DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Expert shares advice on leaving a toxic relationship

Apr 25, 2022, 5:47 PM
Toxic relationships...
A toxic relationship is defined as one person feeling devalued by the other and is accompanied by a form of abusive behavior. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — As actor Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard battle it out in court during their defamation trial in Fairfax, Virginia, an expert shared advice on how to identify a toxic relationship and how to break the cycle if you keep finding yourself in one.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million after she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018. She described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although Depp was not named in the op-ed, he said it cost him acting work.

The doctor is in

BYU psychologist Dr. Tom Golightly shared advice on leaving a toxic relationship with KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Scott Simpson.

“What’s the first sign that a relationship is getting toxic before it gets to the door slamming and the name-calling?” Debbie asked.

Golightly said a toxic relationship is defined as one person feeling devalued by the other and is accompanied by a form of abusive behavior.

“Everyone — let’s be clear — brings some issues into any relationship. But it’s the combination of the individuals and their issues that might make that pairing untenable and pretty toxic,” Golightly said.

If you are a people-pleaser kind of person, you may want to think twice about forming a relationship with someone who seeks control, he said.

People pleasers “mix poorly with individuals who want to have control,” Golightly said. “Controllers seek passive types of people that are looking to please others. And they find themselves in these relationships that can turn out to be quite toxic.”

“How does somebody break the cycle of toxicity. How do they get out of it?” Simpson asked.

“Because of that people-pleasing tendency, they have a hard time being assertive and trying to stick to that gut feeling that says, ‘Hey, this isn’t good for me,’ Golightly said.

How do you end a toxic relationship?

“How not to get into [a toxic relationship] is to be genuine, be active, not passive, in decision making in the relationship, especially upfront, noticing how you feel when you’re around them,” Golightly said. “Be assertive, not grabbing for power –that’s aggressive — but being able to say, ‘No, I am worth something. And I am going to get out of this’ and then sticking to it.”

How do you give advice to someone who is trapped?

“Is there a way to approach this subject with somebody that you suspect is in that [toxic] relationship?” Simpson asked.

“Scott, this is a very difficult thing to approach with someone,” Golightly cautioned. “And it’s mainly just to stick to your observations. It’s just important to be factual with these individuals and say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m seeing. This is what I’m noticing. How are you doing and trying to open the conversation … [Do] not give advice … If it’s an immediate danger, obviously, then we need to call police and get first responders there.”

“Give Scott and I the question or the statement that we’re going to make to our friend who we suspect is in that toxic relationship,” Debbie said.

Golightly said to start with your observations about your friend’s relationship and follow with some questions.

” ‘Are you comfortable in that relationship? Are you feeling like you’re able to be you? Is it making you the best version of you?’ I think those are three really, really good questions to kind of start that conversation and see where it goes from there,” he said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

salt lake mayorMendenhall guns...
Curt Gresseth

After NY law is struck down, two Utah experts sound off on gun rights

Two advocates on either side of the gun-control vs. gun rights debate sound off on the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling to expand the right to carry a firearm in public.
4 days ago
Salt Lake County Search and Rescue safely rescued a hiker  out of the Lisa Falls trail on Friday.
P...
Curt Gresseth

Search and rescue expert has tips for hikers

Before you head out on your hike, take someone with you, tell somebody where you are going and when you plan to return. Those are just a few words for hikers from an expert on search and rescue.
5 days ago
A fire engine is seen as the Sheep fire burns in Wrightwood, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Pho...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What to do when wildfires close in on your home

Will you be ready if wildfires close in on your home? A survivor of a wildfire shares his experience and an expert shares tips and advice.
6 days ago
(Photo Credit: CNN/Shutterstock)...
Curt Gresseth

What is behind rising credit-card debt? Financial expert weighs in.

A national expert explains the sudden rise in credit-card debt in April and what you can do to lower your monthly payments.
12 days ago
first time millennial homebuyer Utah...
Curt Gresseth

Housing market in Utah looking better for first-time home buyers, says real-estate agent.

Is the American Dream once again reachable for younger adults as the housing market in Utah slows? A real estate agent discusses the cooling housing market and what that means for first-time home buyers.
12 days ago
FILE - This Aug. 10, 2016, file photo, Evan McMullin speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City. ...
Curt Gresseth

If it’s Lee vs. McMullin, it won’t be a traditional Utah race, says political insider

An expert in Utah politics predicts Sen. Mike Lee will win the primary and will face independent Evan McMullin in the general election.
17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Expert shares advice on leaving a toxic relationship