In healthy relationships occur, they kind of just work. There may be bumps in the road, but you can discuss problems, make decisions together, and enjoy the company of one another. However, in toxic relationships things are much different. The problem is that when you are in one, it can be almost impossible to see the red flags. If you are constantly unhappy or drained after spending time with your partner, it is a sign something needs to change. Some of the signs of toxicity in a relationship are shared below.
- Lack of Support – Time together has stopped having a supportive nature, they simply do not have your back
- Toxic Communication – Instead of treating each other kindly, most conversations will be sarcasm, criticism, and hostility filled or you may avoid speaking almost completely
- Jealousy – Jealousy from time to time is normal, but if you cannot think about their success positively, it is a problem
- Controlling – Continually questioning where you are at all times and being upset when it taks time to answer a call or text, is a sign of controlling and toxicity
- Resentment – Holding onto grudges and letting them fester into resentment can become toxic
- Dishonesty – Constantly lying about whereabouts to avoid spending time with your partner is a sign
- Disrespect Pattern – Forgetting events, chronic lateness, and other disrespectful behaviors are signs
- Negative Financial Behaviors – Making big purchases with shared finances without consulting you is a sign
- Constant Stress – Some tension is normal, but being constantly on edge means something is off and it is unhealthy
- Ignoring Needs – Going along with what your partner wants even when it is against your wishes is a big sign of toxicity
- Lost Relationships – You have stopped spending time with family and friends because your partner does not want you to or you do not want to explain their behavior
- Lack of Self-Care – When in a toxic relationship, you may let self-care habits slide by neglecting your health, sacrificing free time, and withdrawing from things you love
- Hoping for Change – You may stay seeing potential but hope for change
- Walking on Eggshells – Toxic relationships may leave you worrying about bringing up issues because of the conflict it will cause
Many will assume that a toxic relationship is doomed, but this is not necessarily the case. However, both partners must desire change or it will not work. There are a few signs to point to there being a chance for improvement. These are shared below.
- Willingness to Invest – If you are both willing to invest in working things out and making them better then the relationship can change
- Taking Responsibility – Recognizing past behaviors as harmful on both sides is vital as it reflect self-awareness and self-responsibility
- Shift from Blame to Understanding – Stop blaming one another and move toward understanding and learning to find a path forward
- Openness to Help – Sometimes you may need counseling and need to be open to it
Repairing a toxic relationship requires time and patience, but if you are willing to stick it out and go through the steps below, there is hope. These steps include:
- Do Not Dwell – Part of repair is addressing past events, but this should not be the only focus as things move forward. Resist constantly looking back at what was once it has been dealt with together.
- Therapy – Being open to therapy is a sign that things can be mended, but following through is what makes a real difference. Couples counseling is where you need to start, but individual counseling will likely come into play as well.
- Find Support – Even if you are in therapy, look for other support as well
- Healthy Communication – Pay attention to how you communicate as you heal. Focus on I statements, avoid sarcasm, and be gentle with one another.
- Be Accountable – Identify and be responsible for your own actions while remaining present even during difficult conversations.
- Heal Individually – Consider your needs and boundaries in the relationship and individually as you try to rebuild
Before closing it must be noted that there is a difference between toxicity and abuse. Toxicity can take on many forms, including abusee and there is never an excuse for any type of abusive behavior. below are signs of physical and emotional abuse and if these are recognizable in your relationship, walk away as soon as possible to do so safely.
- Diminished Self-Worth – If your partner makes you feel diminished, shamed, or patronizes you, it can be abusive
- Chronis Anxiety and Stress – While some periods of stress and doubts are normal, significant amounts can be due to abusive tendencies
- Separation from Others – An abusive partner may forcefully distance you from those you are close to in life
- Interfere with School or Work – Abusive partners may forbid you from working or studying to isolate you or humiliate you at these places to keep you from returning
- Fear and Intimidation – An abusive partner may use rage to intimidate and cause you fear
- Put-Downs – Insults meant to humiliate and belittle are abusive, not just toxic
- Financial Restriction – They control all the money and restrict your access
- Gaslighting – Making you question your own feelings and sanity
- Threats of Self-Harm – Threats of harm or suicide as a way to create pressure on you to do what they want is abusive
- Physical Violence – Pushing, slapping, or hitting is dangerous and highly abusive
If a relationship has turned abusive, do not wait or try to work it out, get out as quickly and safely as possible.