How do you know if your girlfriend or wife is toxic? What are the first signs of a toxic or abusive relationship? How can you address it in safe ways?
In this guide, you will learn the warning signs of a toxic relationship. You will know how best to identify signs of toxicity in a relationship. It will help you analyse the type of relationships you keep with your parents, siblings, workmates, and romantic partner.
Most people who suffer from low self-esteem will hardly realise that they are in a toxic relationship until someone explains it to them.
Here, you will find some of the most common signs of a toxic relationship.
What is Considered a Toxic Relationship?
Toxicity can be present in any relationship. It does not necessarily have to be an erotic type of relationship. You can experience toxicity from family members, friends, your partner or even your colleagues at work.
You will know whether the relationship is toxic or not depending on how it is affecting your mental health, physical and emotional wellbeing.
A toxic relationship will always drain and exhaust you fully. It is the type of relationship where you give your all until you have nothing more to offer.
Being in a toxic relationship will further affect how you relate with others around you. It would help if you understood that you might be in a toxic relationship, but you may fail to know because some people are so good at gaslighting you.
They will use reverse psychology on you until you fail to realise that what they are doing to you is entirely wrong.
15 Signs of a Toxic Relationship
What you will learn from this article is that some of these signs are sneakier. Therefore, it might be hard to notice. You will continue being in an unhealthy relationship and maybe when you realize that the damage may be too much later on.
Are you aware of any signs of a toxic relationship? If not, it would be best to read on to find out.
1. Being Blamed for Their Emotions
Someone should never attack you because of how they feel. You are not to blame if they had a bad day. Taking out their anger on you just because things did not go the way they had anticipated is completely wrong.
Instead of lashing out at you, they should instead seek solace from you. It would help if you were their haven and not their punching bag. If things happen differently, then it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship.
Your partner lashing out at you just because they had a bad day means that their emotional wellness controls your life.
They are so selfish not to consider how their reaction will affect you. In turn, you will be full of resentment towards them.
2. Power Imbalance
A healthy relationship gives each party equal power. In a healthy relationship, you will decide what direction you think the relationship should go. You will take part in constituting rules that will guide your friendship.
As an individual, you have boundaries that anyone should respect. No one should belittle you or take it as a joke. If your physical and mental boundaries are violated, it is time to think twice about the relationship.
A little jealousy is good in a relationship. At least that way, you will be sure that your partner cares about you and he does not want you to give another person the same kind of attention that you give them.
Excess jealousy is a major sign of a toxic relationship. If your friend trusts you, they should not be excessively jealous. Some will go to the extent of hacking your phone or your social media accounts. Love bombing is usually a result of intense jealousy.
4. Love Bombing
You may think that love bombing is cute and all until it is not. When the relationship is still new, your friend should not pressure you to be their best friend.
They should not panic when they fail to reach you. It would help if you had time to adjust and learn who they are before getting close to them.
The presence of constant drama and arguments is a major sign of a toxic relationship. A good relationship should give you peace of mind and build you. It should help you improve on your weaknesses and not derail you.
6. You will Feel Drained
A toxic relationship will never give you room for rest. The unending drama, the disrespect, and always trying to prove yourself to them are very unhealthy. You will always feel inadequate to them. It would help if you felt alive in relationships and not dull and exhausted
7. Physical Abuse
This is a major warning sign in a toxic relationship. Your friend or partner does not have the authority to inflict any pain on you. It would help if you never feared for your safety while in a relationship. If your friend pressures you to forgive their physical abuse or they love to bomb you, then you are in a toxic relationship.
It may be hard to identify contempt in a relationship because it is not as obvious as you may think. Did you know? Contempt may be in the form of sarcasm or eye-rolling! If your partner does this frequently, then it is clear that they lack respect for you.
9. Having a Scorecard
Some issues in friendships can be interconnected, but when arguing, it is not right to remind someone of their past mistakes. If that is the case scenario, it will be hard to move ahead or solve an issue completely.
A good relationship should never make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells. You should be able to discuss all topics that affect you two freely. It would help if you did not fear bringing up certain topics because your friend or partner will leave or give you the silent treatment.
11. Lack of Interest in the People you Care About
In a healthy relationship, your partner will feel excited to meet those you care about. They will understand that building a relationship with your loved ones is important to you. If they are dreading or avoiding meeting them, then that is a warning sign of a toxic relationship.
Random facts that you won’t believe are true. It would help if you had values that define you in a relationship. Does your behaviour align with your values or do they align with that of your partner?
If they do not, then you are betraying yourself. If you lose the sense of self in a relationship, you are in a toxic relationship.
13. They Lower your Self-esteem
A healthy relationship should cheer you up and encourage you to be a better version of yourself. You are not supposed to feel insecure or unloved.
It would help if your partner appreciates you for being who you are and it is not your duty to strive and make someone happy. You deserve to feel safe about yourself.
14. Hostile Environment
When you feel unsafe physically, emotionally and mentally when in a relationship, then you are in a hostile environment. Your partner does not have to abuse you physically.
They could be verbally abusing you by using harsh words against you, blackmail or making hurtful comments against you.
That is a toxic relationship.
15. Disrespecting your Boundaries
In any healthy relationship, both parties should respect their partners’ boundaries. They may use jokes whenever they cross your boundaries to make you forget or take it lightly.
How to Fix it and What can I do?
It is not easy fixing a toxic relationship. Both of you need to work on compromise and perseverance. If your partner is willing to cooperate, then things can work out. Interesting to know, it does not always have to end up in a break-up.
Most toxic relationships exist due to unresolved issues from the past. Here are some tips on ways to fix a toxic relationship.
1. Own up to your Actions
Taking responsibility for actions and accepting that your behaviour affected the relationship is the first step to resolving your issues. Do not blame your partner for what you did but instead accept you are wrong, ask for forgiveness and work towards being a better friend or partner or even parent.
2. Move on from the Blame Game
Put your focus mainly on working to save your relationship and stop with the blame game. That is the only way you will be able to move forward. Each of you should be able to state what you need from the relationship and how far you can go.
3. Time is the Essence
Fixing your relationship will not happen overnight. It will need lots of patience from both of you. It may take months or even years for you to be better for each other. Do not lose hope but instead be flexible and compassionate. Bear in mind that good things take time and it will require a lot from both of you for the relationship to work.
A toxic relationship is not healthy for anyone. Be keen to observe how your partner is treating you. They may be toxic but you may not notice it as you may be blinded by love.
If they admit their mistakes and are willing to work on mending your relationship, and you are sure that is what you want, then it would be best to give them a chance. Be compassionate and give them a chance to correct their mistakes.
Be patient and with time, you will move on from the past.