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The age of the information highway and Instagram has made the twin phrases “toxic marriage” or “toxic relationship” into common parlance.   What is a toxic relationship? A relationship characterized by toxic behavior from one or both parties. Dr. Lillian Glass, author of the 1995 book Toxic People, defines a toxic relationship as “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there are disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.”


According to the vast array of online experts, you are involved in a toxic relationship if your partner exhibits the following telltale signs:

1. They cause you to feel self-doubt

2. They are controlling of you

3.They are overly critical of you

4. They try and isolate you from your friends and family

5. They lack empathy and compassion toward you

6. They don’t help you or “pitch in” to help you

7. They prevent you from having financial independence

8. They fight hard with you

9. They lie to you

10. They cheat on you

11. They exhibit misconduct regularly

Often the toxic partner is labouring under a personality disorder, such as Narcissism or a Borderline Personality Disorder.  These disorders have some common characteristics.  This writer barely goes a day without hearing from a new client that there “ex” is a Narcissist.  So what does that mean for you – the separating spouse?  It means that you must incorporate a few strategies to successfully navigate your divorce.  Strategies include the following:  

  1. Be mindful of the tactics and behaviors which are the everyday currency of your ex; 
  2. See your ex for who he or she really is;
  3. At the same time, stop focusing on your ex and what they need.  Better to focus on your needs and remind yourself that you are worth it, and you are not at fault;
  4. Don’t react with emotion when your ex does something to provoke you.  Your narcissistic ex feeds off your high emotional temperature.  Don’t supply the “food”;    
  5. Become detached from the emotional turmoil your ex is trying to inflict on you;
  6. Seek out therapy to help heal yourself from the damage of your relationship; and  
  7. Be mindful of your inner messaging; tell yourself that you are letting go of your ex and that your ex can no longer hurt you.   

If you are struggling with an ineffective lawyer who is not helping you to strategize against your toxic ex, or you are in need of experienced counsel equipped to strategize effectively against your toxic ex, then call me.  I have been practicing family law since 1993.  I am here to help you.

Email kazman@gzlegal.com, Phone +1.416.642.5416

Practice area: Family Law

© Marlene Kazman, 2021

This item is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Informed legal advice should always be obtained about your specific circumstances.