Signs of a Toxic Relationship: Helping Your Teen
June 13, 2016

4 Ways to Identify Signs of a Toxic Relationship and Make a Change

Building positive and healthy relationships as a teen can be difficult. Not all of the relationships we first build bring good things to our lives. Being able to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship is an important skill for teens to develop. Many adolescents today feel they have very unhealthy or negative relationships. Psychology Today discusses 4 ways to identify the signs of a toxic relationship and eliminate it.

Qualities and Emotions of Toxic People

One of the biggest concerns for a teen is to fit in and be accepted by their peers. It’s not uncommon for young individuals to get caught up in wanting to be liked. Due to this they can forget to consider important signs or elements of relationships. Examining the qualities of the people teens are hanging out with is a good way to determine if there are signs of a toxic relationship. Toxic people can be negative, angry, needy or dependent, jealous or threatened by others, controlling, or self-absorbed. People may appear charming, funny, outgoing, or personable at first. It could take time before the signs of a toxic relationship appear. These signs could be obvious or expressed in passive-aggressive ways.

Eliminating Toxic Relationships

Use your voice. Teenagers need to be able to express how they feel and what they’re willing to tolerate in a relationship. Teens should talk to the people they feel are expressing signs of a toxic relationship. Communication is an essential part to maintaining or building positive relationships.

Set Boundaries. It’s important for teens to learn how to be assertive in a respectful way. Blocking people on social media, not spending time with them, or not tolerating the way they talk to you are all examples of setting boundaries.

Get distance. Spend time away from the toxic people in your life. Getting distance helps people evaluate how they are feeling and provides perspective. Taking a break from social media or skipping a social event that a toxic friend will be attending are all good ways to get distance.

Look at the positive. Identify the benefits of getting away from a toxic relationship. Making a list of qualities teens like about themselves or hope to see in a friend is a good way to understand the difference between signs of a toxic relationship and healthy one.

It may be hard for teens to let go of toxic friendships or relationships, it’s okay to acknowledge to them that this is not going to be an easy process. Eliminating a toxic relationship could affect other friendships temporarily or long term. But it’s important for them to remember the difference between signs of a toxic relationship and healthy relationship and how they will benefit from making this change.

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