How to recognize a toxic relationship, according to one expert

To free yourself from a toxic romantic relationship, you still need to realize that it is unhealthy and destructive. Although it is said that love is blind, certain signs do not deceive.

The cornerstones of a healthy and balanced relationship are “trust, mutual respect, the feeling of being loved for who we are, but also the feeling of freedom”, explains Sébastien Garnero, doctor of psychology, psychotherapist, psychologist and sexologist. .

As soon as one of these bases is “destroyed by the other”, the relationship is undermined and can become toxic.

a dominant / dominated relationship

Among the behaviors that show that there is a dysfunctional relationship, we find aggression, verbal and / or physical, dominance, submission, emotional dependence and persecution, ”explains the specialist, also a hypnotherapist and teacher at Paris 5 University.

A toxic relationship occurs when one of the two spouses “takes power over the other”. He will tend to “impose his vision of things, his choices, without taking into account the wishes of the other,” which will have to comply with his demands.

devaluation of the other

In the private or public sphere, he can also be hurtful and devalue his partner.

These remarks, insults and other insults will become more and more recurring and turn into “moral harassment”, the expert adds, emphasizing that within this type of relationship, harassment can also be of a sexual nature.

control and jealousy

As the months go by, the relationship becomes “very intrusive and intrusive”. Overwhelmed by a pathological jealousy, one of the two protagonists will regularly check the other’s facts and gestures, rummage through his personal belongings and subject him to numerous interrogations.

He will also control his appearance, for example by preventing him from wearing an outfit, cutting his hair and encouraging him to reduce his circle of friends by limiting his excursions.

emotional blackmail and isolation

The dominant person, “who often uses manipulation to pretend to be the victim”, notes Sébastien Garnero, will actually introduce “a strategy of isolation to reinforce the influence”.

At the same time, she will establish “a system of emotional blackmail” and tell him that “if she refuses to do this, there will be such a consequence”.

The prisoner, the victim of a toxic relationship “no longer dares to have individual space”, withdraws into himself, sees his friends and family less and less, and “always feels the need to want to do well so as not to disappoint his partner” .

stress, anxiety, depression …

Over time, “she will lose confidence in herself, feel stressed over everything and then suffer from anxiety, even depression.” These are “characteristic symptoms in people who have been in this kind of toxic conditions for some time.”

Despite its signals, some people struggle to become aware because “the toxic relationship is created insidiously and gradually when the emotional bond is created and solid.”

While all indications are that it’s time to end the story, they will stay because “they are in denial”. “Part of the individual knows well that this relationship is problematic, but the other refuses to get rid of it”, on the one hand because he ends up getting used to it, but also because he imagines that the situation will develop .

dear, a valuable help

But that is rarely the case. Typically, the toxic partner is “using this argument just to keep the other person going”. The specialist specifies that within a toxic romantic relationship a typical pattern is repeated: “the phases of tension, aggression, justification and reconciliation”.

Not to mention the “fear of emptiness”. Yes, “we sometimes say to ourselves that it’s better to live like this than to be alone”, the psychotherapist continues, emphasizing that it is generally thanks to the close follow-up, or with the help of a professional, that the people in question alright. to free oneself from such a relationship.

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