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10 Reasons Why Toxic Relationships are BAD for Your Health

We’ve all seen them – those toxic, fight-to-the-death, power struggles that make you cringe and run for the nearest exit. Or perhaps you’re living – and drowning – in your own quagmire of toxicity in a personal relationship.  Been there, done that.

When it comes to toxic relationships, I’ve learned that it is no small matter because they cause traumatic physical and psychological effects. This not only refers to the negative dynamics between you and the toxic person, but the collateral damage can extend to friendships, co-workers, family members and children, even if we don’t want it to.

The potential for a toxic relationship exists among all types of human relationships. It could be between people who are married, dating, no longer a couple, family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

No matter “who” is involved in the toxic relationship (directly or indirectly); the toxicity of the relationship manifests itself negatively in a variety of ways. This is why it is so important to handle the situation and mitigate the damage early.

10 Reasons Why Toxic Relationships are BAD for Your Health:

  1. Sleep disturbances.
  2. Chronic fatigue (not relieved by sleep); related to adrenal fatigue from being in a constant state of alarm or “fight or flight” response.
  3. Lack of focus.
  4. Increased physical stress (which can lead to desperate attempts to escape the stress in potentially destructive ways like excessive drinking; drug (prescription or illegal), caffeine or nicotine use; overeating (especially with “comfort foods” typically high in unhealthy fat and sugar); and other reckless behaviors).
  5. A weakened – or compromised – immune system creating a vulnerability to physical illnesses, diseases and slower recoveries (also tied to sleep disturbances because our immune system rebuilds itself during sleep).
  6. Organ damage (yikes).
  7. Higher blood sugar levels and blood pressure; obesity and lower levels of good cholesterol (particularly in women), all of which can lead to diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.
  8. Premature death (according to a University of Copenhagen study, those involved in a constant conflict are two-thirds more likely to die 11 years sooner!).
  9. Increased emotional stress (including depression, anxiety, and panic attacks) and internal negativity (including judgmental self-talk and self-doubt).
  10. Increased risk of heart problems (according to a Michigan State University study, a 34% increase!).

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Signs of a Toxic Relationship:

Toxic relationships are widespread and often with one – or more – of the participants not even recognizing (or acknowledging) the relationship has become toxic. The telltale signs of a toxic, or unhealthy, relationship include:

  • Feeling bad during or after being around the individual;
  • Feeling dread about seeing the other person (or even simply seeing their caller ID on the phone);
  • Feeling fearful, trapped, angry or frustrated in the relationship;
  • Conversations dominated by hurtful remarks and/or constant sarcasm;
  • Behaviors which belittle or diminish self-esteem or self-confidence; and
  • Passive-aggressive, narcissistic interactions.

Please don’t take toxic relationships lightly or ignore them all together. If left to fester they can damage your health just as much as fast food, environmental dangers or hazardous waste. According to Dr. Ann Clark, a San Diego Human Services expert, “The data is very clear; the longer one remains in a toxic relationship, the greater the damage to health.”

The data is very clear; the longer one remains in a toxic relationship, the greater the damage to health.

Dr. Ann Clark

Remove Yourself from the Situation:

Removing yourself from a toxic relationship or situation is critical to your overall well-being, peace of mind and good health. But that’s not enough. The negative aspects (detailed above) don’t usually go away immediately or even on their own.

After you’ve put the relationship behind you:

  • Find a qualified professional to help you discover and identify the beliefs and insecurities which allowed such toxicity into your life in the first place (they may have been learned and created as far back as your childhood).
  • Learn what steps you can take to stop it from happening again.
  • Learn – and incorporate – positive self-love and self-care and use it to address and heal the pain and damage caused by the toxic relationship.

Also, find those things that make you happy, peaceful and calm. Surround yourself with positive and empathic people who will support and encourage you; not criticize and abuse your trust. Your health, well-being, and body will thank you.

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About the Author Corrie Ann

Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, researcher, coach, and cookie enthusiast who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She started the Clean Body Project to share all of her knowledge and resources with others who are interested in running their own experiment into clean holistic living. She is also known as The Renaissance Soul Writer at

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