Toxic relationships are often our major downfall

Toxic relationships are often our major downfall

So much written material crosses my desk in a week’s time that I often feel bogged down just reading the titles, much less the entire articles. If you have been writing in any regular area for a number of years, your name gets on many lists, and often people who think they know you far better than you think they do send material, ask for ideas about writing, offer help, and ask for referrals, just to name a few of this week’s requests. However, one article came to me this week that I read word for word – twice. It held my attention and it caused me to think, which should be the purpose of any good writing.

The subject was why people stay in toxic relationships. The article asked is it because they are so deep in the forest they can no longer see the trees? Is it a fear of change? Is it because they don’t want to give up on something they like? Or, could they simply be unaware that the position in which they are in at the moment is not good for them, healthy, safe or in their best interests for the long run?

I thought about the seriousness of the questions, and my mind began to wander to various people I know and love. Some, of course, I know far better than I do others, but the advice was good for many and for any age. Relationship issues, I have learned, are not limited to the teens or early career professionals. They continue throughout our lives and often, changes in mid life and in old age can be more difficult to make and understand.

One author suggests that a toxic or unhealthy relationship can happen because one or the other simply won’t make or take the necessary time to maintain the relationship or to assure the partner that they are important to them. Learning to be present in the moment is so important in keeping a relationship strong and vibrant. When is the last time you spent quality time with your partner?

Being truthful is a second huge component of preventing a toxic relationship from getting its roots in your life. Lying starts small but gains rapidly, and soon, people do not know if they can believe anything that is said. Speak the truth and face the consequences. Sometimes, this matter includes sins of omission as well as commission.

Two weapons formed for war in toxic relationships are condemnation and attacking. Please keep from condemning someone in public. If criticism is justified, have the common decency to handle the matter privately. I read things on Facebook and I shake my head and wonder, “Do they have any idea how that came across?” One lady I have noticed writes everything bad her husband does or does not do. I don’t really blame him for being angry with her. Mama Cole always said, “Don’t hang your dirty laundry out for others to see.”

Not being able to take responsibility for a wrong action, unkind words, lack of attention, and so many other things that occur in our daily lives makes it difficult for the partner or family members. When one refuses to admit he is wrong, it then appears that he thinks the other person always is the guilty party. This is a battle one cannot win. We all make mistakes and it is helpful when we own up to them.

After reading, praying, and thinking about this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the matter of effective communication between partners, family members, employees, and neighbors is central or key to success. Once we stop communicating, stating our feelings, asking questions in a non-combative manner, and actually hearing each other, we are already in deep trouble. The silent treatment has killed many a marriage or many a friendship.

Think about it. Are you in a toxic relationship with anyone? Who needs to make something right? The wonderful blessed truth is that once we realize we are in trouble, we have the ability to ask or give forgiveness and start afresh. It is literally a new lease on life.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.