Love is a marvelous sensation. The beginning of a relationship is always exciting, powerful and energizing. We feel as if we can take on the world and we find it impossible to find any flaws in our partner because… they’re perfect!
It is in our nature to love the idea of Love. But in reality, what we love is the sensation that love produces within us. The euphoria that lifts us to the maximum capacity of happiness and that we never want to stray from. Unfortunately, the same heart that takes us through the idyllic journey of joy that is Love can also make us fall into a toxic situation that will end with the destruction of the love that we thought we felt at the beginning of the relationship.
We often realize, after having some kids and being deep into an unspoken contract with your partner, that something is missing from our relationship. That something is YOU.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship is when one person (or both) in a relationship exhibit toxic behaviors and cause the relationship to suffer. It is common to see one person in a relationship constantly demanding their partner meet their personal expectations of them.
In this type of relationship, there is a gradual destruction that occurs of peace, solidarity, trust and eventually, love. It feels like a prison where you want to escape but you don’t know how and you’re too scared to try. It becomes an addiction and it is difficult to stop the vicious cycle. Something inside of you is screaming at you, telling you this is wrong and that you need to fix it or run away.
A toxic relationship is an opposite of what a healthy relationship is. This type of relationship is abundant in bad moments, with the negative outweighing the positive. There is always conflict and you feel drained, exhausted and deceived, without feeling like you have the energy to continue living like this. The joy of seeing that your partner has dissipated and, in their place, remains a sensation of fear because you know that it won’t be long before “something else” happens. You’ll always be worried about the next negative comment, the next criticism. And instead of feeling supported, you sometimes feel like you’re sleeping with the enemy.
16 SIGNS OF A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP:
1. They Always Find Something to Criticize
A partner who is always making unsolicited “suggestions” when in reality, they’re just masking their criticisms. If someone doesn’t accept you how you are, they judge you and they criticize you with their comments, they are without a doubt a toxic person who is not good for you.
Comments like “Why are you wearing so much make up?” “Are you sure that you want to go out dressed like that?” “You’re really going to eat that?” or “Susan looks great! You haven’t gone to the gym in a while, huh?” Are destined to destroy your self-esteem and make you feel bad.
2. Your Partner Shuts Down When You Want to Talk
Having healthy discussions is good for your relationship and your growth as a couple. But if when you want to discuss something important, your partner closes themselves off, stops answering, answers passively or even just walks away and leaves you talking to yourself, what is actually happening is a psychological phenomenon called “stonewalling.”
Your partner stops the communication and refuses to discuss things that are uncomfortable to them. This invalidates your needs and avoids solving the issues that are important for you.
3. You Feel Better When You’re Alone
The normal thing in a healthy relationship is wanting to be with your partner, do stuff together, etc. Maybe not all of the time, but frequently. In a toxic relationship, the opposite occurs. When you’re not with them, you feel that you miss them. But the moment you’re together again, you feel insecure and not as happy as you thought you thought you would be.
4. You Feel Emotionally Drained
If instead of feeling acknowledged, happy, productive and satisfied, you feel drained by the constant fights, control, jealousy, etc., it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship and take the decision that will help you live in the healthiest way possible. Toxic relationships are capable of sucking the vital energy out of your body. They make you feel tired all the time and without the desire to do anything. It is important to observe our body’s reactions and listen to them attentively.
5. Soap Opera Drama
In a toxic relationship, your partner behaves like they’re a melodramatic character in a soap opera. They feel everything to the extreme, things hurt extremely bad, they’re never satisfied with anything no matter what and they’re always suffering.
Just like in the soap operas, there is no way to make someone like this happy. They simply don’t know how to be happy nor do they want to be. They are incapable of being satisfied, but they never accept the responsibility and always shift the blame onto you.
6. They Compete with You.
In a relationship, partners should only compete with each other to better themselves and to push the other person to do the same. The goal should be to grow together and live a happier life as a pair. In a healthy relationship, your partner will always be genuinely happy about your accomplishments and successes.
In a toxic relationship, you’ll frequently feel guilty about your accomplishments and you’ll try to hide them so that your partner doesn’t feel jealous or insecure.
7. You Feel like it is Your Responsibility to do the Large Part of the Work in the Relationship.
It is impossible to build a healthy relationship if you are the only person making an effort in the relationship. This puts you in a situation where you feel exhausted and alone. A relationship is a partnership where both people involved have to make the same amount of effort to help it succeed.
Stop apologizing for your actions or trying to “understand” your partner. Don’t keep trying to rationalize why they are rude to your friends and family, why they don’t empathize with you or make an effort for the relationship to work in the same way you do.
If you don’t feel capable of ending the relationship, at least stop making the effort alone. Stop believing that “they will change if I just keep working hard to make the relationship succeed.” Stop now! YOU ARE ENOUGH. You always have been!
8. They Make You Feel Unhappy.
A healthy romantic relationship has high points and low points, like any other relationship, but the high points are much more frequent than the low points. You should feel emotional and joyful in a romantic relationship.
But in a toxic relationship, you feel constantly depressed, sad and without the desire to do anything. You go to bed feeling empty and you wake up feeling the same. You see other couples with the air of romance around them and you can’t help but feel a certain bitterness towards these happy couple and think that their happiness won’t last long.
9. They Lower Your Standards and Little by Little, You Start to Accept What was Previously Not Acceptable.
At first, they used to treat you like royalty (or at least made you believe they did). But little by little, as time went by, they started to treat you in a manner that was much different than before and without you noticing, you started to accept it.
Today, you find yourself with what you never would have accepted before. It turned into daily abuse. This is also a toxic relationship.
10. You’re Always Waiting to “Get Caught” Doing Something Wrong.
A lot of the conversations you have with your partner are just them setting “traps” to see if they can catch you doing something wrong. In these cases, “anything you say can and be used against you.” The person “hunting” you will be looking for clues, evidence, accidental confessions, whatever it takes to catch you red-handed.
11. You Stop Talking About Your Feelings Because It Simply Doesn’t Matter.
In all relationships, there exists important needs that need to be satisfied. Some of them are as simple as feeling appreciated, loved, validated, connected with your partner, etc. But when these needs are things your partner uses to mock you or they ignore them altogether, you feel an emptiness that causes you to express your needs.
But if when you express yourself you end up fighting, with empty promises, accusations and insecurities or jealousy, you’ll end up burying your needs and/or building resentment towards your partner. In any case, toxicity will always end up poisoning your relationship.
12. Verbal Abuse, Physical Abuse or Both.
I have nothing else to say about this. Any type of abuse is a huge NO! You CANNOT allow it nor should you accept any type of abuse, no matter how small and insiginificant you think it may appear.
13. Passive and Active Aggression.
A typical example that is easy to understand about what this type of behavior shows itself as is when a mother receives a visit and they complain about their kids inf front of them to whoever will listen. That is a passive form of aggression that is seemingly like they “don’t love them.”
This happens frequently in toxic relationships. You receive indirect and cowardly attacks that take advantage of your inability to confront them directly in situations like the example mentioned before, when other people are present.
This will happen often in a subtle way, masked as something else. They’re a method of manipulation, like when they say “Don’t worry, I’ll try to find something to eat for dinner alone, since you can go out with your friends…”
This behavior is designed to manipulate you and hurt you while at the same time, doesn’t allow you to address it because it isn’t obvious. You can feel the hit, but since it is indirect, you become bothered but don’t have the opportunity to defend yourself against their attack.
14. Whatever You’re Going Through, I Have It Worse.”
In any healthy relationship, both partners mutually support one another in moments of need. In a toxic relationship, even when you need support in a given moment, you won’t receive it because the attention is always on your partner.
Let’s say you don’t feel well. You are anxious, stressed, unsure of yourself at work, and you also feel like you’re getting a cold. At that moment, you get a text from your partner that says “Babe, I know you’re not feeling well and that work has been giving you problems, but now I’m super stressed out because I have to go to the party by myself…” followed by the sad face emoji, a kissy face emoji, and a couple of heart emojis.
15. Zero Privacy.
Unless you’ve done something horrible that you shouldn’t have, like “forget” that you’re not single when you go out with your friends, you have the absolute right to expect trust from your partner. Everybody deserves privacy in a healthy relationship.
But if your partner becomes a private investigator, constantly going through your phone, checking to see who you called or who calls you, your texts and emails, you’re definitely in a toxic relationship where your partner is taking a toxic form of control over you. You’re an adult and you do not need to be supervised. This is humiliating and nobody deserves to be treated that way.
16. There is No Effort on Their Part.
To live in a relationship, it requires effort from both parties. The effort needs to be equal. It is healthy to things independent of one another, but when there is no effort to love us properly, spend time with us or share in the things that are important to us, the relationship stops “giving” to us and starts “taking” from us.
When we mention this to them, they’ll often respond with “Well, I’m here, aren’t I?” Sometimes, it’s better they aren’t there…
There’s a Solution!
In situations like these, we feel lost and hopeless, and the help of a Coach specialized in these situations is of enormous value.
If you feel that you are in a toxic relationship and do not know how to get out of it, talk to me.