Perhaps you have noticed a harmful, repetitive pattern in your relationships, a pattern that got you wondering, “Am I toxic to others?”
How do you know if you are toxic in a relationship?
This is an exercise in self-awareness, one that will ask you for complete honesty. It is only by becoming aware that you can change. If you are wondering how to stop being toxic in a relationship, read on!
Alternatively, you could also have faced some traumatic experiences in your life that led to you being a negative person. This reflected in your relationships as well, and you ended up being the toxic one in the relationship.
The chances are that there is a communication gap between you and your partner.
And as a consequence, this ensued fight, and you started to become negative about it and handled the situation rather impatiently. This caused you to become a toxic person.
More often than not, when people get into a relationship, it usually happens with an adrenaline rush, and partners don’t clarify their relationship goals.
They do not land on the same page. This means while your partner is seeking a long-term commitment, you are still not ready or have thought it through.
You could be a manipulator
Check for your signs of manipulation. Are you a dominant manipulator in the relationship? If your partner crawls into guilt because of your constant blames and gaslighting, this could be one of the causes of your relationship being toxic.
Lack of compatibility
Simply put, you both might not be suited for each other. If the personalities of both the partners are completely different and there’s no match, it is likely that one partner will turn toxic. In this case, unfortunately, you are the tone.
Toxic traits in a relationship can definitely impact the quality of your romance, so it is in your interest to learn how to stop being toxic. Being a toxic partner puts the relationship off balance. Instead of two healthy people interacting, the power dynamic is unequal in a toxic relationship.
Toxic relationships are often short-lived because the non-toxic partner becomes tired of being the object of criticism, abuse, jealousy, and disapproval. They eventually leave.
When you are the toxic partner, it is likely you do not show respect to the person you love, which makes them feel devalued and belittled. Because toxic person traits include narcissism, you may not make any effort towards your partner; you are centered on yourself.
If you are a liar, that undermines the trust between the two of you, which is essential to a healthy relationship. Your communication skills may be poor, as you have not learned how to actively listen to your partner. Your emotional outbursts may be frequent and easily triggered, which does not make for a calm and peaceful household.
All of these behaviors impact the mental and emotional health of you and your partner. It is therefore vital to learn how to stop being toxic in a relationship.
Indeed, a toxic person can change. If you are a toxic person, for your own well-being, you should make an effort to work deeply on not only the toxic traits in yourself but the “why” behind these traits. In other words, you did not become toxic randomly.
There are reasons at the root of these behaviors, reasons that may be worth working with a therapist or coach to uncover and examine. As you become more self-aware, you gain the tools to know how to stop being toxic in a relationship.
So, what to do when you realize you’re the toxic one in the relationship?
It is likely you learned these behaviors in childhood. Perhaps you were raised in a household where parenting was toxic. Perhaps you were not taught empathy and compassion at an early age.
Rest assured: Toxic people can be healed with conscious effort and self-awareness. But you need to be willing to change and accept responsibility to move forward and let go of the toxic traits in yourself. You can learn how to undo your past and how to stop being toxic in a relationship.
I am a toxic person. How do I change?
Are you ready to work on yourself? Are you ready to learn how to stop being toxic in a relationship?
Toxicity in the relationship should be avoided at all costs as this could be detrimental to the relationship. Here are 15 ways to stop being toxic in the relationship. Check them out:
1. Understand and realize what being toxic means in a relationship
Being toxic spreads negativity and hurts those around you, especially the person you love. When you take a deep look at the harmful impact toxicity is having on your loved one, you are at a place where change can begin, and you can work on how to stop being toxic in a relationship. Look inward.
It all starts with the admission: I am a toxic person. How do I change?
2. Consider therapy
Learning how to not be a toxic person is difficult without the help and support of mental health professionals. Toxicity cannot be reasoned with nor wished away. Toxic person traits are deeply ingrained.
Their mode of functioning is a pattern that can be undone with the help of outside expertise. A therapist can show you the path away from toxicity and towards a new, healthier way of interacting with others, one that doesn’t drive them away from you.
A therapist can help uncover the link between what you learned in childhood and how to stop being toxic in a relationship now as an adult.
3. Shift from blaming to understanding
As a toxic person, your default was to blame the other for whatever is wrong. As you learn how to stop being toxic in a relationship, take a step back from blame. Try to understand the situation from a different perspective.
Understand that assigning blame is unproductive and will not lead to resolution. Ask yourself what you might do to find a solution, rather than playing the blame game.
Your mental goal is to eliminate toxicity and practice more positivity in your life. No matter what you do, do not lose sight of your why.
Toxic behavior creates stress and unhappiness. It puts a strain on all relationships. Those are places you do not deserve to be. So keep your eye on the goal as you begin to address the toxicity in your life. You deserve to be surrounded by positivity and joy, not live in conflict and negativity.
5. Recognize signs you exhibit toxic behavior
First of all, you are not toxic. You have certain toxic behaviors. It is unlikely you have all the toxic behaviors listed above, but identify those that sound familiar to you.
Then, to better see your behavioral patterns, start keeping a journal. Note when you sense, you have reacted in a toxic way. Note what preceded that reaction. Write out the consequences of reacting from an extreme rather than a calm mind.
This can help you better identify circumstances that trigger toxic behavior and enable you to stop being toxic in a relationship.
6. Learn and get comfortable with the art of the apology
Toxic people never assume blame for anything they are responsible for, so they never apologize. Owning up to your mistakes is a fundamental part of learning how to stop being toxic in a relationship.
Apologizing months or even years after your friendships and relationships ended is difficult but so rewarding. You will be surprised by how forgiving and kind people are.
7. Make and keep boundaries
It is likely that you are toxic because this behavior has worked for you in the past. But by establishing boundaries, you can say no to the toxic people you have brought into your life. Boundaries are healthy in relationships.
If you are drawn to toxic personality relationships, get working on letting these go. It can be especially difficult when you are dealing with a member of your family, like a parent or sibling. That applies especially to the ones who perpetuate your own toxic behavior.
Exercise produces endorphins, the feel-good hormone. It is impossible to practice negativity, criticism, and hostility when you’ve just worked up a great sweat and are feeling happy and powerful.
Commit to a daily exercise routine—it can be as low-impact as walking—and watch what happens to your toxic traits. Preventing toxicity in a relationship is often just one good workout away!
9. Own your actions
Part of how to be less toxic is to take responsibility for your own acts as well as their consequences on those around you.
If something you have said or done has touched someone negatively, apologize quickly and ask how you can make amends. You will be amazed at how good it feels to own your mistakes and live with integrity.
10. Make a resolution to always act with integrity
When learning how to stop being toxic in a relationship, it is helpful to ask yourself, “Is what I am saying or doing causing harm to another person?” By posing the question, you can consider your actions and move forward with integrity.
How to be less toxic starts with self-love. Most toxic people have low self-esteem. They spread their toxicity towards others as a way to boost their low image of themselves (although they won’t ever admit this).
A key way to stop being toxic in a relationship is to take time to be on your own. Learn how to feel complete, whole, and lovable all by yourself. Take time to build your own reserves of self-worth, which you can then reflect back onto others.
Take some cues from the video below to understand how you can practice self-love:
12. Start small
Identify one toxic habit you have and commit to working on this for one week. If, for example, you avoid discussions with your partner because you blow up immediately, schedule a time to talk with your partner so you can engage in a meaningful, kind, and respectful conversation.
Keep in the forefront of your mind good communication techniques, and be mindful of keeping toxic reactions far away.
13. Catch yourself doing non-toxic behaviors
Pay attention to your toxic patterns.
As you learn how to stop being toxic in a relationship, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back when you observe that you are engaging in healthy behaviors that have replaced your former, toxic ones.
14. Concentrate on your own healing path
You may have a tendency to want to point the finger towards others and make them responsible for all your ills. Let that go. It does not serve you.
How to stop being toxic in a relationship?
Focus on your own healing path. What others do or don’t do is not your business. As you move towards integrity, positivity, self-love, and compassion for all, your healing will fall into place naturally.
15. Recognize other’s self-change
One of the most amazing things you will witness as you learn how to stop being toxic in a relationship is that those close to you will change as well. Recognize these uplifting changes and voice your gratitude for them. Create a virtuous circle of positivity.
When you realize you are the toxic one in the relationship
The above 15 points are key to moving from being the toxic person in a relationship to being a healthy, balanced partner.
It may be beneficial to start by tackling one or two at a time, in no particular order. Evolution does not need to take place overnight, but if you want to enhance your interpersonal relationships, you do need to let go of toxic behaviors. These can only hinder your ability to become close with others.
Now you have the tools you need to begin to know how to stop being toxic in a relationship. Approach these new ways of thinking step by step, taking time to congratulate yourself when you observe that you are casting off old behaviors that were toxic.
Be open to the changes you will feel and to the changes you will observe in your close circle. You will see that your mental outlook is much more upbeat, less critical. The world will seem to be a much friendlier place. It may take some time, but adapting small, positive habits will benefit not only you but those around you as well.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.