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Toxic relationships.

A toxic relationship is a very unhealthy one, and one that leaves people feeling worthless.  These types of relationships can be so destructive and they can severely damage a person’s self-esteem.  A toxic relationship is one that leaves you questioning yourself, doubting who you are and unable to relax and be yourself.  In short, you spend your time worrying about the other person and about what is going on for them, as opposed to focusing on you.


This means that a person’s authentic self gets lost, and they struggle to express the things that are important to them.  It is hard for them to get there needs met and it is hard for them to think about themselves.  Being in a toxic relationship means that everything is about the other person.


Relationship doesn’t only mean a romantic or intimate one.  While people can have toxic relationships with their partners, they can also have them with their friends and family members.  It is really important to take stock and actually look at the relationships in your lives.  In order to evaluate who in your life makes you feel good about yourself, and who in your life causes you pain and heartache.

Pain and heartache doesn’t only come from the obvious things such as physical or emotional abuse. Toxic relationships can also be a lot more subtle and there can be other signs that you are in one.

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A toxic relationship is one where you never feel that you are good enough. The person that you are in this relationship with will often put you down, laugh at you or make jokes about your personality or the things that you do.  This can all be done in jest, but it is a way of making you feel inadequate. The way that they speak to you can leave you feeling paranoid and judged.  The relationship can also leave you doubting yourself and questioning any decisions that you make in your life.

Another major sign of being in a toxic relationship is that you are never truly able to relax and be yourself around the person you are in the relationship with.  If people feel unable to be open and also feel on edge about which they are when they are with someone, then this is a sure sign that the relationship is destructive for them.

This could mean that a person puts on a totally different persona when they are around this person – to such an extent that they don’t even recognise who they are (and nor do other people).  They find themselves behaving in a way that isn’t them – just to connect to this person and to relate to them.  They may even start questioning the things they normally do or believe in, finding themselves thinking that this person is always right.

Other signs of a toxic relationship are when a person always talks about themselves, or makes everything about them.  If they permanently focus on what they want and they need, and never think about what you want and you need, then this is a definite sign of a toxic relationship.  Perhaps they get envious or jealous when things go well for you, or they can’t handle it when you are in a happy or good place.

A relationship that is destructive and brings you down can impact on your self-esteem, your confidence, as well as your physical and mental wellbeing.  It can bring you down, and make you feel very lost and low.


A toxic relationship doesn’t allow you to grow and develop. It doesn’t enable you to move forward or to invite positivity into your life.  Instead it pulls you down, and holds you back. Often people who are like this want to keep the other person in the same place.  In a place where maybe they controlled them, or a place where they felt better about who they were – because the other person was struggling or having a difficult time.

All of the above outlines relationships that are abusive, negative, unhealthy and destructive.  If you can recognise yourself in a relationship like this, then please be aware of the damage that this can be doing to you and your life.

If you are aware of a relationship that tries to hold you back that bring you down, that make you doubt who you are or if you know that you’re in a relationship that causes you pain or stress, then maybe it is time to question things and make some positive changes.

Putting some space between you and this person is the first step to making a change in your life.  Talking about the impact they have on you to others can also help, as can being aware of the damage that they do.

Gaining insight into who you really are and increasing self confidence and self-esteem will also help.  The better you feel about yourself and the stronger you feel about who you are, the more you will be able to stand your ground with this person and assert yourself.

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Counselling can really help with all of this and it enables people to break destructive patterns.  It also helps them to value who they are, and to believe in themselves.  It gives people the opportunity to start to follow their dreams, to recognise what their hopes are and to be aware of when someone is trying to pull them down or put them down.

Counselling allows people to focus on what it is that they want or need, and to make positive changes in their life.  Sometimes this can mean ending these toxic relationships and moving towards people that allow them to be themselves, and those that make them feel good about who they are. It enables people to start to value themselves more and to not allow these toxic relationships to destroy the good things in their lives.


Here at your counselling service we are dedicated to offering a great counselling service, and to enabling people to believe in who they are.  Our therapists work hard to allow people to feel good enough and to ensure that they don’t let other people (and their negativity) bring them down.