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How to Identify Toxic Relationships

a parent attempts to get their child to recognize and identify that they are in a toxic relationship

Adolescence is a time when many teens have their first romantic or intimate relationships. A healthy relationship can help boost your child’s life outlook and general well-being. However, a seriously unhealthy pairing can have the opposite effect. One common term for this kind of unhealthy connection is a toxic relationship. A relationship therapy program can help your teen undo the effects of such a situation. You can also play an essential role by knowing the common signs of toxic interpersonal ties. Reach out to Imagine Spokane today at 509.870.3810 for more information and resources.

Understanding Toxic Relationships

Every day, teens and adults find themselves in romantic relationships that they find disappointing or underwhelming. But a toxic relationship does not just underwhelm or disappoint. It poses an active threat to your teen’s sense of health and wellness. Depending on your child’s situation, the nature of that threat may be:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Emotional

It may also include any combination of these three factors. In many cases, one partner is the sole or main source of toxic behavior in a relationship. But in other cases, both partners play an equal or significant role.

Anyone can potentially develop a toxic connection to a romantic partner. However, some people are at a higher level of risk. That includes teens and adults affected by depression, bipolar disorder, or another mental illness.

How to Identify Toxic Relationships in Teenagers

All toxic relationships are mentally and/or physically dangerous. Unfortunately, it can be especially hard for teens to identify these relationships when they’re in them. That’s true, in part, because many teens have little or no prior romantic or intimate experience. Teens also often hold idealized notions of relationships. These notions may exclude the possibility that a romantic connection can be harmful.

For these reasons, the question of how to identify toxic relationships in teenagers is often left to parents or other adults. What are the telltale signs of these relationships? Things you may notice in your child or their partner include:

  • Extremely jealous or possessive behavior
  • A disregarding attitude toward the other person’s thoughts or opinions
  • Disrespect for the other person’s hopes and dreams
  • The use of belittling language toward the other person
  • A constant need to ask for the other person’s permission or approval
  • Fear of the other person’s responses and reactions
  • Frequent blaming of the other person for various situations
  • Gaslighting, i.e., denying the other person’s interpretation of reality

You may also notice physical signs in your child or their partner. That includes such things as scratches, cuts, and bruises. It may also include other kinds of unexplained injuries. Your child and/or their partner may make excuses to cover up the true nature of the situation.

Helping Your Child

Help is essential for any teen caught up in a toxic relationship. A good place to start is an honest conversation with your child. However, teens in these kinds of relationships often resist such conversations. They may also outright deny what’s happening to them. If your child responds in this way, you may want to consider seeking professional support. A trained counselor or therapist has the experience needed to help break the cycle of toxic interactions.

Learn More About How to Identify Toxic Relationships in Teenagers at Imagine Spokane

Worried that your child’s relationship may be toxic? Talk to the teen mental health experts at Imagine. We can help you determine if your teen’s relationship is damaging their well-being. We can also provide you with timely advice on how to respond in effective ways.

Relationship therapy for teenagers is a featured option at Imagine Spokane. We’re dedicated to helping your child overcome the damaging effects of toxic romantic connections. For more information on our program, call us today at 509.870.3810 or fill out our online form.