Every friendship and romantic relationship has its bumps in the road – but toxic relationships are another story. No relationship is perfect and there can always be room for improvement, but it’s when toxicity spirals and you start to constantly feel uneasy, unhappy and insecure that you need to pause and ask yourself what the root of the problem is. When you’re in a toxic relationship, it can be hard to see or lookout for red flags. They can be subtle or highly obvious depending on the relationship. Here are 13 signs a relationship may be toxic.
Lack of support
You might feel like they might not have your back. Healthy relationships are built on the mutual desire to see the other person succeed in all areas of life. So if you feel like your time together has stopped being positive and supportive and more competitive, that’s something to pay attention to.
You want to be with someone who supports, encourages and challenges you – but that can sometimes be confused for someone who’s really criticizing you. Constant “constructive” criticism isn’t about helping you but about controlling you. When you push back, they may start to get defensive and say they’re only trying to help, but don’t confuse manipulation and controlling behavior with being “nice” and “helpful!”
It’s normal to feel jealous from time to time – but it’s important to examine the level and frequency of jealousy. If they HAVE to have you by their side, don’t allow you to meet with other people and constantly monitor and question your whereabouts and intentions, these are red flags to pay attention to.
Controlling behavior is a big contributing factor to toxic relationships. This can look like asking where you are all the time, becoming extremely upset when you don’t immediately answer calls or texts, telling you who you can and can’t hang out with, telling you what you can and can’t wear and not respecting your need for alone time.
It can be a red flag if you feel like you constantly have to lie about your plans, whereabouts and who you meet up to avoid arguing or spending time with your partner.
Patterns of disrespect
This can look like a mix of intentionally stripping away your self-esteem, stonewalling, lying, disloyalty, being chronically late, ignoring your needs, pressuring the other and casually “forgetting” your schedule and important events.
Walking on eggshells
Walking on eggshells can feel like constantly worrying about bringing up certain topics in fear that you’ll provoke tension and conflict, making you keep issues to yourself in order to avoid it.
Toxic relationships may cost you your friends and family, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. It’s a sign that your relationship is toxic if you’ve stopped spending time with your inner circle to avoid arguments with your friend or partner, or if you’re avoiding your friends and family because you don’t want to explain what’s happening in your relationship.
Every relationship has its normal amount of stress – but it’s a red flag if you’re constantly on edge. Excessive amounts of ongoing stress can take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health.
Lack of self-care
Your own behaviors can be signs of toxic relationships too. If you’re withdrawing from your favorite hobbies, sacrificing your free time or neglecting self-care in favor of their hobbies and schedule, it’s a sign the relationship is turning toxic. Self-care is vital in keeping toxicity out of relationships – and without it, you’re not bringing your best self. If you’re withdrawing from your favorite hobbies, sacrificing your free time or neglecting self-care in favor of their hobbies and schedule, it’s a sign the relationship is turning toxic.
You’re always to blame
A toxic friend or partner might blame you for the fact that they hurt your feelings – and this type of emotional abuse is called gaslighting. Gaslighting can cause you to constantly doubt yourself and ultimately lose your own sense of perception. An example is when you voice your feelings and they turn things around on you to make it seem like your fault.
If you feel like the relationship is draining all of your energy, that’s a major sign of a toxic relationship – and it doesn’t just have to be mentally and emotionally draining. This can also manifest physically, like if you’re constantly tired. It’s important to pay attention to these signs and how your body is reacting!
Hoping for change
You might stay in a toxic relationship because you see the other person’s potential or think that if you change, they’ll change too – but your judgment is often clouded when you’re in a toxic relationship. You’ll always be able to find some positive aspects of any relationship, but that doesn’t mean you should stay in it. It’s important to know if you’re misplacing your faith in change that’ll never come.