There are many types of acceptable relationships: friendships, kinships, and romantic partnerships. The only unacceptable relationship is a toxic or abusive one. When does a relationship become toxic? What should you do? Learn how to deal with a toxic relationship today.
Disclaimer: if you are currently experiencing any form of abuse (e.g. physical, sexual, emotional) and fear for your safety, seek attention from the proper authorities as soon as possible.
How to deal with a toxic relationship
Toxicity vs. abuse
There is a blurred line between toxicity and abuse. Essentially, all abusive relationships are toxic while a toxic relationship does not have to involve abuse. While we often think of romantic partners as those in relationships, even friendships and family relationships can become toxic or abusive. For example, there are many cases of child abuse at home and online.
The default meaning of the word “toxic” is something that causes poisoning or harm. In relationships, toxicity refers to actions, words, and feelings that harm or ruin the relationship between people. Poor communication, conflict, and unhealthy expression are some roots of toxicity. It is not always intentional, but that does not justify the harm done.
On the other hand, abuse refers to intentional harm done to another person. Abuse happens regularly and is often rooted in the need for control over the victim. For example, if your parent or partner always criticizes you and uses foul language when you make a small mistake, this is considered verbal abuse. However, a significant other accidentally making an insensitive joke one time would not be considered abuse right away.