If you’re privy to the world of spiritual relationships, you’ve likely heard the term “twin flame” before. It describes a relationship between two people who share the same soul split into two, which sounds very romantic on the surface. But the truth is, twin flame relationships are often tumultuous—and can quickly become toxic.
To find out why, signs of toxicity to watch out for, and what to do about it, we consulted with licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli.
Why twin flame relationships can be toxic.
Twin flame relationships are powerful, but that power can make the relationship feel all-consuming, to the point where couples may not set boundaries or may become codependent. “The very fact that a person believes you are ‘meant to be’ can cloud their judgment about issues in the relationship,” Spinelli explains.
When this happens, and conflicts or issues arise, twin flames may brush them off or make excuses because they think their connection is more important. “If they are abusive,” she adds, “we might not allow ourselves to acknowledge it and leave the relationship, because we associate this person as one who has a shared desire for our happiness and only our best interest at heart.”
And because twin flames consider each other their other half, it’s not uncommon to become enmeshed and even take on certain traits from the other—even negative ones. “If they have low self-esteem, for example,” Spinelli says, “the other half of the twin flame relationship can see themselves in a similar manner.”
Lastly, there’s a lot of pressure and expectation that comes with twin flame relationships, as people feel they should be “deeply understood” by their partner, she adds. “If the twin flame partner doesn’t meet these expectations, criticism and harsh communication may result. Triggers from our childhood, such as fear of abandonment, can also play out, creating the need to control or a lack of trust,” she adds.ADVERTISEMENT
11 signs of toxicity to watch out for:
- Controlling behavior and lack of trust
- Feeling unheard and unseen
- Ignoring your needs or subjective experience
- Damage to your self-esteem
- Emotional unavailability and/or emotionally manipulative
- Verbal or physical abuse
- Lack of respect
- Lack of empathy and compassion
- Feeling the need to accommodate their needs, idiosyncrasies, and wants with no room for your own wants and needs
- Self-serving or deceptive behaviors
How to approach these relationships.
High expectations can sabotage a relationship, so Spinelli notes that it’s important to check your expectations of your twin flame. “Are they reasonable or higher than is realistic because of the idea that they are our twin flame?” she suggests asking yourself.
It can feel particularly hard to walk away from someone you believe to be your twin flame, but Spinelli says it’s important to give more consideration to how you’re feeling than getting hung up on the fact that they could be your twin flame. Check in with your depletion level, she suggests, and ask yourself if you’re feeling drained, and whether that’s healthy. “Let go of preconceptions and connect to the facts if something feels wrong—trust your critical thinking skills.”
If you’re noticing the relationship is taking a toll on your mental health, she advises getting the help of an objective outsider, such as a mental health professional. “We may not recognize toxic behaviors, but we can notice if our self-esteem is low, depression is setting in, or our anxiety is high, for example,” she explains. It also helps to have support if you’re struggling to walk away.
While twin flame relationships certainly have the potential to go wrong, that’s not to say they all will. No relationship is perfect, and in the case of twin flames, it may just take some extra consideration to figure out when to walk away. At the end of the day, Spinelli says the most important thing you can do is remember that healthy relationships are “not about completing each other but complementing each other—you are still a whole person.”