Your own Sidekick: How to identify a toxic relationship

Olivia Short, Sports Visual Media Editor

Your own Sidekick is a Sidekick series where staff members answer questions and offer advice on various topics. Stories will be posted weekly on Fridays. (Srihari Yechangunja)

Dear CHS,

Identifying toxic relationships can be very difficult, especially if it’s with someone close to you. Your judgment becomes clouded with memories and you want to believe that it could never happen.

Toxic relationships come in all forms whether it be romantic, platonic or familial, and it’s important to recognize that they aren’t categorized by extreme situations.

Pinpointing a toxic relationship can be done by anyone, but changing the dynamic or ending this relationship is up to the individual. If you’re reading this, I assume you are questioning if you may be in this situation; so, here are some ways to find out.

The first tip is to always follow your intuition, that gut feeling you get when something is off. Most of the time we know deep down that we are in a bad situation, but it’s blurred by the feelings we hold for them. Think about it like this: if your friend was treated this way by someone, what would your opinion be?

These relationships are full of sacrifice, specifically self sacrifice, that typically hurts one party in the end. With these dilemmas, only one person is required to give up something; whether it be identity, morals or anything of that nature. Along with that, you may be put in situations that cross a personal boundary, where you feel the need to forfeit a line you have set for yourself.

Focus on the little things that happen and have happened in the past. Is this a person who belittles your interests, shifts conversations to themselves or causes you to feel like you’re inferior?

Most of the time you’ll be confused and may ask for advice constantly because the way they talk to you or treat you doesn’t connect all the dots. Confusion in these situations is a result of a lack of communication or clarity. Being stuck in conflict where one party cannot explain their feelings only leads to chaos.

These types of people make you feel as if no matter what you do, it’s never going to be enough. Being there for every call, always being a shoulder to cry on or being the only one who initiates plans. You never do anything wrong but somehow the kindness you offer holds no value. Not just for them, but it feels that way for everyone.

It is important to know, no matter how hurtful it may be, that these relationships are never a reflection of who you are or your value as a person. Looking at these potential traits in others offers an explanation of how they act, not an excuse.

With love,
Your own Sidekick