Most of us identify the phrase toxic relationships with romance. We hear the word relationship and we automatically think of a partner, ex-partner, or wish-they-were-but-wont-commit-kinda-partner.

When we need to end a toxic relationship with a romantic partner, there’s plenty of advice out there on how to make a clean break. Rom Coms and magazines have been giving out break-up advice since dinosaurs roamed the planet, and we can all turn to a hyped up WhatsApp chat with our besties for tips on how to ‘take the trash out’.

What we struggle with is identifying and ending toxic relationships with people who don't fit into the stereotypical toxic relationship criteria we’ve been conditioned to think of.

Any relationship we have with absolutely anyone can become toxic. But all too often we don’t talk about it, perhaps because we’re afraid that other people won’t understand why this particular relationship is toxic to our mental health, or we feel guilty for wanting to end things and think that we should be putting up with this relationship because ‘we’ve known each other for years’ or ‘she’s family’.

Just like the relationship itself, these kind of thoughts need to be cancelled. ASAP.

Relationships are supposed to be a source of mutual joy, happiness, laughter, support, honesty, loyalty, and more. We all know when we’ve got a good relationship with someone because we want to spend time with them, talk to them, just generally be around them. But when a relationship turns toxic, all the positive aspects melt away and instead we’re left feeling drained, unhappy, lonely, judged, betrayed, and empty. These feelings can be confusing and we question whether this is just a bad patch or actually a bad friend.

We need to realise that some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. We are all growing and changing every single day, so a relationship that worked well in your teenage years might not still be serving your higher purpose by the time you turn 30. As lovely as it might be to have long-lasting relationships, feelings of guilt or other people’s expectations shouldn’t force us to hold onto something that no longer fills us with love. And do you know what? That’s okay. Just because a relationship is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that all the good memories attached to it have to disappear too. 

So what should you do next? It’s up to you how you choose to go about ending a toxic relationship, but it’s a good idea to let the other person know exactly what’s going on, and why. That way, you can get things off your chest and give yourself some closure, as well as providing the opportunity for your ‘friend’ to learn and grow from the experience too.

It’s always going to be tough breaking up with someone, whether that’s a lover, friend, or even a family member, but the long term improvements to your mental health are more than worth it!

How to spot a toxic relationship…

When we’re romantically involved with someone, it’s somewhat easier to see the signs when things start going south - but when it comes to other relationships, things can be tricky to navigate. So what are some of the red flags we should be looking out for if we think someone might be toxic for us?

  • First things first, if you’re starting to question whether a relationship is toxic then it most likely is. 
  • If someone is frequently pushing or disrespecting your boundaries, and showing a clear disregard for your feelings, morals, and opinions.
  • When everything is totally one sided, for example you’re the one giving all the emotional support and advice, but getting none in return.
  • You’ve started to feel uncomfortable around them and you can no longer relax or be yourself.
  • Last but certainly not least, if you find yourself drained by someone else, then they’re toxic. Whether that’s from actively hanging out with them, replying to messages, or even just thinking about them. If someone’s energy is constantly sucking at yours, then they gotta go!
Written by Jade Biggs.