Toxic relationships are those characterised by bitterness, criticism, negativity and patterns of emotional and often physical violence. They make either or both partners negative and often exhausted by the dance of 'good and bad times' that result. Things go well for a while and then they rapidly swing with either or each person wondering why they are in this negative cycle again. Often one person feels they are the one abused whilst the abuser feels frustrated and angry at the other person. It is important to identify the pattern that typically happens in a toxic relationship if you are to see how breaking the cycle is going to be possible. You might need a skilled psychologist or counsellor to help you identify this – alternatively, you can take a piece of paper and work out the typical things that one person says or does, what your feelings are, what your or their response is and so on until the cycle is complete. A toxic relationship never gets better on its own – it requires identifying what the problem is, deciding what you want to change and learning to understand why you have stayed for so long. Leaving is often difficult if change does not seem likely – the alternative is to live a life of bitterness, resentment and eventual regret – regret at a life not fully lived and enjoyed.
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