Malcolm and Marie was real talk. It was a deep dive into the Black relationship in America. (Don’t worry, no spoilers in here) Who has had an argument that started small, but then grew into a disagreement that could end the relationship? I definitely have… Sometimes when I’m arguing with my husband, I’m thinking how did we even get here? What are we even fighting about? What happens – the facts of an event are quickly spun into exaggerations and suddenly you’s fighting about the issues from the past that have not been resolved. For example, it starts off as, why were you avoiding me all night? (already an accusatory statement) then it turns into, you don’t care about me, you never care about me, you are never there for me when I really need it. Remember this one time 5 years ago when you were not there for me?! Fights can escalate very quickly. I loved the artsy vibes of Malcolm and Marie, the most real conversations vibes, theI’ve been there for you and will always be there for your ride or die vibes, but still can’t stand your a** vibes, just the Blackity Black vibes. Definitely worth a watch. BUT, the more I watched the film, the more I thought how toxic some pieces of their relationship were and it made me take a hard look at myself. How am I bringing toxicity into my own relationship? More importantly, how can I eliminate it?
What is a Toxic Relationship?
Basically, toxic relationships are relationships where there is more bad than good. It can include physically and emotionally abusive relationships, but most times toxic relationships are more subtle. Hindsight is 2020. After the breakup, most people discover they were in a toxic relationship, but while they were in love, they didn’t realize the relationship was unhealthy. (So this might be a spoiler) When Marie was in the tub and Malcolm came in and spoke for a solid 5 minutes about all of Marie’s faults – he was belittling her, degrading her, and displaying emotional abuse. And when she called him a hoe and pig in the bed, she was attacking his character which is one of Psychology Today’s 5 signs of a toxic relationship. 😦 Check out the article for an in-depth look at the signs of a Toxic relationship. Here’s a quick recap below.
5 Signs of a Toxic Relationship
- Spiteful digs at your partner’s character
- Controlling behavior
- Extended Negativity
- Extreme Jealousy
- Never taking ownership of problems
Eliminating Toxic Vibes From Your Relationships
The Road To A Healthy Relationship
According to Mindbodygreen, “Toxic dynamics can be mended with conscious time, effort, and self-awareness. But both people need to be willing to change and accept responsibility to move forward.” If your relationship is showing most of these toxic traits, it might be time to reevaluate if you should be dating your partner. Now if you feel like your relationship is work fighting for and it can progress to a more healthy place, then check out a few of the tips below to eliminate the toxic vibes in your love life.
I regularly check in with my husband to make sure we are in a good place in our relationship. Not because we always have issues, but contrary to romantic movies, and all our great smiling photos on Instagram, relationships do take a serious amount of work. And the work is never really done. So here a few tips that have worked for us and are supported by therapists.
Find the root of the problem
Why are you angry at each other? Where is the tension or negativity coming from? Take time to yourself and review why you are feeling hurt or uncomfortable with your partner. Think about your own behavior and how it is contributing to the yucky feels in your relationship.
Its time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations
Uncomfortable means opening up and sharing the root of the problem. Being vulnerable about where you are with yourself and the relationship. It means having respectful conversations about why you feel the way you do and giving your partner the chance to explain the same without interruptions.
Shift from constant critic to loving suggestions
Sure… your partner got on your last damn nerves today and you want to tell them everything you hate about them and what they are doing. You wan to tell them everything they can change, but your approach to the conversation is the biggest piece here. Tell your partner how you feel with love. Think about your co-workers or manager. When there is an issue at work, you have to talk to them respectfully. Especially if you are in corporate America, you might have to practice how you approach the conversation before you cuss Ms. Becky out. The same thing with your partner, think through how you can tell them the issues in a loving and respectful manner and ask them to do the same.
Create an action plan – Yes, create a plan for your relationship just like you do for your job
Once you have determined the problems and shared them with each other. What’s next? Create a checklist, action plan, or at least come up with a general idea of what you both can do to make things better. And whatever that is, depends on your relationship. Maybe your partner needs you to praise them more often. Make a plan for that. Maybe it’s a reminder on your phone, (Alert – tell them I love x about them) or part of your weekly date to take 1 minute to give them praise. It is so important to take the time to work on your relationship.
Look to Couples Therapy for Help
Time to share your deepest darkest secrets… jk. If you haven’t been to therapy before it can be intimidating. Will they say I’m the toxic one? Will they tell us the relationship does not work? No need to worry about that. Look for a licensed therapist and share what you ar comfortable sharing. The therapist will provide guidance and techniques you can use to improve your relationship. Sometimes it’s just nice to have an unbias sounding board about whatever issues you and your partner are having. My husband and I had premarital counseling and I would advocate for all couples to do the same.
***Both people have to be willing to work on the relationship for it to improve. If there is no fixing to the toxicity in your relationship or it’s leading more to emotional or physical abuse, it might be time to walk away. Again, I’m not trying to spoil anything… but Malcolm and Marie didn’t really do a great job of eliminating their toxicity. Our relationships don’t have to be like theirs and honestly, they shouldn’t!