Opinion: Learn the signs of a toxic relationship

Though there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ relationship, no one needs to feel trapped by abuse or dependency


Kennedy Tetour

Knowing the difference between a toxic relationship and a healthy relationship will help individuals stand up to abuse.

Alayna Trimingham, Opinions Editor

A relationship requires both parties to be friends before anything romantic can occur. Without this, two people cannot understand each other enough for a healthy relationship. But what happens when you don’t have that understanding? 

Many high school students are fed the fantasy of a “perfect” relationship, and this leads to trying to achieve perfection, which is never obtainable. Toxic relationships form from unrealistic expectations and lack of knowledge on what a good relationship looks like. The definition of a toxic relationship, according to HealthScope Magazine, “is a relationship characterized by behaviors on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner.”

The main reason why toxic relationships are so common, especially among teenagers, is lack of communication. Teenagers fear embarrassment and isolation, but without pushing through these fears, it leaves a lot of room for toxic relationships and friendships. Since teenagers are at a period of growth, how they act and behave now impacts how they will act throughout their entire life, and that’s why open communication is such an important skill to learn, even when social status seems more important than ever. This is a problem because if teenagers don’t figure out what a healthy relationship looks and feels like, they will continue the pattern of bad relationships over and over again their entire life. 

Another reason that toxic relationships are common is that many teenagers do not know the red flags of one, or have the self-confidence to see them. Many teenagers feel as if they need a partner or friends to be whole, and without these relationships, no matter how toxic they may become, they will feel all alone. 

However, in many cases, it is better to be alone than to be surrounded by people that have bad intentions, but the fact that some relationships aren’t worth keeping is hard to recognize with low self-esteem, which will only get worse in a bad relationship. Everyone needs to feel cared for and important to function throughout daily life.

Many people are under the impression that a toxic relationship is any relationship that makes them upset or get in arguments, but this is not the case. A toxic relationship is an abusive relationship, with unequal distributions of power and dependency. The red flags of a toxic person are dependency, controlling behaviors, and most importantly — being emotionally draining to be around.

These relationships need to be taken seriously, and calling any person abusive that is not abusive, but simply just aggravating, takes away the meaning of the word, and shys people in a serious abusive situation away from help. It is important to understand the meaning of the word before it is used, and be aware of the signs and behaviors of a toxic person, because otherwise toxic and abusive relationships will thrive and grow.

The best way to make toxic relationships less common is to know the red flags of a toxic person, and have the self-confidence to be open about feelings and boundaries. It is important to remember that it is more important to be safe and comfortable than to be in any kind of relationship.