As I wrote in the previous post, no relationship can escape stress. So many forms of pressure can enter a relationship, no matter how strong and healthy it is. However, stress has to be short-term, manageable, and lead to something good. Otherwise, it turns toxic and deteriorates the health of the individuals and the relationship. Therefore, both partners must work on resolving the relationship tension for their connection to thrive.
Below, I will introduce the concept of toxic relationship stress and how therapy can help restore security between partners.
Toxic stress in a relationship is the result of unhealthy behavior and communication. Conflicts between partners become more frequent and intense. And hostility and resentment replace productive discussions. Overall, disagreements become power struggles rather than opportunities for conversation.
Emotional Abuse and Neglect
Toxic relationship stress can also appear when one or both partners struggle with emotional regulation. A lack of healthy emotional skills can make emotional neglect and abuse more likely. Emotional abuse can resemble manipulation, belittling, or controlling behavior in a relationship. Emotional neglect looks like not listening to your partner, not offering validation, and dismissing their needs.
In a healthy relationship, both partners feel value and respect. A couple will work together to communicate and problem-solve when stress is present. As a result, a relationship can become stronger after a bout of pressure. But, when one or both partners feel unheard or invalidated, withdrawal becomes a form of protection. It's easy to shut down when you feel dismissed. And more feelings of isolation and loneliness inevitably follow.
Lack of Trust
Toxic stress can erode trust in a relationship, creating a challenging and painful dynamic. When stress becomes overwhelming and persistent, it can cue the behaviors mentioned above, leading to a breakdown of trust between partners. These behaviors can breed suspicion, doubt, and a sense of betrayal, further damaging the foundation of trust. Additionally, when individuals feel overwhelmed by stress, they may struggle to communicate openly and honestly with their partner, leading to further secrecy or avoidance. And this kind of lack of transparency fuels mistrust.
Therapy for Stress Can Help
Treatment for toxic stress requires patience, understanding, and often professional support. In therapy, I support clients with making repairs, addressing the root causes of toxic stress, and learning healthier coping behaviors. Most importantly, these changes will occur in a safe environment.
When toxic stress is present in a relationship, a couple must work together to repair the relationship. Repair focuses on each individual taking responsibility and working on changing behaviors to rebuild trust.
Treatment will help a couple create emotional safety through better communication and healthier boundaries.
In addition to couples counseling, individual therapy is often also necessary. Individual therapy can become even more vital if one or both partners struggle with self-awareness or emotional regulation. Conversations between partners go nowhere if there's a lack of emotional regulation skills. Instead, a couple will get stuck in a painful cycle of arguments and avoidance.
Begin Therapy for Stress in Illinois
Please don't let toxic stress take over your relationship. Or wait until bitterness and resentment are the main feelings in your relationship before you seek professional support. As a therapist, I would be happy to offer support from my Mahomet, IL-based practice to repair your relationship and overcome stress. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Contact us by calling or texting 217-402-7817
- Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice to address overworking
- Start overcoming toxic stress!
Other Services Offered With Live Lekko
Therapy for stress isn't the only service I offer. I'm happy to offer a variety of services to provide you with mental health support. The mental health services I offer include therapy for people pleasing, counseling for women, and grief and loss counseling. I also offer therapy for childhood emotional neglect. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with teletherapy. Feel free to visit my blog for more helpful information.