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Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. 

Faith WoodToxic relationships can be difficult to end. But sometimes all it takes is knowing the ways those relationships can harm you to convince you to leave.

Here are four ways your toxic relationship is hurting you:

Your flight-or-fight response is constantly on

Have your friends noticed you’re more irritable than usual? Maybe you seem to get mad at the slightest remark?

Being in a toxic relationship keeps your body in a high-stress mode. When you sense anything that could be a threat, you immediately try to fight it or run away from it. It will leave you feeling rundown and empty – and leave your friends feeling attacked.

You have physical aches and pains

The flight-or-fight response is a result of cortisol, the stress hormone coursing through your veins. When this is in your blood all the time, it can cause all sorts of aches and pains.

It will worsen your mood and probably your relationship, as you will feel terrible around the clock. Too much stress can even lead to stomach pain and difficulties eating.

You lose sleep

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Besides just cortisol, if you’re constantly fighting with, or fearful of, a toxic partner, this can also change other hormones in your body like adrenalin. When these hormones trigger at the wrong time, it can cause you to have problems like not sleeping at night.

No matter who you are, you’re never yourself when you don’t get enough sleep.

Your self-esteem diminishes

Above all else, a toxic relationship is self-perpetuating. You will likely feel terrible about yourself when you constantly feel physical pain and aren’t sleeping enough. It will eventually erode your self-esteem.

As a result, you will think that you aren’t capable of meeting someone new, so you decide to stay in the toxic relationship instead of leaving it to find someone who isn’t toxic. This means more stress, more aches and pains, and the cycle continues.

There’s a reason toxic relationships are called toxic: they truly damage your life, from your health to relationships with other people and even your relationship with yourself.

You should consider all the ways a toxic relationship is harming you and work on letting it go – after all, you deserve better.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.

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The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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