What Are the Signs of a Toxic Relationship?

Learn how to recognize the 15 warning signs of a toxic relationship in this article.

A toxic personality doesn’t always come across clearly when embarking on a relationship.

It usually comes to the surface in little bits and pieces over some time.

Are you thinking, “I’m a strong person. I could never be in a toxic relationship?”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always follow because of the nature of a toxic relationship.

It creeps on you very slowly. By the time you understand what’s going on, you’re in a place where you believe you can fix it.

15 Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship

What Classifies as a Toxic Relationship?

While there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, there is a particular point you get to that’s dangerous.

This is the point where the balance between peace and war has been completely eschewed by the way you allow yourself to be treated.

A good relationship should not make you cry or ponder unnecessarily.

It should not make you draw up comparison charts and coordinates.

It should not make you insane or a shadow of your former self. How do you recognize the warnings signs of this imbalance about to occur?

What Are the Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship?

There are usually warning signs that a relationship is starting to get toxic but for a lot of reasons, including love, we ignore it to our peril.

Don’t know the signs? Looking to find out if you’re in a toxic relationship that’s draining your life energy?

Below are my top 15 warning signs that your relationship is starting to turn toxic.

They are warning signs that I’ve seen in relationships and ignored or hoped would get better.

But the truth is the longer you stay in a toxic relationship, the less respect your partner will have for you, and the worse they will treat you.

It’s a vicious cycle of contempt.

1. The Eternal Giver

You’re the one always giving in the relationship.

Your time, resources, emotions, finances, compromise and you never get anything in return.

How do you know this? A relationship that is give and take should not leave you feeling mentally and emotionally drained.

You should not feel emotionally empty.

This person is sucking the life energy out of you without giving anything back in return.

2. Constant Jealousy

A few acts of jealousy here and there can be cute and even funny under the right circumstances.

However, when your partner throws a fit about everything and everyone in your life all the time and keeps ranting about being afraid of losing you???

This is not love. This is possession.

You aren’t property and you aren’t an iPhone. You’re a human being. Your partner should trust you unconditionally.

3. Your Partner is the CIA

Did you ever watch 24? Remember how Jack Bauer was always suspicious and paranoid about most things?

How he always questioned everything? That’s the CIA partner in a nutshell.

Keeps track of everything you’re doing, wants updates like you’re on a covert mission and expects a report on his or her table at the end of every day.

The CIA partner turns interrogation into fine art. They ask you questions designed to trap you and prove a point.

The CIA ain’t got shit on this type of partner.

4. You’re Dating The Grand Patron Saint of Drama

This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to a relationship.

I do not do drama. I do not like drama and I do not want to be in a relationship that feels like drama.

This is not TV. This is your life. It should be full of joy, not drama.

5. You Feel Like You Have to Change Something About Yourself

The minute you start thinking you need to change something about yourself to fit well into a relationship is the minute you need to take a pause.

What do I mean by change yourself?

You’re a blond but change to a brunette because your partner likes it not because you want to be a brunette.

You start wearing heels because your partner thinks it’s cute even though you despise heels.

You want to study Economics but you switch to something else because your partner thinks that’ll make you more money but you don’t want to switch.

Catch my drift?

Change because you want to. Not because it will help you fit into the picture of the relationship your partner wants.

self esteem in relationships

6. You Go Along to Get Along

You’re so emotionally exhausted from experiencing all the other signs above that you just agree with everything your partner says so you can have peace.

Let’s go watch this movie? Ok sure

Let’s buy sushi for dinner tonight? Ok sure

Let’s repaint the garage brown? Of sure

Hint – you don’t want to do any of these things. You’re just agreeing because it makes things easier.

When you go along to get along, you fail to recognize and acknowledge the power and importance of the word, “No.”

Compromise on both sides – good. Quintessential yes man – bad.

7. You’re Afraid to Argue

This is another sign of the “go along to get along” syndrome.

You don’t feel safe and secure enough in your relationship to disagree with your partner.

A healthy dose of arguments in a relationship is good and will help you learn and grow.

However, sidestepping anything that looks like it would bring on an argument is just a keg of powder waiting to ignite.

You should not be afraid to have your voice heard in a relationship.

You should be able to speak your mind and voice your concerns without fear.

8. Lack of Cohesive Communication

What do I mean by cohesive communication? Nothing ever gets resolved.

Any time you engage in communication, it ends in a brutal argument.

Everybody retreats to their corners for a few days then regroup to continue the relationship as if nothing ever happened.

This is another keg of ammunition waiting to explode.

This type of communication can only go on so long in a relationship before there is a massive bust-up.

Little packs of communication dynamite waiting to explode.

explosive communication in toxic relationships

9. Every Conversation Turns into a Conversation About Your Partner

You have no emotional support.

No matter what you are talking about, your partner will find a way to turn it into a discussion about himself or herself.

“Honey, I screwed up a presentation at work today. I might get fired.”

“I’m so sorry. It’s like that time I screwed up with my emails and…..”

And, just like that you almost getting fired is buried under your partner’s discussion. This is also known as narcissism.

10. Your Partner is a Liar

Your partner cannot tell you anything straight without eschewing facts or burying some of the facts.

If your partner says, “Good morning,” and you feel like you have to draw the blinds to check it’s really morning, you are in a toxic relationship.

The partner who lies is a partner you can’t trust.

If you can’t trust your partner, it’s only a matter of time before you become insane. Why would you choose to let a liar drive you crazy?

11. You Think You Can Change Your Partner

Listen carefully, you cannot change anyone.

You cannot make anyone be a better version of who they are if they don’t want to be.

Hoping you can change your partner from being a liar, cheater, lazy bum, etc into something else will never happen.

They might pretend to be that way for some time to get something from you but the real person will always show up.

What you see is what you get.

If you don’t like what you see, then you need to leave it be and go find something else to look at.

12. Your Partner Takes Digs At Your Looks

This should be familiar to many people.

“You look fat in that dress.”

“What makes you think you can pull off that look.”

“Wow, you look like a slut.”

This kind of partner never has a good compliment about anything you put or your general look.

13. Your Partner Ignores Your Love Language

Everybody has a unique love language.

This is the simplest and most basic way your partner can show they care about you.

Your love language is something that is realized in the early stages of courtship.

If they ignore this most basic of things about you, that says a lot about the kind of relationship you’re in.

14. You’re Dating the Invisible Partner

An invisible partner is a partner you never ever see. Sets a date and doesn’t show up.

Promises to come around and help you with something and never shows up. Shows up and spends the entire time on the phone or laptop.

You know you’re dating yourself, right? I think you might have a better time dating yourself.

15. Domestic Violence

This should be a 100% deal breaker – whether pushing you, grabbing your hand forcefully, and leaving a mark, or downright beating the shit out of you.

They are all abuse and the moment your partner lays a non-loving hand on you, all bets should be off.

People who are violent in a relationship will not change. It will not get better and they will not stop hitting you.

Please leave immediately.

There might be other signs in a relationship about to go toxic but the 15 I’ve mentioned above are usually the biggest warning signs.

Now the biggest question – can you fix a toxic relationship?

You've got to learn to leave the table when love's no longer being served.

Can a Toxic Relationship Get Better?

If you experience one of the warning signs as a one-off thing (minus violence of course), pause and take a seat.

Step back and observe from a place that is free from your emotions and hormones.

People make mistakes and learn from them. In this scenario, you could argue that it can get better or is “fixable.”

However, if it becomes a repetitive occurrence, it is not a one-off mistake. It’s your relationship and it’s toxic.

Are you sad most of the time? What does being in your partner’s presence make you feel like?

What feeling comes over you when you think of your partner?

The answer to these questions is how you know if you can fix a toxic relationship or not.

Real love nurtures you and brings out the best in you. It fills you up, not drain you.

Love should not take away your self-respect and self-esteem. Love should not take away your happiness.

Love should not make you feel like shit. Love should not take away your love for yourself.

There is only so much you can fight to save a relationship before the person that you are disappears.

Don’t disappear.

You are important.

You matter.

The next article will explore the best and safest way to let go of a toxic relationship.

Visit the Harmony Zone for emotional empowerment tools.

Anna started Love & Self-esteem as an avenue to create a safe space for better and stronger relationships via personal and emotional empowerment because love shouldn’t feel like work. Learn more here…

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