If you don't end a toxic relationship quickly, it could destroy you.
We all experience toxic relationships at some point in our life. In fact, I think that when it comes to unhealthy relationships, "once" is equivalent to "lucky."
But how to tell if you are in a toxic relationship?
Whether we like it or not, after a relationship has ended, we frequently accept that it was poisonous.
We firmly think that even on its last day, anything could happen and that we still have a future together.
As a result of my repeated involvement in toxic relationships, I have developed a keen eye for identifying them in others.
But after you've been in one, or a few, it's always simpler to characterize a disastrous relationship.
My previous relationship was the most exhausting and toxic relationship I’ve ever been into. Nothing could compare to it and any word I say would be too weak to describe it.
However, what I could do is tell you, from my experience, the signs of a toxic relationship I ignored for too long and to hope that you won’t do the same mistake.
What Is A Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship is any relationship that makes you feel miserable, unhappy, trapped into a whirl of negative emotions and makes you hate your life.
And at the same time – you don’t want to end it. You still believe that you’ve got a bright future together… only if you could finally understand each other.
Yep… we’ll get to that point later.
A toxic relationship isn’t just a bad relationship, though.
You see, a bad relationship is the one where even though you don’t match and you realise you won’t make it work, you still go out of it with your dignity and feeling ready to look for someone who fits you better.
At the same time, a toxic relationship sucks the life out of you. It gets you to a point where you hate yourself, your life and most of all – makes you think that you don’t deserve love. Even worse – you believe you’ll never find love.
A toxic partner can control you, manipulate you, disrespect you, lift you and bring you down… and you still love him. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself every night.
Am I In A Toxic Relationship?
If you feel as bad as I described above, you probably are in a bad relationship.
However, there are warning signs of a toxic relationship you must know. If you tick the boxes… you are in a very toxic situation.
These are 20 signs I’ve put together for you below. Please, pay close attention to them and honestly answer if you recognise them as part of your life.
1. Mixed Emotions
When you are in a toxic relationship, your emotions aren’t straight.
You have ups and downs and never stay too long feeling good or feeling bad. This almost brings you to the point where you question your insanity. It’s a constant love-hate game, and you often feel exhausted by the drama.
Every relationship has its ups and downs, but overall, a healthy relationship sticks to the good vibes and makes you feel safe and loved.
If that’s not something you could easily tell you have – you probably are in a toxic relationship.
2. You Lie About Your Relationship
You catch yourself lying about how happy you are. Probably, you even lie to yourself, thinking that everything’s normal and you need to man up/woman up and be more positive.
However, deep down inside you, there’s a tiny voice telling you things aren’t as good as you try to make them up. Do you listen to that voice?
3. You Are Disrespected
There are certain lines nobody should cross in the communication with the other. Respect in the relationship is one of the things you must not compromise with.
At the same time, a toxic relationship always comes together with one form of disrespect or another. More often, the disrespect is something you allow to happen, and you are most likely a victim of a behaviour you tolerate for too long.
I’ve got a very detailed post about the top 10 signs of disrespect in a relationship and if you tick any of the boxes there – you’re obligated to make it stop.
4. You Fight Over Everything
Your life has become a series of battles. You argue over everything, your communication is ineffective and never seem to agree on the same things.
You might think that the passion and chemistry between the two of you will level things up with the time, but that won’t happen.
Effective communication is the main key to a healthy and happy relationship and if it’s missing – your relationship won’t last.
5. You Are Isolated
Somehow, you ended up isolated. You don’t call your friends anymore, your family “doesn’t understand” you, the people around you don’t treat your partner well and so on.
The reasons for your isolation could be many. The fact is – you are away from everyone who used to be your support.
Every toxic relationship tends to share this sign.
Often, the people who know us well would try to make us see the truth – that we aren’t in a good place in life. But our mind protects us from it. Wrapped around the idea of “making things work” we slowly drift away from people who wouldn’t agree with our choices.
Yet, the truth is still there – you are in a toxic relationship.
6. You Are Manipulated By Your Partner
If you are isolated from your usual circle of people and you’re disrespected every now and then… sooner or later you end up manipulated as well.
A toxic partner won’t hesitate to manipulate you, by knowingly or not, using one of these 7 manipulation techniques. He (or she) will play “the victim” role and make you feel guilty you don’t provide him with whatever he needs. He will use aggression, threats or will simply ignore you until you’re ready to do anything, just to make him stop.
7. Too Many Compromises
Often one-sided, if I may add.
Compromises are good, and if you want to build a healthy relationship, you must be ready to compromise. It might stink for a bit, but you made your partner happy and a few kisses later you’re totally fine with your choice.
However, while I’m saying that, I also want to add, that compromises shouldn’t conflict with your values, goals, dreams and overall wellbeing. They must be an exception.
That’s not the case with your partner, though. If you feel like you’ve been compromising for too long with too many things in your life, then that’s an indicator something’s not right.
In a toxic relationship, often the compromises are one-sided, and you feel like you’re going against yourself too much.
Is that your case?
8. Your Health Is Affected
Now, that’s something that not everyone will pay attention to.
However, if you are in a very toxic relationship, that’s literally what it happens – it poisons you and your mind. Sooner or later, your health gets worse. You feel depressed, low energised, lose or gain weight (depends on how your body reacts to stress). Your mental and physical health suffers from the toxicity in your life.
After the end of my last toxic relationship, I had lost so much weight that none of my clothes fitted me. I still keep a specific photo of me from that period, just to keep me aware that I should never again get myself into something like that.
9. You Feel You’ve Done Something Very Wrong
Have you got that weird feeling that you’ve done something horrible? That your choices aren’t leading you to the right place in life?
I had it.
I still remember how I sat down on the sofa in the living room and loudly asked myself: Is this how it’s going to be from now on? Is this how I will spend my life? Is this present also my future?
At this point, I panicked. I realised that if I have to spend the next 40 or 60 years of my life in this relationship, the way it was at that moment, I would be the most miserable and unhappier person I know. Right there and then, I decided that it’s time to break up with my partner.
Therefore, if you feel like something went very wrong with your life… you’re most likely in a toxic relationship.
Trust your guts.
10. You Don’t Feel Loved
Do you feel loved? Do you feel nurtured? Do you feel a priority? Do you peacefully fall asleep every evening knowing that you understand what Love is?
If you are in a toxic relationship you answers will be No to all of the questions above.
So many novels, poems and movies have tried to make us understand what Love is, how it feels. Reality is, you understand what Love is only after you feel loved. Giving and receiving that divine feeling is the most intimate experience you could share with someone.
If you’d like to read how love should feel, head over to this post where I explain it. Also, read the comments below the same post from other people; they will tell you all you need to know.
11. You Want To Run Away
Do you secretly want to snap with your fingers and go back in time? Maybe change a few things up, and neer enter this relationship? Or maybe would like to have a sneak peek in the future, to see if this drama will ever end and you’ll be happy?
Both things tell that you aren’t satisfied with your reality. If you are happy where you are, you wouldn’t want to “run away” and change anything. You would constantly remind yourself that that’s the best choice you’ve ever made.
12. You Apologise All The Time
Is it always your fault? For everything? How is that even possible? Why should it be anyone’s fault?
Years ago, I was going to therapy. I clearly remember one thing the therapist told me, and I tell it myself whenever the situation requires it.
Whatever happened in the past, whatever choices you’ve made, it was the best choice you could’ve done, at that point.
Isn’t it true? At any time, whatever decision we make, we believe it’s the best possible option we’ve got. No one decides with the thought “Oh, I know it’s not a good option for me, I have a better one, but I’ll stick to this one.” No! Even if we make a decision we aren’t happy with, it is still the best out of the options we’ve got at that moment.
We are going back to “apologising”.
Of course, if you need to apologise, you will do it.
But when you are in a toxic relationship, it feels like that’s all you do. You do your best, and you end up being wrong — all the time.
Nope! That’s not how a healthy and loving relationship looks like.
13. You’ve Lost Your Confidence And Yourself
You aren’t confident anymore. You’ve lost your strength, your passion for life and you feel less.
You’ve lost yourself, and that’s the only person you should never let go of.
A healthy and loving relationship will make your dreams come true. It will lift you up, make you stronger, more confident. A loving partner believes in you more than you believe in yourself (trust me, I know).
But a toxic relationship will make you doubt your strengths. Things you wanted to achieve now seem impossible. Your partner doesn’t encourage you and hints that you aren’t as good as you think you are.
Which one is yours?
14. You Must Control Every Word
Every time you need to talk about something, you practise it in your head. And that’s not something you used to do before you met him.
A toxic partner gets offended, irritated, annoyed or pissed by almost anything you say. Your communication is so bad that you aren’t free to speak your truth. It’s not about being heard. It’s about being misunderstood, and it’s like he sees in you a really bad person.
In fact, a toxic partner makes you feel like you are a bad person.
But you aren’t. You’re just in a toxic relationship.
15. Words And Actions Mismatch
That’s one thing you easily see at the very beginning of the relationship.
When someone talks one thing and does the complete opposite, that’s a huge red flag for the relationship. It’s not only that you cannot rely on such a partner. You actually don’t know when he lies and when he speaks the truth.
A mismatch between words and action is a sign of a toxic and unhealthy relationship. Do you see it?
16. You Don’t Trust Each Other
It’s not only that you don’t trust him. Your partner doesn’t trust you either.
Mutual trust and understanding, effective communication and respect, love and care – these are the pillars of a happy, long-lasting relationship.
If you don’t trust your loved one, you aren’t really in a relationship. Why not just make it official?
17. You Aren’t A Priority
If you are in a serious relationship, your partner is your priority. A serious relationship means that you both think about the other when making plans, you communicate your decisions, and so on.
A toxic relationship doesn’t follow this rule. You don’t feel a priority when you are in a toxic relationship. You are told that you are a priority, but it doesn’t feel this way.
18. You Cannot Rely On Your Partner
It’s not like you should depend on him or that he is responsible for everything.
However, in a healthy relationship, you know you could rely on your partner. You know he will be there if you need him.
Not in a toxic relationship. In it, you are blamed that you can’t do things on your own. You are told to sort yourself out and be a grownup.
Which one is it?
19. You Accept Things You’ve Never Thought You Would
Do you catch yourself that you tolerate attitude and actions you never thought you would? Do you feel like you need to lower your standards to make them fit your relationship? That’s not right.
We usually make our standards for a relationship when we are single. That’s the best time to do it as we are completely focused on ourselves and our happiness. And that’s the healthiest thing to do.
However, if you know, you must change your standards to fit in your current relationship – and by “change” I mean – lower, than you are most likely in a toxic relationship.
20. Your Friends And Family Are Suspicious
Your friends and family are the people who know you best. They know if you are happy or not. They know if a certain situation or a relationship suits you.
If your people keep asking you if everything’s alright; if they look worried and hint at you that you must split up with your partner, that’s because they see something you don’t.
Usually, that’s something we hate to see when we are in a toxic relationship.
In a healthy relationship, you really don’t care what people think. You are happy, that’s visible and soon everyone’s excited about your new partner in life.
However, in a toxic relationship, we simply know something’s not right and every hint in that direction gets us mental. We soon stop going out with people who disapprove our choice in life. We distance ourselves.
Is that because it’s too hard to hear the truth? Most definitely!
How To Deal With A Toxic Relationship?
Ok, unfortunately, you just found out that yes, you are in a toxic relationship and things are getting serious.
So, what should you do now? How to proceed with your life?
Should you tell your partner what you’ve just learnt? Should you send him this post and make him see you need to change to be happy? Or maybe you should break up with him and try to get your life together?
Can A Toxic Relationship Be Fixed?
Most likely not.
The reason is that you cannot fix anything that’s not broken.
But Rachel, isn’t a toxic relationship a broken relationship?
A broken relationship is a long-lasting relationship that was once healthy, you were happy in it and things were going well until something very specific happened.
A toxic relationship is toxic from the very beginning. If you’re referring to the first few weeks of excitement, wild passion and emotions over the roof – we call these hormones. And the problems were there when your hormones were wild too, you just ignored them.
A toxic partner would never understand he’s toxic. Most likely, they will blame you for telling them they are bad people. That’s not nice. Maybe, there is someone out there who will manage to help them overcome whatever creates that toxicity in them. But that shouldn’t be you. Not if the price you have to pay is called “happiness and inner peace”.
So, How To Deal With A Toxic Relationship?
I cannot tell you to break up, leave or divorce the person by your side. It’s just not my job.
My job is to show you that you aren’t happy and you must do something about it. It’s up to you what that will be.
Yes, I left my toxic relationship… too late. It had already damaged me; it broke many relationships in my life, including the one with myself.
But a toxic relationship helps you grow and learn valuable lessons about love and life. It helps you understand that no matter what, you are the most important person in your life. You are your priority and your happiness depends only on your decisions.
Yes, you are in a toxic relationship. Yes, you fell for someone who doesn’t deserve to be by your side. Yes, it’s painful.
But you can do it. You can cry, love and hate yourself and the world around you. You can think that love doesn’t exist or at least, not for you. You can go all the way to the bottom.
And then you can also get up.
Because honestly, what other choice do we have in life unless to keep getting up every time we fall? What else would we do? Isn’t that the point?
Just a few months after I ended my toxic relationship, I met the most beautiful human being and we plan to get married next year.
And only after I met the True Love I found out that everything else was… darkness.