5 Ways A Toxic Relationship Can Make You Sick

Photo: getty
sad woman on couch thinking
Heartbreak

It may be hard to believe, but a toxic relationship can make you sick.

Just like being exposed to a toxic smell in the air or ingesting a toxic chemical by mistake, being in a toxic relationship can have serious side effects on your health.

And those side effects can be truly debilitating and life-changing.

If you're in a toxic relationship, it might be doing more than just dashing your hopes for a healthy one — it might actually be making you physically ill!

If it is, it’s important that you stop the toxicity in its tracks before it brings you down any further.

RELATED: 9 Signs You're Stuck In A Soul-Sucking, Toxic Relationship

Here are the 5 effects of toxic relationships that are making you sick.

1. Physical debilitation.

Did you know that being in a toxic relationship can actually make your body fall apart?

The stress that you're under — trying to manage your relationship, processing whether you should stay or go, surviving the toxicity, and trying to live your life — can just get to be too much.

And what's the first thing to go? Your physical health.

The effects of stress on your body is not insignificant. Stress can lead to chemical imbalances, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

It can also lead to respiratory, digestive, and immune-system issues. Furthermore, stress can be a significant contributor to sexual function disorders.

Are you struggling with body aches, persistent colds, difficulty breathing, or anxiety attacks, among other things?

Your toxic relationship might just be slowly killing you.

2. Mental despair.

Depression and anxiety can rear their ugly heads in the midst of everything that's going on.

Toxic relationships are a day in, day out thing. When relationships are bad, more often than not, people regularly ruminate on them.

If relationships are more than bad — if they are toxic — then you can become obsessively focused on them, causing you to turn away from and neglect things that are important to you.

Furthermore, toxic relationships fill you with feelings of despair and hopelessness, influence how you think about yourself and the world, make you suspicious of other people’s motivations, and make you feel unsafe.

All of those things can lead to situational depression that will get only worse before it gets better.

Extremely toxic relationships that involve severe emotional or physical abuse can actually lead to clinical depression, which can be hard to manage and can stay with you for a long time, if not forever.

If you're feeling hopeless, just want to sleep all the time, isolating yourself, and your moods are interfering with your life or your work, you just might be depressed.

Getting out of your toxic relationship might be just the thing to help you deal with that.

3. Isolation.

Unfortunately, many people who find themselves in toxic relationships tend to isolate themselves.

Sometimes, the isolation is imposed by an abusive partner as a way of controlling them but, oftentimes, people self-isolate.

They might be feeling worthless or embarrassed by their relationship. Perhaps, their friends are sick of hearing about it or they're sitting at home, waiting for their person to show up.

If there's one thing that we've learned during this time of the coronavirus, it’s that isolation is very difficult for human beings.

People need to be with people. People need to touch people.

They need to surrounded by people who love them. Not having those things can be debilitating in a big way.

Loneliness is one of the most significant causes of depression. It can also lead to unhealthy habits, inability to sleep, and substance abuse.

If you find that you're isolating because of your toxic relationship, your body and mind are suffering.

RELATED: When He Consistently Does Any Of These 8 Things, He's Slowly Trapping You In A Toxic Relationship

4. Self-doubt.

Whether it’s because of the way your partner treats you, belittling you, treating you with contempt, or physically abusing you, the end result is you doubting yourself at every turn.

You doubt who we are as a person, which can affect your work and make you question every choice you ever made.

And self-doubt is an insidious thing. The longer it goes on, the more it can deeply affect your physical and mental health.

Fortunately, self-doubt can be shut down if you leave your toxic relationship and seek help.

Unfortunately, as long that the toxicity exists in your life, the unhealthier — emotionally and physically — you could become.

5. Substance abuse.

When you're struggling with physical and mental issues along with isolation and self-doubt, you feel like you're drowning with no idea what to do, how to proceed, and how to take care of yourself.

Your relationship is making you miserable and the stress is taking its toll on your physical health.

The best thing that we can do to manage the side effects of a toxic relationship is to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t do that.

For many people, the way that they manage stress is by drinking, doing drugs, and over- or under-eating. All of those things help ease the pain that we are dealing with, at least temporarily.

Unfortunately, those things ultimately just make us feel worse.

Alcohol and drugs only exacerbate mental and physical health issues. Over or under-eating can lead to self-hatred and health issues related to bad nutrition.

Bad habits might feel good in the short term, but they will only make us sicker.

If you find that your toxic relationship is causing you to develop bad habits that only make you feel worse about yourself, perhaps it’s time to walk away from the relationship and work towards being healthy again.

Knowing how and why a toxic relationship can make you sick is an excellent means of evaluating whether or not to get out of one.

If you've realized that your relationship is toxic, you're seeking for some way to identify and deal with it.

Connecting your toxic relationship to the physical and mental struggles you have had recently might give you that extra push to get out.

So, if you're struggling with mental or physical health issues, self-isolating and full of self-doubt, and find yourself abusing substances, then it could very well that your relationship is making you sick.

Is anyone worth destroying your health for? I don’t think so!

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that approximately 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. More than 12 million women and men over the course of the year suffer from instances of domestic violence and abuse.

Experiencing domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence, domestic abuse, or relationship abuse as a “pattern of behaviors use by one partner to maintain power and control over another person in an intimate relationship.” Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender can suffer from domestic abuse. According to NDVH, close to 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, and or stalking by a partner.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help.
There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible. For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling from domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or log onto thehotline.org.

RELATED: 10 Huge Things You Need To Know About Leaving A Toxic Relationship

Before you go,
subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach. Let her help you find, and keep, love in this crazy world in which we live. Email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com and get started!

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.