What is a Toxic Relationship

May 6, 2022

Do you think you might be in a toxic relationship? Do you feel like it’s hard to tell? What if you’re just being paranoid? If you’re not sure how to get out of one, or you’re just not sure if you’re in one, this is the blog for you. 

How Do We End Up In Toxic Relationships?

I’ve been into old school classic rock lately, and Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite bands of the genre. Some of the others include Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, and the Stones. I feel the music coursing through my veins, and it really touches my soul in a way most songs don’t.

To anyone who listens to Led Zeppelin, you might recognize the lyric “I can’t play with you no more” from the hit song “That’s the Way.” 

When you think about it, so much in life is “playing with people.” We fill up our lives with responsibilities and balancing the 5 cores, so playing is essential. It builds so many of your cores, contributing to emotional, relationships, and mindset. I’m the last person to leave out play in my routine.

Still, play doesn’t always look the same. And who we play with changes too. When we were littler, we didn’t care about being cool. We just played with who we wanted and whoever liked the same things we did. I watch my son Wyatt go through the same thing; it’s so easy for him to meet another kid and go, “Hey, you like action figures too?” And then they can play and laugh for hours.

Then time moves on, and things start changing…

Suddenly it really matters who you’re hanging out with. The social hierarchy is extremely important. By middle school, everyone’s figured out their cliques. And everyone’s just wishing they could belong. It’s just like the old caveman days: the strongest tribe was able to find food and fight the bears. If you were with a weak group, it was unlikely you would survive. It’s the same exact situation in the middle school cafeteria.

Even after we graduate and move on with our lives, some relationships are less sought out and more put upon us. Your kids’ friends’ parents, the members of your PTA, coworkers, neighbors, and people you just need to be friends with because you want to belong.

And that, my friends, is how so many people end up in toxic relationships. 

The Immense Impact Toxic Relationships Have On Our Lives

You might feel like you need to keep your toxic relationships, but you actually need to get out. Toxic relationships hold you back; they keep you from building the momentum you need to grow and become the best version of yourself.

I remember some of my toxic relationships very clearly; I was young, a mere adolescent, and I had a group of friends that just loved ragging on each other. I mean, sure, we’ve all had friends that teased each other, but this group was brutal. We were really mean to each other; we got deep down into the nasty stuff, and the main goal was to make the other person feel so bad about themself. I had so many frenemies. 

I was “friends” with these people for years. And the result was that I became super insecure and upset because I couldn’t brush off the insults as well as everyone else seemed to. 

I constantly saw myself as a victim and I had so much negative momentum over the years. I was not very self-confident, and the world started seeming darker and darker because of these toxic relationships.

Thankfully, I had a moment that interfered with my mentality and would change the way I see life forever. My favorite professor understood there was something going on with me and suggested I read a book that completely changed my point of view. After I read it, I started stepping out of my failure loop and into my success loop.

The book was How to Win Friends And Influence Peopleby Dale Carnegie. Even though it was written in 1936, it has rock-solid advice that is still extremely relevant today. Carnegie explains how to develop and nurture deep relationships, and those principles stuck with me in college and help me even now. I learned so much about what true relationships mean and how I could form them and maintain them.

Without that intervention, I would still have no idea how to form a healthy relationship, and would remain drawn to people who just insult me and bring me down. Now, I’ve been able to develop and maintain meaningful, long relationships and build positive momentum in my life. 

The First Step To Exiting Your Toxic Relationships

There’s a saying that you are the average of the three people you hang out with most in your life. In my experience, that is extremely truthful, and a universal principle. It has been proven time and time again.

Take the Core Values Quiz to learn about where you stand in your relationship core, as well as the four others. 

Once you get your result, write down 3-5 people you spend the most time with. It could be your spouse, your friends, or your coworkers. Now rank them based on the questions you answered in the quiz, on a scale of 1-5. 

If they are falling in the lower numbers, like 1-3, in the majority of their cores, then you’re gonna need to remove them from your immediate life so their toxicity and negative momentum don’t continue to affect you.

If you are looking to find others that have growth-owner mindsets and have high rankings in their cores, feel free to check out our Instagram page and our FB Group page. 

Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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