What is a toxic relationship?
You’ve noticed that your friend’s partner makes fun of their interests and hobbies, puts down their accomplishments or goals, and is super jealous when they spend time with anyone else. They also tell them how to act, where to go, and what to wear. Your friend tells you that they love their partner and want to be with them, but they don’t seem happy.
Your friend might be in what is known as a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship is where one or more people in the relationship feels unhappy, unsafe, undermined, and harmed by the other. Toxic relationships are unhealthy and can lead to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts.
How can you support your friend?
The best way to help your friend is to let them know that you care for them and that you’re concerned by what you’re seeing. It’s important to remember that not everyone will respond well to this. Toxic relationships can cloud people’s judgment and make them sensitive to what they see as criticisms of their relationship. Sticking by your friend and letting them know that you support them will help them realize that you’ll be there when they need you.
If things seem to be getting worse with your friend, check in with them to see what options they feel comfortable exploring. If your friend isn’t responsive to those solutions, it’s time to talk with someone who can help. Reach out to a trusted adult or professional who can help you navigate getting your friend into a safer and healthier place.