Relationships are possibly the most important part of a person’s life. Relationships are what make your life meaningful and fulfilling. Relationships can build you up or take you down. A good relationship can boost your self-confidence, motivate you to achieve more in life, and make you happy. On the contrary, if you are in a toxic relationship, chances are, you will feel disheartened, depressed, stressful stressed out, and insecure.
Toxic relationships are monumental in causing estrangement in workplaces, families, and people. However, this does not signify that only people who are insecure, downtrodden, or weak get stuck in a toxic relationship. It has been observed that people who are secure, independent, healthy as well as strong in themselves sometimes find themselves stuck in a toxic relationship. The relationship starts with a very strong bond but eventually dissolves into legal fees and ash.
Relationships are constantly evolving. They are like a tree. They grow and they change. Sometimes relationships also crash and burn. Sometimes, one of the partners hides their true nature, which starts to show after a period of both parties being in the relationship. This makes it difficult for the sufferer to leave the toxic relationship.
Sometimes, one of the partners hides their true nature, which starts to show after a period of both parties being in the relationship. This makes it difficult for the sufferer to leave the toxic relationship.
Sometimes people are looking for someone very specific in a relationship. For example, they just broke up with their ex, and the person they found next resembles their ex. This is not the right foundation for a relationship. The person who is heartbroken is still looking for his or her ex in the new person they form a relationship with. Such relationships most often do not end on a positive note. Sometimes relationships start off with a promise which gets forgotten along the way and instead gets replaced with hurt, jealousy, history as well as resentment.
Love is the reason we enter into a relationship in the first place. Unfortunately, sometimes, the infatuation of love is so blinding that people don’t realize where they are heading until it is too late. By then, they are already stuck in a toxic relationship. They don’t know what to do or how to get out.
Table of Contents
What is a toxic relationship?
The relationship can become toxic if it is not properly nurtured. Sometimes it is the person who has become toxic due to awful relationship experiences in the past, leaving a trail of broken relationships and people behind them. It is not necessary that a relationship will turn toxic only because the person you fell for is toxic. Sometimes, relationships start out healthy but eventually become toxic due to the creeping in of unmet needs, bad feelings, bad history, dishonesty, etc. which makes the relationship poisonous for both parties. This downward spiral can take place very easily and it can affect the strongest people as well.
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Signs that you are in a toxic relationship:
- Constant anger and unhappiness becomes the normal of your relationship
- Both parties are constantly facing mood swings
- The blame game is at its peak
- The common pastime has become arguing
- Relationships apart from the one in the home like at the workplace or with friends start to suffer.
- Lack of communication
- Excessive possessiveness
- Either giving too much or taking too much
- Emotional fallout
- Feeling bad all the time.
- Emotional trauma
- Physical abuse
How to recognize if you are in a toxic relationship?
Here are 16 signs that you are in a toxic or abusive relationship
In some cases, if both parties agree, a few changes in lifestyle and attitude can bring the relationship back in order. However, this is not the case in every relationship. Sometimes, it is just better to leave the relationship when your emotional stability and mental health are still intact.
You feel bad, all the time
Is possibly the first and the most prevalent feeling when you are in a toxic relationship. You feel hollow and bad most of the time. You go to sleep feeling bad and you wake up feeling just as bad. When you look at other people indulging in celebrations like anniversaries going on dates, celebrating birthdays, etc. you feel like you are missing out in your life somewhere. You keep asking yourself why do you not have that kind of love. You keep questioning your choices all the time but you never act or take any action because you feel stuck.
You feel trapped
When you’re in a toxic relationship, everything starts to feel like a mental trap. Even small questions like ‘do you want to go out with your friends or do you want to stay home with me?’ would start to feel like traps. Everything you do will be to please the other person. You will feel like you are in a relationship jungle and you are the prey while your partner is the predator.
Every answer has to be tailored to fit your partner’s needs. If your choices do not go with what your partner wanted, your mistakes would be highlighted as too stupid, too wrong, or too something else. You will be made to feel undeserving and that you are taking advantage of the other person’s goodness. However, somewhere in your heart, you know that there is no goodness in the other person.
You don’t say what you need anymore
Relationships have needs. The relationship is like a plant that constantly requires nurturing with love, commitment, connection, appreciation, validation, etc. When those means start to be ignored or mocked by your partner, the emptiness inside you will start to eat you up from inside. If and when you start to talk about your unmet needs with your partner, these discussions would most often end up in madness, accusations of being a needy person, empty promises, accusations of being insecure, jealous, etc. Either way, you will learn to just stop stating your needs altogether. At this point, the relationship has become very toxic.
Related post: 13 signs of commitment issues and how to deal with it
There is no effort from your partner
The relationship is a two-way journey. It cannot be maintained by only one person‘s contributions. Just being physically present in a relationship does not mean that the person is emotionally and mentally invested in the same. Doing things together as well as separately is good. However if you guys are constantly doing things separately, that is not healthy. If there is no effort from your partner to share important things with you, spend time with you, appreciate you, or just love you, you need to understand that the relationship is starting to become toxic. This is the point where your partner stops giving and continues to just take from you.
|Signs you are in a toxic relationship|
All the compromises, sacrifices, love only comes from you.
As I mentioned earlier, the relationship is a two-way street. One person cannot do or fulfill all aspects of the relationship. If you are the only one putting in all the work in your relationship like if the compromises, sacrifices appreciation, etc. only come from you and your partner contributes little to nothing in the relationship, it will get lonely as well as exhausting for you. If you are unable to leave the relationship due to certain circumstances, you have every right to give only as much as is needed and not more than that.
At this point, you must understand that it’s important to let the fantasy of “if I worked hard, my relationship would survive” go. You need to understand that enough is enough. You have done enough. You have always done enough. Now it is time to take care of yourself.
You are not allowed to say NO anymore
Saying no is important. Whether you are in a relationship with your partner, parents, workplace, etc. NO is an important word everywhere. If you and your partner are in a healthy relationship, your NO will be understood and acted upon. Every healthy relationship needs a certain level of compromise while respecting the needs of each other. If your partner loves you, he or she will respect your NO and will understand why you are not ready to do something. On the contrary, if your partner only accepts you when you say YES to everything, you should understand that it is time to say NO so that you can say yes to better mental health in future.
Always maintaining a scorecard
We are humans. To err is human. As humans, we are liable to commit mistakes. It is a part of who we are. Mistakes or how we learn to grow and find out about those who don’t deserve us. People involved in the most loving, committed, and affectionate relationships also do hurtful or stupid things at times. However, if stupidity or hurtful things are brought up in every discussion and every conversation over and over, it will kill the healthiest of relationships and make the guilty partner feel small.
If you notice that your partner is constantly keeping a scorecard of how many mistakes you’ve done in the past, you need to understand that this is your partner’s way of controlling and manipulating you. Healthy relationships do not focus on the mistakes, they focus on strengths. If you are in a toxic relationship, your partner will focus on your weaknesses and mistakes.
There is always a battle
In a relationship, you and your partner are supposed to be a team. Whatever happens, whatever the world throws at you, you are supposed to face it together. If you are in a toxic relationship, you will notice that your partner makes it your responsibility to deal with the public put-downs. When others try to come in between your relationship and turn your partner against you, he or she gets turned. Divide and conquer becomes very easy for a third party. If you are noticing such signs, you need to understand that you are in a toxic relationship.
Verbal or physical abuse
I don’t think this point needs any explanation for me. If your partner is starting to verbally, physically or sexually abuse you, you know it is time to leave this relationship. It is not worth degrading yourself to that level.
Sometimes this factor is not realized by the partner who is being targeted in the relationship. Passive-aggressive behavior is an indirect form of attack and control. In this, the anger is most often disguised as indifference by your partner “Whatever “, “I am fine“, “I don’t care“. Even if you want to talk about the matter at hand, such phrases would shut you down and prevent any possibility of having a clear discussion.
No problem ever gets resolved
There is no relationship in the world that does not have its issues. However, if you are in a toxic relationship, you will notice that nothing ever gets worked out because every conflict amongst you lands up becoming an argument. Your partner does not have the capacity to deal with the matter at hand in a way that is safe. In such situations, the needs get buried and resentment starts to creep in.
Whatever you feel or are going through the other person will always say that they are going through worse.
A healthy relationship has a foundation of support. Both parties are almost always involved in supporting one another. However, in case of a toxic relationship when you need support, your partner will always find a way to take all the support for himself or herself. If you say you’re tired and cannot go, your partner will make you feel that is just too stressful for him or her and you are not there to support. They will try to manipulate you into getting what they want.
There is no privacy
A certain modicum of privacy is important in every relationship. Every person deserves a certain level of privacy that won’t be misused in the case of healthy relationships. However, if your partner is constantly leafing through your phone bills, messages, receipts, social media etc, you need to understand that your partner is trying to control you and being over possessive. This is not only demeaning, it is very disappointing from the perspective of a healthy relationship.
Lying and cheating becomes common
No one how many times your partner apologizes and says that he or she will never lie to you again or will never cheat on you, you will notice a feedback loop of the same type of behavior occurring again and again. Once the trust is gone, it is very difficult to gain it back. Even a healthy relationship can be changed into a jealous, insecure, and suspicious relationship if the foundation of trust is not strong enough.
Your partner does not share or make any decisions with you
When you are in a relationship or when you plan to share your life with another person, it is imperative that you have a say in the decisions which will affect both of you. If your partner starts to take all the important decisions alone, you need to understand that this is not a healthy relationship. Your partner obviously thinks that you are not important enough to consult you before taking an important decision. This is a clear sign that you are stuck in a toxic relationship.
A few points regarding hostile communication I have mentioned before like passive-aggressiveness. However, there are other forms of hostile communications as well like
- Breaking or throwing things
- Physical intimidation
The above-mentioned hostile communication methods come under the loud ones. However, there are also some subtle signs as well like
- The silent treatment
- The blames
- Constantly interrupting
If the relationship is already on rocky grounds, the absence of a healthy communication method can increase the tension and create more distrust among the partners.
Your partner does not trust you with anything. anything you must do, whether it is meeting a friend orp placing an order online, everything must be done after you have consulted your partner. If you are going out, you are to inform your partner before leaving and inform them of your location every five minutes while you are out. If you don’t do so, you will be name called, and treated badly once you return. Your partner may even ask you to send pictures of who it is you are hanging out with so he or she can be assured that you are not having an affair.
You are constantly covering up for your partner misdeeds
If your partner is late, you cover for them. If your partner got in a fight with a friend, you apologise on behalf of your partner. In other words, you are the one left picking up the pieces of your partners misdeeds. You have got used to defending your partner to the point that if their are bruises on your body, you say, ‘I fell down and got hurt’.
Your partner tries to control you
No one has the right to control what you believe in or your actions. In case of a toxic relationship, one behavior to look out for is if your partner is threatening you like loss of financial stability, taking away your kids, etc. Such threats cause an insane level of fear in the partner who is stuck and this is the reason that a lot of the times people stay in a toxic relationship despite understanding that it is toxic and wanting to end the relationship.
A few signs of controlling behavior are as follows
- Threatening you
- Telling you what is right
- Being overly possessive
- Managing your money
- Keeping you away from your loved ones
- Always behaving like you don’t know what is good for you or you cannot make decisions for yourself
- Constantly accessing your personal devices
Now you know you are stuck in a toxic relationship. What should your next step be?
If any of the above-mentioned points start to feel familiar, you know it is time you take action. If you feel that you are in any kind of physical danger, you must involve the authorities. Dial 911 and call the police. Alternatively, you can also call the national domestic violence hotline which is available for 24/7 guidance.
In case you feel that the harm inflicted on you by your partner is more of the mental or emotional type, you are the best person to decide which is the best way to resolve the problem. If there are underlying mental health triggers that are causing the problem like past trauma, childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, etc, these can be addressed with the help of therapy. Understanding the root of the problem is very important. However, you all must also understand that sometimes the answer is just to walk away.
You can opt to go into couples therapy. Here, both the partners will be provided a neutral space to discuss their issues with the availability of a nonjudgemental skill party to help you find new solutions to all problems.
|Are you in a toxic relationship?|
The relationship is a two-person journey. It cannot be carried on on one partner’s shoulder alone. You must understand, that there can be many reasons behind you landing up in a toxic relationship. It has nothing to do with the level of courage or strength of character you possess. Sometimes, the toxicity has such slow growth that by the time you realize, you are completely stuck.
Getting stuck in a toxic relationship is difficult. There is a chance that you might blame yourself or your history for your current circumstances. However, none of it matters. What matters is your mental health. If the relationship is hurting your mental health in any way, it doesn’t matter what you think, you should either try to fix the relationship by getting help from a third party like a counselor or leave the relationship.
Sacrifices in relationships is important but when there is only one person making the sacrifice and the other is only reaping the benefits, you need to understand that the relationship has taken a toxic turn. A relationship is built on love, and cemented by constant affection, trust, and honesty. If any of these factors are violated repeatedly, you need to understand that you are in a toxic relationship and it is time to leave. You owe your partner nothing if he/she is repeatedly hurting you, be it mental or physical. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel safe and you deserve to have a good life ahead of you.
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Frequently asked questions
What are the five signs of a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships have many signs. However, here are the five primary signs of a person being in a toxic relationship are:
- Character assassination
- Control or over possessiveness
- Too much jealousy or passive-aggressive behavior
- Playing the blame game
- Being too negative
- Going through the other person’s private space like invading the other person’s private space like going through their phones, email social media, etc.
How do you know if a relationship is worth saving?
What is gaslighting in a relationship?
Gaslighting refers to sustained psychological manipulation of the victim which leads to the victim questioning their own judgment, memories, and sanity. Put in simple words, gaslighting is basically emotional abuse or emotional trauma.
How do you know if you are being manipulated in a relationship?
Here are five signs to look out for if you feel that you are being manipulated in your relationship
- Your partner will always make you feel guilty for literally anything and everything.
- Your partner will force his or her insecurities onto you
- Your partner will make you doubt yourself
- Your partner will make you responsible for his or her emotions or the way they are feeling
- Your partner will make you believe that what your partner wants is exactly what you want as well.