Have you noticed you stopped telling some of your closest friends or family members about your current relationship? Maybe on some gut level you know what they might say is true, about the one you're in relationship with. One of the most common things a person does when they are in a toxic relationship, is starting to keep secrets from other significant people in your life. Have you considered some of the other reasons why on a deeper level? I encourage you to really think it through with some of the following possibilities.
- What family and friend say is true, but the truth is you don't want to end it. I suggested that friends and family would try to get you to re-consider the toxic relationship. Why? Is it possible that your significant other is disrespectful of you? Doesn't consider your feelings? At worst, perhaps they are even abusive towards you. Maybe you don't want to have family members or friends tell you this because somehow you feel you don't have the strength to end the relationship. This is exactly why it's to your best interest to not keep everything so secret. (I'm not saying to announce it to the whole world either, be selective on who and what you share.) Maybe consider going to see a professional counselor or therapist. Perhaps it's a good friend you trust who would be supportive of you.
- It's too uncomfortable. Change is usually uncomfortable for all of us, even good changes. What about small steps at a time? One of the ways to help you lesson the discomfort of distancing or ending a toxic relationship is don't isolate yourself. One of the first things you can do is to surround yourself with very supportive people, such as suggested in 1, above.
- Do you have 'rescuer's mentality? One of the hardest things to face is the possibility that we struggle with codependent behaviors that allows abusers free access into our lives. 'Rescuing mentality' is a type of codependent behavior that does exactly that. That means, you allow abusive behavior into your life because you feel you can change or heal the other person. In essence, a rescuer enables an abuser's bad behavior and gives them permission to trample on you and everything related to you. It keeps them from facing the consequences of their bad behavior. No one can do that. You can only work on you. Abusers can only admit to themselves what they are doing, and most of the time they usually won't. It is a myth to believe if you love them enough or are tolerant enough of abusive behavior, the toxic person will change.
- Boundaries. If you allow abusive behavior and do not set appropriate boundaries with consequences, chances are you likely struggle with boundary issues. We all need healthy boundaries and limits to keep all of our relationships healthy. Appropriate and healthy boundaries takes time to learn, or even re-learn if you never had that opportunity or modeled in your family of origin. There is a lot of great resources such as articles or books on boundaries via the internet. If you've really had some struggles with boundaries, it might be in your best interest to find a therapist you feel comfortable to begin working on breaches with your boundaries. You might be able to find support groups as well.
- You're afraid you'll never find anyone else. Unfortunately, this is the common mindset of those who are trapped in a toxic relationship. The toxic person in your life might even try to prevent you from leaving them by plaguing on this fearful thought. The question is, if someone is disrespectful, abusive and using you, is that someone who really cares about you? No toxic relationship is worth being drained dry for. As long as you are in a toxic relationship, there is no room for you to heal or be prepare for a healthy relationship to come into your life with someone else.
If the person you are in a relationship with is actually pressuring you to keep aspects of the relationship a secret, such as abusive behavior, this is a significant red flag. (e.g. he/she manipulates you through guilt trips, borrows or steals money from you and never re-pays you, tries to control you) Secrecy, whether you are pressured into it, or you find yourself compelled to keep secrets is one of the signs of a toxic relationship. (I am not talking about healthy privacy here.) This article is designed to not only help you think about how it's a red flag, but also explore possibilities why you might be keeping unhealthy aspects of the relationship you are in, a secret.