By Ellen O’Donoghue
Happy week after Valentines everybody.
Especially those who are more relieved that it is over than anything else.
My friend texted me last Sunday saying that she loves seeing all the happy couples all over social media giving their gifts and being happy in their relationships celebrating love and my literal reply was that I hate seeing it.
It makes me feel sick and bitter and nobody can tell me otherwise. Her reply? Self-care day Ellen. That is what you need.
So, what did I do only sit in front of the telly watching I am a Killer on Netflix while knitting a headband for myself before having a few drinks to celebrate a big birthday in my family.
Anyways enough of that craic.
I’ve never been in a relationship for Valentine’s day so this could just be me being cynical but I think it is the biggest, most ridiculous money grab ever.
Personally, it just is not for me.
But anyways, that is not the point of this column.
What I meant to get around to saying was that you should not need a holiday to validate your relationships.
It should not take a commercialised stunt for you to be made feel special by that special someone in your life. If that is the only day that you are made feel like that, then there is most definitely something wrong.
One swallow does not make a summer.
One good day, or one good deed, does not make up for toxicity in your relationship, especially if 99% of the time, it is bad.
Gift giving should not be what makes your relationship great, it should be each other’s company and your love for each other that makes it great.
I know far too many people who have been in toxic relationships, including myself, who did not realise just how toxic the environment was until they escaped it or until it was pointed out to them by somebody who cares.
I think it is so important to keep an eye on yourself and those around you when it comes to your relationships, and their relationships alike.
It is especially difficult for those experiencing it, to realise just how toxic their environment may be.
It’s important to look out for the signs.
Most simply, how do you feel after spending time with this person? Is it enjoyable? Do you feel good afterwards? Or do you feel drained? Do you feel bad about yourself? Are you made feel like everybody is looking down on you? Or like you are not good enough?
Watch out for these major signs that may show if a person in your life is toxic:
Also, remember while you read, that toxic people can have any relationship with you, it doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship. Toxic friendships or familial relationships exist too.
Toxic people are always ‘better’ than you at everything.
Toxic people are never happy for your achievements, no matter how small.
Toxic people cannot give a compliment. Regardless of how nice the compliment, it has to have a little negative on it.
You always feel emotionally exhausted or drained after you meet them, not satisfied.
Toxic people bully your insecurities and make you feel like you’re not enough for them, anyone or anything.
Toxic people do not support your dreams and goals.
Toxic people make you feel guilty for not putting them or their needs first, even though they don’t put you or your needs first.
Toxic people try to intimidate you to get their way.
Toxic people guilt trip you as a way of maintaining control.
Toxic people are easily jealous, and overly defensive.
Toxic people constantly see themselves as a victim, even if it is you who should be the victim.
Toxic people constantly lie to you, and never keep their word.
In toxic environments, you will find that it is always you who listens and helps with their problems. Toxic people are not there for you.
One and all of these signs are signals of toxic relationships.
Toxic people may do only a few of these things, but you must always remember that relationships are a two-way street. It takes two to tango, as they say.
You cannot be expected to have a one-way relationship.
You deserve better, and if you feel otherwise, then you need to take a long, hard look at the relationships in your life – because I would bet that it’s the toxic person or people who have convinced you of it.
It is also important to note that toxic relationships are emotionally abusive and manipulative. If you feel as though you, or someone close to you is in a toxic relationship, talk to them, or talk to someone you trust and go from there.
In the long run, you will be so much better off – I promise.
If they want to, they will.
If someone loves you, they’ll show it.
Sometimes you’re better off on your own.