It can be tricky to assess romantic relationships, especially with our tendency to view our partners through rose-tinted glasses.
Because of this, toxic relationship symptoms are often brushed off as “rough patches” if we aren’t paying close attention.
Defining and Understanding Toxic Relationships
A toxic relationship essentially comprises a series of repetitive, mutually destructive and unhealthy patterns in a relationship coming from one or both parties.
While healthy relationships are based on mutual trust, respect and compassion, toxic relationships are rooted in selfishness, insecurity and possessiveness.
Toxic relationships are also damaging to our physical, emotional and mental health; studies show that people in unhealthy relationships experience pain, anxiety and memory problems as compared to those in healthy ones.
If your relationship has reached a point where negative moments outweigh the positive ones, you might be in a toxic relationship without realizing it.
1. There’s little to no communication.
The two of you hardly have real conversations anymore.
When you do talk, it’s often met with sarcasm and hostility.
Healthy communication boosts happiness and well-being in our relationships and without it, we become disconnected with our loved ones.
You might feel as though you can no longer talk to your partner about anything—and they don’t even care.
When problems arise, instead of talking things through, they avoid you altogether or use emotional manipulation to get their way.
2. They don’t support you and your goals.
Instead of showering you with love and support, your partner looks down on your lifelong dreams or goals.
You find yourself unable to rely on them having your back, and they may even feel threatened or jealous of your success.
3. They are controlling and get jealous easily.
Your partner tries to make you feel guilty for spending less time with them, even when you’re hanging out with friends and family like you always do.
They also often have a bone to pick with you on everything, down to how you spend your money or the way you dress.
When you don’t answer their texts immediately or are busy with work, they get easily upset and insecure, and their desire for your attention has become smothering and draining.
To please your partner, you may even sacrifice your independence to the point that you no longer make any decisions by yourself.
4. They disrespect you.
Your partner does not respect your time, opinions or emotions.
They aren’t apologetic about making you wait, and they’re always right.
You, on the other hand, aren’t allowed to be late or express your dissatisfaction with them.
Your partner frequently disrespects your boundaries and makes your problems feel small while inflating their own.
Put simply, it’s their way or the highway.
5. You feel like you are walking on eggshells.
A toxic relationship can often make you feel stressed and anxious about voicing out your opinions to your partner in fear of causing unhappiness.
Your partner explodes over the smallest things to the point where you feel uncomfortable and threatened just by expressing your thoughts.
Eventually, you don’t bother saying anything because you know it won’t end well.
Arguments are normal in relationships, but not when they turn into dramatic soap operas every single time.
6. They make you feel bad about yourself.
Your partner feeds you with negative energy and belittles you to the point where you start to believe them.
They criticize everything, from the way you look to the way you breathe (ridiculous, right?).
It’s a vicious cycle; your partner is aware of your trigger points and weaknesses, and they use this against you so that they can continue to bully you into submission.
You no longer feel like you can be yourself in front of your partner, because they look down on everything you do.
Learn to distinguish destructive criticism from constructive feedback, and know that someone who truly loves you would never bring you down.
7. They verbally or physically abuse you.
Abuse can mean anything from hurling insults (e.g. “you’re so ugly”), to physical violence (e.g. pushing, slapping, etc).
If you are currently experiencing abuse in your relationship, don’t be afraid to seek help to get out of an unhealthy situation.
Know when it’s time to leave a toxic relationship
We often stay in unhealthy relationships because we believe that things can get better if we just “stick it through”.
However, if left unchecked, toxic relationships can chip away at our self-esteem and may even cause serious mental health issues.
Unless both parties are willing to communicate openly and make consistent efforts to create a healthy relationship, nothing will change.