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Moment Of Clarity

Five Signs You Are in a Toxic Relationship    

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The New Year has begun and many of you have vowed, once again, to get rid of those relationships that are bad for your health, wealth, and spiritual growth.

While this is a worthwhile goal I encourage people to make and keep, the challenge many encounter is not only determining which relationships are toxic but what to do to end or distance themselves from those people.

A dear friend of mine, Dr. Christina Watlington, Ph.D., works with individuals to help them gain clarity and develop a plan to identify and move away from toxic relationships.

Being in a toxic relationship is draining. Dr. Watlington lists five telltale signs that signal you may be in a toxic relationship:

1) You don’t feel like you can be yourself: Healthy relationships are characterized by authenticity. In toxic relationships, there is a belief that you have to sacrifice many elements of yourself to make the other person happy. Those who genuinely care about you may point out to you that you are not quite yourself.

2) Feeling emotionally silenced: In toxic relationships, you don’t feel very comfortable bringing up your feelings because you don’t want to make the other person upset. Hence, you learn to keep quiet.

3) Feeling that you never do anything right: In toxic relationships, you tend to second-guess yourself and you may even begin to believe that you are the person at fault. Even if the toxic person has done something wrong, he or she may make it seem like you are the reason for his or her transgression.

4) The toxic person is always the center of attention: For the toxic person, everything is about his or her agenda. Your agenda is irrelevant along with your feelings. He/she will tend to dominate discussions. You might feel like you are being scolded or given a lesson in your communication with him/her. You are there to be seen and not heard in that discussion because the toxic person needs to always have the last word.

5) Your inner voice is always telling you to leave: In toxic relationships, you may find yourself consistently telling the person or others that you want or need to leave the relationship. You know that this relationship is no good for you but you stay against your better judgment. While your inner voice is telling you to leave, there is a louder voice in your head telling you that you need to stay with this person.

If these signs are familiar to you and certain people immediately come to mind, you may be in a toxic relationship. Dr. Watlington also gives some tips on how to remove yourself from the relationship:

1)   Talk with a therapist. Therapists are objective and have resources that can help you help yourself. Learning to become stronger and stay true to your inner voice will help you keep those things and people who no longer serve your highest good at bay.

2)   Trust your “wise-sellf.” This is a term that is used to describe your intuition or “gut”. At some intuitive level, your body and wise-self knows what is and is not good for you. Learn to tune into this part of you and strengthen it through meditation and mindfulness training.

3)   Surround yourself with positive people. There is saying that “water meets its levels.” In essence, we attract people who are where we are. If you notice that toxic people surround you, there may be something that is drawing them to you. This does not mean you deserve to be treated badly; it just means that you may be inadvertently doing something that attracts them. Once you figure out what that may be, you have the power to change it; and power over our lives is good!

There you have it, how to tell if you’re in a toxic relationship and what you can do to remove yourself from them.

As always, I hope this was helpful and encourage you to pass it on to others. With love and light, I wish you a happy new year and pleasant journeys!

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!