Seeing Through Rose Colored Glasses

Romanticizing toxic relationships


Kaitlin Davenport

An illustration of possessiveness through texting which in turn harms the mind and heart.

Young adults are often involved in toxic relationships they are not aware of simply because there are many underlying toxic traits teenagers have. Whether they get them from their parents or their friends, the youth portray these traits in various kinds of relationships from romantic to platonic. With growing awareness of toxic traits and things to stay wary of, the upcoming generation is well-advised, but poorly empathized with. 

A common issue among teens/young adults is the random or sudden display of toxic traits out of the blue. Somebody could be an everyday friend and suddenly portray over possessiveness or change completely with the snap of their fingers, leading many people to believe lots of people put on a front to bring others in.

“I think toxic relationships and traits are more common in teenagers than people think they are. You’re in a relationship with this person and you have a good perception of them and this one thing makes you think, ‘oh well they’re still a good person. This is just something small,” Izabel St. George, 10, said.

Within the media is a lot of idealizing of harmful traits and it’s evident in shows, movies, social media, and many other mediums. The youth tend to pick up and develop their own interpretations of destructive ideologies they see in these forms of entertainment before pushing them onto the people in their environment.

“I think that people’s environment and people around them can be leading factors towards their toxic traits. There can also be people that have an awesome environment around them and still be toxic, but I think based on their own family relationships it may lead them into thinking certain habits and actions are okay,” Aireal Delacruz, 12, said.

One issue the world faces today is the fact that many teenagers aren’t aware of what they should look out for and what could lead to a bigger problem down the road. Lots of young adults also avoid these traits in order to preserve the relationships they are involved in.

“Especially in teenagers, romance, love, and relationships are something you’re expected to have or you want to have because it’s just so played up in the media. The little things that appear, those red flags, you don’t want to see because you want it to be okay, but it is not sometimes.” St. George said.

Many minors are aware of these traits and aware of the dangers they could bring, but decide to ignore them. It’s common not only in young people, but older, as they would rather be potentially abused than lose the person they love.

“I think people may avoid harmful traits because they want to see the benefit of the doubt. They may see it but think, ‘oh that’s not them,’ or they might think that they’re such a good person that they didn’t mean it and excuse the bad behavior.” Delacruz said.

A good solution to protecting oneself from the possibility of toxic relationships is establishing boundaries. Having boundaries will make others aware of what one will not tolerate and make it clear to the person themselves what to protect. 

“Most commonly what I won’t tolerate is over possessiveness. That’s mostly played up in the media as well; it’s a problem. You are allowed to have your own freedoms.” St. George said.

An important skill to have is recognizing when one should stop trying and leave for the better of both parties. Sometimes, salvaging a relationship isn’t possible.

“If someone was treating me horribly, then I would have to get some space,” Delacruz said. “If I thought it could be fixed, depending on how they reacted if I brought it up before, I would attempt to fix it. But if they ignored it, then I would just leave.” 

Wanting to assist those in need is a common attribute most people have, and because of this, sometimes people step over the line when it comes to trying to save someone from their misery. People outside of a toxic relationship will never understand or grasp the full issue at hand because they aren’t involved in it personally, and this often leads them into a pursuit of trying to “rescue” the victim even if they aren’t asking for guidance.

“My kind of philosophy of helping people is: if they want your guidance, free reign; you can give them any advice you think is right,” St. George said. “Otherwise, it’s not your responsibility to help anyone or give someone happiness because at the end of the day, you are two separate people and your lives are your own.” 

Negative effects of coming out of a dangerous or otherwise harmful relationship aren’t often discussed as most people assume once they’re out, they’re better. But this isn’t always the case as many people can develop physiological issues due to the abuse they suffered from, and victims should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline or regard the following link:

“A negative of leaving said relationship is it could taint their ideas of other relationships that they’re in and cause them to not be able to hold a stable relationship. They might think other people will treat them the same way, they might feel guilty for leaving the person when they needed them to help them. They could definitely develop trust issues.” Delacruz said.

Lots of troubled teens aren’t aware of the choices they have or ways to approach leaving or distancing themselves from dangerous relationships. Teens often try to avoid confrontation and hope that these situations will fizzle out on their own. Instead of this, confused and uninformed youth should look to their trusted acquaintances for advice as well as dependable adults.

“Communicate first and foremost, communicate why you feel this is happening,” St George said. “Communicate the red flags, because it’s not just important to get yourself out of the relationship, it’s important to try and help the person. Sometimes, they don’t know that they have those traits. They don’t know what they’re doing. All in all, Shut it down.”