Do we comprehend the difference between confrontation and corrosion? When it comes to relationships, strong and worthwhile ones can withstand healthy confrontation.
Confrontation is uncomfortable yet positively productive.
It leads to more growth, mutual understanding and all in all, a better relationship. Though it is temporarily uncomfortable, healthy and loving confrontation is not corroding to self or the relationship.
Weak relationships crumble at any sign of pressure or stress. This pressure which could be beneficial in the long run is mistaken for toxicity. A true friend will hear you out because they value you as a person. This is the opposite of selfishness. Real friends do not think only of themselves! They don’t think of you as a mere extension of themselves. They are not threatened by your honesty or feelings. They don’t love you for the sole reason that you make them “feel good” at all costs.
Toxic relationships corrode one or both individuals. Instead of addressing issues head on, one attacks the character of the other (gaslighting). This is damaging.
Recently, I was chatting with some friends of mine about this topic. Conflict in healthy relationships cannot equate with poison in toxic ones.
Many are deathly afraid of confrontation.
This stalls their personal growth as well as growth in a relationship. They excuse good relationships as “toxic”, a word that is too common these days. It’s often thrown around at the first sign of discomfort. They confuse personal discomfort with toxicity. We tend to like comfort in our lives and relationships at all costs. We avoid the hard conversations to make ourselves feel good. We stay in our protected bubble. In our ignorance and narrow views, we often lose relationships that could have been amazing. This is tragic!
It’s also a danger to ignore the warning signs of toxic relationships. We have the intuition to know when someone is trying to bring us down and destroy us as an individual, right? Any relationship that sucks the very life blood out of us and disables us from being valuable to our children, families and other friends…needs to go. For those of us who tend to see the good in people at our own expense, we may stay in a poisonous relationship (to our own detriment).
Relationships are supposed to be life-giving, and that includes uncomfortable yet positive growth.
Still, how often do we dismiss worthwhile relationships and keep poisonous ones?
Toxicity can come in subtle, disguised forms of poison.
We all have people in our lives who “multiply kisses” and overdose on the compliments as they try to make us feel “warm and fuzzy” all the time. These individuals avoid the hard conversations. Instead, they let conflict and their true feelings fester. Instead of addressing the issue one-to-one, they let gossip spread. They adhere to the “think positive” (i.e., sweep everything under the rug) movement at the expense of positive growth! This is corroding.
Could it be that these are well-disguised toxic relationships? As the saying goes, “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.”
They may not be good for us at all. These may be relationships that are covert poisons…ones that should expire.
In healthy relationships, the two parties value each other enough to confront with love.
Their mutual respect leads them to engage in the difficult conversations.
When it comes to confrontation and corrosion, God forbid we confuse the two! It would be just as tragic to lose a good relationship thinking it is “toxic” as staying in a toxic relationship thinking it is “good.”
Every good relationship will go through testing from time to time. May we have the wisdom to discern between the tested ones worth fighting for and the corrosive ones worth leaving.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Dr. Amir Levine
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