Psychology: This is how you recognize a toxic relationship with yourself

4 signs you have a toxic relationship with yourself

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It’s not just in a relationship or friendship that things can become toxic. We can also develop problematic patterns in our relationship with ourselves. These are the four most common.

There’s a lot of talk about toxic relationships right now – toxic partnerships, toxic friendships, toxic jobs are on everyone’s lips. But the most important relationship that every person has is left out: the one with ourselves. And this relationship can also be toxic. If we don’t have a good relationship with ourselves, don’t treat ourselves well and perhaps even look down on ourselves, this can have serious consequences. For our personal health – mentally and physically – but also for our relationships with others. Because, as cliché as it may sound, in order to have healthy relationships with other people, we first have to clean up our own door. These signals tell you that you are toxic – to yourself.

These 4 signs warn you of a toxic relationship with yourself

1. You can’t get rid of your unhealthy habits

Most of us realize that excessive alcohol or even drug use is as much of a coping strategy as eating three bars of chocolate after a stressful day. But relationships with people who are not good for us can also be an act of self-sabotage that we simply cannot escape. All of these unhealthy habits have one thing in common: they originate in us. And because we don’t manage to get to the root of the problem, we resort to diversionary tactics such as endless party nights, affairs with people we know won’t come of it, or emotional eating.

If you experience such behavior patterns, it could be a sign of a toxic relationship with yourself. Because unconsciously, this is often based on the fact that we believe that we are not good enough – and therefore that we don’t deserve anything better.

2. You are very critical of yourself

Constant and completely excessive self-criticism can also be a warning sign of a toxic relationship with yourself. For example, if you feel incredibly angry with yourself over a small mistake and are unable to forgive yourself for your mishap, strong feelings of shame and guilt are probably typical patterns for you. Making mistakes is human. If we manage to internalize this, it creates a healthier basis for our relationship with ourselves.

3. You make yourself dependent on recognition from outside

We all like to receive a compliment or be praised. But working or dressing solely for this external validation can quickly become unhealthy. Because this is how we make ourselves dependent on others instead of focusing on ourselves and our own wants and needs. We can’t control the outside and other people – including their view of us – anyway. The only thing we really have control over is ourselves. Our actions, our motivation for them, and our reaction to external circumstances. If we only put in effort at work because we hope for our boss’s praise, it can become toxic. It is healthier to find tasks and topics that we are intrinsically motivated for and that mean something to us.

4. You give up too much of yourself

Another sign of a toxic relationship with yourself can be observed in your relationship with another person. Some people tend to immediately and constantly put their own needs aside and give up everything about themselves just to please the other person and not allow conflict to arise. Of course, that says a lot about the interpersonal relationship, but the deeper problem lies in the person who allows such behavior to occur. Because the absolute desire to please everyone is evidence of a toxic relationship with ourselves. Behind this there is often very low self-esteem, which is based heavily on the fact that we are liked by everyone and never offend.

This is how you can work on your relationship with yourself

The first and most important step is recognizing the problem. If you have discovered one or more of these behaviors in yourself, you are already a good step further. You can now try to work on individual patterns and set healthy boundaries. If you feel like you can’t do this on your own, you can seek professional support for this difficult process from a therapist or coach.

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