How to recognize a toxic romantic relationship?

Toxic romantic relationships erode those who experience them. Although they are very harmful, they are often difficult to stop. What is signs of a toxic relationship ? How to get out? We interviewed Patricia Delahaie, life coach and author of These loves that hurt us, at Editions Marabout.

What is a toxic romantic relationship?

The disorder caused by love is trivialized if it is temporary and punctual. But the pain that characterizes toxic love affairs is different: it is continuous, lasting and destructive.

For Patricia Delahaie, the observation is clear: “This type of relationship causes more suffering than joy. If we compare moments and the suffering outweighs the joy, we are in a toxic relationship.”

Toxicity sets in from the moment the disorder does not prevent us from becoming, according to the author, “then we fall into a stubborn relationship,” she says. For Patricia Delahaie, this suffering would be the consequence of a lack, the lack of something that we would like to experience, of an expectation that we have and that is not being fulfilled. That the meaning of toxic love is very clear: it is a relationship that causes more harm than good.

Phase shift: one of the most important signs of toxic conditions

While all partners have periods of disagreement that they usually resolve by communicating, toxic couples are permanently out of phase. They do not expect the same from their relationship and no longer have the same goals in mind. According to Patricia Delahaie, “we recognize a toxic romantic relationship when there is a profound phase shift”.

The author takes a telling example to illustrate this concept: “In an extra-romantic relationship, the gap between everyone’s expectations is significant when you ask your partner to leave your spouse and he refuses. Either we decide and we accept intermittently of the relationship, or we cling to the idea that we must live together and it becomes a source of suffering and therefore of toxicity! “

According to Patricia Delahaie, phase change can also be linked to the amount of love: “When one loves more than the other or when passion exists only on one side.” We then fall into a visceral out-of-phase love that generates suffering. ” The concept of maladaptation then emerges. The sufferer does not succeed in adapting to what is happening. There is no balance.

Common to toxic couples

If toxicity is sometimes maintained by a narcissistic pervert, this is not the case for everyone toxic and destructive conditions, Patricia Delahaie insists: “There is not always an executioner and a victim. On the other hand, there is always someone who stays in a relationship that makes him suffer.” Thus, the person who is toxic to the other may not even be aware of the disorder he is creating.

It is clear that according to the author, these conditions do not always have the same characteristics and do not always follow the same pattern. On the other hand, they have at least one thing in common: the suffering they cause.

We all have a love story in mind that started at full speed and eventually became toxic. However, this pattern is not systematic according to the author: “There are relationships that are toxic from the start if, for example, one loves more than the other.”

In addition to the suffering they cause, toxic romantic relationships have another point in common, according to Patricia Delahaie: “If you are waiting to see your deficiency filled in, you are therefore hanging on to your partner’s lips.”

You fix this need that your partner does not meet. “It can be the expectation of more declarations of love, of an obligation, of a baby …”, the therapist continues “your world is shrinking, you have the impression that nothing else exists”.

In her book, Patricia Delahaie explains that the people who decide to become in toxic conditions has the impression that “the game is worth the candle”, the author then talks about secondary benefits. The feeling of love gives wings, it is well known. But when your self-esteem depends on how your partner sees you, it’s problematic.

Even if you suffer deeply during the relationship, being with a physically beneficial or professionally skilled partner, for example, can fulfill your lack of self-confidence. According to Patricia Delahaie “these secondary benefits can be material comfort, improved self-esteem or even sexual comfort”. Being with someone instead of being alone can also be considered a secondary benefit, according to the coach: “Leaving this relationship can send us back to a void that we are not ready to face.”

Awareness and identification of these secondary benefits will allow you to see the end of this toxic romantic relationship. In addition to being a way for you to fill personal gaps, the benefits it gives you, for your partner, are a way to hold on to you by creating an emotional addiction.

The ideal would be to take stock of your relationship and assess the pros and cons of being with that person. If you identify its presence as a way to meet a personal need, we invite you to talk about it with your friends or a specialist.

“Sometimes it’s enough to have good friends who know how to listen to help us take stock of ourselves,” says Patricia Delahaie. In case you realize that you no longer really have any friends and that your partner has created a vacuum around you, we invite you to contact the members of your family or a professional because you are potentially under the influence of a perverted narcissist.

You would have understood that recognize a toxic relationship reviews the evaluation of the degree of suffering. Once again, we invite you to show indulgence and benevolence towards yourself. You can also help yourself violentometera tool designed to measure the degree of violence in a relationship.

Stop a toxic relationship is not simple and sometimes takes time, according to Patricia Delahaie: “It can be hard to sort out your emotions. You can be dazzled by the good times and play them over and over again.”

Then you can be sure that the problem is not with you, we can all fall into toxic romantic relationships. The most important thing is to learn from it in order to reach the romantic relationship that suits us.

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