Looking at your phone, you roll your eyes and take a big sigh before answering it because you know the person on the other end is about to drain you of all of your energy and send your emotions into a downward spiral. The person on the other end is probably calling to complain about something they have no desire to change, ask for a favor, or bombard you with their pessimism. But, you answer the call and maintain the relationship, despite the trail of misery that follows that person. This is a toxic relationship!
Most toxic relationships are never identified because it’s believed that toxic relationships are limited to couples in romantic relationships and synonymous with abusive relationships. Any interaction where two people have a connection or regular involvement is a relationship. This includes family, friends and colleagues, which means any personal or professional may become toxic. A toxic relationship is an unbalanced connection where various forms of manipulation are used to influence or control the relationship dynamics. Identifying non-romantic toxic relationships is challenging because most think of abuse when they hear toxic. Here are three toxic relationship identifiers.
Obligation – Genuine relationships come without clauses and contingencies. A person that contributes to the relationship will not consistently remind you of what they have done for you as a reason why you should return a favor. Obligation may also include guilt. For example, you would have never gotten that contract, but now I’m about to lose my job because you won’t let me use your car. A relationship should be mutually beneficial, not driven by favors.
Lack of accountability – You have the right to voice how you feel about situations that involve you. In a toxic relationship, the blame game is prevalent. No matter what you say or do, the person you are in an interaction with will deflect the issue and find a way to hold you at fault, without acknowledging their wrongdoing. As an example you say, you forget to sit the trash outside. They respond you act like you’re perfect. If you raise a concern, the response should never be countered with what you have done in the past.
Negative disposition – When you have good news, you want the people closest to you know because they want to celebrate with you. In a toxic relationship, a person will always find a way to bring you down and minimize your success no matter how monumental your accomplishment may be by complaining about their situation, finding negativity in your news, or simply deciding not to support you. A negative disposition will drain your energy and cause you to doubt your own accomplishments.
If you are doing more to maintain a relationship than you are enjoying it, then chances are it’s a toxic and you should let the relationship go before it kills your passion, pride or purpose.