Toxic Relationships: When we form a bonding in a relationship, not just a romantic relationship but one with a potential best friend, parent or with a partner we ideally wish for it to be a long-term relationship and for it to not end mid-way. There are multiple facets to a relationship and the most basic and foundational one is formed based on our childhood experiences. Our expert here points out that, “We often engage in relationships which offer things and emotions which we lacked in our childhood or were not given to us by our parents and other family members.
For a lot of people, the initial phase of most relationships is “all rainbow and sunshine” but it is only after we share our time, emotions, energy and life with that particular person things don’t streamline. We receive the training to create meaningful relationships during our childhood and it is at that time that we learn simple emotions like happiness, sadness, anger and fear.
Akansha mentions, “As young kids, we are taught the basics of any and all relationships, we establish emotional reactions like blame and threat to build. Things which are rather acceptable in a relationship.”
Akansha Tayal is a clinical psychologist and a counselling practitioner at Kalpavriksha in Noida, U.P. Akansha also conducts couple therapy sessions and keeps a daily habit of taking up 2-3 clients in a day because she believes valuing your own mental health is also essential.
During our conversation with our Ms Tayal, we could pinpoint 7 signs often referred to as “Red flags” which are visible to us but are usually avoided in order to not confront the reality of the relationship. Let’s find out what these 7 red flags are,
We create unrealistic expectations from our relationships, we expect the other person to make us happy. We drive our own happiness from the efforts and from the words of others, when in fact our happiness is our OWN responsibility and no other person or thing can ever satisfy that need.
2. Guilting yourself
In a parental relationship i.e. with either parent or both, we tend to guilt ourselves to facilitate their feelings and emotions. Now do not mistake the opposite of this to be disrespectful but rather understand this simple fact- “You CAN NOT parent your parents”.You should not facilitate their emotions and needs over your own.
3. Trauma bonding
When we talk about bonding, we usually visualize the relationship we have with our siblings or friends. This is a common factor in millennial relationships but continues to be a focal point for the current generation as well. The emotions or emotional space that we were denied or not offered as children creates a certain void and as adults, we seek the same in our relationships from our partners and eventually push it onto our future kids.
Often times in a romantic relationship we begin on a very happy and perfect note but it is only after a few months we realize the true traits and characteristics of our partner. And by that time we have already grown deeper into the relationship and created a certain kind of attachment with our significant other. In such an “attachment” oriented relationship we end up giving up more than we receive. The balance goes off and both partners end up feeding off the things the other person does or gives. In such a case, no actual relationship building happens and creates ripples to ultimately form a trauma bond.
5. No difficult conversations
Real and long-lasting relationships require proper sit-down conversations- to talk about things that are not work working for either or both the people in a relationship. For instance, in a close friendship, people avoid asking for previously owed money from a friend and over time this very thing creates a riff in the relationship which results in a lot of good friendships ending on a sour and bitter note.
6. No Boundaries
It is extremely essential to establish emotional boundaries in all relationships. No one has the right to take advantage of your understanding and emotional clarity and use that as an excuse to exploit you on an emotional level. Relationships work best when both members contribute to the relationship. Having no boundaries in a relationship only leads to codependency, toxic attachment and trauma bonding which are characteristics of an unhealthy relationship.
7. Abandoning self
In order to create a safe space for the other person we end up abandoning ourselves. This may seem strange at first but when we end up only giving in a relationship without input we create a cycle of abandonment. This abandonment is not just unhealthy but also establishes mistrust in the relationships where the “giver” starts taking their needs and self for granted and ends up in an extremely toxic relationship.
“When we create a safe and healthy space for our emotions and that of our partner, parent or friend, we establish grounds for realistic and mature relationships. Such relations not only last longer but also have a positive effect on our bodies biologically. So I would suggest everyone to first understand and respect their needs and then cater to the needs of others, whether emotional or physical,” remarked Ms Akansha Tayal before closing the conversation.