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How Toxic Relationships Affect Your Mental Health

by Danielle Wright

Love is a drug, and if you’re not careful, it can harm you.

Falling in love has many health benefits, but it can also be toxic and affect our mental health. We make decisions that we otherwise would not make. A good way of understanding this is that we have the ability to tell our friends or loved ones when a partner is not right for them; however, more often than not, we can’t see when a person is not right for us. Love blinds us; those rose-colored glasses will place us in positions that can either destroy our lives or add value to it. Either way, the outcome is contingent upon how soon we see the red flags or how well we navigate the green ones.


After watching the new documentary, “This Is Me…Now,” by Jennifer Lopez, she expresses her love for love and that the purpose of her movie is for her fans to see how beautiful love is and why she monkey branches from one relationship to the other. But after carefully viewing her story over the course of three documentaries, I can say without a doubt that her love for love does not come from a place of happiness but rather a place of loneliness and an insatiable appetite for external validation.

Related articles: What Is Toxic Feminism?


When we rely on others to make us feel good or accepted, we exhibit codependent tendencies. Whether this means you’re a codependent giver or taker, either way, someone or something is needed to fulfill that internal desire of making us feel wanted and accepted. For someone like Jennifer Lopez, she needs validation that she is lovable and that she can sing.


When one need is filled—her relationships (love)—the other tank is empty, and so she works. Her partners—according to her—have all dubbed her as a workaholic. So, we can pair these two things together and understand that a particular type of validation is needed, and this can be said for most of us, especially women who cannot be single for an extended period.


When you’re unable to sit in your own energy for a while—be it two months or two years—you’re likely to experience back-to-back failed relationships. Your partner will feel burdened by your lack of independence, and they cannot validate you all the time. Emotional baggage is real and can lead us to overcompensate in relationships in an effort to keep things going or keep that person around. This makes us pour into the cups of others, leaving ourselves depleted.

Related articles: Toxic Codependency


So, perhaps you weren’t dating a narcissist; you just happened to be a codependent giver, and that person never turned down your efforts to make them happy. Would you turn down free food or clothing if it were something you wanted? No one can use us unless we allow them to, so when you’re giving to someone and not getting anything in return, you’re likely to latch on to that person, especially women because we have a scarcity mindset, whereas men do not.


So, a man can invest heavily in a woman and walk away unscathed if his efforts were not reciprocated; he will just change his tactics in his next relationship. Women, on the other hand, cannot simply walk away when we’ve poured into someone. Our mindset is that the person we sleep with or invest in is the one, and so we drown ourselves in tarot readings on TikTok or fool ourselves into believing that the man who left us will one day return on his hands and knees begging for us to take him back because he’ll come to realize all that we’ve done for him. That is never the case.


Unless a man has invested in you something he does not have much of and you always appear unimpressed by his efforts, he will not view you as valuable. For example, a man with a lot of money who splurges on you can easily walk away; however, a man with little money who makes an effort to splurge on you will most likely not walk away.


Toxic relationships can take a toll on us in the following ways:

DEPRESSION

Overcompensating in a relationship or while dating a man can lead to depression if that man determines he does not see a future with you. What does this look like? Spending money on him, helping him with odds and ends, meeting him halfway with dates and planning—anything that takes you out of your feminine energy means you’re leading.


When women lead, they are controlling and oftentimes condescending. The same can go for men, but the difference is, a man who is confident in his ability to make his woman happy will not be condescending towards her. He is proud of himself and his ability to provide; therefore, he is likely to be a masculine leader.


If you’re helping a man pay off debts, buy a home, or anything else that requires a commitment but he has yet to commit, you are no longer in your feminine energy, and when things go south—because it will—you will end up feeling depressed. But this is not the fault of the man; anything that is free and offered, wrapped nicely, will be taken.


LOSS OF APPETITE

Eating will feel like a chore when you're sad and feeling rejected. Men handle rejection on a regular basis from women they have never been intimate with, so it’s like they’re better equipped to handle it. When a woman feels rejected by a man she’s been intimate with, it has a different effect on her. She will become depressed as she replays conversations in her head, wondering where she went wrong. The problem is, men have a rating system and when you start to lower in value, his respect for you will decline. Once the respect is gone, don’t expect to get it back by sticking around. Always leave and take time to recover.


INSOMNIA

Loss of sleep is also a side effect of a toxic relationship. This can be from staying up and wondering where your partner may be in the middle of the night to waiting for their call or just not being able to sleep due to stress or anxiety. Your body will reject whatever is not right for you. Even sex, maybe you're not getting wet down there when your partner enters you and now you need more lube. Don’t ignore the warning signs your body is showing you that it could be time to cut ties. The body never lies.


ANGER ISSUES

You can become easily irritated due to the above—lack of sleep, loss of nutrients, and depression. A partner who causes you to spend your time worrying about the relationship or your safety is not someone you should be spending your time or your life with. Anger issues can lead to high blood pressure and will eventually drive your partner away anyway, so the best thing you can do for yourself and them is end things. Once you allow things to go that far where you’re complaining daily, your partner will try to use that as leverage to end things.


This will leave you in a state of bewilderment and can keep you mentally tethered to the relationship. This tether will have you missing this person, longing for them even though you know the relationship was toxic. We do not like unfinished business—these types of relationships usually cause us to ruminate on the good times, wondering if there was something we could have said or did differently that could have prevented the relationship from ending. Before you get to this place, cut ties once the relationship is no longer serving you. Men do it all the time.


FORGETFULNESS

Your brain could become foggy, and you begin forgetting small, mundane things like birthdays or what you had for breakfast the day before. It’s not uncommon for the brain to feel overworked when you’re in a toxic relationship. Stress can cause us to drink more, smoke, or even stop doing the things that kept us feeling empowered and healthy.


Maybe you used to like to exercise or go out in the sun every day for vitamin D. If you’re depressed and sad, you’re going to stop doing the things you enjoy, and your brain will feel the consequences of your actions. Don’t stop focusing on yourself because that is the key to a successful relationship/marriage. Some selfishness is required for both the man and woman. If you’re overextending yourself, you will come to regret it because there will be consequences for your actions.


Your mental health should not suffer due to love. Love is beautiful when there is equal give and take, and both parties are operating in their respective energies.

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