What comes to your mind when you first hear the term “toxic relationship?” Doesn’t give a very good feeling, does it? Despite that, it is pervasive these days, and those who cannot deal with the toxicity end up messing their minds for long. Mess? Yes! It is messy because the behavior pattern in such relationships is sometimes even harmful and detrimental. In the longer run, those bearing the brunt of a toxic relationship might struggle with mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Let’s not even get started on trust issues.
Even though common, a person who feels victimized in a toxic relationship should not encourage the behavior. We don’t end relationships every day; we rather try to fix them by investing efforts. But sometimes, it’s possible we miss seeing the signs of a toxic partner and may find it cute or attentive in the beginning. Little do we know that it is shielding an aggressive behavior that will only aggravate with time.
A toxic relationship is going to do you no good, and neither is it doing good to your partner since they don’t even realize they’re displaying a harmful trait. Not that you immediately stop responding to them or investing efforts in your relationship, but there are means to deal with a toxic partner.
Before we get into that, take a look at some common signs of a toxic relationship or a toxic partner. If you feel like your partner exhibits even one of these traits or you feel like any one of these points relates to you, do not ignore them. Jump to the section where we talk about dealing with it.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
1. Controlling Behavior
Tell me, do you ever get to decide what to do in your life anymore? Where do you go? When do you go out on dates? Hell, even what you eat? I’m starting out with controlling behavior because I personally find it very scary. Several people who made their way out of controlling behavior have spoken about how they lived in the fear of doing otherwise. What does a controlling partner do?
- They will tell you what to do ALL THE TIME!
- Keep correcting you even when you don’t need correction
- Not let you be you
- Interfering with your finances
- Checking on what you’ve been up to
- Insult your wishes
The list goes on! If you want to read the signs of a controlling partner in detail, click here.
2. Being Disrespectful
Disrespect is a big word that includes a lot of behavioral patterns. What does it include for you? A partner making plans and not keeping with it? Inappropriate behavior when with other people? Not being an active listener in your life? Well, you’re right! All of these do fall under being disrespectful, and hopefully, you already know that this is NOT okay.
I cannot define what disrespect means to you. But if something happens and you felt offended by something your partner did or said, then it’s crossing your line of respect, and you need not have to accept it as a part of this relationship. A relationship means two happy people, and a toxic relationship means two happy people minus one!
3. You’re feeling exhausted all the time
A toxic relationship isn’t easy. Dealing with the behaviors, tackling their patterns, standing up for yourself, handling the lies, etc., etc., etc., is all just too much to handle! Despite being in a relationship where you can share life’s load, spread happiness, and take the burden of stress as a couple, you’re doing it alone, all the time. There’s hardly any time left for yourself, thus making you feel exhausted all the time.
4. Lying, lying, and lying!
Lying in a toxic relationship works both ways. The toxic partner will lie about all the things they’ve been up to and all the places they’ve been. On the other hand, considering the partner is toxic, there could be a lack of trust or security in the relationship. Therefore, you might have to lie too- about your feelings, your whereabouts, and everything else, for that matter.
5. Hostile responses
A toxic partner will mostly be hostile with their responses. The situation in hostile relationships and homes is pretty stressful. What does hostile behavior include?
- Constant blaming
- Refuses to listen
- Silent Treatment
- Not letting you finish sentences
- Banging the doors, tables, clutching fists, etc.
- In worst cases, even violence like pushing, slapping or hitting
6. Encroaching your Privacy with Insecurity
If you’re in a toxic relationship, you’ll never have what we call “privacy” or “space.” The insecurity acts up frequently. Behaviors like checking your phone, tracking you, keeping track of how much you earn and spend, who you talk to, accompanying you almost everywhere while making it sound romantic. Well, red flag!
7. The competitive statements
Does it happen that whenever you say something your partner responds with, “Me too!” Yeah? A toxic partner will always respond to you as if you were competing against each other. When you express your feelings, they’d always respond with theirs. But they would never want to listen to yours to respond or help you overcome it. It’s like no matter what you say you’re feeling, they’re only going to tell you they’re feeling worse. That’s a typical sign of a toxic relationship.
8. Keeping score
We all make mistakes. We apologize, and then we move on. But no one wants to keep a scorecard of all the mistakes one makes. Imagine being in a deep conversation and someone keeps pointing out what you did one month ago on Xyz date at some godforsaken time! What’s in the past is in the past, and as long as you haven’t apologized for your mistake, there’s no reason to keep bringing it up repeatedly. A mature person will not do that to you. But a person who’s keeping you in a toxic relationship will!
9. Feeling Lonely all the time
A toxic relationship is not just exhausting, but it also makes one feel very lonely. Because there is absolutely nothing that makes the toxic partner happy. Your feelings, emotions, wants, choices, neither of these is important to them. What matters is how they want things, and you are stuck with agreeing. That’s not being in a relationship, that’s like obliging someone you think you are dating.
10. Saying NO calls for an argument
Do you never hear the end of it when you say no to your partner? Yet again, that’s the sign of a toxic relationship. There’s no space to express or communicate anything you’re feeling because your partner’s response to you refusing something is too loud to handle or hostile to understand. What do you do then? You refrain from saying the dangerous “NO” word lest you call for an argument. Needless to say, it isn’t healthy for you. If anything, it’s only encouraging the toxic partner that they’re right about everything.
11. You’re only giving; not receiving
Close your eyes for a while and think about which end are you on in your relationship: Giving or receiving? If you feel like there’s a balance, then it’s all good. That’s how it should be. But when in a toxic relationship, you’ll feel like you’re always on the giving end. Be it giving in to your partner’s needs, investing the efforts, or taking responsibility for everything that goes on in the relationship. Maybe, it’s time you either speak up or let it go and find someone where you can be on the receiving end too.
12. Issues remain unresolved
If there is a way your partner does listen to you without interrupting your expression of emotions, there’s a possibility that a toxic partner would always leave the issues unresolved. The reason is obvious, everything you say leads to unwanted arguments, and some other behaviors we discussed before. In the end, a toxic partner will either blame, complain, walk out, or turn hostile, leaving the issue as it always was!
These are some of the most common signs of a toxic relationship and a toxic partner. Do you feel or relate to any of these signs? If yes, or even mildly yes, then it’s time you do something to reverse the situation. Let’s talk about dealing with toxic relationships.
How to deal with a toxic relationship?
1. Recognize it is a Toxic Relationship first- Think about all the signs listed above and recognize if you are in a toxic relationship, to begin with. Acceptance is the start.
2. Talk about it- If you cannot speak to your partner about it, speak to someone you can trust to get the load off you for starters.
3. Keep an open mind- There is a possibility that your partner might not change. You might have to keep an open mind to walk away from the relationship if needed.
4. See a therapist- A therapist can understand your actual situation and guide you in dealing with the situation further.
5. Try finding a way to express yourself to your partner- There must be some way you can get your partner to listen. If this conversation also doesn’t go in the manner you expect it to, it’s time you break it off.
The idea of this article is not to encourage you to break up with your partner if you see these signs. But sometimes, some toxic relationships are not fixable. The sooner you realize it, the better. You don’t have to put up with anything that you think you don’t deserve. Love is not enough to keep a relationship going. And there is a high possibility that your partner loves you, but that shouldn’t take away from all the things making you uncomfortable when together.
Speak up for the things you need, and walk away when you think it is time.
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