how to recognize a toxic relationship

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Lies, influence, fear of others… Toxic relationships are common. Louise Delavier, spokeswoman for “En avant tout(s)”, recalls the signs that make it possible to recognize it.

When Marion talked to her ex-boyfriend, she said that every week she cried because of their fights. “My need to protect him, to be there for him, is nothing, confessed the 30-year-old young woman, this is not what you would call a healthy relationship…”. He recalls a revealing episode: “One day, he participated in a photo contest on Facebook. He immediately got stressed that he didn’t have many ‘likes’. Say: ‘I’m a shit, no one likes my photo’ then ‘share my picture of your friends so I have likes’. The next day when I woke up, the first thing I did was to look at his post to see if he had any ‘likes’ so he wouldn’t be stressed.” Anecdotes of this kind abound and in the end there is nothing anecdotal. “I’m not happy but he told me everything is normal. This is my first long-term relationship, so I always think to myself that maybe I’m exaggerating…”. Like our witness, many people struggle to determine whether their relationship is healthy or not and minimize the psychological impact of what they are going through.

The first signs of a toxic relationship

“The first sign is when you are afraid, answered Louise Delavier, spokesperson of the inclusive feminist association All ahead which works for the end of violence against women and LGBTQIA+. This is a good sign that something is in question. Not necessarily the fear that our partner will hit us, but also that he will leave us, that he will reveal intimate things about us. In those cases, there may be emotional blackmail on his part.” Some signs should hold our attention: when we start to forbid things because we are in a relationship (dressing a certain way, looking at certain people, expressing an opinion); when we have the impression of being humiliated, ridiculed, compared to exes and others use it to make us feel guilty, especially in sex. “In general, you should be worried if you control your behavior because you have the impression that it will disturb your couple and you think that there will be reprisals”.

“He has certain rules about what a couple should be”

This situation, Ambre * knows very well because she has been together for more than eleven years with a man whose behavior has hurt her. “I met him when I was 19 and he was 20, he trusted. In fact, he had certain rules of what a couple should be, he was jealous, and when I deviated from these rules, it became complicated”.

Her boyfriend can’t stand her talking or maintaining friendships with other men. In order not to get angry with him, he immediately hid the truth from him. “He knew something was wrong but it was stronger than him and I was still walking on eggshells. I realized it in March 2021, it took a while. I slept with a friend and we spent the night with his neighbors. When Told I saw him the next day, he was scared and I said to myself that I can’t stand lying anymore, always being careful, that I can’t do it myself. , and if you don’t tell me, it will annoy me too'”.

Since then, Amber ended the relationship and went abroad. A rebirth.

Physical violence and psychological violence

In a toxic relationship, emotional abuse is just as important to consider as physical abuse. It is specifically the phenomenon of control that explains how victims have great difficulty criticizing what they experience. “Of course, receiving blows, burns, is an alarm signal, commented Louise Delavier. In the beginning, we tell ourselves that the first slap will leave us, but the influence is so strong that when this slap comes, we don’t realize what we went through in the relationship.

Sexual violence is also part of the warning signs. “This is when you feel obligated to have sex, because someone else is blackmailing you, or because he won’t accept that you say no, you find many excuses such as ‘it’s been a long time’ or ‘I don’t pay experience. than you’ or try to impose a rhythm by saying ‘the couple should have sex several times a week'”.

Good for your body, good for your head!

Is the expression “toxic relationship” relevant?

Louise Delavier determined that, when she uses the expression “toxic relationship” when she is restraining, these are not the words she finds most appropriate. “This expression trivializes an event so powerful as to be insignificant, says the specialist. However, it is violence – psychological, physical, sexual – and the adjective ‘toxic’ is an understatement”. As such, you can be a witness or victim of “violent behavior” that is not necessarily “violence”. “That’s why it’s important, if you have doubts about what you’re going through, to discuss it with a professional. Make your own diagnosis, Difficult. dominance.”

If you are wondering about your relationship or one of your loved ones, you can call 3919 (national number for victims of violence) or go to the free chat atAll ahead, the violentometer is also an accessible tool that allows you to “measure whether or not his romantic relationship is consensual and involves violenceFinally, Louise Delavier remembered that “if this violence is reinforced by the patriarchal system and is mainly carried out by men on women, it can happen to men on women or to couples of the same sex”. And to conclude: “We are all capable of adopting these behaviors, so we must be careful”.

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