Many young Muslim girls experience various types of toxic relationships. It is important for them to be aware of the three main types of toxic relationships so if in the future they are to experience one of them, they can recognise it and have some knowledge on what to do.The three main relationships I consider to be toxic (at times) are with: parents, boyfriends and friends.
Many toxic relationships begin with parents, usually because of their own personal standards that they believe their daughter should be raised by and held accountable too, which can vary and typically be strict depending on the culture they are from.
Here are some ways in which parents can be toxic:
• They are self-centred - they don’t care about your feelings or emotions
• Physical abuse – perhaps they acknowledge it as ‘discipline’, but no one should tolerate abuse, it is definitely something to speak up about.
• Over-sharing - sharing your person problems, especially with people you don’t feel comfortable with, for example their friends or other relatives
• Verbal abuse – being harsh and rude to you in a way that can have a negative impact on you
If you are experiencing any of these, you probably have a toxic relationship with your parents, which usually isn’t your fault and it is not right. Speak to someone about it!
When people think of toxic relationships, it is usually toxic boyfriends or girlfriends which come to mind. Having a toxic partner can affect a person and their mental health significantly. If you are in a relationship with someone but can’t tell if they are toxic, here are some signs:
• They are manipulative - for an example, after an argument they gaslight you into thinking the arguments are your fault or manipulate you into doing stuff you are uncomfortable with.
• Lack of trust - your partner has a lack of trust, for example wanting access to your social media accounts or suspicious when you go out with your friends or even perhaps just going out in general.
• Starting arguments – especially for no reason and despite how you are feeling
This kind of relationship could make you feel fed up, insecure and unhappy, so if you are experiencing any of these please speak to someone about it. Toxic relationships are unhealthy - you do not deserve that!
Although some of you may think that your friends are there for you and could never be toxic, it is very possible! These are some signs that could help you figure out if your friendship is unhealthy:
• Put you down- they can put you down or make you feel insecure, then claim it’s a joke.
• They make you second guess yourself – this could mean doubting you call the time or making you feel embarrassed about little things you do or the way you are.
• They peer pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do
• Acting differently when you two are in public/around other friends versus in private (this can also apply to parents and boyfriends)
• Not being there for you – times when you need comfort, support or advice, they may not be available or make you feel ashamed about your worries.
What should you do if you are experiencing any of these with your friend, partner or parents?
If you are experiencing any of these, remember you are not alone and there are plenty of people ready to help. Your school teachers will help you, as embarrassing as it seems they will, I myself was embarrassed to ask for help, but I managed to seek advice that I really needed in order to help me.
If you are not comfortable speaking to someone face to face, you can always talk to someone on the Muslim Women’s Network (MWN) Helpline. You can contact them by the following methods:
Either call us at 08009995786 or email email@example.com
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