiety maybe for the first time in a relationship? Are you feeling unworthy? Uncertain? Almost like an insecure attachment where you feel like you are just not able to fully be yourself in this relationship. Why? Let’s ask ourselves why? Why do I feel this way? Is it because of me and my own stuff going on or is it because someone is actually doing things that make me feel unsafe and unloved and uncertain of where they’re at.
Sign number one, how does your body feel? Is it in your stomach? If it is, a huge point that you’re giving your power away or you feel like they’re almost taking your power, something to look at.
Number two, push/pull. This is a big tactic, especially to a narcissist or someone who is just toxic in general. They do this thing called push/pull to always have control. They will push you away by either putting you down, criticizing you or just being selfish and then you feel insecure. Then, they will pull right back in. It’s like roping you in.
It’s called hovering sometimes, but I like to call it push/pull. It’s like a very insecure attachment style. Oftentimes, these people can create an attachment trauma in us where we get almost trauma-bonded with them. We get really used to this trauma and we start to really feel unconsciously like this is normal. Like this push/pull must be my fault if we get stuck in this game of manipulation.
Number three, blame-shifting. A toxic person is going to blame you for the things they’re actually doing. Gas-lighting also goes in here. So, this is actually number three and four.
Gas-lighting piece of it is if they say, “What are you talking about? Of course, I’m not doing that. I would never do that to you – I love you.” Anyone who loves you would never do that. Are you okay? Is something wrong with you that you think that way? When you catch this toxic person doing something that you don’t really want to see or believe, but you know that it’s happening and you bring it up to their attention and they make you feel totally crazy. It’s called crazy-making. So that’s another piece.
I would like to do a whole video on gas-lighting, because I feel like it’s so common and we don’t see it, because what we do especially as highly sensitive people is you say, “You know what… maybe they’re right. Maybe I am making it up. Maybe I’m making it bigger or maybe I’m just oversensitive.” Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. No, you’re not! It’s happening.
And the fifth thing I wanted to mention was when you start to feel like you’re losing yourself in a relationship, it is all about them and you’re being made to feel guilty for having any needs of your own. In fact, you start almost catering to their needs, because you are stuck in the guilt trap, but you’re also feeling like maybe theirs is more important. Maybe they need your help. Maybe you should just stop being selfish and doing your own life and becoming sort of this person that just fits into theirs. Toxic, toxic, toxic.
So often people come to me and say, “I don’t know what’s going on. I feel like a shell of myself or I fear that I’m losing myself in this person. I’ve lost some friends. I’ve lost some interest. I don’t know I just love them, I don’t know what’s going on.” You’re being emotionally manipulated.
If you are being asked or feel like you need to give up your own interest, friends or life for this person. Warning sign! Really, really bad.
What toxic or narcissistic people often do is really try to take advantage of emotionally sensitive or energetically sensitive people who have a lot of empathy so that you would almost feel guilty into making your life about them and their needs. Their whole purpose in life is to get their needs met and they have no plan of ever even considering any of yours.
So many of us who fall into codependent patterns or love addiction patterns or who are born highly sensitive are super vulnerable to that, because we already have a very sort of wavering sense of self and the key to not attracting these relationships is obviously healing our own inner wounds. But the key of guarding against it is to really build up those boundaries and when you start to notice any of these signs, you’re gonna feel guilty doing this at first. However, it’s very important to know what you’re seeing is real and to respond in that way… meaning, “Okay, I see this now. I see this gas-lighting.”
First thing is to know that many of these people will not be responsive or healthy with any type of a conscious conversation. So, instead of bringing it to them and thinking they’re a normal person who’s going to respond rationally and considerably… Know that will never happen. The really important thing to do is to find support in this in either a friend, a coach, a counselor, someone where you can bring up these things and say, “what I would like to do is this, what I would like to do is really focus on me” and bring that into my relationship and see what happens or bring up a serious point that you have in your relationship in a healthy way and see what happens.
If you are met with criticism, more gas-lighting, more blame, you know for sure this is toxic. You know for sure you need to get help with this. You know for sure you need to end this, but it’s a really difficult process. It’s not easy to end something where you’ve been manipulated, but it is really important to get the awareness around it and to bring to a friend, or coach, or someone and say, “I’m aware that this is what it is.”
Now, if you’re in a situation where you’re living with someone like this, the immediate thing to do is to not out them, “Hey you’re toxic!” Never do that, because they’ll just go back at you with rage usually. But what you can do instead is start standing in your boundaries with your own action, meaning if they ask you do this, this and this and you really need time for yourself, you’re gonna have to get really used to the word NO and you’re going to have to say, “No sweetie, I can’t actually do that right now, because I have to do this.” Just observe the reaction. Is it something like, “That’s ridiculous! This is more important. I need this right now. You’re gonna be there for me. Why wouldn’t you be there for me when I need you.” You know how it goes. You’re gonna say, “I will be there for you when I’m finished with this. Thank you so much for understanding.”
It’s really about speaking our truth out loud in a non-blaming way. In a way that’s not going to get you more in trouble, right? More criticized, more blamed, more gas-lit or basically just abused in some weird way, but really what this is about is standing in your boundary and making sure you are safe and getting your needs met.
If you haven’t done that for a while, it’s time to start and ask yourself, “What do I need?” I need a self-care regimen. What are the things I need to do during a day or during a week to build up my sense of self again?
So you guys, if you need help with all this, I am always on social media. If you DM me with a question I will respond.
Or you can schedule a session with me HERE.