BEIRUT: Investing in a relationship for years might make partners unaware of the negativity of the bond that exists between them – or that the relationship has become toxic!
According to Tina Jarrous, Certified Professional Life Coach, Relationship and Divorce Coach, and member of the International Coach Federation, it is important to differentiate between a difficult relationship and a toxic relationship. While both types might not be in one’s favor, a toxic relationship is distinguished by the “poisonous atmosphere” it creates.
By definition, toxic relationships are depicted by emotional and often physical harm caused by one of the partners. It is also characterized by insecurity and a lack of desire for the happiness of the significant other.
“Relationships can start healthy but, bad feelings, bad history, or long-term unmet needs can fester,” Jarrous told Annahar. “Toxic relationships can be made up of poor choices, bad decisions, and wrong turns in life.”
Jarrous explained that although all relationships have ups and downs, toxic relationships are characterized by a constant state of conflict. She also added that such relationships are depicted by the lack trust between partners.
“A relationship without trust can turn people into something they aren’t naturally: insecure, jealous, and suspicious,” she said.
In his book “Fantasy Bond,” clinical psychologist Robert Firestone, PhD, explained the term fantasy bond as a passionate connection between partners. It is when the actual feeling of love is diminished and replaced by an unrealistic connection.
This bond is viewed as a common premise in toxic relationships and a leading cause of toxicity. It makes partners stay together despite hurting each other and in many cases, blinds them of the fact that the relationship is poisonous.
Consequently, Jarrous discussed with NAYA a number of red flags one should keep an eye for.
“How do you feel being with that person? Do you feel safe around them? Do you feel emotionally drained after dealing with the person?” Jarrous said as she discussed a few questions to reflect on and consider when judging if the relationship is toxic or not.
The life coach also added that a manipulative partner, the fear of being constantly judged by the significant other, and the feeling of always giving more and “fantasizing that you can make things better just by trying too hard” might also signify toxicity.
“Toxicity drains a relationship from trust, happiness, security, self-esteem, and self-respect,” she said. “A toxic relationship can affect your self-esteem, your happiness, and the way you see the world.”
Jarrous also added that external relationships, such as work and friendship connections, might start suffering as well.
Can we eradicate toxicity from a partnership?
“Some people leave the toxic relationship and form new, healthier bonds,” Jarrous said. “But, others are actually able to repair their relationship and stay in it.”
The relationship and divorce coach explained that if the relationship was previously healthy, it is possible to return it to its original form. Nonetheless, the only ones capable of judging whether or not this is possible are the two people involved in the relationship.
Jarrous added that the relationship cannot return to its nature unless both partners are willing to work together to achieve this.
“The truth is, most relationships are able to be salvaged,” Jarrous told Annahar. Nonetheless, she added that sometimes one needs to just let go. “You should be the one who decides whether the relationship has the potential to reach a healthy climate or not.”
Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]
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