15 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

15 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationships will cause monumental breakage to people, families and workplaces, but they aren’t necessarily the territory of the weak, downtrodden or insecure. Strong, healthy, independent people can find themselves in the white-knuckled grip of a toxic relationship. Similarly, relationships that seem to begin strong because ‘omg we’re soooo in love you guys,’ can dissolve into nothing but ash and legal fees that could have bought a castle on the river Seine, if they weren’t being used to divide half your assets more ‘half-ly’.

Relationships evolve. They change and they grow. Sometimes they crash and they burn. We never know how things will look when each other’s less adorable, kind of awful habits start to show themselves publicly, or under the influence of alcohol or in-laws.

Some relationships are all shades of wrong from the outset (‘Darlin’ you’re so pretty. You’re the image of my ex. See? Here’s her photo. You can keep that one. I have plenty – in my wallet, as my screen saver, on my bedside table, at my mum’s house, on my desk, on my fridge and yeah, all over the place. Sometimes I just, like, hold it in front of me and run backwards and pretend like she’s chasing me. Wanna get some tequila baby?’) Some start off with promise and with all the right ingredients, but somewhere along the way, the right ingredients get replaced with resentment, jealousy, history and hurt.

We love love. Of course we do. Love sends us to joyous, lofty heights that we never want to come down from, but the same heart that can send us into a loved-up euphoria can trip us up and have us falling into something more toxic. The hot pursuit of love can be blinding. Even worse, sometimes it’s not until you’re two kids and a mortgage into the relationship, that you realise something has been missing for a while, and that something is you.

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship contaminates your self-esteem, your happiness and the way you see yourself and the world. A toxic person will float through life with a trail of broken hearts, broken relationships and broken people behind them, but toxic relationships don’t necessarily end up that way because the person you fell for turned out to be a toxic one. Relationships can start healthy, but bad feelings, bad history, or long-term unmet needs can fester, polluting the relationship and changing the people in it. It can happen easily and quickly, and it can happen to the strongest people.

Can I fix it?

All relationships are worth the fight, until they’re not. In a toxic relationship there will always be fallout:

  • moodiness, anger, unhappiness become the norm;
  • you avoid each other more and more;
  • work and relationships outside the toxic relationship start to suffer.

If the relationship is toxic, it is highly likely that all the fight in the world won’t change anything because one or both people have emotionally moved on. Perhaps they were never really there in the first place, or not in the way you needed them to be anyway. Even worse, if your relationship is toxic, you will be more and more damaged by staying in it.

Fighting to hold on to something that is not fighting to hold on to you will ruin you. Sometimes the only thing left to do is to let go with grace and love and move on.

What are the signs that I’m in a toxic relationship?

Being aware that the relationship is toxic is vital in protecting yourself from breakage. To stay in a toxic relationship is to keep your hand hovering over the self-destruct button. Not all toxic relationships are easy to leave, but being aware of the signs will make it easier to claim back your power and draw a bold heavy line around what’s allowed into your life and what gets closed out.

Toxic behaviour exists on a spectrum. All people and all relationships do some of these things some of the time – but that doesn’t make them toxic. A toxic relationship is defined by the consistency, the intensity and the damage. Here are some of the signs.

  1. It feels bad. All the time.

    You fall asleep hollow and you wake up just as bad. You look at other couples doing their happy couple thing and you feel the sting. Why couldn’t that sort of love happen for you? It can, but first you have to clear the path for it to find you. Leaving a relationship is never easy, but staying for too long in a toxic relationship will make sure any strength, courage and confidence in you are eroded down to nothing. Once that happens, you’re stuck.

  2. You’re constantly braced for the ‘gotcha’.

    Sometimes you can see it coming. Sometimes you wouldn’t see it if it was lit with stadium floodlights. Questions become traps. (‘Well would you rather go out with your friends or stay home with me?’) Statements become traps. (‘You seemed to enjoy talking to your boss tonight.’) The relationship is a jungle and somewhere along the way you’ve turned into a hunted thing in a skin suit. When the ‘gotcha’ comes, there’s no forgiveness, just the glory of catching you out. It’s impossible to move forward from this. Everyone makes mistakes, but yours are used as proof that you’re too uninvested, too wrong, too stupid, too something. The only thing you really are is too good to be treated like this.

  3. You avoid saying what you need because there’s just no point.

    We all have important needs in relationships. Some of the big ones are connection, validation, appreciation, love, sex, affection. When those needs are mocked or ignored, the emptiness of that unmet need will clamour like an old church bell. If your attempts to talk about what you need end in a fight, a(nother) empty promise, accusations of neediness, insecurity, jealousy or madness you’ll either bury the need or resent that it keeps being overlooked. Either way, it’s toxic.

  4. There’s no effort.

    Standing on a dance floor doesn’t make you a dancer, and being physically present in a relationship doesn’t mean there is an investment being made in that relationship. Doing things separately sometimes is healthy, but as with all healthy things, too much is too much. When there is no effort to love you, spend time with you, share the things that are important to you, the relationship stops giving and starts taking too much. There comes a point that the only way to respond to ‘Well I’m here, aren’t I?’ is, ‘Yeah. But maybe better if you weren’t.’

  5. All the work, love, compromise comes from you.

    Nobody can hold a relationship together when they are the only one doing the work. It’s lonely and it’s exhausting. If you’re not able to leave the relationship, give what you need to give but don’t give any more than that. Let go of the fantasy that you can make things better if you try hard enough, work hard enough, say enough, do enough. Stop. Just stop. You’re enough. You always have been.

  6. When ‘no’ is a dirty word.

    ‘No’ is an important word in any relationship. Don’t strike it from your vocabulary, even in the name of love – especially not in the name of love. Healthy relationships need compromise but they also respect the needs and wants of both people. Communicating what you want is as important for you and the relationship as communicating what you don’t want. Find your ‘no’, give it a polish, and know where the release button is. A loving partner will respect that you’re not going to agree with everything they say or do. If you’re only accepted when you’re saying ‘yes’, it’s probably time to say ‘no’ to the relationship. And if you’re worried about the gap you’re leaving, buy your soon-to-be ex some putty. Problem solved.

  7. The score card. Let me show you how wrong you are.

    One of the glorious things about being human is that making mistakes is all part of what we do. It’s how we learn, how we grow, and how we find out the people who don’t deserve us. Even the most loving, committed partners will do hurtful, stupid things sometimes. When those things are brought up over and over, it will slowly kill even the healthiest relationship and keep the ‘guilty’ person small. At some point, there has to be a decision to move on or move out. Having shots continually fired at you based on history is a way to control, shame and manipulate. Healthy relationships nurture your strengths. Toxic ones focus on your weaknesses.

  8. There’s a battle – and you’re on your own. Again.

    You and your partner are a team. You need to know that whatever happens, you have each other’s backs, at least publicly. In healthy relationships, when the world starts throwing stones, the couple comes together and fortifies the wall around each other. Toxic relationships often see one person going it alone when it comes to public put-downs. Similarly, when attempts are made from outside the relationship to divide and conquer, the couple is divided and conquered as easily as if they were never together in the first place.

  9. Physical or verbal abuse. Or both.

    These are deal-breakers. You know they are.

  10. Too much passive-aggressive.

    Passive-aggressive behaviour is an indirect attack and a cowardly move for control. The toxicity lies in stealing your capacity to respond and for issues to be dealt with directly. The attack is subtle and often disguised as something else, such as anger disguised as indifference ‘whatever’ or ‘I’m fine’; manipulation disguised as permission ‘I’ll just stay at home by myself while you go out and have fun,’ and the worst – a villain disguised as a hero, ‘You seem really tired baby. We don’t have to go out tonight. You just stay in and cook yourself some dinner and I’ll have a few drinks with Svetlana by myself hey? She’s been a mess since the cruise was postponed.’ You know the action or the behaviour was designed to manipulate you or hurt you, because you can feel the scrape, but it’s not obvious enough to respond to the real issue. If it’s worth getting upset about, it’s worth talking about, but passive-aggressive behaviour shuts down any possibility of this.

  11. Nothing gets resolved.

    Every relationship will have its issues. In a toxic relationship, nothing gets worked through because any conflict ends in an argument. There is no trust that the other person will have the capacity to deal with the issue in a way that is safe and preserves the connection. When this happens, needs get buried, and in a relationship, unmet needs will always feed resentment.

  12. Whatever you’re going through, I’m going through worse.

    In a healthy relationship, both people need their turn at being the supported and the supporter. In a toxic relationship, even if you’re the one in need of support, the focus will always be on the other person. ‘Babe like I know you’re really sick and can’t get out of bed but it’s soooo stressful for me because now I have to go to the party by myself. Next Saturday I get to choose what we do. K? [sad emoji, balloon emoji, heart emoji, another heart emoji, lips emoji].’

  13. Privacy? What privacy?

    Unless you’ve done something to your partner that you shouldn’t have, like, you know, forgot you had one on ‘Singles Saturday’, then you deserve to be trusted. Everybody deserves some level of privacy and healthy relationships can trust that this won’t be misused. If your partner constantly goes through your receipts, phone bills, text messages this shows a toxic level of control. It’s demeaning. You’re an adult and don’t need constant supervision.

  14. The lies. Oh the lies!

    Lying and cheating will dissolve trust as if it was never there to begin with. Once trust is so far gone, it’s hard to get it back. It might come back in moments or days, but it’s likely that it will always feel fragile – just waiting for the wrong move. A relationship without trust can turn strong, healthy people into something they aren’t naturally – insecure, jealous and suspicious. The toxicity of this lies in the slow erosion of confidence. Sometimes all the fight in the world can’t repair trust when it’s badly broken. Know when enough is enough. It’s not your fault that the trust was broken, but it’s up to you to make sure that you’re not broken next.

  15. Big decisions are for important people. And clearly, you’re not one of them.

    If you’re sharing your life with someone, it’s critical that you have a say in the decisions that will affect you. Your partner’s opinions and feelings will always be important, and so are yours. Your voice is an important one. A loving partner in the context of a healthy relationship will value your thoughts and opinions, not pretend that they don’t exist or assume theirs are more important.

I think I might be in a toxic relationship. What now?

If it’s toxic, it’s changing you and it’s time to leave or put up a very big wall. (See here for how.) Be clear about where the relationship starts and where you begin. Keep your distance emotionally and think of it as something to be managed, rather than something to be beaten or understood. Look for the patterns and look for the triggers. Then, be mindful about what is okay and what isn’t. Above all else, know that you are strong, complete and vital. Don’t buy into any tiny-hearted, close-minded push that would have you believe otherwise. You’re amazing.

And finally …

There are plenty of reasons you might end up in a toxic relationship, none of which have nothing to do with strength of character or courage.

Sometimes the toxicity grows and blindsides you and by the time you realise, it’s too late – the cost of leaving might feel too high or there may be limited options.

Toxicity in any relationship doesn’t make sense. In an attempt to make it make sense, you might blame history, circumstance or your own behaviour. The truth is that none of this matters. It doesn’t matter where the toxicity comes from or the reason for it being there.

Love and happiness don’t always go together. The world would run so much smoother if they did, but it just doesn’t happen like that. Love can be a dirty little liar sometimes. So can commitment. Staying in a relationship should never have losing yourself as one of the conditions. You’re far too important for that.

It’s important to make sacrifices in relationships but your happiness, self-esteem and self-respect should always be on the list – always. If a relationship is built on love, it nurtures, restores, replenishes and revives. It doesn’t diminish. It isn’t cruel and it doesn’t ever violate a warm, open heart. Everything you need to be happy is in you. When you are with someone who suffocates those precious parts of you, be alive to the damage they are doing. You owe them nothing, you owe yourself everything. You deserve to thrive and to feel safe, and you deserve to be happy.

[irp posts=”1602″ name=”When It’s Not You, It’s Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships”]

290 Comments

anonymous

i’ve been with this girl now for almost 1 and a half years, she’s literally my first relationship. i did almost all of my firsts with her. i even lost my virginity to her and vice versa for her for this. however, last year we had many arguments and it all started because of me. i cheated, multiple times on her and despite all those, she gave me chance after chance. after that we had a month of time off (a break) and that’s when i took the time to reflect upon myself and my actions. i loved and love her so that’s why i couldn’t afford to let her go. early this year, we got back together but the vibe wasn’t the same. she became colder to me although i promised her multiple times and i even screenshotted my chats to prove to her that i don’t do what i did anymore. my self pride was gone and i did everything i could to get her back. i felt suicidal at those point in time. and everytime she treated my harshly and unfairly, i js feel like giving up but i didn’t want to. before our break, i had this girl bestfriend who i always share my problems to because i trust her. my girlfriend hates her and is jealous and insecure of her and so i blocked her on all social media platforms and even most girls. there was even that one point where she started to like my bestfriend and was losing feelings for me. side note: i’ve met her family and they like and approve of me. however, a month ago, because of her attitude i’ve been keeping up with and bottling, i couldn’t take it anymore. i felt like breaking up but my mind told me not to. so we took a breather. i cried and cried because i didn’t know what to do, whether to leave or stay. she was crazy in tears too and even felt suicidal. she even reminded me that she lost her virginity to me and vice versa. i asked my bestfriends for their opinion and one of them said it was a toxic r/s. now, things have started to get better but recently, i just feel that my love for her keeps going up and down. almost everynight, i dream of me and my ex-girl bestfriend being together as a couple, i even wished i was .. now i don’t know what to do anymore ..

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anonymous

should i breakup and date my ex-girl bestfriend ? because honestly, me and her have nothing against each other. i do feel that i have the slightest feelings for her but idk what to do anymore honestly. as much as i love my girlfriend now, i feel like breaking up because i just get too stressed nowadays .. and idm us being bestfriends .. and i just feel that me and my ex-girl bestfriend will work out just fine

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Amy

Just had a baby girl a month ago…It might be the hormones or idk WTH is going on. I still feel pregnant and still can’t stand my husband. He is just too annoying I guess. He is a clean FREAK, and wants everything perfect, we renovated the house while I was pregnant and he was so stressed out he kept yelling all the time. I tried to be as patient as possible because of the baby. Still it seemed he was the pregnant one. Now, he is just too much into keeping everything neat. I have 2 kids plus a newborn, I do not have time to maintain the house. There is a little scratch on the wall? Oh he goes crazy! The girls drop food while eating? Oh he goes extra crazy on them. The other day I was giving a bath to the baby in the bathroom and accidentally spilled water and he went crazy! Like saying I don’t care about the house bla bla bla. I put the dishes in the dishwasher then he says that is not the way to put the dishes. He is too much OCD. He did not talk to me for 2 days then he pretended everything was ok. I barely talk to him, he is too much into his work and playing tennis or doing his workout. In the mornings he stays asleep not even care to help with homeschooling the other girls.
Then he asks: what’s for lunch?

I am BuSY homeschooling 2 children and handling a newborn who is fussy all the time and on top he wants me to cook! I just can’t…I ignore him because I have other important things to take care of but I do not like to be like this. He is a hard headed so do not tell me to talk to him because all he will say is the I am the bad person here because in his eyes he is perfect. So no, I can’t talk to him he takes everything I say wrong. It just seems he annoys me now because he is too annoying and worried about keeping everything clean while I barely have time to take a shower🥺 the only good news is that my mom is here who helps me with everything he is supposed to do as a father.

Long post but don’t have any friends neither. It’s sad I know. I quit my job to be a FTM so any words of wisdom will be appreciated. Thx

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Swati S

Hey
You are a rockstar. I do not know how you are managing all this. Just try and communicate wd ur husband.
This post makes me self-reflect as I am a clean freak too and tell my husband to not load the dishwasher because he does not know how to. Being so particular abt cleanliness adds stress. I am mostly cleaning my house. I hv started to work on myself now by ignoring clutter and there are days I do not clean to make myself at ease wd not so perfect surroundings.

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A L J

Omg I’m feeling for you. That was my life 10 yrs ago, I’d just become a FTM and felt so stuck. Try not to let him have the power. I have made the mistake of “keeping dad happy” the priority over all else, day in and day out. One day I decided to stop reacting, giving into his negative energy. When he freaks out about something, you handle it – whether it’s scratch on the floor or whatever — as you would if he wasn’t there. It’s super hard, and it’s not fair, but eventually he will realize his tactics aren’t working. Stay cool, rise above and if he still doesn’t calm the f down, start planning a way out. Be bold and confident and cool. Establish those boundaries and be willing to act. That’s the only way people like our husbands will actually modify their behaviors. Counseling helps, simply bc there’s a another non crazy witness. Stay calm.

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Charlie

Well first congratulations on the newborn.
I was exactly the same when I gave birth to my 2 nd daughter,(I am not with the father of my kids anymore )
I believe that we as women are expecting too much from men especially when we have a newborn.
However it also can be a baby blues . I think you should maybe take some time to reconnect with him both of you , like when u where dating . Men are very selfish and immature ( not all of them
but majority)

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Anna

I would talk to a therapist if possible. He is controlling and toxic and not helping in the way you need. If you can’t access it and talk to him to resolve this, then I’m sorry to say that it is not a healthy relationship.

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Hollie

It sounds like we have the same life.
🙁
My mom doesn’t support my decision of needing a divorce because she thinks I’m over reacting and am just stressed after having a baby but the thing is. . . He’s been like this for 5 years- our entire relationship- just behind closed doors, or not around my family at least.
Now it’s gotten so bad he no only treats me horribly but he also compares out parents and speaks badly of mine. Then will tell me that my mom knows Im complicated. He’s trying to make me feel alone and trapped and it’s working bc now I have no money after leaving my job too.

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kisha

dang im so sorry ro hear that. people like you are the real heroes maintaining children and a foolish man at the same time i cant compare because im a 13 year old boy but i show a lot of empathy for my age and that just sounds horrible.

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Claudia C

My boyfriend pretendes I don’t exist when we are out with others or in public ! Whenever I try to talk he just shuts me down and make funny faces he won’t listen to anything I add to a conversation ! Some of my friends have notice and said he doesn’t seem to really care about me ! He just treats me like I’m invisible ! At home is like a puppy to me but in public he acts different he really pretends I don’t existe he even turns is back on me when he sits he won’t look at me he want even talk to me !
My voice and or any movement I do irritates him !

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Greg

Hi Karen
My name is Greg . I met a women 2 months ago it started with a moment at the beach .Than we met again on a dating site . Everything been great intill I learned more , ya see she has issue’s daddy issues , two ex’s issues , the third was her soul mate that cheered and left and claims that she was allways the giver in her relationships ! Now I’m with her ! I am an honest , caring , loving man who really likes this woman . She doesn’t want to date , doesn’t want a committed relationship but is interested in us , says I’m everything she would want in a partner, but allways wants me time ! She’ll spend four day with me and gone ten back for two and gone for five . I was understanding to her needs . Than she tells me she happy alone , but I still see her once a weekend for a day and a half . I’m thinking it’s a toxic relationship because I’m willing to work for a relationship but she puts little effert in and I’m putting my all in . Sex is great and when we have one on one time she’s the one for me . Recently I heard this saying.
Never make someone a priority who considers you an option and doesn’t want to commit to anything . She had plans all Friday night with her mom / canceled intill Saturday and I asked what time Sunday she would like me to come over for dinner on our two month anniversary she said 4 pm eat and watch a movie . I said I wanted to come over early and spend quality time together , talk , go for a walk . anything . She said she had things to do .I said what ? Clean , fiddle fart around watch a movie , what ever . Toxic & I’m an OPTION when she wants me there for whatever & sex . I guess it’s a different type of toxic w/ friends with benefits .But she says she doesn’t want to hurt me !!! As I write this I realize I have two options it in to it what I get back or get the hell out .

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Iva

Hey Greg, it’s a shame when a good woman doesn’t recognise a good thing when it’s starting her right in the face. You seem to be very aware of wise so trust you will make the right decision but this woman has been through a lot of shitty relationships by the sounds of it and needs to heal her heart before she can open it fully, let someone else in and make them a priority. I have compassion for you both, it’s hard when 1 person wants the relationship to progress faster than the other. I also believe the man can be a great source of healing for the woman but don’t allow yourself to be used. You will know if she feels a deep connection and love for you. If not, she won’t express her struggles about opening her heart to you because she probably isn’t aware she’s doing it. She sounds broken and I would tread carefully. All the best.

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Arlene

My current relationship started like you are describing. 5 years later it’s the same. I finally left 3 weeks ago and am now homeless sleeping in my truck because I couldn’t stay any longer. I’m still questioning if I’m the toxic one because my self image was so damaged there. My advice…stop dating this woman. Don’t waste anymore tiime. He was perfect sometimes too and that’s what kept bringing me back. And my belief that he knew better what a healthy relationship was and I didn’t. So when he was hot and cold. I’m and out. He would tell me that’s healthy and I believed him. But it’s ultimately just made me doubt everything about myself and love. And I don’t have the doubts or confusion before him. Kept yourself and your self image intacted by leaving the confusion of your relationship with her. You’ll be glad you left. The confusion will leave and a better suited partner will come because you’ve made your statement to the universe what you are willing to accept and not by your decision to say goodbye to someone who wasn’t meeting your needs.

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Tia

Hi Greg not sure if you will read this get out asap! She doesn’t deserve your commitment good luck and drop her like a hot potatoe she might even be using you x

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Andy

Jeezus Greg…I’m in the same boat. It’s the sex that is blinding us.

I just recently wrote down that same quote too. It’s from Mark Twain.

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

Unfortunately, we know the answer to our instinctual question. Our relationships are unbalanced, creating lots of negative feelings and doubts, and therefore unhealthy.

Allegedly there is someone out there who will love us, prioritize us, and give us great sex too.

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Maddy A

Hello! Me and my wife moved in together not long ago. We used to be so close and she really made me feel better! But not it isn’t and I’m wondering why. She just isn’t what she used to be and is always leaving the house late at night. She is always complaining now “Why did I become a lesbian if girls are a pain in the a**?” It really makes me sad to see she doesn’t like me anymore but I love her so much. What do you suggest I do?

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Ashley

I met this guy online 7 years ago and we started talking. We have dated and I cheated on him as it’s been a long distance relationship. We separated. I contacted him after 2 years and we got back together. He proposed to me and I moved to his country to try to stay with him. I had to leave because of the visa problem and money. He hasn’t been working for more than a year. I have been always the one paying when we went out while I was in his country. Anyway I came back to my country to work and make money as I was running out of money and he can’t support us at all. Then we have our long distance relationship again. He always think that I am cheating on him and he always says disgusting words to me with no respect at all. We would get back together and he would say those words again and again. He would block me and then unblock me and said ok let’s move on. After awhile, he just mentioned the past and accuse me of cheating. When he doesn’t response to my text, it is fine to him. But when I just texted him good morning and good night, he thought I was dating my colleague because I didn’t text him during the day or during lunch time. I didn’t text him because he doesn’t response to my text so what’s the point of me texting him? He deleted his whatsapp and I have no way to find him. I truly love him. I know I did something terribly and wrongly but I have changed. But he doesn’t believe that and he doesn’t respect me at all and I know I was in a toxic relationship but I just don’t want to lose him. It’s been 9 days I got nothing from him even I sent him emails.

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Iva

Hi Ashley, I’m sorry and I feel you pain. I have experienced this in the past and my only advice to you is to remember who you are. You’re a kind and loving person who never meant harm. We are only human and we make mistakes. This doesn’t discount the fact that you cheated but I would get to the root of the problem and try not to focus on the symptom. You may have cheated to begin with because you didn’t feel safe or secure with this man. Because of that you may have subconsciously seeked out security from somebody else. This isn’t your fault but it is your responsibility to own. Try to see this man for who he really is and not as a symbol of God in your life. He is just a man. Be kind to yourself. What would the 5 year old Ashley do? Does she know she deserves better and relationship that is filled with support, love and care? Or does she believe she is only worthy of a one way relationship that is familiar to the pain she may have experienced growing up? I wish you all the best. Stay strong. All my love and support, Iva x

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rodney s

Been dating my gf for 1.5 yrs and she told me four-five months ago when I asked her what’s wrong she had been acting funny that her job was stressing her out and she missed her family who lived 2hrs away I asked her are you sure that’s all I feel like it’s me and she said no and that I couldn’t maker her happy she had too. Two months later she found a job closer to her family and the plan was for me to move out there and to be with her. Now she is working two jobs and trying to get a place and I haven’t had a solid job in close to a year because of the pandemic but she knew how hard I tried and I finally get a job in her area and was ready to move she hit me with she can’t trust that I’ll always be able to help finally which was a fair point.she also says I don’t listen to her and never has addressed that issue and she has felt alone and don’t think that’s going to change I have moved down the list of things she’s prioritizing. But just two months ago she was saying she still wanted to be with me and now she says she don’t think we should be together. I went and changed my status to single because I thought that’s what she meant she wanted but I’m not sure I got a new job and I message her every so often and she says she needs her space I’m so lost.

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Hannah R

My ex messaged me a few months ago he’d just lost his ex wife and mother to his three children to suicide. I obviously messaged back as we dated when we were younger and had stayed friends so we met up a couple of times. Although at the time I was with my current boyfriend and I didn’t tell him straight away till like 2 weeks after. Although I didn’t sleep with my ex my boyfriend still feels like I cheated on him. Yes I lied because I didn’t tell him straight away and obviously I have broken the trust. Do you think we’ll ever fix things? Like we’re trying to work things out and it has been a few months since it happened and I haven’t been in touch with said ex since but still at times it crops up and we end up arguing. How long will this last and is it worth sticking it out in the hope we’ll fix the broken trust?

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NARAYAN S

It is an eye opening article on how toxic people are instrumental in breaking the heavenly relationships. Since most of the people are so innocent when it comes to love and relationship that they fail to read the signs of trouble and the inevitable happens. I have shared this article to one of my friends whose marriage is going through a bad phase. I am sure it will help him. Thanks a lot.

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Love

Great read! I was thinking of the 80/20 rule. Giving 80 percent all the time but only expecting 20 percent. In reality, in any relationship there will be hard times. It is completely unavoidable and you will do and say things you don’t mean.

With that being said, there is a difference between hard times and a toxic relationship. I think you hit on some very good points that explain the difference.

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Raymond

I’ve been dating this girl for a while. Seriously wondering if it’s worth it anymore.

I had a shitty childhood with shitty parents who left me both physically and mentally damaged.

Abuse was an everyday thing.

She also had a bad childhood and bad early adulthood as a result of that childhood.

We can’t drink together without something going wrong. Yet she keeps getting drinks.

I hate seeing her drink so much that I drink too in order to cope with it.

There’s more than that but it just keeps adding up. It’s made me more bitter than I was before and I don’t know how much longer I can do this.

Is this a thing that can be fixed? Because I need answers.

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autumn

hey, i know what its like for her because im that way too. i think she needs all the love and support possible make her feel cherished.
my boyfriend wont give me any attention and the more i talk about our problems the more he grows distant and i feel like it adds up on him and i feel like its all my fault . the more i cry the more he yells at me and the more he yells at me the more i cry . its gotten to a point where i cant even cry anymore. he made me so happy but idk what to do anymore i want to end it for my sake but im too scred im making a big mistake. every day that passes he grows more distant. i hate getting so attached to people nd i hate pretending like i dnt care when i care so much. he says he loves me but wont show it, hes bailed on me for his friends too.

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Emily

Hi,i have a problem with my boyfriend. I just read this signs, if I am in toxic relationship and all of them suits to us. Always when we watch movie or something he say his opinion on that movie and then i say it, and if it’s not the same as his, then he went angry, and starts to be mean to me, that i hurt him because i dont have the same opinion. I can’t say anything to him. Or, He is jelouse, too much. He saw me to talk to our friend and he start telling me that i am whore and im cheating on him and this stuff. Or, he always lie to me where his going, like two weeks ago, he told me that hes going to his friend on cigarette, and i check his fb, and i saw him to write one of his best girl friends, that he will be outside in 5 minutes. Like i trust him. And i trust his friends but this is all suspicious. And its not happend for the first time. Or, when we argue i go away and he never go for me or go apologise. It’s always me who do everything. And i dont know. I try break up with him. But he dont let me leave.

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xXSxd_VixesXx

Everyone is going through worst then me but..I’m just a kid. 11 maybe? Yeah, u h- I’ve got a problem with my friend. I wouldn’t tell him my crush and he said “Fine don’t tell me you just don’t trust me” UGHHH- I already have Social-anxiety.. And maybe trust issues? And no, this is not a “Phase”. I’ve been already been avoiding a lot of people can’t feel how long I can do this.. feel very social in public and sad enough I’ve been thinking to kill myself..But hey! Life is just hard..Right?

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X

Hi I hope you’re okay and please tell someone you trust in your family or a counsellor about how you are feeling. Please.

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debra g

I have the most toxic ever this man does drugs, He has been persueing me for over three years and I wouldn’t give him the time of day! Finally after three years I woke up one day and I had these overwhelming feelings for him! Once I told him I liked him all hell broke loose. He told me he would never hurt me, treat me bad and leave me. And he hasn’t held up to one of those statements. He leaves for three to five days a week don’t call me texted me nothing. When he comes to see me he is so sweet and it makes up for everything! He’s always extremely tired fall asleep for two days, gets up and disappears for another two to five days! Swears he not fucking around on me! Then i find out that he’s signing up for dating website over 27 of them and in his tell us something about you he states that he’s in a difficult relationship and he’s looking for love. I mean wtf is up with that He says hes stop those website but has he really! It’s going on seven months now and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing up his disappearing act. He tells me why don’t you come with me one day and ill show you what i do all night! I love him more than he deserves.. Im just enabling him to do this ive never closed my door on him! Cause i just can”t i dont want any feed back i know what i gotta do kick him to the curb!!

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Karma

This article is the Holy Grail. It really puts in perspective the reasons why I had to leave my relationship of three and half years. We met online and hit it off straight away (both going through a divorce and with young children). We talked for hours, went out a lot, traveled. He was interesting, sweet and affectionate. He was ‘careful’ with money and insisted on going Dutch every time but I didn’t mind, given his other qualities. Then, seemingly overnight, he became this other person. Or I guess the person that he was in the first place but managed to hide whilst we were still dating. His thriftiness became stinginess. We stopped going out. I cooked for him, bought the wine, several times a week, but he never felt he had to contribute or return the favour in any way. What made it harder to accept is that I am a single mum of three kids on a modest salary and he is an investment banker who makes eight times what I do. No kidding. In the name of saving money, he also never wanted to do anything, and the very few gigs we went on, I had to organise and paid for. He was happy staying in, eating my food, drinking my wine and renting movies he fancied…on my account. Once he invited me and the kids to his house (a rare event) for a barbecue and asked me to contribute financially to it. For birthdays and Christmases he gave me books, and seemed unfazed by the vast disparity in value with what I gave him (Montblanc pens, Apple watches, designer clothes). Whenever I tried and talked about his cheapness, his response was always passive-aggressive, dismissive or patronising.

The nail in the coffin was when he started making plans about our future together (all on his terms) and casually talked about what ‘we’ should do with my inheritance: my parents’ holiday home sold and something ‘more suitable’ bought in its place. So controlling as well as stingy.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I dreaded seeing him and hated sacrificing my precious little time off serving him. When I left, he had the cheek of calling me a failure, in virtue of my modest middle management job and salary. Nevermind I spent every last penny of it on him! A real life Mr Scrooge 🙁

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Cameron

With me my girlfriend heard a rumour that I was cheating on her with someone I dont really know and now she is thinking ever since Saturday it been getting a lot of tension between us since than and I’ve been given her space txting her twice to three times a day and she keeps crying and thinking what should I do?…

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jot

I am in love with a person who also have a relation with someone else and he hides all this from me. I know he talks to her every day and when i ask he always do not answer my question, its been 1 year with him but it is getting worse , that another girl is keep on demotivating ,me by saying me his time pass or just a temporary happiness his life. He even do not accept me in front of her because she is with him from his college time and he told me that she is his friend, i trusted him but now she trying to put me down by abusing my relationship. I am deeply in love with him and when i ask him he always say he loves me but i do not know how to tackle with this situation.

Every day i am getting mad on him everyday fights and abuse just made me so depressed i cannot concentrate on career.

I am from different community and that another girl is from his own community and keep on saying me that he will never be with me , i am just his temporary happiness.She always trying to put me down and i am getting demotivating and lake of confidence. I want yo get rid from all of this.

I do not know what to do please help me with this.

i want to be happy , stress free and depression free.

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bot

Hi Jot,

This sounds similar to my own situation. but I’m the other woman that you are upset is ruining and diminishing the happiness and peace you deserve with your partner. I’m curious to know what you mean by she is of his community, and they knew each other from college/ what is your relationship to him, why would it seem less important in these ways?

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Daria

so my current boyfriend and I are in a toxic relationship but he won’t allow me to leave. We tried setting good boundaries but within a day, he broke 3 of them. I can’t make him see my point of view, even though I always see his point of view. How do I make him see that we are at the point where we just need to stop dating?

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jamie m

I just read this bc of a argument this morning . Im now dating my bestfriend of 9 years and it has become horrible. Like who is he. He use to protect defend and build me up no matter what.
So far he has cheated on me w ex and said it was my fault bc I wS showing him sexaual attention but we were arguing all the time. We broke up and I got back with my ex and he did to. Then months later we tried again and now he leaves early in the morning on weekend i wake up he’s gone. He keeps his phones in him like they are gold if i was to even touch them. He says he’s not cheating talking to or meeting anyone etc. Etc. Etc. But come on. We recently got arguing bad and he called me a fat f%$k and that crushed me he bought me a chanel bag and told me it was a guilt gift for the name. I was in a car accident years ago and shattered some teeth but im o. A med. That excellerates decay. My teeth have got bad and my dentist said I neec to remove and get a permanent plate bc they are so damaged at the root that not worth trying to fix and do multiple root canals etc
Well the other day I took a friend to a wfare office and someone there looked at me crazy bc tbey thought o was picking up a assistant check and I got into a new a8 audi and they kinda gave me a look like really and he said they were probably wondering why u got car instead of your mouth fixed. It’s his car. Like that hurt. He told me I was a bad friend this morn. And I said u have nerve youveade it so everytime I look in the mirror I see a fat toothless slob who deserved to get cheated on. I take care of his ne his elderly father animals laundry etc a while going to my house every other day to love and feed my cat. Bc ge doesn’t want her here. My ac broke and ge had a air conditioner thats been in a box for 2 years collecting dust but ge would not hook that one up give me the old one to put at my house so my elderly cat would be comfortable. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD DO. I have isolated myself complete I don’t talk , go. Or support myself at all anymore so if I leave im going toba real struggle. He payed the last 6 months of b rent and till nov for me but other than that I’m i. A bad position. Advice please….

Thank u

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Cecilia

Me and my boyfriend are working in the same company. Before he chase after me, he is on very close terms with another female colleague, such as daily lunch partner (only the two of them) and they also knock off together, sharing a close intimate relationship. After i am officially his girlfriend, about 4 months later, they do not hang out during lunch or knock off work together. I am not sure why but i always very insecure if the female colleague comes and look for him for work issues. Cause my boyfriend will be very eager to help her out and giving her attention although the task is assigned to her by our boss and not to my boyfriend. Not sure how do i untie this knot in my heart. Hope to have useful advices here.

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EJA

Well I can say for sure I have experienced a lot of toxic traits in the last four years of my relationship. Lying, manipulation, gas lighting, continually being cheated on, told how disgusting I am, emotional/verbal abuse and some physical as well. Gave tons of money to my husband when he wanted or needed it and basically demanded I give it to him or would throw huge tantrums in public. Finally I’ve reached a point where I admit I have chose to stay after being blackmailed/threatened but I don’t have sex with him because he cheats continuously, when he talks it goes in one ear and out the other, I don’t pay attention to him and do the bare minimum in this relationship. I use to be afraid to voice my feelings because who would always say I was trying to argue or always in a bad mood, none of my feeling ever mattered, none of my pleas for his drug or alcohol addiction or sex addiction were ever addressed. The reality is I just don’t care anymore, could care less, and sometimes I can relate to being the one stonewalling or withholding or being passive aggressive. But honestly I don’t care I’m numb and only stay because I’m cornered by not having a place to live with my kids and I don’t want them to be parented by this man child alone.

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Donae

I’ve been in my relationship for 6 years now. The first few months were beautiful! Until I started seeing yellow flags. But when I noticed I found out I was 3 months pregnant with our 1st child together. When I told him he was so disappointed. He just kept telling me I told you I didn’t want this. He has 5 children outside of me & I have 2 kids not by him. That was my first yellow flag. My whole pregnancy I was going through it. I’ve already been through domestic violence but I think my mistake was telling him I was a victim of it. I went to a phych ward the 1st pregnancy and was put down in so many ways my 2ñd and 3rd. Three out of five of my children we’re in NICU due to stress, depression and domestic violence. Before I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. I was done! But he wouldn’t let me leave I was trapped. I have no family or friends to run to. I broke up with him over and over. Well I tried to.. I got lost and was confused and started talking to other people. This guy seen me in pain and wanted to try to help me. I ended up catching feeling and you know how that goes. My kids father found out and it didn’t end well at all. Mind you our kids are seeing all of this. At this point I’m beating myself up and trying to hurt myself. Questioning myself. Why? Why can’t a man just love you for you?

We get into it over Sex and affection. But I don’t want it I’ve been hurt so much I’m just drained. I tell him NO I don’t want it & I’m still forced. So much has happened in between the years. I can’t even write it all. I don’t want to be the victim or any of that. I just want to know if I’m wrong for feeling the way I feel. I gave this man me, my trust, love, children, shelter..

Now here were today, Nose is broken and my kids screaming asking us to stop fighting. I just want to move on and be happy. My kids don’t deserve this! Am I wrong for trying to move on?? I mean we get into arguments over him getting no sleep. But I don’t understand I get no sleep. We have 5 children who are under 9.

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Trayci M

I am definitely in a toxic relationship, I have lost myself become depressed and even became suicidal. He broke me and left me everytime I needed him. He holds are relationship hostage and uses my last mistakes to disregard his own. We cannot communicate. I dont get any validation or appreciation when I have gave this man all of me not only to him but to his daughter. It caused me to become something im not and just make dumb mistakes that I ended up paying the price for by myself and was left alone to repair my own feelings about why I made those mistakes as a reaction to how he treats me. Its like yea i feel like I’ve given to much to leave but its literally killing me to stay.

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Annoymous

well how do I get out of it? I’m afraid of I try to end things they’re going to hurt themselves or do something.

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Leonardo C

The hard part is letting go, especially because of the love you have for your significant other and the time you have been together. I, myself, am having trouble with my boyfriend. I do not want to let him go, you know. He has been there with me during my darkest moments in life. He is my everything, you all; I love him so much. I am tearing up. I do not want to lose him. Yeah, there are many people out there, but there are no other people like him.

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Lexi

I totally understand. I am in the exact same position. Focus on you and don’t worry about him. It’s so hard bur freeing once you turn the attention back on yourself. Hugs to you.

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RMA

I totally understand how you feel. I love my boyfriend so much and there are so many wonderful things in him but he has another side, a broken and sometimes toxic one. I can’t seem to walk away but in my heart I know it can’t last without me sacrificing parts of myself.

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autumn

omg i hurts so bad i love my boyfrined but he grew distant and gets mad at me for expressing my emotions to him because he thinks i dont trust him when im simply just overthinking. he bailed and lied to me to hang out with his friends. he said his mom said we cant see eachother till his grades get better. whenever i cry he goes silent and distnt and pretends like nothing happened. he trys to avoid my feelings and then when i dont tell him my feelings he gets mad at me for hiding them. hes tried breaking up with me for hiding my emotions. we use to call every day and now its once a week. and he texts once every hour and is a 1 word text. i cry daily over the man i had fallen in love with is gone. i want to do whats right for my mental health but i love him so much im too scared that im making the wrong choice. i feel like he simply wont care or will just make up a lie i might beleive becauseidk if its true or not. i just wanna be okay agian nd not feel like dying every day because not only am i dealing with that im dealing with mentaly abusive mother who keeps me at the desk for 10 hours day and takes my phone which s my only way to talk to people in the pandemic. my grades are low, every day is the same, i cry, i sleep, and i tru to get through just another day. what do i do…

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‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #parentingtips
We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
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#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

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