When a person partners with an unhealthy match, an addictive kind of relationship dynamic takes hold.The thoughts are all about getting your needs met or how they go unmet. What you or your spouse are not thinking about is the other person’s ultimate well-being or happiness. You are each consumed with getting whatever you need from the other.
Toxic relationships are based on needs — be it emotional, financial or sexual — and whenever needs are at the helm of a relationship, particularly psychological needs, it means simply, that there is more fear in the relationship than love.
In toxic relationships, each partner’s central role is either as a parasite or as a victim. However, these roles can switch periodically if an emotionally charged situation arises like a bitter argument. When this happens, the repressed and sick part the individual can come shooting out like red-hot lava from an angry volcano! The degree of sick behavior by either partner can vary. One of them may be sicker than the other. One or both of them may abuse their partner. They may abuse in different ways. Their abuse might be blatant or indiscernible. It might be unintentional or subconscious or both. Whatever the method of delivery, it is equally damaging to the recipient. The sinister aspect of imperceptible abuse is that it’s difficult to identify and explain. This makes it hard to gain support from family and friends. Here are some contrasts between healthy love relationships and unhealthy toxic relationships:
1) Healthy Love: Development of self first as a priority.
Toxic love: Obsession with relationship.
2) Healthy Love: There is room to grow and expand as well as a for others to grow in the relationship.
Toxic love: Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love — may really be fear, insecurity, loneliness.
3) Healthy Love: Separation of interests; other friends; each spouse maintains other meaningful relationships outside of their marriage; obviously within the limits set by Islamic traditions.
Toxic love: Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends and personal interests and ambitions.
4) Healthy Love: Encouragement of each other’s expanding beyond the relationship whether personal, business or social. Each spouse is secure in his/her own worth.
Toxic love: Preoccupation with other’s behavior; fear of other changing.
5) Healthy Love: Healthy Trust (opposite of blind trust)
Toxic love: Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition.
6) Healthy Love: Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together.
Toxic love: Power plays for control; blaming; passive or aggressive manipulation.
7) Healthy Love: Embracing of each other’s individuality. Loving each other as they are with healthy encouragement in areas that need improvement.
Toxic love: Trying to change the other to fit one’s own image of the ‘perfect spouse’.
8. Healthy Love: Relationship deals with all aspects of reality.
Toxic love: Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of things that are unpleasant.
9) Healthy Love: Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on the other’s mood.
Toxic love: Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
10) Healthy Love: Loving detachment (healthy concern for one another, while knowing when to let go and allow them to assume their journey to self-correction/refinement by themselves)
Toxic love: Fusion (being obsessed with each other’s problems and feelings.)
11) Healthy Love: Sex is a choice growing out of loving and caring friendship.
Toxic love: Pressure around sex due to fear, insecurity and need for immediate gratification. This can be done by using the religion or manipulated religious texts to force one’s spouse to satisfy one’s sexual urges.
12) Healthy Love: Ability to enjoy solitude by being alone.
Toxic love: Unable to endure separation; clinging.
13) Healthy Love: Cycle of comfort and contentment.
Toxic love: Cycle of pain and despair.
14) Healthy Love: Conversations are based upon intent to understand one another, help and/or convey affection.
Toxic love: Conversations based upon intent to blame, defend, or manipulate.