Ever feel like you’re living in a toxic marriage? Do you seem to be stuck walking on eggshells, feel afraid to be yourself, or just feel terrible?
When I write this title a part of me winces. It’s the part of me that writes the word “toxic”. This word actually means poisonous, harmful, dangerous, and deadly. So I think it’s only natural to feel this revulsion with the word. And yet, I have heard many people talk about their relationships and label them as “toxic”.
Everyone Experiences Occasional Discomfort in Their Relationship
We are all familiar with feeling uncomfortable in our relationships or marriages. I know this happens because all of us are unique and the one we are with may not get us every second and sometimes when they don’t understand us we get our feelings hurt. This is just how relationships go.
I suffer this in my own relationship. I feel something doesn’t feel right and then I think my husband is doing something to me or saying something and I get upset. This is so familiar that I just accept these moments as part of my relationship. The reason it’s just a part is because it isn’t the largest part. In fact, it’s pretty small. Most of the time we get each other and are in sync.
What Does It Mean to Live in a Toxic Marriage?
So when people describe their relationship or marriage as toxic, I know they are living in a place that must feel like hell to them. This is a tragedy. No one wants to live in a hell. All of us want to live feeling happy. But sometimes there isn’t enough understanding between two people to find the good and then everyone just ends up feeling like their relationship, their partnership, their marriage is awful. You just can’t get relief.
If your situation is one where you would call it toxic, let’s try and look at a few things that might sound familiar to you in your world. Are you unable to talk to your mate and say what you need to say? Do you worry that they will argue with you and make you feel bad about yourself? Are you afraid to say anything because you know that your partner will not listen?
Part of Living in a Toxic Marriage Is Feeling Unfree to Be Yourself
Usually if you feel like your relationship is not a good one, it’s possible that the two of you are not able to communicate in a way where each of you gets heard and understood by the other person. One of the most important qualities of a healthy relationship, one where you have just a few bumps instead of living in your own quiet hell, is one where each person can be free to be themselves.
It is very hard to feel free when your partner wants you to change the way you do things and gets mad if you don’t. So if this happens to you, you are definitely not free. If you tiptoe around your person because you don’t want to upset them then you are not living free either. You can’t be fully expressive without some kind of reaction and the reaction is probably a negative one.
Finding Common Ground and External Help Might Just Take You From Toxic Back to Satisfying
Here is one thing to ask yourself. If you live in a toxic relationship or marriage and that’s how you would describe it, think for a moment about your partner and ask yourself if they feel the same. If they would not describe the relationship as toxic, that tells me you are sacrificing your happiness and wellbeing for your partner. If you believe your partner would describe it as the same or worse, then both of you are on the same page of wanting more connection with each other.
And that’s the beginning of having something in common. You both believe it isn’t good and you want it to be better. My advice? Seek some guidance about relationships. Read a book, see a counselor, join a group, get some outside help.
Remember That You and Your Partner Both Want to Feel Happy and Loved
You are not alone in being distressed in your relationship or marriage. Many relationships fall into patterns or have upsets that cause both people to feel terrible. And there is hope. People want to be happy. All of us do. So does your partner. Join them in finding a way out of the soup. Do something bold. Tell them you love them and you are not happy and you want to be happy with them. See if they will join you in discovering something that will work for both of you.
No one wants to live in a toxic world. So do something about yours. What do you have to lose?
Tired of Feeling Trapped in a Toxic Marriage?
Read a Book About Relationships
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn about how to fight less and feel closer by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you navigate rocky segments of your relationship better, helping you come out of conflict and back into love. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.