A Toxic Relationship

A Toxic Relationship

A toxic relationship is akin to an unproductive pattern, the kind that involves the same disagreements again and again with no satisfactory resolution. The issues eventually start to feel unresolvable and frustrating.

Maybe it's not arguing, maybe its making assumptions, or refusing to recognize when someone else might be right, or you might be right.

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Love & Family


Focus on clearly conveying your whole emotional message and try to hear the whole of the other person's without thinking it is an attack.

Saying "I feel like you..." instead of "You never/You always..." can lead to a more productive discussion.

Once you've identified the pattern, be accountable for your part. It is more than just apologizing. Own your role and then change your behavior. How could you do it differently?

The more responsibility you take for your part in your relationships, the more likely you are to recognize and make necessary changes.

It can be useful to look at your own behavior in your relationships. Look at the role you usually play across all types of relationships.

Look at the early relationships you saw in your family, how you communicated your needs, and how your needs were met. It can reveal how you might relate to others now.

If someone in your early life was manipulative and you learned to doubt them, you may doubt other people, too.

Important conversations are best when they're intentional and contained. Try to separate the discussion from the arguments or actions that led to it.

It's helpful to say that you have something on your mind and would like to have a kind and respectful conversation about it. Ask when it would be a good time for the other person. Then talk about it intentionally and without distractions.

The best thing about knowing you have a problem is the opportunity to fix it.

Using our struggles within our relationships can help us discover parts of ourselves that need healing and growth. It can lead us to become better friends, partners, and people.

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Therapist Heidi McBain tells Bustle that a variety of therapy sessions are particularly likely to cause "hangovers" afterwards. "Therapy hangovers often happen after a deeply emotional session," she says. "This can be the result of talking about something that feels very vulnerable to you. It can also be grieving the loss of someone or something close to you in your life. It can be coming to a hard realization of some changes that you want/need to make in your life."

It's also a scientifically proven phenomenon. Researchers at NYU found in a 2016 study that emotional brain-states after intense experiences can persist for long periods of time, which is why you don't just leave your emotions in the space of therapy; you carry them with you afterwards. The hangover lasts for as long as your brain requires to process emotional information — which, in therapy, is often related to your memories. Raking through your past and making big emotional discoveries, even in a safe, therapeutic environment, has a cost.

The therapy hangover isn't a signal you should stop therapy. In fact, it's a sign that you should keep going — and the rewards of going through the pain are worth it for the emotional clarity you get on the other side.

Just like our muscles, studies show that our ability to make smart decisions gets worn down as the day goes on.

Cut out and automate as many non-essential decisions as possible to preserve your mental muscles and willpower.

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