In college, we meet so many different types of people and experience so many kinds of relationships that it can be difficult to distinguish the good from the bad. We may only see certain people a few times a week or only on weekends. However, everyone we encounter and surround ourselves with projects some sort of energy onto us. If you’re like me, you feel energies very quickly and strongly, which makes you more susceptible to those looking to suck the energy out of you.
A toxic relationship damages one’s self-esteem and drains one’s energy. Healthy relationships involve a mutual sense of care, respect and compassion, along with a desire to see one’s partner succeed.
Even if you want to be happy with someone because you have enjoyed the good times you’ve shared, you have to look at the bigger picture. Do you feel happy overall? Does this relationship give you anxiety? Do you know that you can fully trust your partner? Does your partner make you feel good when you’re with them? All of these questions can be answered by your gut. When something isn’t right, humans instinctively know.
Dysfunction is a typical part of a toxic relationship. Your partner may behave wonderfully in public or on occasion, but when you’re left feeling anxious and upset outweighs the good. Toxic partners feel they have to be in control and can sometimes play mind games we are not be aware of at first.
If you think you might be experiencing one of these relationships, the best approach is to look at it from the outside to get an overall perspective of the situation. See what your close friends and family members say, and don’t be afraid to tell them what you’ve been experiencing.
Toxic relationships can enter into the realm of abuse if your partner begins to display behaviors including belittling, a bad temper, inducing guilt, overeating and deflecting, being over dependent or too independent and possessive habits. Some people might see these traits and think “who would want to be with someone like that?” But remember, everyone is on their best behavior at the beginning of a relationship. Once the toxic partner gets comfortable, they completely change. They allow you to develop feelings and trust before exhibiting their negative traits. This is what makes it hard for the other person in the relationship.
We have to keep in mind as college aged kids that we have our whole lives ahead of us. Now is the time to enjoy ourselves. If you feel stuck in a toxic or abusive relationship, there is more out there. Don’t be afraid to leave the toxic person, don’t be afraid to do what you want with your life and don’t be afraid to wait until you find someone who gives you what you deserve. Making sure the people you surround yourself with are good for you is a form of self-care. Take some time to evaluate and think about what’s best for you.
Help Line: If you think you or someone you know may be in a toxic relationship students can find resources at https://titleix.uconn.edu.
Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.