Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? Chances are you don’t want to go back there. Unhealthy relationships have done more damage to people and families than imagined. No matter how you intend to describe it, a toxic relationship is not for the weak or faint-hearted.
Secondly, a relationship that starts as “heavenly” may turn out toxic in the future. People change depending on the circumstances they find themselves and how their partners react too. So, whether you are in a relationship or not, there is much more you should learn about toxic relationships than you probably know.
This could help you avoid many pitfalls and regrets in the future. This article will discuss some glaring signs of toxic relationships you should know. Perhaps, you have noticed some of these signs in your relationship, or you haven’t. Nevertheless, it’s great to know these signs so you know what to do if they should surface in your relationship. But before jumping straight into these signs, let’s understand what a toxic relationship is and how it could affect the longevity of your relationship in the long run.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
The term “toxic” has been described as “poisonous.” And it is mainly associated with harmful substances. But in recent times, it is now used to describe bad relationships. In reality, a toxic relationship is more than that.
A toxic relationship can be described as a relationship that threatens the well-being of one or both parties. It negatively affects your self-esteem, happiness and outlook toward life. Eventually, it ends in pain, chaos and regrets.
Even though a relationship starts healthily and both parties are deeply in love. It doesn’t mean it cannot become toxic in the future. This is because there are so many things that fuels toxicity in a relationship. Some of them are family history, unmet expectations, lack of discipline and proper anger management skills.
Am I in a Toxic Relationship? 10 Glaring Signs
Now that you know how to describe a toxic relationship, we can go further! It’s great to know about the signs of a toxic relationship. It could protect you from emotional damage in the long run and help you avoid common mistakes that people make that attracts toxicity into their lives. So here are the signs to look out for!
You Never Celebrate Resolved Issues
One of the signs of a toxic relationship is when one or the two parties in the relationship become used to pushing issues under the carpet as though they don’t matter. Perhaps, you are already used to ignoring certain issues in your relationship for the sake of peace which never seems to exist.
We understand no relationship is perfect, and even healthy ones suffer challenges regularly. But how these issues are resolved matters a lot. In a toxic relationship, one party is usually conflict-averse. So, they try to avoid the critical problems as they surface by avoiding the discussion when it becomes uncomfortable.
You Don’t Feel Safe with Them
This is not about physical safety but emotional safety. How far can you communicate with your partner without withholding some information for fear that they might use it against you later? When having a conversation with them, does your voice matter? Or do you edit your sentences before uttering them because you don’t want to be misunderstood?
In a healthy relationship, both parties can openly discuss their past, who has hurt them and their plans for the future without shame. Effective communication is key to building a successful relationship. Suppose you want to avoid toxicity in your relationship. You and your partner must strive to communicate wholeheartedly and accept that you can never be like your partner.
You Or Your Partner Do Not Forgive
Do you or your partner find it difficult to let things go? A relationship can hardly succeed and could quickly become toxic if it hasn’t been soaked in the mud of forgiveness. There is always a sign of trouble looming ahead when your partner keeps blaming you for their present situation or mistake.
If your partner cannot forgive you for a wrong, no matter how much you plead for forgiveness or how minor the offence is, then, there are chances that you might already be in a toxic relationship without realizing it.
You Feel You Cannot Stay True to Yourself When You Are with Them
A healthy relationship is built on the foundation of trust and communication. One of the signs of a toxic relationship is when you cannot be your “real” self when you are with your partner. It also means you aren’t safe because you are trying hard to protect your reputation, image and values due to your partner’s presence.
However, most people do not let off their guard easily in a relationship until they have known their partner well enough. Most times, you have been hurt in your previous relationships, and you feel you have to put on your “armor of protection” because you don’t want to be hurt again. This is understandable, but when it becomes a regular occurrence several months into the relationship, there could be more to it than you know.
You Are the One Doing the Work
A relationship involves two people who should put equal effort into building the relationship. But what happens when you do all the work while your partner does nothing? This is one of the signs of a toxic relationship.
When all the love, compromise and hard work comes from you, then it’s no longer sustainable, and the relationship could be heading for the rock soon when you eventually get tired.
Too Much Control
One of the ways to identify a toxic relationship is to observe the level of controlling your partner dishes out. For example, does your partner monitors your activities to know who you are with all the time? Do they leave little room for privacy in your life? Although you are a full-grown adult, if they constantly go through your chats and bills, it shows a high level of toxic control, which could be demeaning.
Your Needs and Desires Aren’t Essential
Does your partner make you feel that their needs are more important than yours in the relationship? Are you constantly being forced to say “yes” when you want to say “no?” if your emotional needs are being dashed to the wind while your partners consider their own first, then, it’s a sign of a toxic relationship. A toxic partner will constantly think of their interest and do not want to be at the receiving end.
It’s okay to consider your partner’s emotional needs ahead of yours in your relationship. it shows a selfless attitude and open mind. But when your partner isn’t doing the same and only consider their interest all the time, it demonstrates signs of a toxic relationship.
You Don’t Know What Will Happen Next
Are you constantly dealing with doubts in your relationship? Perhaps, your partner consistently demonstrates mood swings and you don’t even know what their next move might be? This is one of the signs of a toxic relationship. You don’t know when they might feel offended and ignore your calls next.
When a relationship goes through a spiral of devasting lows and highs, it’s not a good sign and could spell doom for any union.
Do You Feel the Need to Control Your Partner?
A healthy relationship is based on trust and honesty. But there is room for doubt when one party wants to gain control of the other to their advantage. Do you constantly feel threatened by your partner because you don’t trust them? It could be a sign of a toxic relationship.
Control is unhealthy in a relationship, no matter how small it is! A control freak person denies their partner the freewill to make their own decisions without interfering. They are always afraid to let their partner go out with friends unless they know these friends. Excessive control in a relationship spring from distrust and could be fatal to any union.
How Do You Feel in Your Relationship?
Do you feel used or abused? One of the best ways to know you are in a toxic relationship is to check how you feel presently in it. Would you like to be with your partner again if given a second chance? Do you think you are with the right person? Or have you realized you made a mistake that you wish you survived from soonest?
The reality is that most people would love you when they need to and leave you whenever they feel they have hit their jackpot enough. They can also love you for the sake of what they hope to get from you or just because you make them happy and forget about their ex.
All these are unhealthy reasons for dating a person that is emotionally attached to you and could cause more damage if the other party fails to realize it on time.
Toxic Relationship Vs Abusive Relationships: What is the Difference?
Most people use both terms interchangeably, and they usually use them to describe unhealthy relationships. But, no matter how you see it, they are not the same.
In a toxic relationship, one or both partners can show signs of harmful behavior, while abuse is usually from one partner. More importantly, most people in a toxic relationship do not realize it until it becomes glaring before their eyes. But victims of abusive relationships may not suffer for long before they realize their circumstances and potential damages.
The most glaring difference between toxic and abusive relationships is that the former is about irrational reactions or behavior while the latter is about control.
A toxic relationship can be one-sided or both-sided. And it is usually volatile, with one party responding rationally to issues and wanting the best for the relationship while the other blows things up.
On the other hand, abuse is more about “domestic abuse,” when one party is consumed with excessive anger and seeks to keep their partner under their control, hurting them in the process. Abuse can be of different types, which include:
- Financial abuse: controlling what the other party does with their personal lives and finances.
- Emotional abuse: perform acts that reduce the other party to a manipulative state where they can be controlled.
- Sexual abuse: exploiting the other party sexually against their wish.
- Verbal abuse: when one party uses harsh words and demeaning language on the other party to make them feel worthless and put them under their control.
There are many reasons why you might be in a toxic relationship. Probably, circumstances dictated your fate without your control. But there is a solution. The first step to getting out of that toxic relationship is to realize that your relationship is in a mess, and you have to fix things before they screw you.
Out of the ten signs we revealed in this post, how many were you able to tick a “yes” to? The number of signs you could acknowledge in your relationship shows the extent of the severity, and the sooner you get out of it, the better for your health and sanity.