Updated: Dec 18, 2021
In “Part One” we took a look at the definition of “toxic” as it applies to our discussion on personal relationships. And, we took a look at some of the signs, or symptoms that are found in a toxic relationship. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to read this first and then proceed with this blog.
Toxic relationships are the outcome of certain conditions that either existed from the very beginning, or due to something that transpired along the way.
An example of a toxic relationship due to some condition that was present from the beginning would be an individual in the relationship that has a “narcissistic” condition.
Narcissism is considered a mental health condition, or personality disorder with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior. They have an excessive interest or admiration in their own physical appearance. Feel they are superior to others. Narcissists are vain, self-absorbed, conceited, egotistical, have a sense of entitlement, lack empathy (to understand and share the feelings of another). They can be envious and have suspicion of people’s motives. They need and demand excessive praise, admiration and attention. Possess a judgmental attitude and exaggerate their own importance.
Although we all may exhibit, to some degree and at certain times, traits that are, or may be similar, for a narcissist these traits are a part of their makeup and are conditions that can, in cases, be so extreme that there is the potential to be violent. These conditions permeate everything.
It can be difficult to notice in the very beginning that the person you are involved with is a narcissist for several reasons:
The relationship is new and fresh.
Being on a natural high we tend to write-off things at first as quirks, or some other reason that we justify.
We are not initially looking for “signs”. And what signs are there, we don’t connect with other dots.
And believe it or not, there are people that actually like “drama” in their relationship. We know a few that fit this category.
Other conditions that may have existed from the beginning that end up turning a relationship into a toxic one would be emotional instability. Past emotional wounds that have festered over time that ultimately gets projected into a new relationship. Examples would be wounds brought about by a traumatic experience, or a history of abuse. It is not unusual to find that what was done to the individual that was hurtful is the very thing they end up doing to the person they are with.
However, emotional instability may also be contributed to a chemical imbalance where medical treatment is required. Or physical brain damage.
Another example would be poor role models growing up that shaped and influenced an individual’s understanding of what a relationship looked like. What was perceived as acceptable or permissible. Or, what was considered normal that really is not. The “monkey see monkey do” syndrome falls into this category.
And, we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think that our surrounding culture, or the one we surround ourselves with, does not have an impact on our view of things.
There are external pressures that come to bear as well on relationships and marriages that, if not addressed together, can become toxic environmental triggers. Financial pressures that cause great stress and conflict. Changing mores, belief systems or political views within the relationship. Aging issues such as mid-life crisis, illness or menopause. These are just a few of many examples of topics that are potential triggers.
Lastly, we are finding less and less guidance on what constitutes a healthy marriage. How it is established and what it should look like. What the role is of a man and woman in that marriage. And, the balance that each brings to the other that provides strength and support. A blueprint, as it were, with building blocks that make for a good foundation. A map that helps two people head in the same direction.
So, what helpful guidance is there? And how do these types of things get solved?
We will get to some of that next time in our blog “ABC”!
Until then, we wish you Love, Joy & Peace!