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Can Toxic Relationships Be Fixed? Better Questions to Consider

Before we get started, here's something very important: if there is physical or sexual violence in your relationship, therapy can make it worse. It is not safe to seek out therapy in these cases. Please seek out individual help for domestic violence:


*Domestic Violence Hotline TheHotline.org 800.799.SAFE (7233).

*Love is Respect Loveisrespect.org Call 866.331.9474 or Text loveis to 22522. Peer advocates are available 24/7 to support teens with concerns about dating violence.


*If you are in a dangerous situation, you may want to delete your browser history to remove any evidence that you might be trying to leave a toxic or dangerous situation.

 

Many couples fight. Many couples could benefit from couples therapy to learn how to communicate better and understand each other. That wouldn't make them toxic, just normal. This applies to both romantic relationships, but also family and friendships.


So, what even is a toxic relationship? There is no official definition, to my knowledge.

Toxic can be defined as "very harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way." So, a toxic relationship is something that consistently breaks you down, often with small acts of disrespect rather than big betrayals.


So now, assuming there is no physical or sexual violence, can a toxic relationship be fixed?

The answer is sometimes. No therapist, myself included, can tell you for sure about your situation. No therapist, myself included, can predict the future.


Still, you could seek out individual therapy or couples therapy to try and work on your communication, intimacy, etc.


Whether or not you seek out therapy, here are some questions to consider:


  • When did the small acts of disrespect start? Was it at the start? Just recently?

  • Does the toxicity feel one-sided? What would a neutral person say about how you treat each other?

  • Is manipulation involved? That is, does it seem like the other person takes action or says things to get you to support them?

  • Do you two share the same values? That is, could the toxicity be simply that you have very different values and priorities?

  • Do both of you want to be in the relationship?

  • Do both of you want to work on the relationship?

  • Do both of you acknowledge that the relationship has problems?

  • Do either of you threaten each other? This may be a threat to hurt the other person or to hurt themselves. Sometimes, this could include blackmail. These are all serious threats and may require you to talk to authorities like the police.

  • Are you staying simply because you are afraid of being alone? We often stay with the devil we know because we fear the unknown.


I hope these questions give you something to reflect on. I hope you are safe and find what you need, both in your relationships and as an individual!


You can always talk to a therapist if you feel you need it! If you are in California, you can check to see if I have availability at LCSWerica.com.





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