HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsAre you in a toxic relationship?

Are you in a toxic relationship?


Living with a toxic partner is akin to living a fractured and hopeless existence. A toxic partner can destroy your self-esteem, your self-worth and even rob you of your sanity.

A toxic relationship has clear signs: There is a honeymoon phase, followed by a major fallout, then reconciliation and then the cycle continues — not necessarily lasting for the same amount of time between the phases.

But the honest truth is the honeymoon phase will get shorter and shorter and the fallout/sulking period longer.

The abuser always finds your weak points and he will always use that to control you.

It can be anything: financial issue, emotional stress, and even your past that they will use to blackmail and control you.

But the honest truth is that nothing is more threatening to your life and sanity than the experience of being in a toxic relationship.

A lot of women stay in toxic relationships because they feel insecure and some do not even know that they have rights and options. Some people become accustomed to the abuse that they become numb to its effects.

Some do not even realise how toxic the air they are breathing in is because they have been in it for so long.

They have desensitised themselves and have built up resistance to a point it takes someone on the outside to arouse them against the fumes of the poison about to engulf them.

Fear of rejection by society, loneliness, low self-esteem, lack of financial independence, depression, or even threats from the abusive partner are some of the reasons people stay trapped in poisonous unions.

The abuser is usually a very angry person or has issues from their past going probably as far back as their childhood.

These deep-rooted problems will now manifest themselves in the abuser’s day-to-day life and in most cases also projected at the wrong targets.

The victim is full of fear. If you fear your partner, then surely they must not be your partner. You should not be together.

A coping mechanism would be to try and talk to your partner.

Try not to hold them responsible for everything, even if they are — because that would create a lot of aggression.

Make it clear to them you will only continue the relationship if they are ready to accept your space and your individuality.

The abuser usually blames everything that goes wrong in their relationship on the victim.

If nothing changes, then leave.

Otherwise you are going to be stuck in a vicious cycle of abuse.

Toxic relationships are very difficult to spot unless the victim comes out and says something.

Here is a list of the easiest ways to spot an abuser if you are in an abusive relationship and do not know it:

You are put down verbally –privately or in front of other people, especially people who are important to him, eg his family or anyone else that looks up to him. That boosts his ego.

Your partner isolates you from friends and family. He finds fault in everyone you associate with and gives you a “very good reason” why you should not be seen associating with such people — either bad for his business or whatever reason that works at the time.

Your partner spies on you. He reads your emails, snoops in your handbag, or even follows you around when you go out

Your partner puts the blame on you for the failing relationship expecting you to change solely to make things work

Your thoughts, opinions, accomplishments or words are devalued or undermined at every chance he gets

Your self-identity is lost, as you become solely dependent on your partner, without any clue on how to survive without him. You fade away into his shadow, you don’t exist anymore, you exist through him

Your partner is over dominating, leaving no space for your preferences.

You feel afraid or unsafe with your partner and even escape from telling the truth at times for fear of upsetting him

Your self-esteem is at an all-time low as your partner makes you feel unattractive or stupid especially in front of people. He even compares you to the people as a way of making you feel worthless

Your partner is overly possessive and overpowering, every family accomplishment is theirs and theirs alone.

Do you have a burning issue on any topic? Write to kmudzingwa@newsday.co.zw and we will publish your article. Articles should be between 600-800 words.

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