It takes personal strength of will avoid and escape toxic relationships as Gestalt Psychotherapist Elinor Greenberg Ph.D. would likely attest. Greenberg suggests that the key to avoiding these bad relationships is becoming aware of the warning signs.
Ideally, she suggests recognizing certain psychological traits in people would be a great help but she is well aware that everyone does not have a psychology degree. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-narcissism/201807/how-avoid-toxic-relationships).
The toxic relationship is one that diminishes a person while building the other person, leaving a lopsided dynamic and creating misery. It is important to work on ourselves to forearm against the influences created by a toxic partner. There is a need for inner strength and a determination to remain independent even within relationships.
Do Not Lose Your Support System
When you feel alone and vulnerable you will tend to do or accept things that are not healthy just to find some connection. This is how a toxic partner controls their victim, they keep them dependent on them by driving a wedge between that person and their support system.
It is vital to never allow anyone, no matter how much you love them or they love you, to drive your family and friends away. They may claim not to like them or find reasons why they are supposedly toxic. Regardless of what they say, never let anyone isolate you. It takes away your power to walk away if things go bad.
Know Your Self Worth
According to psychotherapist Andrea Bonior Ph.D. one of the biggest tools in a toxic partner’s arsenal is criticism and it will likely start out very small. Although they may only be small things the tendency is that it becomes constant and is used gradually to wear down a person’s self worth. Often thinly disguised behind comments about dress sense, how you talk, eat or act, they are designed to try and push for change. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/friendship-20/201506/20-signs-your-partner-is-controlling#:~:text=20%20Signs%20Your%20Partner%20Is%20Controlling%201%20Isolating,time%20with%20them%20than%20they%20need%20with%20you
It is vital before entering into any kind of relationship to have a good sense of who you are, what you want and what you are willing to accept in life. The fact is no one deserves to be mistreated, manipulated, or ground down by anyone especially someone who tries to claim they love them.
So, know your self-worth and do not allow anyone to tell you that you should change. That is a toxic influence and it should be avoided at all costs.
Love Is Not a Competition
Aside from the occasional game night relationships are not a competition and people should not be keeping score. A toxic partner may tend to bring up things they have done to urge you to do what they want or mention something you did wrong for the same purpose.
They create an environment in which they get their way by virtue of things in the past. This is not a healthy attitude to take in life and especially not in a supposed loving relationship.
If a partner constantly keeps track of the good things they did and the bad things you have done they may be trying to manipulate you through guilt. Using guilt as a control method is the height of toxicity and needs to not be tolerated.
Keep Your Independence
A relationship requires compromise and that goes without saying but ultimately you are two different souls and that is important. If we allow ourselves to give everything that we are over to another person we lose our personal power.
So, we maintain our friend & family connections, have our own hobbies, demand time to ourselves and basically maintain some control regarding our future. If we rely entirely on someone who is toxic it brings nothing but misery so be independent enough to recognize danger when it arises.