How to Avoid and Heal From Toxic Relationships, with Julie and Willow


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HSPs tend to be over-givers and toxic people tend to be over-takers. This dynamic has been played out for many of us either in our families, friendships, romantic relationships, or even with work colleagues.

Types of toxic relationships included in this discussion:

  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Friendships
  • Work

Relationship stages

  • Honeymoon stage (6 months-brain on drugs)
  • Conflict stage (seek therapy early!)
  • Deeper love

Here are some pieces discussed:

  • Do internal growth and empowerment work
    • (A big Red flag can be we are not healthy, balanced ourselves) this is first priority
    • Be comfortable to be yourself and feel good around them, you feel accepted for who you are, they can compromise and be understanding.

Recognizing Red Flags in Toxic Relationships

  • They might be very self-absorbed, not attentive, and have a sense of entitlement, and require excessive admiration
  • They put you down, you don’t feel good about yourself when with them
  • Monopolize conversations or look down on people
  • Ignore your needs
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Not willing to compromise or recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Become impatient or angry when they don't get what they want or receive special treatment
  • Have significant problems in their relationships and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior

A few questions answered

  • If you can't cut out the toxic person and need to negotiate, how to protect your energies as an HSP?
  • I’ve had to create some really strong boundaries with a parent, but I struggle with guilt and feel judged. Any tips for working with the guilt and “shoulds”? I go in waves of feeling empowered or feeling “bad” or selfish?
  • Someone wanted us to cover how to balance not overgiving and how to avoid toxic people. “I want to be open to friendships and relationships but have trouble knowing if someone is genuine and a good person. I used to be too trusting and now I’ve gone to the other spectrum of not trusting anyone because I’ve been so hurt in the past.”

Please share this episode and review the podcast to help us help more HSPs!

What was modeled in our childhood can impact how we view relationships and perceive what is ok and what isn’t.

Seek therapy if you had a lot of dysfunction or abuse in your childhood or past relationships to shift patterns and learn what is ok and what isn’t.

If you are experiencing abuse in your relationship, please reach out for support and visit the national domestic violence hotline that offers free, confidential support and many resources to help too at or Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) If dangerous, create a safety plan

Visit to leave comments on this episode and see our bios.

Join the Sensitive Empowerment community, take the free Sensitivity quiz, check out the HSP Practitioners Directory, and explore more resources for HSPs

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