Domestic Violence

Recognizing Toxic Situations

We have all encountered what would be considered a toxic domestic situation, firsthand or through friends. A “toxic” situation is more than two people in a relationship squabbling constantly. It involves elements of conflict and control in a setting of excessive dynamics where the emotions of individuals are compromised and corrupted beyond normalcy.

While such situations should be avoided at all costs, it isn’t easy to simply walk out on a toxic relationship. Often, such relationships create situations conducive to domestic violence and, often, those who are typically victims rather than abusers in the relationship pay a lofty price. For anyone on the outside looking in at a toxic relationship, common feelings are powerlessness and fear for the well-being of those victimized.

An example of controlling behavior is one adult prohibiting any level of personal decision-making by another adult. Another example of such behavior is attempting to persuade another person to make decisions about his or her life with which he or she is uncomfortable. Some abusers use money to control victims while others provide more than an opinion and insist that a partner act or dress a certain way when in their presence.

 “Toxic people” tend to be self-righteous and ignorant of the negative aspects and effects of their behavior. However, they tend to find fault in others easily. Often, they play the “blame game” and defer responsibility when their own conduct may have been a contributing factor to the issue at hand. No individual realizes each one of their mistakes immediately as they occur. However, if this occurs regularly, it may be a problem worthy of discussion.

An abuser may punish or spouse or partner by a punishment that has no point or purpose other than the exertion of control. Abusers may take anxiety, frustration, or disappointment out on another person when their mood is compromised by some other action that has nothing to do with a partner or spouse. Adults in toxic relationships often give others the silent treatment to “punish” them for some activity.

It may be enough for an abuser to physically intimidate or threaten another family member without using actual physical violence because a partner or spouse is in a state of extreme fright. In a toxic situation, any threatening behavior is used as a means of controlling the victim. Despite an abuser not carrying out any of his or her threats, they can have lasting psychological and emotional effects on the person who is the target of such threats.

An ideal family encourages each other to be successful. Members support and allow each other to express their feelings, especially when times are difficult. In contrast, toxic family members will show little, if any, interest or concern for the feelings of another. Also, despite any accomplishments by a victim, a toxic person will criticize and minimize the other person consistently, perhaps even mercilessly.

They may be disagreeable even when they know another person is speaking truthfully. Toxic people also tend to convince others who are experiencing problems that they are the problem, rather than trying to help resolve it.

Identifying toxic dynamics is the first step to regaining control. Communication is an essential element of the corrective process. Each member of the household should have an opportunity to express his or her opinion about family dynamics and how they can be improved without the interruption or criticism of other members of the household. If toxic behavior continues, it may be time to cut ties with an abuser, especially when physical and emotional well-being is at risk.

Criminal law specialist John Patrick Dolan protects the rights of those charged with assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse. Mr. Dolan has over forty years of experience working to help his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here. We guarantee our efforts to fight for the best possible outcome in your domestic violence case.

Recognizing Toxic Situations

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