Toxic Relationships 

Are you in one?

Cassidy Xiong , Staff Writer

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Crying alone in the corner of the room, she decided once again to forgive him. Toxic/abusive relationships occur often and are not healthy for both parties. In this relationship, both parties end up hurting one another, whether it is physically, emotionally, or sexually, and the only way to be free is to leave the relationship.    

Toxic relationships are relationships that can be harmful to one’s wellbeing and are difficult to be in. Anyone of any age group can be affected by this kind of relationship but those at an age of 16-24 are more susceptible to dating violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), its data presents that 10% of high school students reported physical and sexual victimization from their dating partners in 2017. These unhealthy relationships start as toxic but then can proceed to an abusive relationship.    

You can find yourself in a toxic relationship if you feel that the relationship stopped bringing you joy and all you feel is unhappiness. During this time, you also start feeling envious of happy couples. When people find themselves in a toxic relationship, their mental health, personality, and self-esteem are also brought down. These changes include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc. If you feel like you can never have a deep conversation with your partner, or you’re obligated to attend to them every single day, then you’re in a toxic relationship.  

There are several different types of toxic relationships, such as the Deprecator-Belittler, the “Bad Temper” Toxic Partner, the Guilt-Inducer, etc. The Deprecator-Belittler is when a partner is always constantly putting you down and belittling you, wanting to gain all the power in the relationship. But having a healthy relationship is not about who has more power because both partners should equally have power. A relationship is not a war, there should not be a power struggle between both partners. The “Bad Temper” Toxic Partner is constantly angry, and no one can do anything to please them in the relationship. If you’re worried about what to say to this person and constantly on your toes, just in case you risk triggering their anger, then you know you’re in a toxic relationship. In a healthy relationship, both partners should be able to talk to each other and have deep conversations. They should be comfortable with each other and not have to worry about what to say to each other. The Guilt-Inducer is a partner who manipulates you by making you feel guilty when you do something, he/she doesn’t like. This person in the relationship loves to play the victim card and can control you with their words. You should not be in a relationship that constantly makes you feel guilty for doing the things you love. A healthy relationship should make you feel great about yourself and make you feel like you’re supported not attacked. Other toxic relationships include the Overreactor/Deflector, the Over-Dependent Partner, the User, the Possessive (Paranoid) Toxic Controller, etc.   

Toxic/Abusive relationships can occur in any relationship; however, it affects teenagers or adolescents more since, at this age, teenagers are still trying to figure out what a relationship even is. Adolescents are still young and are clueless in relationships. Many times, they look up to their parents’ relationships or movies, television shows, and even books, to help guide them in what a relationship is supposed to be like. And because they are clueless in their relationships, most times, they don’t even know if what they’re doing is even right. A senior at Edison High School whose real identity should not be disclosed and will go by Sam will share her story on a toxic relationship she’s experienced.    

Q: What is your definition of a toxic relationship?  

A: “My definition of a toxic relationship is when [pause] where you feel like you can’t be yourself when you’re with that person or you don’t feel safe, in certain circumstances.”  

Q: Have you been in toxic relationships before?  

A: “Yes. [laughs] Yes I have.”  

Q: What did you do to get yourself out of it?  

A: “Um…at one point I just…like enough was enough. I broke up with him and I deleted him off of everything and avoided any kind of contact.”  

Q: Was it hard to do that?  

A: “Uh…it was hard for the most part because we had the same friends…like we hang out in the same friend group, so I had to completely remove myself and like find new friends.”  

Q: Do you think that age and maturity go into the account of toxic/abusive relationships?  

A: “Um…age, NO, but maturity, yeah because like you have to know what you’re doing, and it takes a certain level of understanding to be like ‘Yeah I’m doing this but oh well’.”  

Q: Do you think kids of younger ages like teenagers are more prone to toxic relationships than adults or are they the same?  

A: “Um…I think it’s more adults actually because they like experienced more stuff and they have more understanding of the way people should and shouldn’t be like acting or how they shouldn’t or should treat people, so it’s like they’re making a conscious choice to be the way that they are.”  

Q: What are some tips you can give others who are also in the same predicament as you?  

A: “Once you figure enough is enough, just remove yourself as soon as possible and like avoid any kind of contact, whether it be through other people or like being in the same area as them. Like, remove yourself as much as possible.”  

Q: A lot of times, people don’t leave in a toxic relationship because they feel scared.  What do you have to say to those people?  

A: “I would say find someone you’re extremely comfortable with, like tell them and find a way that they could help you and just like…you just have to find people that you can confide in so that you can tell them about what is going on so that they could help in some way.”  

Q: If you would like to share more about your experience please share it?  

A: “Umm…some toxicity [pause] um…he talked about like sexual experiences he’s had with other people as a way to like try to get me into doing stuff with him, even though I didn’t want to [pause] and…there would be times where he would like try to touch me and [pause] like ‘don’t don’t, don’t do that’ and like [laughs] and like yeah. It was just like bad and kind of traumatic for me. After we broke up, I wasn’t comfortable with myself for a really long time and I like…completely changed the way I dressed and the way I acted with people and I closed myself off for a really long time.  So, it was hard.”  

Q: How long did it take you to get over it?  

A: “It took me almost a whole year to finally become comfortable with the way that I am and myself again, but telling people [because I didn’t tell anyone] it took me like six months to finally tell people that I really trusted and I thought that like…wouldn’t treat me any differently.”  

Once you realize you’re in a toxic relationship, you should act, either if it is by leaving the relationship completely or getting help from others. If in a toxic relationship, you feel that you are in physical danger and your partner might do something to you, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also let your friends and family know about the relationship so that they can help you.  Often, those in toxic relationships feel afraid to leave the relationship, but just know that you are not alone.