Love is depressing

When Someone You Love Has Depression

by Karen Young



Depression builds walls around people and between people. When someone you love has been dragged inside those walls, there can be a distance between you both that feels relentless. You miss them, but they’re right there beside you, except that they’re kind of not. Not in the way you both want to be anyway.

The symptoms of depression exist on a spectrum. All of them are normal human experiences, but in depression they’re intensified. Not everyone who has depression will have a formal diagnosis, so knowing what to watch out for can help to make sense of the changes you might notice.

Depression looks like a withdrawal. It feels that way too. It’s a withdrawal from everything that is enriching and life-giving. Depression sucks the life out of life. That’s how it feels. When depression bites, everything becomes hard. Life starts to hurt. Those who are bitten stop looking forward to things. They stop engaging and they stop enjoying things, even the things they used to love. They can feel hard to reach, and sometimes they can be angry or appear as though they don’t care. That isn’t because they want to withdraw from you or push you away, they don’t, although it can feel that way. 

Here are some ways to fight for them, beside them and for the times the fight has to be theirs, behind them:

  1. Depression is never a choice.

    If people with depression could be happy, they would be. Depression leaves people feeling as though they’ve been scooped out with a spoon. It’s a hijacking of everything that feels good. The hopelessness, emptiness and loneliness is relentless. If they knew how to be any other way, they would be. 

  2. It’s okay to feel frustrated or angry.

    The helplessness of loving someone with depression can be frustrating, exhausting and lonely. It’s okay to feel angry at times, or as though you want to throw your hands in the air and walk away. You’re human and when you love someone with depression, there will be times that you’ll be in the arena too, fighting the battle. Remember that you’re fighting a common enemy and it’s depression, not the person beside you. Try to see through the symptoms to the person you know, because they’re in there.

  3. Depression is a withdrawal, but not from you.

    When you love someone with depression it can feel as though you’ve lost them for a while. The person you’ve always known and loved is still there, but they’ve withdrawn into themselves, away from the pain and hopelessness of it all, not away from you. It just feels like the safest place to be, but it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have you right there with them if they knew how to do that.

  4. You’re grieving too.

    Depression steals people. If the depression has been around for long enough, you might feel a sense of grief. If you need to get angry, sad, or fall to your knees some days, that’s okay. You’re fighting a battle too. It’s okay to pull back to recharge now and then. Be kind to yourself and do something that replenishes you. Reach out to someone, but don’t lean on the person with depression. People with depression already see themselves as a burden, and anything that inflames that might cause them to withdraw even more.

  5. When nothing is as powerful as something.

    People with depression won’t always have the words and will feel the burden of being with you when they don’t know what to say or do. Let them know that you love that version of them too – the one that has nothing to say, or plenty to say but no will to say it. Let them know that you’re there for them even if they don’t want to talk. Silence with someone can be lovely when you’re depleted. ‘You don’t have to be anyone different to who you are. You don’t need to change or pretend or put on a happy face. I love you and I’m here for you.’

  6. People with depression are strong.

    People with depression are some of the strongest people I’ve met. They have to be. The pain and hopelessness of depression is immense and to keep existing day after day under the weight of that takes an almighty fight, fuelled by almighty strength and courage. 

  7. What they’re doing makes sense.

    We all have needs we can’t give up. They’re the big ones and they’re an inescapable part of being human – love, validation, respect, visibility, safety, influence, connection, appreciation, purpose. You know the ones. When one of these needs isn’t met, the temptation can be to push it down – to ‘depress’ it – to where it’s out of awareness and can’t cause trouble. But of course, any symptom whether physical or emotional will always cause trouble when it’s ignored. It takes the strength of a warrior to keep pushing things down, and getting on with life. Eventually, when people have been strong for too long the armour will crack. Depression hurts, but it makes sense. It’s a creative, adaptive withdrawal from a world that feels painful to be in.

  8. Being positive probably won’t work.

    Reframing things positively is generally done with loving intent, but most likely it just won’t work. The messages that are sent with love will likely be received as ‘nobody understands’. For someone who is being caned by depression, there is no positive. Research has found that people who are already unhappy don’t want to be talked into the glossy view of life, they just want understanding. The view of reality is shaped by a lifetime of experience and sometimes, the way people see the world is exactly the way the world is for them. Trying to push against this can work against what you’re trying to do and intensify the loneliness and desperation of it all. Reframing things in a positive way is important, but it can’t be forced.

  9. So if positive is out, what then?

    You don’t have to fix anything or change anything. If there was a way to do that, they would have done it themselves by now. Instead, acknowledge their pain, ‘I know this is really hard for you,’ and validate what they’re going through ‘I know you’re hurting. That’s understandable given what you’re going through’, or ‘I know you’re fighting a tough battle right now.’ Be the one who can be with them without having to change them. This will probably explode your own feelings of helplessness, but reworking things towards a positive angle will ease your helplessness, not theirs. That helplessness you’re feeling is the bit you’re doing together. So is the pain and the confusion of that. That’s what makes your love unconditional and your support something extraordinary.

  10. Try not to let the negative talk go on and on and on and on and …

    It’s really important to hear people from where they are, but if the discussion of a negative thought goes on and on and on and starts to feel circular, it’s not good for anyone. It’s called rumination and it can make it harder to move through depression. Talk about it with them for sure, but try to persuade the conversation in a different direction after a while if you can.

  11. If you’re struggling for words, let those be the words.

    There’s no need to gloss it up. The truth is that it’s hard to know what to say because there’s nothing that can take away the pain. Don’t worry about saying the ‘right’ thing, there is no right thing. Instead say the ‘real’ thing with love and an open heart. Share what you’re feeling, because chances are that they’re feeling it too. Common ground will shrink the distance between you. You might not be depressed, but chances are you’ll be feeling a lot of the things they’re feeling – sadness, confusion, frustration, helplessness, and the greatest wish that you knew how to make it better. ‘I wish that you weren’t in so much pain and I wish I knew how to soften things for you, but I don’t know how to do that. What I will do is be here for you for as long as it takes.’

  12. Ask them what you do that doesn’t help. And listen.

    Depression can be different for everyone. You can’t be expected to know how to respond. Ask what they need from you and whether there’s something they need you to do differently. Be open to the response and don’t take it personally.

  13. Don’t ask them what they’re depressed about.

    When people are sad they generally have an idea of why. Depression doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes people will be aware of what has triggered their depression, but sometimes it won’t be obvious. On paper, people with depression can look as though they have everything to be happy about – they can even believe that themselves – but depression doesn’t play by any rules.

  1. Try to initiate the things they used to love, that depression has stolen.

    At a time when people need connection the most, depression forces distance. Do everything you can not to let it. Connection and positive feelings strengthen the brain against depression, and exercise can cause the same changes in the brain as antidepressants. The problem is that the very nature of depression will hold people back from doing any of these. Don’t wait for them to feel like doing things. They won’t. Their depression won’t let them. Depression is there to nurture withdrawal, remember. It does this by stealing motivation, and creating exhaustion. Be tender, gentle and loving and reintroduce them to life, connection, and positive feelings. You’re likely to get resistance, and a lot of it. Know that this isn’t personal and do what you can do anyway.

  2. Another reason to initiate.

    Thoughts, feelings and behaviours are intimately connected. They tend to follow each other, so someone with depression will think depressed thoughts (‘Nothing makes a difference’; ‘I’m useless’), feel depressed feelings (pain, hopelessness, exhaustion) and this will drive depressed behaviour (withdrawal and a depressed mood). A change in one will eventually lead to the other but the change is unlikely come from the person with depression. Out of the three, thoughts and feelings are the toughest to change. They’re tenacious. This is why things like, ‘get over it’ or ‘it’s not that bad’ or ‘just try to be a bit positive, hey?’ won’t work. The best way is through their behavior, but you’ll have to be stronger than their depression. Initiate walks, dinners, holidays – anything that has the potential to create positive feelings. Take their hand and lead them there gently.

  3. They are not broken.

    There is nothing abnormal about the symptoms of depression. They’re a very normal part of human experience, but with an intensity that’s relentless. We’ve all felt sad, disconnected, the need to withdraw, hopeless, helpless, exhausted, and as though the fun has faded for a while These are all common experiences, even if only fleetingly at times and from the kinder end of the spectrum. What makes these very human experiences lead to a diagnosis of depression is a question of degree. People with depression experience the same we all experience, but at a different intensity, duration, or cluster of symptoms. 

Depression rarely takes hold of just one person. When depression settles into someone, helplessness, fear and sadness bleed through the walls it builds around that person and into the lives of those who love them. It’s exhausting for everyone. There is always a way through depression but it takes an almighty fight. You won’t always have it in you to fight alongside them and you won’t always know what to do but that’s okay – you don’t have to do any of that to fight for them. Few things are as powerful as human connection and anything you can do to nurture that will help to put back what depression strips away.

7 Signs You're Lovesick | Everyday Health

Sure, love comes with plenty of health benefits — but sometimes, Cupid's arrow hits you where it hurts.

By Elizabeth Shimer BowersMedically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


Medically Reviewed

Ah, love: It can make you feel like you’re walking on air, like you’ll never stop grinning, like you’ve found your life’s purpose and you’re not turning back!

Or it can make you feel extremely nauseated, tremendously sweaty, and downright depressed.

That’s because the L-word has a powerful effect on your health in a number of ways — from the emotional euphoria felt during those first few months to the physical-pain-inducing devastation of heartbreak. In most cases, love-sicknesses (both the good and the bad ones) are temporary and fade on their own — but if they linger too long, you may want to consider seeking help a mental health professional.

From the psychological disorder limerence to broken heart syndrome, here’s a look at the most powerful forms of lovesickness.

The Love-Struck Bug

You have no appetite, and you haven’t slept in days. You can’t concentrate at work, and you feel lightheaded and dizzy. Could it be a stomach bug? The flu? Nope — you are in love, my friend.

But those butterflies you’re feeling aren’t unfound: “As part of our genetics as tribal creatures, we have chemicals that make life more pleasant when we are in a relationship and less pleasant when we are separated from our beloved,” says Joseph Hullett, MD, senior medical director for OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions in Minnesota.

During the first few months of a relationship, the chemicals in our brains that get triggered include the neurotransmitters phenethylamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin — dubbed the love hormone, oxytocin is a strong pleasure and satisfaction neurotransmitter that helps two people bond, Dr. Hullett says. But while they can make us feel blissful, they can also result in loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, and difficulty falling asleep. Over time, however, these effects tend to subside, says Hullett.

Limerence: An Addiction to Love

For some people, lovesickness goes beyond butterflies: It may also induce physical effects, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, stomach pain, loss of sleep, and depression, all which may persist and prevent you from functioning normally. Also known as limerence, this condition is marked by extreme attraction to another, as well as an obsessive need to have feelings returned.

“Genetic levels of a chemical called monomine oxidase make some people more susceptible to addictions, one of which can be love,” Hullett says. “People who experience limerence tend to constantly fall in and out of love and remain in an enormous state of turmoil because of it.”

Post-Breakup Heartbreak

Anyone who’s been through a bad split can attest that breakups may take a powerful toll on health: One recent study in the journal Psychology showed that 58 percent of participants experienced serious breakup aftereffects, such as depression, insomnia, and distressing thoughts about the lost love.

Not to mention, you lose those powerful love hormones, says Hullett. “Instead of pleasure, you may feel depression, stress, and turmoil,” Hullett says. For some people, the loss can feel as devastating as the death of a loved one.

It takes most people 6 to 24 months to get over the emotional heartbreak of a failed relationship — but if you’re having trouble functioning in your daily life, seek help.

Broken Heart Syndrome

Imagine this scenario: An elderly man passes away suddenly, and then a few days later his brokenhearted wife of 60 years has chest pain.

Known in the medical community as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, broken heart syndrome mimics symptoms of a heart attack, including shortness of breath, chest pain, heart failure, and a feeling of impending doom. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which looked at 19 women without existing heart disease, the overwhelming stress of heartbreak can cause the body to release hormones that may be responsible for this palpable reaction. “This stress reaction causes the blood to form tiny clots that can actually trigger a heart attack,” explains Hullett.

The Post-Sex Blues

Feeling “so-so” after a not-so-great sexual encounter is one thing — but according to a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Health, one in three women has experienced feelings of sadness and depression right after a romp in the hay (even when that sex was satisfying).

Normally, sex produces feelings of happiness and elation. But for reasons that researchers have not yet pinpointed, some women experience just the opposite — a state called postcoital dysphoria. Also known as post-sex depression, the condition is marked by feelings of sadness, anxiety, regret, and irritability. Hullett suggests that people prone to mood swings may be more sensitive to withdrawal from surges of oxytocin, “which is very pleasurable but short-lived,” he says.

Infectious Depression

You know you can catch a cold from your partner, but did you realize you can also catch his depression? Though states of mind are not technically contagious, research shows that someone with a blue mood can negatively impact the spirits of those around him.

In fact, “folie à deux, which is French for ‘a madness shared by two,’ is a classic disorder in which two people in a relationship begin to mirror each other’s expressions and moods,” Hullett says. If one partner is depressed, the other may indeed begin to experience that depression. Fortunately, by urging your partner to get help — you may start to feel better, too.

Love-Hate Hypertension

You love him; you love him not? Beware your blood pressure level.

A Brigham Young University study published in the journal Health Psychology revealed that being around people you have mixed feelings about can actually be worse for your physical and emotional health than being around people you flat out dislike. Researchers evaluated 100 people after different social interactions and hypothesized that the unpredictability of being around people you have both positive and negative feelings about can stress you out, affecting your blood pressure as well as your anxiety levels. “A stressful encounter causes the muscles to tense, both in your limbs and your arteries, leading to a rise in blood pressure,” Hullett explains.

How love affects the human body, whether it can improve or worsen health

It is commonly believed that being in love is a wonderful feeling that lifts the mood, makes you literally fly on wings and feel great. But I came across articles in which falling in love was associated with addiction - about as strong as from tobacco. Isn't that harmful?

Help me figure out if falling in love affects health? And if so, how: rather positively or rather negatively?

Daniil Davydov

medical journalist

Author profile

Falling in love, more often called romantic love by researchers, affects physical and mental health — and quite tangibly. This influence cannot be called unequivocally positive, because love not only gives joy, but also pushes us to rash acts. But romantic love plays an important biological role that helps us create strong families. So from an evolutionary point of view, this feeling is more beneficial than harmful.

Go see a doctor

Our articles are written with love for evidence-based medicine. We refer to authoritative sources and go to doctors with a good reputation for comments. But remember: the responsibility for your health lies with you and your doctor. We don't write prescriptions, we make recommendations. Relying on our point of view or not is up to you.

What is romantic love and why is it needed

Each person imagines love in his own way, so it is not easy to study it. To make life a little easier for themselves, most researchers of this phenomenon have agreed to adhere to the three-component theory of love, which in 1986 was proposed by the American psychologist Robert Sternberg.

The Three Component Theory of Love - Psychological Review

According to this theory, love is like a triangle based on intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy is the emotional aspect of love associated with the pleasure of a relationship. Passion is due to physical attraction. And commitment is an intellectual aspect associated with a conscious decision to maintain a long-term relationship.

Why Romantic Love Really Matters - Advanced Research in Psychology

According to a group of scientists led by anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, on a physiological level, romantic love is a complex set of hormonal responses orchestrated by the brain. brain. Moreover, intimacy, passion, and commitment provide their own set of hormones and neurotransmitters. These substances affect both the mental and physical health of a person in love.

The Role of Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment in Mammalian Reproduction - Human Nature MagazinePDF, 2 MB

How Romantic Love Affects Mental Health

Generates a desire to have sex with a partner. When we fall in love, a part of the brain - the hypothalamus - stimulates the body to produce many sex hormones: testosterone and estrogen.

Most scientists believe that testosterone increases sex drive in both men and women. The effect of estrogen is not as strong, but some women report that sex drive increases around ovulation, when estrogen levels are highest.

Testosterone and sex drive in men - Fertility magazine

Testosterone and sex drive in women - Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology

At the same time, excessive levels of sex hormones partially suppress the work of the frontal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for critical thinking and rational behavior. This helps to be fascinated by a partner - and at the same time makes you do rash things.

The Science of Love - Harvard Educational Blog

Increases attachment to a partner. The hypothalamus of lovers intensively produces the attachment hormone oxytocin. The more oxytocin, the stronger the attachment. Sometimes when you fall in love, so much oxytocin is produced that the craving for cigarettes weakens in smokers in love. Conversely, if a lover is faced with a refusal to share his feelings, he has an increased craving for cigarettes and alcohol.

Passionate love discourages the desire to smoke - the journal "Advanced Research in Psychology"

Makes lovers less irritable. According to some reports, lovers who began a romantic relationship 2.5 months before the experiment almost effortlessly suppress impulsive behavior arising from anger and anger. The researchers who established this fact suggested that this ability helps to form strong relationships.

Romantic Love Helps Control Negative Emotions - Advanced Research in Psychology

Raises the mood and fixates on the partner. In the early stages of falling in love, the hypothalamus produces more of the neurotransmitter dopamine. High concentrations of dopamine bring lovers into a state of euphoria. But we also have serotonin, which is responsible for other earthly joys - like the pleasure of eating and the desire to sleep.

The Neurobiology of Love - Journal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, FEBS

As dopamine levels increase, serotonin levels automatically decrease. In lovers, serotonin becomes as low as in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorders, in which people are forced to repeat the same actions over and over again. That is why the lover gets hung up on the object of his love, forgetting to eat and sleep.

How Love Changes the Brain - Brain Imaging and Behavior Journal

Romantic love really is like an addiction: especially active brain regions associated with romantic love intersect with areas of the brain that are responsible for addiction to drugs. But there is still a difference in the general brain activity of the brain of a drug addict and the brain of a lover - and this affects a person's behavior. Drug addicts avoid contact, and lovers, on the contrary, become more socially active than they were before falling in love.

The Effects of Romantic Love on Mental Ability - Review of General Psychology

How Romantic Love Affects Physical Health

Relieves pain. Women in love who had been in a relationship for six months or more experienced pain more easily when they looked at a photo of their partner. Interestingly, when the partner held their hand, the sensation of pain weakened less. The authors of the study came to the conclusion that not all partners in reality are able to provide support, so imagination came to the rescue of women.

Photographs of Partners Reduce Pain in Experiments - Journal of Psychological Science

A later study found out why. Magnetic resonance imaging has recorded that when a lover looks at a photograph of the object of his love, areas in his brain that are responsible for the reward are activated. That is, "love anesthesia" is an objective neurological reality.

Viewing photographs of a romantic partner reduces experimental pain through the reward system in the brain - Plos One 9 Journal of Interdisciplinary Research0003

Possibly supports the viability of nerve cells. Researchers have found that in the blood of lovers, the level of neurotrophins - proteins that take care of neurons - really turned out to be higher than in ordinary people. Moreover, the stronger the love, the higher was the level of neurotrophins. When the analysis was repeated a year later, the level of neurotrophins returned to normal both in those who fell out of love with a partner and broke up with him, and in those who remained in a couple.

Nerve growth factor levels increase in people who have recently fallen in love — Journal of Neuroendocrinology

Of course, it would be great to conclude that falling in love improves brain health, but such a conclusion cannot be drawn from this study. Until other researchers prove that increased levels of neurotrophins heal neurons so that their hosts become smarter or more creative, this discovery will remain just an interesting fact.

Makes lovers nervous. In the early stages of falling in love, the level of the stress hormone cortisol temporarily increases in the blood of lovers. Apparently, in the long term, this does not harm health. Researchers believe that anxiety stems from the fear of destroying precious relationships that have just begun to form.

Hormonal changes in falling in love - the journal "Neuroendocrinology"

Activates one of the components of antiviral protection in women. Recently, researchers have found that in women in love, the genes responsible for the first type of interferon reaction are activated. This mechanism is responsible for innate antiviral protection. True, we do not yet know whether this has a significant medical effect. More research will be needed to confirm that falling in love protects against viral infection.

Falling in love enhances antiviral protection in women — Neuroendocrinology journal

What is the result

Scientists suggest that evolution taught us to fall in love. The feelings that underlie romantic love help maintain long-term relationships and create stable couples where it is easier to raise children. Most likely, our ape-like ancestors who learned to fall in love gave birth and raised more children than those who remained cold to each other. In this way, they passed on the useful ability to fall in love to their descendants - to us.

Although romantic love can lead to rash actions and often makes you nervous, it is not dangerous for health. The exception is unhappy love. Lovers whose feelings are not shared suffer so much that they may develop depression. Moreover, some rejected lovers even have heart attacks or strokes against the background of depression.

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What is a toxic relationship and how to recognize it?

Throughout our lives we build relationships: with parents, friends, loved ones and colleagues. We create families and often hear that these are the most important relationships. It turns out that building relationships is important, but we are not taught this.

We are faced with a lot of attitudes: "Be patient - fall in love", "But I'm not alone", "What will people think of me?". As long as we believe this, we continue to consider it normal and keep toxic relationships. We sincerely believe that we must endure in the name and for the good, and that this is how it should be. But is it really so? tells what toxic relationships are, how to recognize them and what to do to remain a happy person, no matter what.

Toxic relationships: what it is and why it's a problem

Toxins are called poisons, so the very term "toxic relationship" already tells us what it is. Toxic relationships poison life: they bring emotional pain and drain internal resources. Such relationships are not only bad in themselves, they affect our self-esteem, aspirations, personality development. Toxic relationships make us worse. talked to psychologist Veronika Pivkina about why toxic relationships are a problem and who suffers from them.

Veronika Pivkina said that about a third of her clients come with relationship issues, but this problem is also relevant for others: "People come with other questions: about achieving goals or with emotional instability. But life is very holistic, all areas of life are connected. We we begin to sort out the issues of resentment towards parents - and we enter into a relationship with a partner.

Toxic relationships are common. At the same time, there are many attitudes that such relationships are a variant of the norm. Some are instilled from childhood, some are even romanticized and extolled. People stay in such relationships for years, and they don’t even think that it could be different. Not only relationships with a partner can be toxic, but also with friends or parents.

Veronika Pivkina also notes another problem: “It is toxic relationships that can develop into domestic violence. There is an interesting mechanism: everything starts with some small phrases, criticism, humiliation. The partner, most often a woman, does not attach any importance to this. Women often they think: come on, he’s a man, he can, it’s normal. And then he beats her, and she can even find an excuse for this, especially since before that she had already endured ridicule, pressure, humiliation. And then it develops into constant beating : he beats her every time he doesn’t like something. A man in this situation has his own defensive reaction - substitution. Something doesn’t work out for him, he didn’t realize himself somewhere, but takes it out on a partner: well, she but she is weak, she will not fight back, she is to blame for everything. Although it is not clear why he took this and who he is to say this. Women in such situations often become a constant victim. In small villages, this generally comes to absurdity: women don't even think and don't know what happens t differently. How is it that the husband can not beat?".

Who are faced with the problem of toxic relationships

In a relationship, both men and women can be toxic - even in same-sex, even in opposite-sex couples. Psychologist Veronika Pivkina says that initially women are more likely to deal with the problem of relationships, but this does not mean that men do not care about this issue.

"There is an idea that in the hierarchy of priorities, relationships, love and family are higher for women, and for men, self-realization, a career is more important. In the general picture of statistics, this is true, but it cannot be said that women are concerned about relationships, and men are not. In the majority cases when the client and I sort out the pain that he came with, we still end up with the issue of relationships with a partner. It is really important for both sexes. "

How to recognize a toxic relationship

"The biggest sign of a toxic relationship is that you feel bad in the relationship," explains psychologist Veronika Pivkina.

The psychologist advises you to honestly answer a few questions to yourself:

  • How comfortable or uncomfortable is the relationship?
  • How free do you feel in them? (Not in the sense of betrayal of a partner, namely the realization of one's needs and desires. - Avt .)
  • How much do you trust your partner, and does he trust you? Can you share something, get support and accept it?
  • Can you talk about your experience, especially the unpleasant one, and are you sure that you will be accepted and not judged?
  • How much do you want to go home and live with this person?

When you answer, you can evaluate the relationship for its toxicity. If the relationship is uncomfortable, then there are definitely some problems that need to be solved. Listening to yourself is important, as many consider toxic relationships to be normal.

Veronika Pivkina noted that in practice she most often encounters such manifestations of toxicity:

  1. Different importance of desires. In this case, the desires of one are placed above the needs of the other partner. Moreover, it also happens that both sides support such a position and consider it normal.
  2. Emotional blackmail. This is the position: "I give you so many things, but you do not answer me the same!". In part, this also speaks of the arrangement of different importance of desires: my desires are more important than yours, fulfill them.
  3. Criticism and condemnation. This is the most common manifestation of toxicity. This behavior is more common in women from single-parent families, to whom they made many demands, did not pay attention, hence the excessive demands on the partner. Non-compliance leads to criticism. Critical men often have a different story: they are beloved boys, often first-born or only children. They are often brought up in the spirit: "You are the best, the whole world is for you, you are the king." Such boys also put their desires higher, and criticize their partner: I deserve better, but you do everything wrong.

Relationship toxicity often combines all of these manifestations.

Toxic manifestations in relationships that society considers normal

Toxicity is supported by society itself: it is considered a normal manifestation or even romanticized. Common stereotypes about toxicity as normal:

  1. Hints . It is often attributed as the norm of a woman's behavior: she should not speak directly about what she wants or what upsets her. Hints should be used that should lead the man to the decision she needs. For men, it is usually presented as the ability to manage and lead a woman, to make her "comfortable". This behavior is passive aggression and manipulation. This is toxic because it shows that partners cannot communicate openly and honestly. It is possible that one partner is afraid of criticism, disapproval, anger or condemnation of the other. It is important to remember here that they can hear you only if you explain your feelings and desires, and do not hide them behind hints. At the same time, everyone has the right to respond or not respond to the expressed desires.

  2. Drama . Scenes of jealousy and scandals with a reminder of the past or mistakes of a partner are not a manifestation of love or passion. Refutation of the value of relationships: “I will leave you, you don’t appreciate me” or, conversely, the dramatic “I can’t live without you and I will commit suicide” is emotional blackmail and passive aggression. This is toxic, because with such manipulations one of the partners overestimates the value of his desires, trying to instill a sense of guilt in the other.

  3. Transfer of responsibility . If a partner cheats, does not value relationships and does not invest in them, then he is responsible for this. Responsibility is often shifted: they say that the other partner simply did not try hard enough. "She didn't please him enough, so he took a mistress" or "He couldn't buy her a fur coat, so she cheated on him with a rich man" is shifting the blame. Each person is responsible for his own actions.

Tolerance, humility and submission are often attributed to women as a variant of the norm of behavior, and to men - aggression and the need to submit. Society reinforces in women the belief that you need to refuse and wait to be conquered, and to men it explains this as part of the game: women are mysterious and need to be sought. As long as there is a stereotype that "no" is a way to provoke a partner, we will face toxic invasion of personal space or even violence.

What to do to stay out of a toxic relationship

People with adequate self-esteem and the right perception of themselves do not stay in toxic relationships for long. For them, the rule “you can’t do this with me” works.

If a person cannot leave a toxic relationship, Veronika Pivkina advises seeking help from a psychologist: this may indicate internal problems. "It can be problems of self-esteem, limiting beliefs, fear, childhood trauma. It is important here to separate the wheat from the chaff, to find the cause of the problem. As long as the problem remains, you will not get rid of toxicity. It often happens in women: she leaves, then he comes with flowers and apologies - she comes back. Then the situation repeats itself, because the problem is not solved, "explains the psychologist.

In addition, Veronika Pivkina also advises working on yourself on your own: “Most often, toxic relationships are a sign of low self-esteem.

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