Seeking the Truth in Toxic Relationships

Toxicity is everywhere; sometimes the things that hurt us most are our friends, families and partners.


Relationships are a key piece of the puzzle that shapes who a person is. There are a plethora of different relationships. Each one is unique to the individuals involved but in any relationship, negativity that can develop: toxicity. A toxic or unhealthy relationship is one that doesn’t benefit either person that is part of it, oftentimes doing more harm than good for one or both of the participants.

Kelly Campell, PhD and associate professor of psychology and human development at California State University, San Bernardino, gave Kelly Dawson of MYDOMAINE her interpretation of toxic relationships.

“A toxic relationship is one that adversely impacts a person’s health and well-being,” Campell said. “Because we spend so much of our time and energy on a romantic partner, these relationships are especially influential on our well-being.”

Campell continued by explaining that when one’s partner is doing well, they usually are too. Adversely, when one’s partner isn’t doing well, they aren’t either.

A common theme in unhealthy relationships is manipulation. Manipulation often comes into play when the person who caused an issue tries to weasel out of accepting blame by wallowing in self pity or throwing their emotions in the face of their partner, distracting from the problem at hand.

Junior Allison Beckman spoke out about a toxic relationship that she’d witnessed in which one partner seemed to always find a way to place blame on his girlfriend or at least divert the attention away from his wrongdoings. Instead of admitting his mistakes he chose to toy with the emotions of his partner, creating a bigger wedge between them.

“[He was] stressing her out,” Beckman said. “He [was] making her feel bad, making her feel like she did something wrong when she didn’t.”

While talking to someone about their relationship may seem like a difficult task to some, it can make all the difference. When doing so, one should try to avoid accusations and a negative tone. Both of those things can cause the person being confronted to feel as if they are being attacked, and they might shut down because of it. Instead, asking questions delicately can help to create a calm, supportive environment. Keep in mind that confrontation doesn’t always work out as planned. Some people cannot see the relationship as toxic until they are ready, no matter what tactics one uses to try and convince them.

“The sad thing is [another friend and I] had a sit down with her,” Beckman said. “She honestly does not believe he’s done anything wrong.”

One solution to all these issues is leaving the relationship. Relationships can end in just a few words; numbers can be blocked and people never have to talk again. However, this isn’t always plausible. Family members can be toxic; best friends can be toxic; people that are toxic can make it seem like there is no way out. In all of those cases, calling it quits doesn’t feel like an option. Hearing the sad truth behind how someone is being treated may be the only possible wake up call in some situations.

While relationships are crucial to how people interact, it is important to be able to recognize relationships that are less than ideal. Whether it be a friend, family member or romantic partner, staying in toxic relationships is detrimental to one’s health and mental well being.