What is a Toxic Versus Healthy Relationship? By Vicktoria Molokin, LCPC

Relationships are complex, complicated, and most of the time difficult to navigate for a variety of reasons. There are different factors of a relationship that can help you differentiate healthy versus unhealthy relationships in your life. These factors are but not limited to communication, respect, trust, honesty, equality, personal time, and sexual choices. Let’s dig into some of these on the relationship spectrum so that you can assess strengths and weaknesses within your intimate relationships with others.

Relationship Spectrum

Communication:
In a healthy relationship, you are able to openly talk about your issues, feel heard, and respect each other’s opinions.

In a toxic relationship, communication can be one-sided, involve personal attacks, hurtful comments, and abusive behaviors. When you “talk” about your issues you would end up fighting or not talking at all due to someone shutting down. Past issues are continuously brought up with judgment and rarely lead to a resolution.

Respect:
In a healthy relationship, you value and accept each other just as you are while maintaining appropriate boundaries.

In a toxic relationship, there is no honor, lack of boundaries, manipulation, mistreatment of each other, and lack of respect for feelings and safety.

Trust and Honesty:
In a healthy relationship, you are able to believe each other, promote transparency, and maintain confidentiality on private matters unless given permission to disclose it to others for additional support or comfort.

In a toxic relationship, there is a lack of trust and honesty to the point that you don’t believe one another and assume false accusations based on no or poor evidence. The people in the relationship may continuously jump to conclusions that there is a form of infidelity. Control issues are apparent and at times the primary source of arguments.

Equality
In a healthy relationship, you are able to make positive decisions together, hold each other to the same reasonable standards, and help each other succeed in personal and mutual goals.

In a toxic relationship, one or both of the parents feel that their own choices and needs are more important than their partner and others. They must always have their way which forces an individual to be compliant in order to maintain peace. When problems due arise, you are made to feel that all the issues stem from you and nothing you do is right.

Personal Time
In a healthy relationship, you are able to have a sense of harmony or balance of enjoying time spent together and respect each other when you need personal time alone.

In a toxic relationship, a partner becomes isolated from others due to the partner’s control issues or insecurities and must always know where and what they are doing. You get guilted when you care or are interested in other things outside of your relationship and are considered selfish or neglectful when you want to attend to your own interests independently.

Sexual Choices
In a healthy relationship, you are able to have an open discussion about sex, what is okay and what is not. You are able to provide a safe and enjoyable experience and attend to each other’s needs.

In a toxic relationship, one partner will push into engaging in unwanted or abusive sexual activity.

Now that you are more knowledgeable on the different aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships you can begin to work on areas where improvement is needed. If you need help to navigate, discuss, and explore your personal or relationship issues with a professional counselor, we are here to help and listen.

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