Toxic relationships cause long-term damage

These Georgia State students discuss how they have experienced a toxic relationship, whether it was with a spouse, family member or friend. Photo Submitted by ShutterStock

In today’s society, more people are aware of the damaging effects of toxic relationships

Junior Sadarrian Jean Baptiste is determined to break the cycle of toxicity that runs in his family. 

Baptiste’s paternal grandfather fathered over 25 children but was not present in his children’s lives. His grandfather’s absence affected the relationship Baptiste had with his father. 

“My father has always been in my life, and he is a great dad, but the relationship he had with his father put a strain on ours,” he said. “It became hard for us to relate to each other because he had never experienced a father-and-son relationship.”

Their strained relationship caused the two to spend less and less time together and, for a moment, become distant from each other. Baptiste even saw this working its way deeper into his life. 

“My toxic traits [caused] me not to get close to anyone, and it put me in a place where I didn’t see people past tomorrow,” he said. “Looking back at my actions and way of thinking, I hurt a lot of people that I cared about in the process.” 

Baptiste felt lonely after he saw that these toxic traits made him push others away. When he realized what was happening, he admitted that he had to change his life outlook to grow truly.

Baptiste quickly restored the relationships he damaged by valuing the people placed in his life. 

Like Baptiste, sophomore Monisha Tucker experienced toxic relationships with family members. 

Tucker admits that she has a toxic relationship with her mother but didn’t acknowledge that it was harmful until last year. 

She decided to build a relationship with her estranged mother when she moved to Georgia at 19. 

Although the situation was toxic, Tucker stuck through it to have a relationship with her mother. But one day, she could no longer endure it. 

“I finally lost it at the end of 2019, and that’s when I finally started to see a negative change in myself,” she said. “Things were not going right for me, and it seemed that my mom was just making it worse.”

Tucker admits that her unhappiness and depression led her to try and find a more positive outcome to her situation.

She ultimately removed herself from the relationship and found ways to bring herself out of depression. 

“I started to surround myself with more positive people,” she said. “I also started my business, listened to audiobooks and watched motivational videos.”

Junior Brittani Middlebrook’s toxic relationship involved a spouse, but its effects do not differ from Tucker’s and Baptiste’s.

Middlebrooks realized the relationship had become toxic when she saw a significant difference in her appearance and mood. 

“I knew it was toxic when I started losing weight, feeling depressed and not really wanting to do anything with my life,” she said. 

She knew it was time to exit the relationship when she began to lose her peace of mind. So she started to take steps in the right direction. 

“I started staying more to myself and making an attitude change to myself,” she said. “I realized I mattered more than the relationship.” 

Now that more people are taking a step away from toxic relationships, they move on and take the steps needed to heal themselves.