What kind of negative impact can toxic relationships have on our lives?

What kind of negative impact can toxic relationships have on our lives?

Throughout our lives, we encounter different kinds of people and form different bonds and relationships with them be it friendship, rivalry or romantic relationship. Social interaction for human being is an essential part of life, it not only helps us keep our mind at ease but also make our physical body healthier. Bad relationships can be detrimental for our overall health. The nature, quality and characteristics of the relationship are some aspects which should be taken into account by the person. Good and bad relationships can have lifelong effects on your life as well as on you. 

Toxic relationships can be explained with some traits and behaviour which includes demandingness, abuse of control and power, negativity, oppressive, demeaning comments and attitudes and jealousy. This type of bevaiour can be best understood as combination of behaviours that are rooted from toxic thinking and emotions of those involved. Regardless, the most devastating part of this is that the victim and the perpetrator are both stuck in the cycle of stress and negativity from which it becomes almost impossible to get out without help. This type of behaviour leads to feeling of low self-worth, fear and helplessness.

All of us have at least have come across people who have been toxic for us, but not everyone gets stuck in a toxic relationship. You might think a toxic person would be a narcissistic or high maintenance friend but anyone who could control and has power over you and your emotions can be considered as a toxic person. The person could very well be your best friend or your siblings or maybe your romantic partner, people who are sensitive and empathetic have a high chance of encountering with a toxic person in their life. 

In many cases, the damage from toxic relationships are subtle in nature. First and foremost is when you start feeling sad, angry or anxious because of someone. The person can be considered toxic because he is able to elicit some strong emotions out of you which might make you feel unhappy and face difficulties. You start prioritising your partner’s needs and demands over yours. Many researches have shown that toxic relationships have severe negative effects on your mental health, personality, self-esteem as well as on your physical body. A lot of times the when you’re with your partner overbearing atmosphere makes it difficult for you to voice out your concern. Moreover, it might make you uncomfortable and nervous with their presence. Body related problems start making their way to you. Insomnia, increased blood pressure, low immunity and fatigue are some of the things you might experience. These are considered to be negative effects of emotionally draining relationships. It is important to pay attention to how you are affected mentally and physically staying in a relationship. It’s all connected. You have to focus on both the aspects to feel healthy. If you only focus on your physical body by eating healthy food, dieting and exercises, you still won’t be able to get rid of constant fatigue, sadness and uneasiness. If you are constantly stressed, it could disrupt the ability to regulate emotions, which is the root of many other problems.

People stuck in toxic relationships find it very difficult to accept and move on from the person and the relationship itself. Whether the relationship is with your friend, family member or a co-worker, it is very important for a person to realise that it is toxic and not good for his/her own mental and emotional health. It could prove to be a little difficult for the person to remove themselves from a toxic environment and away from that person but here are some ways to help a person to deal with a toxic relationship.


For some people it would be quite obvious who the toxic person is in their lives, but for some it might be a little difficult to identify. People should try to think if they feel oppressed, manipulated or controlled by anyone in their lives. Do you feel anxious or fearful to meet someone or talk to them? If there is someone like that in your life, it is a good indicator of a toxic relationship. You can take help from a friend or family member and think of distancing yourself from that person.


Once you decide to cut off from a toxic person, you need to set some boundaries for yourself that you don’t accidentally lead them to you. You should treat yourself with respect. For  instance, if you’ve ended your relationship with someone and they continuously pester you by messaging or calling, you shouldn't attend to them and give them hope that they have a chance. Try to create as much distance you can create between you and that person and try to be in the company of a support network to help you recover and lead a happy life.


When ending a relationship, you should be firm and stand to your grounds regarding the decision you take. A toxic person wouldn't leave you alone just because you asked them to, he/she would try to stay in your life as long you let them. You need to be upfront and clear about your intentions about moving on. While it won't be easy, it is important to stand firm and explain them clearly about how you feel and want for yourself.


Detaching yourself from a toxic person can be an emotionally draining process because of which you need to make sure there are people to support and take care of you during this time. Surround yourself with your family and friends who would hold you up when you feel defeated, cheer you up during tough times and be strong for you to help you move on from the relationship. If you feel sad or experience any other mental health problems, you should seek professional help without hesitating, prioritising your mental health.

About the Author

Fiza Abbas

I recently completed my honours degree in Social Sciences and Humanities from Ambedkar University Delhi. Here, an o

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