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Toxic Relationships

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word Toxic as “extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful.” When you think of things that are toxic, you might think of poisonous foods, smells or anything that can cause harm to your health. But have you ever thought about a relationship being toxic? Toxic relationships are real things.

Have you begun to identify unhealthy patterns in your relationship … and now you are also facing an unplanned pregnancy? Any surprise pregnancy brings stress along with it. If you’re already facing relationship stress, you may be considering whether this is the right time to move forward with a pregnancy. If you would like to discuss your situation and your options with a caring pregnancy consultant, please contact us today. Un-rushed, pressure-free, confidential consultations are available at all of our Chicagoland locations. We are here to assist you.

First, let’s define what a toxic relationship might look like. Some characteristics of a toxic relationship might be:

  • Makes you feel bad about yourself
  • The relationship doesn’t build you up, but tears you down.
  • You often feel criticized, degraded or manipulated.
  • The relationship causes you feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger or frustration.
  • Constant Pessimism from that person
  • Someone who maintains the relationship only when they need you (all take, no give)
  • Creates a hostile atmosphere
  • You feel drained when you’re around them
  • Makes you feel disrespected or worthless

Especially when you consider a romantic relationship, it’s important to identify a toxic relationship. When we engage in toxic relationships, we are opening ourselves up to unnecessary negativity. Those who are causing the toxic relationship often have underlying troubles of their own. You may feel the need to help them or try to fix the relationship, but when it comes to your self worth and well-being being risked, realizing you have to move forward is an important step.

In the above list of characteristics, you may be able to identify just some of them – or maybe all of them – but the important thing to know is: you have a choice of whether or not to stay in that relationship. If it is toxic, it may be hard to break that tie, but in the end, it may be best for your health, both physically and mentally.

So, how do you move on from a toxic relationship? The first thing you want to do is identify that the relationship is in fact toxic, using the characteristics listed above or additional resources. Some people turn to a professional counselor or support person to help them identify trouble areas and formulate a healthy plan for moving forward. Next you may want to help yourself find ways to slowly remove yourself from that relationship. If you feel comfortable, you may want to talk with that person and let them know that you are not feeling that the relationship is helping to build you up or grow you, and that you need some space. Don’t feel like you need to have a long, listed explanation of why you feel the relationship is not right for you. Be concise and to the point, and then leave it alone. If you don’t feel that this person is someone you can talk to, then through your actions you can start to remove yourself.* That may mean avoiding gatherings where that person might be or simply not being vulnerable with that person about personal things anymore.

It can be a hard thing to back away from a relationship, but you have to keep in mind that your long term health and well-being is worth it, and that your heart is valuable.

Remind yourself that you are a treasure, you are loved and you are important … and sometimes it takes walking out of a toxic relationship to realize that.

If your journey is complicated by an ill-timed pregnancy, could you use a support person to walk with you? Avenue Women’s Center has four – soon to be five – locations in DuPage County: Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, and Wood Dale, Illinois. All locations are staffed with caring, nonjudgmental pregnancy support experts. Whether you are leaning towards continuing or terminating the pregnancy – or you are totally on the fence – we are here for you. Please contact us to ask any questions or schedule a free pregnancy consultation. We hope to hear from you soon.

* If your relationship may have transitioned from being toxic to being abusive, please seek assistance from a professional support organization, such as The National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Merriam-Webster. Definition of toxic. Retrieved from:

Inc. (2016, January). 35 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship. Retrieved from:

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.