No relationship is perfect. It’s normal to have fights and misunderstandings. Relationships can be challenging; that’s why you must continuously work on it. However, there comes the point where they exceed a certain level of stress and becomes toxic. Toxic relationships can negatively impact every aspect of your life: your work, your friendships, your health, and most importantly, your mental wellbeing.
There are several studies which show how staying in a toxic relationship can be bad for your health. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you shouldn’t underestimate the stress you’re in. Toxic relationships can sometimes be hard to identify. There are some behaviors that clearly cross a line. Any kind of abuse, be it physical, emotional, verbal, or financial can be easy to spot. However, other signs are subtler—but can be just as problematic. This is why it’s crucial that you recognize the signs early on so that you can know what to do. Some relationships are worth saving and are still salvageable. Others are just downright so toxic; there is no antidote.
Signs of toxic relationships
1 Passive-aggressive behavior
The infamous “silent treatment” is probably something you’ve experienced in one of your relationships. It’s one of the most common passive-aggressive behaviors. You ask the person “what’s wrong?” and then they say “nothing.” But there’s really something in that “nothing.” And you know you’re in grave danger. That’s passive aggression. It’s often accompanied by gaslighting or making the other person think they’re crazy for even bringing it up. If you constantly feel like there’s something off but when you try to talk to your partner about it you get shut down, you may be in a toxic relationship. The problem with this is that that it doesn’t leave much room for resolution of the conflict. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t fix it.
2 You feel like you always have to filter what you say.
When your partner is very controlling, it may be an early sign that you’re in a toxic relationship. This doesn’t always mean that they’re physically threatening or violent. Maybe you’re constantly scared to share your opinions because you’re afraid of your partner’s emotional reactions. Or perhaps you feel like you always have to dumb yourself to make your partner feel smart and good about themselves. These are huge red flags, dear. This is because, at the bare minimum, you should be able to talk about anything you like with the one you love.
3 You’re not yourself anymore.
Relationships can change you. It’s inevitable. Maybe you were uncaring about your appearance, then you had your partner, and you started to be a bit conscious. Or sometimes, it’s vice-versa. You were so conscious about your looks, and then you meet someone who loves you for you, and now, it doesn’t matter what you look like so long as your partner accepts you. When you’re in a healthy relationship, changes like these can occur. But the more important thing is that, even if you both change, you should be going in the same direction.
If your relationship changes you, it should only make you a better version of yourself. A great relationship inspires you to achieve more and to be more. If you feel like you’re losing yourself or you don’t know who you are anymore, it’s not healthy for you, dear.
4 You’re always fighting. There’s always arguing without understanding.
Yes, some level of fighting is good for the relationship. It helps you get to know each other better and build a stronger relationship in the process. However, constant misunderstandings are a bad sign. You’re a couple, and you’re bound to get to know each other more with every fight. However, relationships should progress towards more understanding and thus, fewer arguments. If you still always fight, then you might be suffering from poor communication. And of course, communication that never improves is toxic. Without proper communication, a relationship can never move forward. You will really get stuck in the same cycle of fighting.
5 Your partner is always jealous.
We’re all only human, so we get jealous from time to time. Jealousy is a common part of relationships. However, when your partner screams at you and throws a fit because you texted a workmate or a friend in need, there’s something wrong. Excessive jealousy is never okay. If you don’t have trust in a relationship, then why are you still there? You literally have nothing worth holding on to. Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Failure to have that is like having a relationship built on thin ice. It will easily crumble.
6 Your partner wants you all to himself.
Sometimes, it’s cute when your partner can be so possessive with you. Like when he sees somebody hitting on you and making you uncomfortable, so he’s there to tell the guy to back off. However, when your partner wants you to break off friendships and even contact with your family, that’s a clear red flag. Isolating you from your friends and family is an attempt to control and manipulate your support system. That ensures you will have no escape and means of getting other people to help you in case something worse happens. That’s just wrong and very toxic, honey.
7 You keep score.
You guys have a “relationship scorecard” where you use past wrongdoings to try to establish current righteousness. It develops over time as one of you or both of you try to keep track of each other’s faults and mistakes to be able to use it on a later time when you need it in a fight. Not only are you deflecting the current issue, but you’re using past guilt and bitterness to try and “win” the argument. You use the past to manipulate your partner into feeling wrong in the present. That’s a sign of a toxic relationship.
8 Your partner stonewalls you.
Stonewalling is refusing to communicate or cooperate. Partners need to talk about a lot of important things in relationships. Obviously, your relationship should just not revolve around what’s for dinner or what to watch on Netflix. If your partner flat-out refuses to talk about important relationship topics, like if you’re getting married or when you’ll buy a home, you may be in a toxic relationship. When you’re not able to talk about things central to the relationship, it causes insecurities and dysfunction. If you or your partner refuses to fix problems, you may be in a toxic relationship.
9 You can’t seem to do anything right.
You feel like everything you do upset or annoys your partner. As such, you’re always walking on eggshells around them. You’re very uncomfortable and tiptoeing in your own relationship. That’s a problem! When you can’t even act naturally because you’re afraid your partner will just get angry, then that’s very unhealthy. There’s something that your partner is not communicating with you. Until they become honest with why they’re really frustrated, nothing you do will seem to be enough.
10 You always feel drained.
You’re constantly tired and drained. Just a bit of interaction and you can’t handle them anymore. At the bare minimum, you should be comfortable around your partner, and you should like being with them. But if you find yourself not looking forward to your time together because of how tiring they can be, it sounds like a red flag. If your relationship feels like it’s sucking the life out of you, that’s a sign of toxicity. Toxic relationships can literally make our bodies unhealthy as such; you must pay close attention to how your body is reacting.
11 You always find yourself thinking of the past rather than the future.
Do you always reminisce the beginning of the relationship rather than look toward the future? Memories of the honeymoon phase will not be able not enough to sustain you. You can’t keep reliving the past because that’s all it will ever be — the past. Relationships develop. And when you’re in a healthy one, it develops for the better, where you look forward to the future. Fantasizing about what used to be is not living in reality.
If you’re starting to have thoughts like, ‘This is not like it used to be,’ or ‘This doesn’t feel good anymore,’ it is possible that what was once a good relationship has turned toxic.
12 You’re just not happy anymore.
I know you’re not supposed to be happy 24/7 even if you’re in a relationship. It’s unrealistic to believe that just because you have someone, that person will complete you and make you happy always. A relationship has ups and downs. So it’s normal to sometimes feel sad and upset with what you have. However, the line is drawn when no matter what you do, you just don’t feel happy anymore.
As a whole, your partner should make you happier. They should make you feel supported and capable of doing whatever the hell it is you want to do. They should be able to give you stability. A feeling that no matter what happens, they will always be there for you. But when there’s no such feeling like that, and you’re just constantly unhappy, there’s no reason to hold on. It’s time to call it quits.