Relationships are a vital part of the human life cycle which many people at some point decide to try. And while the primary reason for venturing into one most times is to be with someone who complements and completes you, the outcome is far more unpredictable.
Sometimes they may turn out to be important sources of happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction while other times they might appear restrictive, draining, frustrating, and in special cases, toxic.
Toxic relationships abound today and can be present in other forms of relationships, even unromantic ones. It could be a family member, friend, or colleague; it could also be a former partner, a neighbor, or a religious acquaintance.
What matters is not the source of toxicity, but how to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship. In this case, however, we’ll be framing this article around toxicity in romantic relationships.
It is important to be able to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship and accept when it’s time to soldier up and take necessary steps towards reclaiming your dignity.
This is because relationships are highly personal, and when they are toxic, they can affect your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Sadly, for many women, romantic relationships can also be thriving sources of negativity, mistrust, emotional manipulation, and mental stress.
Sadly, in most cases, the woman either fails to look out for obvious, warning signs of a toxic relationship, or fails to accept her difficult situation quickly enough.
To present a clearer picture, a toxic substance is something that drains you and causes you damage. Suffice it to mean that a toxic relationship can irreparably damage your self-esteem, reduce your zeal and interest in social situations, and affect your relationships with others.
Many women might mistake toxicity for unavoidable low phases in relationships, expecting the storm to pass and the dust to settle with time.
But the truth is, having the ability to see a situation for what it is and accept that it isn’t going to change anytime soon is uplifting.
It empowers you and gives you the mental strength to objectively analyze your situation and make the relevant decisions that place your interests first. To help you with this, we have identified some toxic relationship habits you must deliberately watch out for. Read on to find out.
1. Keeping Scores In The Relationship
Do you sense the presence of competition in the relationship or a consistent habit of bringing up seemingly resolved problems during current disagreements? This is one of the early signs of a bad relationship.
When you forgive someone for an action, you forget such incidents and leave them in the past.
Healthy relationships require making an intentional decision to remain with a person despite their past mistakes.
If your partner always keeps count of the number of times you’ve offended him and brings them into future settings even after forgiving you, chances are you are in a toxic relationship.
2. He Doesn’t Respect Your Boundaries
One of the clear signs of a toxic relationship is a total disregard for personal boundaries. If your physical, mental, and emotional boundaries are not given the respect they deserve, you might want to reevaluate your relationship.
Yes, he is your partner but you are also an individual with valid boundaries that require respect at all times. If he tries to trivialize your objection, perhaps by making uncool remarks like “take a chill pill” or “try to loosen up,” this might not be the relationship for you.
3. He Physically Abuses You
One of the first signs of a toxic person is the need to resort to physical mistreatment to pass a message. Physical abuse might seem like an obvious red flag when it comes to revealing toxicity, yet it is still important to address.
While abuse of any form must not be tolerated in a relationship, physical abuse is a more bitter pain to swallow and is a huge signifier that the journey has got to end.
Healthy relationships do not involve physical pain of any kind. You must always feel safe in your relationship and not live in fright of the next moment. If you ever feel pressured to overlook physical abuse, you are in a very toxic relationship and must seek active ways to reach out to someone and end the nightmare.
Talk to a trusted friend or family member, and if possible, seek professional help. Just do anything to safeguard your health.
4. He Blames You For His Emotions
No relationship is perfect, that part couldn’t be any truer. Still, a good relationship must provide maximum security, happiness, care, respect, and freedom for the people in it.
You are in no way responsible for how your partner feels at all times, neither is he responsible for how you feel. As such when your partner constantly lashes out his frustrations on you, this is one of the prominent signs of a toxic relationship.
5. He Has No Interest In Meeting Your Friends And Family
In healthy relationships, there is a visible buzz of excitement that pushes the parties involved to go further and strengthen the bond of the relationship by meeting the people their partners care about.
They understand the roles these persons play in our lives and want to be part of the picture without being prompted to.
However, if you notice your partner continues to evade situations that place him in close contact with your loved ones, you might want to consider where the relationship is headed.
Sometimes, your partner might even want to paint a negative image of these loved ones in your mind, either by speaking badly about them or cutting you from them using manipulative tricks. This is how unhealthy a toxic person is.
6. You Never Feel Appreciated
Toxic people are always underappreciative and use mentally upsetting tricks to make you feel like you’re not enough. Sometimes you find yourself subconsciously trying to prove your worth in a bid to receive his acceptance.
You always breathe out in relief whenever you do something and get anything close to approval from him. Sometimes you feel like a total failure when he doesn’t give you his nod of approval and continue to try harder to please him.
Sadly, no matter how hard you try and how special you think your efforts are, they are always not enough to gain his appreciation. All these are strong signs of a toxic relationship, one you must run from.
7. You Are Caught In Frequent Dirty Fights
Fights are common occurrences in relationships, even healthy ones. Some relationship experts believe that once a relationship is bereft of disagreements, chances are your partner has stopped caring.
However, the difference is, while healthy couples use fights as a means to communicate better, resolve disagreements, and reach a place of deeper understanding, toxic couples usually fight to win and gain territory.
They use every available tool to tear the other person down and vent out their anger and frustration.
Dirty fights are an indication of a hostile relationship, and even if they might not progress to the point of physical attacks, they often end up leaving both parties drained and the issue, unresolved.
8. He Is Scared Of You Growing
Life is dynamic and people change. We discover new things about ourselves and experience situations that refine, change, or shape our dreams and goals.
It is important to be with someone who does not only accept the changes but who is also willing to grow with you. In a toxic relationship, a man might attempt to exert a hold on you by stifling your personal growth.
Healthy relationships are characterized by people who gladly support the dreams of their partners even if they don’t share a similar interest.
The two parties work in close harmony to ensure their general growth both as individuals and as a couple. However, a toxic person might feel threatened or insecure about your activities and interests. Take the right decision to leave if this is obvious in your relationship.
9. He Calls You Names Or Says Awful Things To Hurt You
Using terms of endearments to refer to your partner is a great way to deepen the love you have for yourselves.
If your guy does the opposite by using insensitive words or unflattering terms to unconsciously or intentionally hurt you, that is extremely toxic behavior that you must rid yourself of.
People should learn to express negative thoughts in a way that doesn’t hurt their partner or cause them to reconsider their positions in the relationship.
For instance, rather than saying, “I cannot be with someone who doesn’t know how to spend money wisely” using a less pointed statement like, “the rate at which you spend bothers me” might be more appealing. Humans are quite sensitive and emotional, and sometimes the weight of our words could leave bitter effects behind.
10. He Refuses To Take Responsibility
There are several ways to identify less obvious signs of a toxic relationship, and one of these is a lack of acceptance and an inability to take responsibility.
If he chooses to blame you for every wrong turn in the relationship Instead of accepting fault and seeking ways to get back on track, you’re in a toxic relationship. Toxic people will not value your feelings or respect your needs.
They do not own up to their mistakes, and even when they apologize, it comes across as shallow and insincere. One essential quality to look out for in a partner is someone humble, mindful of others, and ready to take responsibility and work towards progress.
Relationships can be repaired if both people show interest in taking the necessary steps. However, if his ego is such that he entirely refuses to change for the benefit of the relationship, then you might have no other choice than to leave.
If any of these sounded exactly like your relationship, it might be time to get practical by exploring your options and making a decision that prioritizes your peace of mind.
Toxic relationships are extremely dangerous and can have long term effects that cannot be totally undone. The sooner you free yourself of the choke, the quicker you can get around to healing and moving on.
The signs of a toxic relationship are not limited to those treated above. In fact, some of these signs are sneaky and difficult to spot, but when you do spot them, another difficulty presents itself in letting go.
It is very hard to leave any relationship, and even incredibly harder leaving a toxic relationship. Ending toxic relationships starts with fortifying your mental strength.
Tell yourself that you are not weak for wanting to let go of the relationship and that you deserve the best life available.
In some cases, the decision to leave is made easier by the presence of issues that cause friction in relationships such as emotional manipulation, physical abuse, lying, and cheating.
Other times you might not be sure if the relationship is actually toxic, or you’re only facing a phase that will go away. There’s a lack of intimacy with your partner, making you feel alone even when he is physically present.
Some factors might cause you to consider staying in a toxic relationship.
Perhaps you are scared about the backlash you would face from outsiders who might hold thoughts that you are in a happy relationship, or you are concerned about the future of your kids and the prospects of finding love again in a loveless world.
However, there is no excusing the fact that any relationship that makes you feel bad is unhealthy for you.
So while you must exercise enough patience and show enough fight to save your relationship if it is worth it, allow yourself to let go if it proves beyond saving.
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