We have all heard about toxic relationships and seen them portrayed in movies and T.V. shows, but you may not be sure if you are involved in one or not. Are you in a relationship that is positive and healthy? A relationship that is supportive of each other and shows empathy and compassion to the other person.
Not all relationships are perfect, but in a healthy relationship neither one “wins” in a disagreement. The outcome should be mutually beneficial without one refusing to budge until they get their way.
If you feel like you are being coerced or manipulated in your relationship you should definitely keep reading.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Do you ever wonder who will be walking through the door each night, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? It is not uncommon for your new crush to appear to be Prince Charming when you first meet. Always polite, very helpful, agrees with everything. He seems perfect. He very well may be, or he could be hiding who he really his until after he has won you over.
The term demented chameleon is also used to describe this type of person. They wear a mask to disguise who they really are from the world, then a switch flips and you no longer recognize the person that you married.
This transformation may take months or even years before you see their true colors and they become controlling, demanding, and emotionally abusive towards you. Below are some of the typical signs to look out for:
There is Competition
Do you feel as if you are always trying to prove something to your significant other? Or maybe it feels as though they are trying to control you? Well, according to Psychology Today, a toxic relationship is one where competition and conflict exist. More specifically, this competition and conflict tend to arise from a need to be in control. They need to be smarter than everyone else and expect you to recognize that and treat them as such.
A toxic person will try to isolate you from family and friends. It gives them the ability to completely control you and makes it more difficult for you to leave when they are your only support system. They cannot risk anyone in your inner circle figuring out who they really are or what is going on behind closed doors.
When you are in a healthy relationship, you will maintain outside friendships and spend time with family.
They Try to Change You
At the beginning of your relationship you were absolutely perfect, exactly the woman he was looking for. Now this same person is belittling you, questioning your decisions and criticizing any attempts you make to do something positive in your life or in a more independent direction.
A healthy relationship will always be one of support and encouragement, while an unhealthy one will point out everything you are doing wrong.
Gaslighting is a type of manipulation that is present in most toxic relationships. It is a technique used by the manipulator that undermines a person’s perception of reality. They use this covert type of emotional abuse to exert power over others in order to manipulate family members, friends or even co-workers.
The manipulator will have you questioning your memories and your sanity. People who engage in gaslighting are often habitual and pathological liars and frequently exhibit narcissistic tendencies. They will lie non-stop to your face and never back down. You would not believe how many arguments with my ex turned into “You’re just imagining things”, “that never happened”, or “I never said that.”
They will begin to talk about you to friends in a way that makes it look like “they are concerned about you”, or “worried about your mental health”. Or worse, they start to tell you that other people are coming to them concerned about you and your mental health, which is just more lies and manipulation.
If you try to call them out, they will change the subject or answer questions with a question. After 20 minutes going round and round in circles you don’t even remember what the original conversation was about.
Jealousy and Blame
One of the major aspects of a toxic relationship is there will be lots of jealously and blame. One partner will constantly be jealous of what the other is doing or the time you get to spend with other people, then they will turn around blame you for their negative feelings. This will ultimately make both partners unhappy.
They need to be the center of attention. You may be accused of flirting or cheating which leads to you professing your love for them to prove that nothing is happening. If they do not recognize their behavior or accept responsibility for ever being wrong, you are in a toxic relationship.
When you are with someone in a healthy relationship, you should trust each other enough that jealousy would not be a problem and you take responsibility for your own feelings and actions.
Uses you to get what they want
The thing about toxic relationships is, they are usually one-sided. One person in the relationship gets everything they want, while the other feels ignored or unimportant. The problem is that the person’s ego is so big that they don’t care how their actions affect you.
In a healthy relationship there is give and take. You are mutually supportive of each other’s goals and dreams. No one person is more important than the other.
Is your Relationship Toxic?
Toxic relationships are relationships that make you feel alone, controlled, jealous, and insignificant. You often feel like you have to walk around on egg shells and monitor everything you say and do to not set them off.
If you feel any of these above feelings or are always arguing with your significant other, then it is likely that you are involved in a toxic relationship. Since toxic relationships rarely get better on their own, and the manipulator does not think they have a problem, it’s probably time to leave the relationship.
How Do Toxic Relationships Affect Us?
Toxic relationships are relationships where you feel worse being with a person than you would feel being without them. A relationship that leaves you feeling constantly drained, anxious, or just flat-out unhappy.
Destroys your Self-Esteem
Constantly being locked in a mental battle with your partner will leave you feeling exhausted and eventually erode your self-esteem. This exhaustion, combined with feeling of low self-confidence that you feel from your partner constantly putting you down, will increase your stress levels and could lead to depression.
Lack of Energy
Not only are toxic relationships exhausting, but the insecurity and mental and emotional strain take a toll on your mind and body. Things that used to be important to you now don’t seem to be worth the effort. You start to withdraw from participating in activities or seeing people in your life.
If allowed to go on for too long, these feelings and lack of energy can have a negative impact on your life and career.
They Affect Your Future Relationships
You may be hesitant to start a new relationship. You may find yourself judging and comparing potential partners with intense scrutiny, and it may be really difficult to trust. When a healthy relationship presents itself, you may not even realize it.
This apprehension can lead to you to build up walls and end up pushing people away when you may need them most. Once you are out of the toxic relationship, use this time to rediscover yourself, and build your confidence.
Why You Should Let Go of Toxic Relationships
When you love someone, letting them go can be difficult, even once you recognize the relationship may be toxic. No matter how you look at it, being in a toxic relationship is terrible for you. This is why you should get out.
You Won’t Be Able to Grow
If you can’t be yourself, who will you ultimately become in this relationship? Do you have big dreams of a new career for yourself or maybe moving to a new city? The problem with toxic relationships is, they hinder personal growth.
As long as you continue to hang on to them, you won’t achieve the dreams you have. So if you are tired of being stuck in the same rut, it’s going to take letting go of your toxic relationship for you to move on.
Toxic Relationships Frequently Become Abusive
Maybe you are just beginning to notice the early signs that your relationship is toxic. It can be easy to think that things will get better, but the truth is it is much more likely to get worse. Not only can it become emotionally abusive, but this can escalate to physical abuse as well. This is why you should leave now before the relationship gets to that point.
You’ll Feel Stronger
I’m not going to live, leaving a toxic relationship is never easy. I remember my doctor telling me that I will eventually realize that the relationship ending is the best thing that could have ever happened. My brain could not process that at the time, but three years later it finally made sense, she was right.
Walking away from a toxic relationship will make you a stronger and more confident person, even if it doesn’t feel that way at first. So although it may be difficult now, ask yourself if you want to become a stronger person. Chances are the answer is yes, and this is why you should leave relationships behind.
Toxic Relationships are Damaging
Sometimes, when you are in a toxic relationship, it can be difficult to see the damage it is causing. When you are living it, you will lie to protect yourself from the other person’s wrath and to protect yourself from the truth.
Toxic relationships not only cause emotional damage, but they can also damage your mental wellbeing. You only get one life, and you deserve to live your best life possible without all the drama, lack of respect, lack of effort, and lack of communication.
There’s a reason toxic relationships are called toxic. This is because they truly damage your life—from health to relationships with other people and even your relationship with yourself. You deserve so much better. You deserve a healthy relationship filled with: compassion, security, safety, freedom of thinking and being yourself, sharing, listening, mutual love and caring, healthy debates and disagreements, and respectfulness, even when there are differences in opinions.