Reading » B2 Reading Tests » Am I in a toxic relationship? – B2 English reading test
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  • B2 Reading Test

    You are going to read a text about toxic relationships. For questions 1-6, choose the correct answer.

    Am I in a toxic relationship?

    A toxic relationship is one that undermines your well-being—emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes even physically. These relationships can exist in various contexts, from friendships to romantic partnerships, and even within families. It is characterised by behaviours that leave you feeling unsupported, misunderstood, demeaned, or attacked. Basically, it is an interrelationship where the bad consistently outweighs the good, and your overall welfare is threatened. Identifying toxic dynamics early is crucial. The longer you stay in such a relationship, the more it can impact your mental and emotional health.

    Recognizing toxicity allows you to take steps to protect yourself and seek healthier connections. Physical or verbal abuse is a clear sign of toxicity, but psychological abuse is not as obvious. Alongside persistent criticism and attempts to isolate you from loved ones, constantly being blamed and made to feel guilty about your or somebody else’s actions are behaviours to watch out for. According to many, however, what makes toxicity apparent in a relationship are frequent situations of consistent disrespect, where you don’t feel appreciated or are even insulted.

    Toxic relationships can have far-reaching consequences on the victim’s well-being on a mental and physical level. Living in these emotionally unhealthy conditions leads to a steady decrease in self-worth and self-esteem. Lacking energy after interactions and experiencing depression, anger, or tiredness are only some of the negative effects that such relationships can have on an individual. Physically, the stress and anxiety stemming from toxic dynamics can lead to a range of health issues, including digestive issues, weakened immune function, and sleep disturbances.

    The list of toxic behaviours is long, but the most damaging patterns in a relationship can be categorised depending on the type of effect these behaviours can have on others. One of these categories is ‘behavioural
    control’, which includes strategies employed by individuals to influence and dominate others to achieve personal gain. This can be obtained either through controlling and forceful measures, such as aggressive behaviours, or through subtly shaping the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of others by lying or bending the truth. This is a form of manipulation – known as gaslighting – in which facts are changed or withheld to suit the toxic person’s interest, causing you to question your own senses and thoughts.

    Another category of toxic behaviours is ‘emotional impact’, which is determined by how individuals experience and react to emotional signals, whether they be positive or negative. It refers to the effects of emotional experiences on thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, which can range from positive emotions like happiness to negative ones like sadness or fear. This category is relevant especially for those who deal with past traumas or insecurities. These individuals are considered vulnerable as they may struggle to set limits, express needs, or protect themselves from harm, making them more prone to exploitation by others. Identifying and dealing with your weaknesses is a good starting point to build up your ability to bounce back emotionally.

    In today’s interconnected world, it’s essential to recognise that toxic behaviour isn’t limited to face-to-face interactions but can occur through digital mediums, affecting mental and emotional health just as profoundly. In the virtual world, where cyberbullying, online harassment, and forceful control through technology are some of the toxic tactics that thrive on popular digital communication platforms, establishing personal space and addressing red flags as they occur might not be enough to protect yourself against all forms of toxicity. Being mindful of online content, verifying information before accepting it as truth, and curating online spaces to prioritise positivity and healthy interactions can help limit exposure to toxic content.

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    Page 1 of 6

    1 The writer describes a toxic relationship as...


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