Toxic love: An unsustainable couple model based on dependence and emotional or physical domination.
Relationships are not always easy and, in fact, conflicts are common; they can arise at any time and from the smallest details.
Each of the members of the relationship has their ideas and their way of understanding the world and life, and it is not always easy to understand the position of the other. However, with love and with the mastery of a series of social skills, as well as with a good dose of resilience and negotiation skills, the relationship can be successful.
Sometimes, however, being in a couple can be real hell, because toxic love makes it impossible for things to go well. Toxic relationships have the characteristic that at least one member of the relationship has totally improper behaviors and attitudes. If you want to know more about this type of relationship, you can read this article: “23 signs that you have a ‘toxic relationship’ of a partner”.
Today we will talk about this love that causes so much suffering and we will delve into each of its characteristics.
Types of love: a toxic love
Not all loves are the same. We can find authentic loves, which are pure and noble, those that are difficult to find. Authentic love is a love that is based on trust, respect, and freedom. There are also other types of love, such as passion, characterized by great physical attraction but little commitment.
Now, there are also loves that are stormy if you can call them love, in which jealousy predominates, lack of freedom, excessive control. This type of love is toxic love, a love that, in most cases, lives from dependence and illusion without anything to back it up.
And the fact is that love is a truly complex subject, that is why many theorists have tried to approach it and understand it, not always with consensus. One of the most well-known theorists for his contributions when it comes to understanding this phenomenon is Sternberg. This author is famous for making a classification of different types of love. His Triangular Theory of Love proposes that there are three elements that interact with each other to form one type or another of love. These elements are intimacy, passion, and commitment. For example, the love that is formed by the three elements is consummate love.
Characteristics of toxic love
But what are the characteristics of toxic love? What makes love cause suffering? You can find the answers to these questions in the following lines:
1. Limited social life
Toxic love is characterized by the fact that the person leaves all his friendships aside and turns purely and exclusively on the relationship. This might seem like an act of love, but in reality, it is a loss of autonomy.
The person stops frequenting the places he used to frequent, leaves aside his interests, neglects old friends and, in short, ceases to be himself and loses his own essence. This can overwhelm the couple and, in addition, makes the person stop being attractive.
2. Need for love approval
The lover who gives a pure love struggles for his personal development and expects nothing from the couple, because he is happy with his life. Toxic love, on the other hand, is characterized because the individual seeks safety, stability, comfort in the couple’s relationship. This is due to a great fear of being alone and great insecurity. They are individuals with low self-confidence.
In highly dysfunctional love relationships, the need to receive a treatment full of affectivity can lead people to be slaves of behaviors that harm them. The establishment of relationship dynamics in which power is held by only one member of the couple, for example, is as common as it is harmful, and is not always easy to detect. In fact, if others draw attention to the symptoms of this problem, the person who suffers it will deny everything abruptly, sometimes with anger.
For this reason, professional advice usually has value not only for the intervention but also for the accompaniment in the hard process of recognizing the problem.
3. Emotional dependence
This insecurity makes the person feel a great emotional dependence because their happiness depends on other individuals. This becomes a problematic situation and causes addiction to the couple even though things between both members do not go well.
4. Obsession with the relationship
All these factors make the person become obsessed with the relationship so that it does not let the couple breathe. Nor does it carry out healthy behaviors that help maintain the stability of the relationship. For example, it does not negotiate or respect the other. So it is impossible for the couple or marriage to move on.
5. It is irrational and unrealistic
Unlike what could happen in a mature and authentic love, rational and realistic love, that is, in which the person is aware of what he is living and not only feels but also thinks, toxic love is purely a love irrational in the most negative sense that this can have, because it lives on illusion and unreal expectations. For a love to work it must be mature.
6. Concern about change
In authentic love, the individual is happy when his partner is doing well and wants it to grow and develop. He is not afraid of change, because as a person he also fights for his personal interests, without forgetting, of course, those of the relationship. The same does not happen with toxic love, because the person who suffers wants everything to be under their control. He does not care about the happiness of the other, only his.
7. It is possessive
Healthy love is based on trust between the two members of the couple, is based on freedom of choice. However, toxic love is the opposite, because it is possessive. The individual needs to have controlled the couple at all times and know what he does and where he goes.
8. It is manipulative
In toxic love, unfortunately, emotional blackmail and manipulation are common. This happens because the person is selfish, does not respect the other and acts according to their interests.
His way of acting is to blame, intimidate and provoke fear in his partner. It does not have to be physical, just use expressions like: “if you let me, you do not love me”. In this way, the other member of the couple feels guilty for what is happening.
9. Try to change the other person
When one member of the couple tries to change the other to an excessive degree, then we are talking about toxic love. If love is authentic and mature, the individual loves his partner just as he is. On the other hand, if it is toxic, it will encourage you to change something, for example, your physical appearance.
10. Blame the other
Healthy relationships are based on negotiation. People assume their share of guilt when a problem occurs and are empathetic enough to understand others. In toxic relationships, one of the two always tries to blame the other. There is no room for negotiation because the toxic lover always thinks he is right.
11. It makes you suffer
Love should not cause suffering, because when this happens it is not authentic love. If love is true, the relationship is symmetrical: one day gives one and the next gives the other member of the couple. Obviously, there may be misunderstandings and discussions, but they are solved in a mature way. The question is simple: Does this love make you suffer? If the answer is yes, then it is toxic love.
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