Relationships can be both a source of joy and stress. The key, of course, is balance, and being able to healthily handle the stress in a relationship without allowing it to overwhelm you. Unfortunately, sometimes these relationships can turn toxic.
A bad relationship can affect someone’s mental health. And mental health can have an overall effect on a person’s physical health as well. Understanding how a toxic relationship can hurt our minds and bodies is a step to recognizing when a relationship has become toxic to begin with.
This goes for all types of relationships, as well: romantic, platonic and familial. Cutting toxic people from our lives is a health decision, and can affect your overall health for the better.
5 Signs a Relationship Is Becoming Bad For Your Health
1. Upset stomach from relationship stress
When you’re experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety on a daily basis, this can cause your stomach to become constantly upset. The phrase ‘listen to your gut’ exists for a reason, after all. High levels of chronic stress can even cause ulcers, if you’re predisposed or you aren’t careful. Stomach symptoms like nausea, indigestion and vomiting can be caused by the high levels of stress and anxiety that is being caused by your toxic relationship. Medication can help calm the symptoms temporarily, but cutting toxic people will out of your life will improve your overall health quickly, and more permanently.
2. Substance abuse
If you’re constantly upset from a toxic relationship, you may find it tempting to turn to alcohol or drugs to make yourself feel better. While the high might feel good for a while, you’ll eventually need more and more of your chosen substance to make yourself feel better. This is dangerous, and can lead to substance abuse problems. Heavy use of drugs and alcohol can also lead to more anxiety and stress, as well as doing – sometimes irreparable – damage on your body. Be honest with yourself about how often and for what reason you use substance to cope – you may need help to get back on track, as well as help to step away from the toxicity that influenced you to abuse substances in the first place.
“Toxic relationships are dangerous to your health; they will literally kill you. Stress shortens your lifespan. Even a broken heart can kill you…” – Bryant McGill
3. Poor sleep schedule
The stress from a toxic relationship can disrupt your sleeping patterns, as well as the quality of sleep you get. You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. Or, you may find that you’re unable to fall asleep, and spend your days in a sleepy haze. Lack of sleep can become dangerous, and lead to a whole host of physical problems if you’re unable to get the sleep your body needs to function on a day-to-day basis. Locating the source of the stress, and dealing with it or removing it from your life, will make your sleep habits start to return to normal – even if that stress means ending a relationship or friendship.
4. Your immune system is compromised
A toxic relationship can cause stress so severe that it messes with your immune system, which means you’re prone to getting sick more often than you usually do. If you find that your relationship is so stressful that you’re battling your third cold of the month, you may want to reconsider that relationship. Your body can only put up with so much, and your immune system needs to be able to function properly. Anxiety and stress will suppress your immune system, and lead to a chronic array of illnesses that you just can’t seem to shake.
5. Your face starts breaking out
Stress is absolutely linked to acne. Your hormone receptors are hard at work when your body is suffering through chronic stress, which will lead to your skin producing more oil than usual. This can cause more pimples and blemishes in your skin. Stress can also cause you to pick at your skin, which will only cause your skin to worsen. If you’re surrounded by toxic people, or suffering through a stressful and toxic relationship, you may first notice it when you break out more often than you’re used to. The best way to get rid of your stress pimples, is to get rid of your stress. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Taking into consideration how your health has declined after meeting or engaging in a relationship with a toxic person can help you recognize just when it’s time to get out. Listen to your body – it knows best, after all. When you cut ties with a toxic person, you’ll start to feel all of your facilities start to function better. Your mind will be healthier, and so will your body. From your stomach, to your mind, to your skin, your body will be able to function better when it isn’t overloaded with stress.