I have been with the same partner for many years and have tried to make our relationship work, but it seems like the longer I am with him the worse I feel about myself. He makes fun of me when I say what I think and then thinks I am ridiculous because, I “canít take a joke.Ē†† We used to have some good conversations but now I can almost never find the right time to talk about anything. I donít want to leave but my life feels like it is closing in on me. Any ideas?
Your descriptions of your relationship certainly qualify for many of the definitions of a toxic relationship which means that instead of helping you to live your best life, the relationship actually diminishes your sense of self worth and ability. Being with someone who has no respect for you and belittles what you do, say or think makes living a satisfying life incredibly difficult.
Often both people in a toxic relationship have low self esteem and little sense of their own self worth. Many people grow up in families where these kinds of relationships are the norm and creating them in our adult relationships is easy because they are so familiar and often because we continue to try to resolve our childhood issues in our adult relationships. People often hurt each other in relationships to ease their own pain and donít even see that they are doing it.
People accept these kinds of relationships as normal because they donít believe they are deserving of anything better.
Although all relationships go through difficult periods of conflict and disappointment, relationships that weather these difficulties share some important qualities that toxic relationships donít. Mature and growing relationships are a reflection of the well being of each individual in the relationship. The process of working through problems does not start and end with blaming and belittling one partner. When each person brings their own self-respect to the conflict, there is an opening to look at the problem not point the finger at each other.