3 Toxic Relationships That Can Damage Your Health
Have you been in a relationship that started sweet, but ended bitterly? I’m sure you’ll agree that not all relationships are good for you. In fact, toxic relationships should come with a health warning. They can have a negative impact on you and damage your mental or physical health.
The birth of a relationship is always sweet. Man meets a woman and they fall in love…
” ‘It’s a thin line between love and hate.’B. B. Seaton sang those haunting words in one of his songs. Falling in love is deliciously overpowering. Life takes on new meaning. But do you really know the person you’re falling in love with? Sometimes the revelation is a shocking eye-opener.” ~ The Dangers of Being in a Love Hate Relationship – Part 1
When you meet your partner, it’s hard to imagine (for whatever reason) they could switch on you. Instead of the beautiful ripples of butterflies in your stomach, you’re battling for your health or life. Living in that environment is destructive and soul-destroying.
The types of relationships that can damage your health are many. But, let’s look at three main ones…
A stressful relationship can cause high blood pressure
A couple who are living in a war zone of constant arguments, fights, stress, disagreements, etc., is a recipe for stress. A study published in the Journals of Gerontology discovered that the stress of a bad relationship causes blood pressure hike.
The tension between the two of you can induce emotional suffering. And that can affect your overall well-being.
During my marriage, early morning arguments affected my whole day at work. I arrived at work distressed, tearful and unable to focus. Luckily I had an understanding boss who allowed me some time-out to get myself together. He listened while I pour out my problems. He even reassured me.
Toxic relationships impact on all areas of your life.
There’s cause for concern when your health starts to suffer.
“According to a 2005 article in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, domestic strain can influence how well people function over the workday, away from home. The researchers measured the blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol of 105 middle-age men and women, and compared them to the self-reported stress levels. They found that those with more marital concerns reported greater stress throughout the day, had higher blood pressure in the middle of the workday and higher morning cortisol levels.” Source – livescience.com
The report goes on to say that over a period, health-related stress can lead to depression, heart attacks or even strokes.
A relationship that kicks your self-confidence so hard, it leaves you feeling worthless
Allison was a beautiful, kind young woman. But she was timid and lacked self-confidence. All she wanted to do was to please her man. He took advantage of her weakness. When he was having a bad day or angry, he told her she was good for nothing, ugly and useless. She was afraid to leave him because she thought no other man would want her. She felt worthless. When she looked in the mirror, she saw an ugly person, instead of seeing her real beauty.
In this type of relationship, when he’s happy and treats you good, you feel great. But when he abuses you, you curl up and withdraw into yourself. It’s even worse if your partner is jealous and arrogant. He may accuse you of cheating on him, putting your friends and family first and not loving him enough.
“Someone who constantly puts you down, tries to blunt your self-confidence, and dents your self-esteem may be consciously (or, we must concede, even unconsciously) trying to keep you attached to them by telling you such things.” Source
The constant abuse wears you down. To keep the peace you accept his criticism, humiliation, and verbal abuse. And your self-confidence dips even lower.
“Psychology Today points to new research that has indicated “that the partner with diminished self-esteem tends to avoid confronting problems or conflicts. That avoidance often reflects feelings of insecurity about the partner’s feelings for them, and leads to hunkering down and withdrawing from conflict that might be resolved through more open, transparent communication.” Source
Living in an abusive relationship
An abusive relationship is much more than physical abuse. It’s sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, power control, threats, financial control, playing mind games, stalking and more.
Abusive relationships not only damage your health, and well-being but can cost you your life. The physical effects include bruising, cuts, broken bones, miscarriage, stillbirths, loss of teeth, black eyes, attempted suicide and more.
It has a massive impact on your mental health. Other health-related problems that can develop are high blood pressure, migraine, digestive problems, depression and much more.
Your spouse is the one that’s supposed to love you. To make you feel safe. Instead, they violate and intimidate you in your own home. Where do you run to when the person you love is abusing you?
This type of relationship is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it’s one of the worse ways to live. You never know when the next abusive attack is coming. You walk around like a nervous wreck, terrified.
It’s sad that a good relationship can turn into a bad one, over time. It usually starts off wonderful. But somewhere along the line disagreements, differences of opinions, conflicts or something else takes root.
There are steps you can take to try to fix your toxic relationship…
- Take responsibility for your actions.
- Identify yours and your partner’s negative behaviour.
- Talk to your partner. Don’t scream, shout or get angry. But, actively listen to each other properly.
- Find out when things started to go wrong. And remember how you were at the start of your relationship. Recover those loving moments.
- Develop positive, healthy relationship rules.
- Put lots of time and effort into working on your relationship.
- Put the fun back in.
- Spend quality time together. Have regular date nights – just the two of you.
- Laugh together. Watch comedy films, eat popcorn and be silly with each other, like kids. Do anything that will make you laugh.
- Discuss and take note of what you both expect from each other. And share your visions for the future.
- If you can’t fix it on your own, see a relationship mentor, coach or Relate for relationship support and advice.
Don’t let a toxic relationship damage your health. If it’s worth saving, it’s worth putting in the effort to do all you can to restore it. If it’s not worth saving, you have a big decision to make. Love is glorious and life is precious. A healthy relationship is grounded in genuine love while you share a beautiful life together.
“Love is many things, but it never deceitful. Nothing toxic comes from genuine love. Remember that.” ~ Mylkhoney
I lived with an abusive partner for many years. My life was a mixture of tears, depression, anger, frustration, fear and lots of other emotions. I’m writing a book, ‘Deep Within my Soul: How Poetry Provided Relief From Infidelity and Abuse‘, to share my story with other abused women. It also includes poems I wrote during that period. If you would like a copy when it’s published, please subscribe to this blog. I will also be sharing snippets of the book soon.
Over to you…
Have you been in a relationship that affected your mental, physical or emotional health? How did you deal with it? I would love to hear your story. Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.