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How Can Toxic Relationships Influence Addiction?

Learn more about toxic relationships, how to fix a toxic relationship, and how role toxic relationships influence substance abuse.

What is a Toxic Relationship?

A healthy relationship entails the ability to share control and decision-making, as well as mutual respect, care, and compassion for one another. A toxic relationship is, by definition, characterized by the toxic partner’s emotionally and, occasionally, physically abusive and/or manipulative behavior.1

It is toxic when you feel disregarded, misunderstood, denigrated, or assaulted in a relationship. Fundamentally, any relationship that causes you to feel worse over time rather than better can be toxic. Any setting, including the workplace, the bedroom, and the playground, may harbor toxic interactions. Even unhealthy connections within your own family may be a problem for you.

What Makes a Relationship Toxic?

Many relationships may start on a healthy note, but a healthy relationship’s traits may fade with time. When one or both partners prioritize love over the three essential elements of a good relationship—respect, trust, and affection—they are said to be in a toxic relationship. In a healthy relationship, both parties are meant to respect, trust, and cherish each other. But when your partner begins to lose respect for you or disregard you in any way, it may signify a toxic relationship.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

People must be able to spot the early warning signs of toxic relationships to prevent further development. Relationships that are unhealthy often exhibit traits like disrespect and control. Some of the primary indicators of unhealthy – or toxic – relationships will be detailed below.

Lack of Support

This happens when you feel attacked, denigrated, misunderstood, or unsupported. They don’t make you feel encouraged or supported, and you can’t rely on them to stand up for you. Instead, you can feel as though they just care about what they want and don’t care about your wants or interests.2

Toxic Communication

Toxic communication may include not talking for an extended period. And even if you get to speak with your partner, they may use harsh words on you or even lead to a violent argument.

Controlling Behaviors

In this case, one spouse may first decide everything and direct the other on what to do, what to dress, and whom to spend time with. Unreasonable jealousy and an attempt to keep the other spouse away from friends and family are characteristics of this person.3

Does your lover frequently inquire as to where you are? Maybe when you don’t respond to their texts right away or when they keep texting you until you do, they get irritated or annoyed. These actions may be motivated by jealousy or trust issues, but they may also reflect a need for control, both of which can exacerbate the toxicity of a relationship.

Patterns of Disrespect

With disrespect, one partner often makes fun of the other’s interests and ideas, or they may even damage another’s property. This often leads to the other person’s self worth deteriorating over time.

Many times, this is done intentionally; the toxic partner will try to demean the other person’s confidence by disrespecting their habits, interests, or behaviors.

Negative Financial Behaviors

Here, one partner wants to take charge of the finances in the home, which may result in scandalous spending. A degree of agreement on how you’ll spend or save your money is typically required when you share your finances with a spouse. However, it can be toxic if you and your spouse have made financial agreements and one party repeatedly disregards those agreements, whether by making expensive purchases or excessive cash withdrawals.4

Additionally, those in a toxic relationship may find finances becoming a point of contention, or leveraging finances over the other person. Financial abuse can often feel debilitating.

How Does Substance and Drug Abuse Play a Role In Relationships?

Substance misuse can be extremely detrimental to any relationship. Substance abuse can manifest in relationships through:


Close friends or relatives that enable an addict to engage in destructive conduct. To assist, they end up accepting and encouraging the negative behavior. This may be accomplished through offering money, shelter, and emotional support, as well as by giving the drug-dependent person drink or narcotics.

Secure or Insecure Attachment Style

Your interaction with others is determined by your attachment style, which develops during infancy. You create good connections later in life when you are fostered in an emotionally stable family.

Insecure attachment, on the other hand, occurs when your caregiver is insensitive to your emotional and physical needs. Addiction and unhealthy relationships are more likely to occur in those with an insecure attachment style.

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship

It’s probably toxic if a relationship makes you feel horrible most of the time or if you’re constantly humiliated, controlled, or unable to live without that person. But it may be hard to leave if you don’t have the courage. The following tips may help you decide to leave the relationship:


  • Open up to loved ones
  • Get support from a therapist
  • Get help from domestic violence advocate
  • Take care of yourself

Seek Help With San Diego Detox

Toxic relationships often stem from substance misuse. If you or your loved one struggles with addiction, San Diego Detox can help. We have the necessary tools and resources to help you achieve long-term sobriety and wellness.

Is It Possible to Fix a Toxic Relationship?

Contrary to popular belief, not all toxic relationships are doomed. If both partners are willing participants, it is possible to remedy this situation. Partners will need to follow the tips detailed below, and may benefit from seeking outside, professional help. Couples counseling can be a great resource.

However, you shouldn’t stay in a toxic relationship after you have tried your best to fix it.

Acceptance of Responsibility

You’re on the right road if you and your partner both recognize that your relationship needs work and desire to improve it. It exhibits a desire for self-awareness and accountability. Both parties must acknowledge previous actions that have affected the relationship.

Willingness to Invest

Are you and your spouse willing to try to improve the union? That’s encouraging.

Shift from Blaming to Understanding

There could be a way forward if you move the discourse away from finger-pointing and more toward understanding and education.

Openness to Outside Help

You can occasionally require assistance getting everything back on track via individual or marriage counseling. It’s okay to seek professional assistance when dealing with persistent relationship problems.

How Can We Move Forward?

Here are some tips you and your partner may adopt to move forward and forget the past:

  • Don’t dwell on the past
  • View your partner with compassion

  • Start therapy
  • Hold space for the other’s change