Aloha my wonderful merfolk!
Today I bring you something different, something I have never written before. I believe now that I have a blog, that I have a voice, that I can write more personal blog posts, posts that can perhaps help people.
A lot of these blog posts, if I write any similar ones in the future, will be taken from both personal experiences and from what I have seen others go through. Some posts may even be written based off questions that I have asked friends.
Today I want to talk about toxic relationships. A lot of people do not realise they are in one. I, at one point, was one of those individuals. I have had my fair share of toxic relationship experiences and have never realised how toxic they were until they came to an end and I looked back on them months, maybe years later. I want to talk about the signs so that anyone who may suspect their relationship is turning toxic, can get out before it turns nasty.
This is going to be a long post, so perhaps grab a cup of tea and a good few biscuits. Or, if you;re old enough, a decent sized glass of wine.
I will also point out that certain points in this post may be triggering.
1. They control who you are friends with.
One of the first signs is that they control who you are friends with. They will mention that they do not like certain friends and that they would prefer you not to hang out with said friend. They may argue with you and create drama over the fact you are spending time with the friend they do not like. Another cause can be irrational paranoia over the friend you are spending time with. Your partner may create a negative scenario in their own mind involving your friend, causing them imaginary stress, which they take out on you.
Your partner should not control who you are friends with. Do not allow them to cut your ties with friends. Your friends are important. If they don’t like your friends, then they don’t have to associate with them. They may need to be civil if their crosses their path, but that is all. No partner chooses your friends.
2. They control what you wear.
Have you ever been told that your skirt is too short or that your top is too low cut? That your trousers are too tight or that they simply so not like what you are wearing. Do they tell you to change? Have they every used the phrase whore or slut to describe you in the clothes you are wearing? Have they ever said that an item of clothing is inappropriate to wear in front of a specific individual; such as a friend?
You can wear whatever you want. Do not let your partner tell you what to wear. If you like to wear jeans and a low cut vest top, you do it. If you wish to wear that tie for work, you wear it.
3. They put you down.
This links in with the above point. If they tell you you’ve gained too much weight, that you’re fat, that you eat too much, that you drink too much, that your hair doesn’t look good, that you fail at everything you do, that you do not try hard enough or similar style things, then your relationship is toxic.
When you’re in a relationship, they should support you, compliment you. They fell for you with positive reasons, so why should they concentrate on all of the negative things that they can find and pick on? Why would they tell you that you are not working hard enough instead of supporting you in your endeavours? You deserve someone who has your back and will support you no matter what. You deserve someone who calls you beautiful, even if you are sitting in your scruffs with no make up on and your hair scraped back.
4. They control when you see them.
Have you ever wanted some alone time or to go out with friends and your partner has told you no? Have they told you to tell your friends that you are sick so you can hang out with them instead? Have they argued with you to the point you have caved and gone to see them instead of spending time with friends? Do they tell you that you need to see them every day or it means you don’t love them?
In a relationship, it is perfectly acceptable to have some quality alone time. It is also acceptable for you to go out with your friends. Just because you want a couple of days without seeing your partner, it does not devalue your love for them or how much you care about them. You need time to love yourself too, and that is very important. If your partner ever tells you that you don’t love them simply because you want to spend time on your own or with friends instead of them, then they do not respect you.
5. You have a score card.
Do they remind you of the things you have done wrong in the relationship? Do you remind them of the things they have done wrong in the relationship? Do these come up every time you have an argument? Does it all become tit for tat? You did this so it was okay that I did that.
No. Using your partners wrong doings to try to justify your own, is toxic. In a relationship, you are meant to forgive, not use everything as a weapon. Forgive and forget.
6. Have they ever used emotional blackmail?
Have they ever used a complaint or criticism as a threat to end relationship? have they ever threatened to self harm or commit suicide over something you have said to them?
Emotional blackmail is never ok. You should not be scared to be in your relationship. You should not be scared that they will break up with you over the smallest mistake or disagreement or flaw. You should not be scared to say anything in case their initial reaction is a threat. You should be free from fear, free from threat in a relationship.
7. Do they constantly break off the relationship?
With every small argument, do they call time on your relationship? Do they break off the relationship to teach you a lesson? To give you a taste of what you are missing? To tell you what you will be missing if you break their imaginary rules?
If you are in a relationship, you are meant to respect and love one another. Threatening to break up with your partner over the smallest of things breaks their trust. It makes them live in fear and no one should live in fear during a relationship. A relationship should be relaxed, you should feel relaxed around one another, not walking on metaphorical egg shells.
8. Do they buy your affection?
Sometimes this one is a big one. If you argue and they use some of the above toxic tactics against you, do they then buy you something in order to gain your affection back? To make you less angry? For you to forgive them? Do they buy you things as a way of pressuring you into doing something you don’t want to?
Presents in a relationship are always lovely, especially if they are not expected and not on a date that would warrant them; such as a birthday or anniversary. However, buying your partner a bunch of flowers or an expensive item in return for their forgiveness or for sexual advances. It is not fair and it is simply another form of emotional blackmail.
9. Do they harass you when you aren’t spending time with them?
If you go out with your friends, are they constantly asking you who you are with, or where you are? Are they asking too many questions? Asking for lots of specifics? If you wish to have a night on your own, do they harass you into changing your mind? Do they constantly text you accusing you of speaking to other people? Or ignoring their texts? Do they stalk your social media to check up on what you are doing?
You are allowed time with your friends. You are allowed to have some quality time to yourself. Your partner should respect those boundaries. They should respect whoever you are friends with and trust you. If you want to have some quality you time, they should also respect this. You are allowed to spend time apart in relationships. It’s healthy. What isn’t healthy is bombarding your other half with abusive or accusatory messages simply because they are having time away from you.
10. Do they use social media to prove a point.
There are many people in this day and age who share far too much of their private lives on social media. From sharenting to plastering their relationship everywhere. There is a big difference between sharing your happy memories, and constantly posting ‘I love you’ or ‘I can’t wait to see you’ on your other halves Facebook wall; especially if it’s after a fight or one of your break ups. Saying ‘I love you’ over social media is highly impersonal and comes across as you trying to prove a point to the world. It comes across that you are trying to validate your relationship to every eye that might be watching. If you want to say ‘I love you’, then say it to your other half to their face or via text. Keep the validation off social media.
On the flip side, dirty laundry should also be kept off social media. If you have an argument with your other half, do not post a bitchy status slagging them off. It is negative vibes that you don’t need and everyone on your friends list doesn’t need either. People love gossip and drama and by writing Facebook status’ in the heat of anger, you cause more for yourself. Do not delete and/or block each other every time you argue. That becomes just as obvious that there are issues in your relationship.
If your relationship is prone to arguments and break ups, may I suggest not having a photograph of you and your partner as your profile picture. Each time you argue or break up, you will want to change said profile picture. Your friends will notice this. Your friends will keep track of this. Social media creates more problems than it does solves them. Keep your relationship off social media and thus out of other peoples lives.
11. Are they being civil with your friends?
You may not like every single friend that your partner has, that is just natural. However, being civil with them and making an effort is part of the relationship process. If the friends don’t like you, then you have a big problem. In a non-toxic relationship, friends will tend to come before the partner as friends are there through the tough times. In a toxic relationship, the friends will be left behind, especially if the partner does not like them.
If your partner argues constantly with your friends, bitches about them, posts about them, the you need to either have a talk with them or separate. It is true that friends will come and go, however, partner should not be a replacement for friends. Do not let your partner poison your mind against your friends. Do not let your partner trash talk your friends; especially not publicly where anyone can read it.
Friends should be valued, by both yourself and your partner.
12. Do you hide your feelings just to keep peace?
Is there anything you hide just to avoid having an argument? You simply smile and nod at certain behaviours of theirs, again to avoid an argument? This is a big sign of a toxic relationship. You should not have to hide any behaviours or feelings through fear of an argument. You should not have to sit by and allow your partner to behave in ways you do not agree with, all because you are scared they will argue. This is a sure sign tat your relationship is not meant to be.
13. Are you avoiding one another?
Does the thought of being in the presence of your significant other fill you with so much dread that you avoid making plans? Are you always on edge when around them so you avoid hanging around with them? If you need to hang around with them, do you make sure it’s in a public place or with friends so that you are not totally alone with them?
On the other end of the spectrum, are you tired of spending time with your significant other? Are they constantly on your back about spending time with them? Do you simply need some alone time so are avoiding them?
For a healthy relationship, you should be able to stand being in each others presence and want to spend time with one another. If you can and want neither, then there is no relationship.
14. Do they make you delete your social media profiles?
Does your significant other ask you to delete your social media? Do they not trust you on Facebook? Or twitter? Or Snapchat? Do they demand that you delete them so that you can’t talk to other men or women? Or so that other people cannot talk to you? Do they check your accounts or insist on having your password?
One of the main factors of a relationship is trust. If you cannot trust your other half on a social media platform, then perhaps you should not be with them.
There are probably a good few signs that I have missed off this list. If you have been in a toxic relationship, I am sorry. But at the same time, you should take it as part of the learning process. You must have noticed the signs and got out of the toxicity before it became really bad.
If you feel like you are currently in a toxic relationship, you need to believe you are strong enough to leave. The toxicity and negativity is not healthy for you. You need to be strong and do something for yourself and not for your partner. I believe in you.
a mermaid be waiting for you, in mysterious fathoms below