Toxic or abusive relationships can be found in any relationship. The most common one is in a romantic relationship. One of the parties tends to control and manipulate the other in many ways, for example, financially, emotionally and psychologically. However, this kind of behaviour is also seen in friendships, in family members as well as in work related environment.

Some standard features in a toxic or abusive relationship are:

  • Feeling of insecurities
  • Fear
  • Self-doubt of what is right and what is wrong
  • Verbal fights
  • Physical, emotional and psychological abuse
  • Guilt feelings
  • Depressive and anxiety symptoms
  • Low self-esteem and self-value. You feel not good enough in anything.

Some personality features of the abuser (Partner, mum, dad, friend, relative, co-worker) are:

  • Manipulation
  • Passive-aggressive behaviour
  • Control your personality, finances, relationships, and what you wear.
  • Jealousy of your friends, of your achievements
  • Judgements of your behaviour

In a toxic or abusive relationship, you feel confused about your values, about your thoughts and about what is suitable for you. As a result, you tend to think and believe that the abuser is right. In the end, you please his/her demands and you feel down, angry, frustrated with yourself because you know that you are doing something against your self, neglecting your needs.

Depending on the moment or circumstance, the abuser in a calmed and passive way behaves to control and obtain from you what he/she wants, and this is your obedience to his/her needs.  If you do not please them, they put you down and make you feel like a bad person (wife, husband, daughter, son, friend, work-colleague} and guilty for hurting their feelings.

The abuser could tell you that he/she knows what the best thing for you is. Because he/she cares for you and they only want the best for you, you have to do what they say. However, if you try to do something different, something that is more about your thoughts that contradict what they expect from you; then, you could start feeling guilty, anxious and scared of his/her reactions. So, to avoid more conflicts and your negative feelings, you please him/her again and the cycle starts again.

It is common that the “victim” expects that the abuser changes his/her behaviour in a positive and better way; but unfortunately, it will not happen because the abuser only cares for their own needs and for keeping the control on yourself. They do not want to lose that control and power over you. They do not wish for your independence; they do not want your well-being, although they tell you this many times.

So, if you identify with this kind of relationship and want to do something about it, we invite you to start individual therapy. You have the responsibility to help yourself by seeking professional assistance.

The first step to change is the hardest one. So, feel free to call us if you require further information at 0452 248 129 or via email info@ascentpsychology.com.au