Experts share advice on evading toxic relationships

Toxic relationships are quite the dilemma in today’s society, especially for teenagers. Is dating safe anymore? Teens these days struggle with finding relationships that do not turn toxic, how do you stay away from being toxic? It’s important to worry about your mental and physical health during a relationship.

Leslie McCaslin and Brandi Krakowski, Abraham Lincoln’s school psychologists, have a lot of experience in this area. 

“When I think of a toxic relationship, the first thing people think of is a romantic relationship but it can also be with a friend, a family member, a colleague, I think it kind of boils down to basically just not feeling good about yourself in that relationship with someone else,” Mccaslin said. 

Toxic relations can be between anyone, between someone and their parents, someone and a friend, someone and a teacher, any relationship can be toxic. If you are in a toxic relationship, It’s important in this situation to ask yourself questions about the situation you may be in. While in a relationship it’s important to make sure you always feel safe and to make sure you have someone in your life that is well trusted, that you could talk about this issue with. 

A student at Abraham Lincoln said a toxic relationship affected their life. 

“It’s stressful, you are always having to watch your back constantly for not only the verbal abuse you get from the significant other but also, having to make sure if they’re being faithful,” the student said.

During relationships, everything should be equal. With a lack of trust or communication, the relationship is likely to go downhill. Lack of motivation in a relationship can also cause problems in one’s daily life. 

“Being in a toxic relationship caused a lot of stress and depression. My everyday life was a constant wrestling match with depression and anxiety,” the student said. 

Another student at Abraham Lincoln expressed their thoughts on the same issue. 

“I was always walking on eggshells and constantly on my phone,” the student said. “If I didn’t answer in the time they thought was appropriate, they would get mad.”

If someone in the relationship feels this way, it’s best to seek help, whether that be a therapist, a friend, or a parent, advice is always healthy to ask for. A toxic relationship can mean many different things. Harsh words, physical fights, blackmail, putdowns, are all examples of toxic elements in a relationship. If the relationship ever gets physical, seek help immediately.

What exactly can a toxic relationship entail? A toxic relationship can be someone controlling, whether that be controlling what you wear, how you spend your time, who you hang out with, it’s all something to be considered toxic. 

The first student at Abraham Lincoln shared their experience with battling their emotions. 

“My confidence in everything flooded from my mind and I began to wear the same clothes, I’d sleep in because I knew that whatever I did wasn’t good enough,” the student said. 

Sometimes, people have trouble leaving the relationship. Once developing a connection with someone special and creating a handful of memories, it can be hard to put those behind you and do what’s best for you. Your mental health and physical health are far more important than any relationship. If anyone ever feels alone or like they can’t go on anymore, that is a big sign it’s time to leave. 

Now you may ask if a relationship can change, school psychologists, McCaslin, and Krakowski have an answer to that question.

“I think it can change, but I think it takes a lot of work for both people and both people have to be willing to work on it to listen and understand. Just depends on the people involved and if they’re willing to work out these things,” Krawkoski said. “I would want to be pretty clear that if you’re not feeling safe, it’s probably best to end the relationship. If you don’t feel safe over time or if you feel like your feelings aren’t being validated you can be depressed or anxious and if you see this as a product of your relationship, you would want to work out of it sooner if working on it isn’t helping the case at all.” 

Leaving a person will be challenging, especially if they aren’t on the same page with it, always keep in mind that there are available resources to help you. 

For anyone who may find themselves in a toxic relationship, this student has advice on what’s best for you. 

“Leave. It’s better, one day you’ll come upon someone you spot to be a stranger that will become the best thing ever,” the student said. “If you don’t feel like leaving, your choice. At least have someone that is there to help you and don’t ever struggle alone.”

The second student from Abraham Lincoln has similar viewpoints. 

“Educate yourself about toxic behavior before getting into a serious relationship, things can go so very badly super fast.”