Dating is all fun and games until it is taking a toll on your mental health. More often than not, we women don’t even realise when the dating turns out to be toxic.
Depending on the nature of the relationship, signs of toxicity can be subtle or highly obvious, explains Carla Marie Manly, PhD, author of “Joy from Fear.”
If you consistently feel drained or unhappy after spending time with your partner, it could be a sign that things need to change, says relationship therapist Jor-El Caraballo.
Hence, we have compiled a list of traits in men, that will help you know if you are in a toxic relationship or dating a toxic man
Jealousy is often cute but not cute when it crosses the limit. If you man is always possessive about you to an extent that he wants to control you. This is a clear sign of running away. Possessiveness is an inherent human trait but when one doesn’t do anything about it and leaves it uncontrolled, it can take a serious toll on your relationship.
Lack of support and understanding
Your partner needs to be supportive and understanding towards you, your needs and your dreams. It is fine if he doesn’t agree to your beliefs unless and until he respects you and disagrees respectfully. If you often find him disregarding your thoughts, needs and feelings, he is toxic to you.
Stressing it out
A normal amount of tension runs through every relationship, but finding yourself constantly on edge is an indicator that something’s off. This ongoing stress can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Your relationship should not constantly feel like a warzone, rather an escape and a safe space.
A relationship solidifies itself on the foundation of love and trust. But if your partner is constantly being dishonest to you, it is time to recognize this toxic behaviour and put an end to it forever.
Questioning where you are all the time or becoming overly upset when you don’t immediately answer texts are both signs of controlling behavior, which can contribute to toxicity in a relationship. In some cases, these attempts of control over you can be a sign of abuse (more on this later).
Revenge and grudge
Holding on to grudges and letting them fester chips away at intimacy. Over time, frustration or resentment can build up and make a smaller chasm much bigger.
As a woman who wishes to keep away from mental and physical abuse, getting rid of toxic behaviour is important. Sometimes when you take these issues to your partner they acknowledge, understand and try to change. This is always considered as a good sign. But, if this is not case with you, it is best to move away from such bonds as soon as possible.
I belong to Nainital, a small town in the state of Uttarakhand. To start with, just after 15 days of being born, I was abandoned by my mother in the hospital just because I was a girl child. My parents had separated because of differences in marriage.
My father was suggested by family members to give me up for adoption as it was not convenient for a man to raise a girl child. My father bluntly refused the suggestion, slashing existing stereotypes back in those days. My relatives took care of me in the first few years.
But because of ever-growing family disputes, I was shifted to Nainital where my father was a teacher in Birla Vidya Mandir School.
Sometimes school teachers and sometimes neighbours who were close would take care of me there. Given the scenario, I had to learn to become independent at a very young age. as with growing age, I found it difficult to even take care of my nutrition because of which my immunity was affected too.
But the good part was I used to get a lot of time to play around as there was no one to call me out for my studies for most of the times. Soon after relocating, I started studying at Birla Vidya Mandir School in Nainital, where my father was a teacher and it was a boy’s school.
This had a very positive effect on me as the experience gave me enough exposure to become an extrovert. But sadly, I could never bond with my brother as he used to live with my mother.
But as fate would have it, there was yet another surprise for me. As a motherless child and due to family and societal pressure and manipulation, I was married off early when I was barely 18 years old. This was done on the presumption that the rest of my life would become easier and smoother.
But God had different plans for me as I suffered grave disturbances in my marriage as well. The person I got married to happened to be involved in illegal business deals and connections. My father decided to take me back to Nainital, my hometown when we found out that everything that we were told was a big fraud and hence my family filed for divorce. I REMEMBER I WAS very sad and was battling DEPRESSION…..during days….because of the given circumstances. Then again my father and I faced societal pressure to not go for divorce as it would be difficult for me to handle things alone.
My father tried to give a chance to the guy and his family and so under pressure, I went back to stay with him for a week. What happened next tore me up mentally. I WAS NOT READY for any physical relationship with that man who was STILL my husband, for the namesake. Hence I faced MARITAL RAPE which in our so-called society doesn’t come in the CATEGORY OF RAPE. Trust me, even I wasn’t aware of what it was. I went back to Nainital.
My depression got worse. I attempted suicide thrice but in vain and then I came to know that I was 3 months pregnant. As my body was extremely weak at that time and my immune system wasn’t that strong, besides, my haemoglobin was around 5.8, so abortion wasn’t an option.
I had to undergo several medical procedures to stabilize my health and pregnancy. With time then, my daughter was born in Nainital and she was the only source of motivation for me to move forward and do something about my life but my mental health still wasn’t cured. My daughter was barely two and a half years old when I left her with my father and moved to a close town Rudrapur for work.
I worked in a bank for a year but I wasn’t satisfied there. I decided to move to Delhi where I tried my luck in different careers. Then my father decided to send me and my daughter to Canada where they were looking for a second option for my marriage.
I requested my family to give me some more time before all the formalities were completed. Nothing in my life comes easy. Not even my career. Then in 2014, I moved to the city of dreams as they call it (Mumbai) in search of the peace and tranquillity. I was searching for, and there it was all this while right in front of my eyes and I couldn’t see it, the only thing that gave me immense pleasure had always been health and fitness.
I decided to explore my career fitness industry as I was good in sports since childhood. I dedicated myself fully to accomplishing my goals. It felt as if the child inside me screamed with joy to have found it’s lost home yet again. I felt alive after many years.
Mumbai gave me one more thing. As a struggler in Mumbai with no knowledge in the fitness industry, I joined a few classes like yoga n martial arts and thereafter i joined a gym club where I met my partner, Shashank. He also belonged to Uttarakhand and we connected on commonalities and soon became great friends. He was senior to me in the industry as I was a fresher. He gave me the guidance I was lacking from so many years and showed me the path that I should follow. Our bonding became stronger with time. Thereafter, there is no stopping till date.
Soon I started competing in many private competitions and attended many fitness expos with Shashank and educated myself. Today I am an MBA graduate, an Internationally certified personal trainer, Internationally certified kettlebell, National Champion in powerlifting, Strongest Woman of India 2018, co-founder of Mountstrong Personal Fitness Studio with my partner in Dehradun, and a known woman in Nainital.
The hope that I had lost in marriage, life and relationships were alive again. My partner has been the biggest support system all this while and he has been my guiding light in true sense. Today, I am happily married to him and have settled down with him along with my daughter.
1) Please follow a very regular healthy lifestyle and fitness regime. You don’t need expensive workout gear, fancy shoes and supplements to get healthy. Basic 30 minutes of brisk walk and organic wholesome diet is enough to stay fit. Nut fruits and 5 litres plus water intake with regular workout frequency is the key to keep your organs active and boost your immunity.
2) Good health is not just the absence of diseases or illness. It’s a state of complete physical mental and social well being. This means eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercises, avoid alcohol, tobacco etc which will help prevent anxiety and depression also.
3) I believe in the strength of will power and consistency. And that’s what I say to other people as well. It has not only improved my physical strength but also my mental strength. I never imagined myself lifting weights or setting national and state records. With whatever little rollercoaster adventure my life has been since my birth I can say it with my conviction that life is never easy for anyone but we have got to take all the misfortunes with a pinch of salt and never give up on ourselves! They also say: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
I will soon be representing Asia in the powerlifting category and I am looking forward to winning the world powerlifting championship in the coming year!
4) Please believe and practice the mantra of learning and growing every day of your life. I know you all are young and maybe some of you don’t have a deep appreciation and inclination towards spirituality YET. I am not too far in age from you all. YET my saviour in the darkest times was TRUST FAITH that we must never give up.
5) Last I will say is: HAVE An unshakable spirit and the power of resilience! When it comes to health and fitness, my plan is to reach out to as many young girls as I can to make them reach their potential without having to sacrifice on their happiness and make informed choices
I am sharing my story in the hope that even if one woman who’s gone through or is going through the same or even grave ordeal as I have feels inspired by my tale and can bring about a change in their lives I will be glad, all I want to say is I HAVE walked this path….and IF I CAN DO IT….SO CAN YOU. No matter what life throws at you STAY POSITIVE….GIVE your loved ones a chance to LOVE you unconditionally.
A 'non-9-5 desk job' ambivert geek who chooses her own audience, Sonali loves sharing stories and finding the corners where humanity still exists! She believes that every individual's story is unique and special. She loves writing about the untouched and unspoken segments of society. When not writing, you can find her listening to someone's stories or playing with dogs. Sonali values mental health and encourages people to speak their heart out!