It is likely that at some point in your life you have heard the phrase toxic relationship. Though the phrase is tossed around often, it can be hard to fully understand what signifies a toxic relationship. According to the dictionary, toxic relates to being extremely harsh or harmful, so applied to a relationship, this can never be positive. At the core, toxic relationships tend to manifest as someone asserting power over another person to cause them to question their worth and value. The tricky part is that toxic relationships can be difficult to navigate because it may be almost impossible to know you are in one. This is due to relationship blinders that leave you oblivious to toxicity. Friends and family may notice, but you may not see what they do from within. Below is a list of toxic relationship signs and what to do if you find you are in one and need out.
- Gaslighting – When a partner tells you how you feel or devalues feelings when you share them openly
- Partner Blames You – Also known as scapegoating, a partner will put their problems on you causing you to feel shame and guilt for something that is not yours to bear
- Isolation – A toxic individual will often try to isolate a partner to gain control, keeping you from family and friends
- Playing Victim – If you share feelings and your partner always seems to be able to turn around those feelings to make them the victim, the relationship may be toxic
- More Stress, Anxiety, and Worry – All relationships have stressful times, but if you are more stressed and anxious when around your partner then there is a problem
- Nightmares – Nightmares that continually involve your significant other is your inner psyche trying to get your attention
- Hiding Things that have Happened – If you have ever shared a story about your significant other, but left out a detail to make them look better, it could be a problem, especially if you did not add it because you are ashamed
- Excuses for Bad Behavior – If you are constantly making excuses for their bad behavior, even just to yourself, the relationship may be toxic
- Controlling – If your partner is telling you what it okay to say, wear, or do then things are toxic
- You Would Never Date Their Friends – If your partner is surrounded by people who lack in morality and common sense, your relationship will suffer and this is obviously the type of people they attract, this is a problem
Fixing a Toxic Relationship
If the list above sounds familiar to your relationship, it is likely you are in something toxic. However, this is a list, not a checklist that a certain number of red flags means things are doomed. The focus is on whether or not you are losing yourself in the relationship and being compromised. If this is the case, you have options. If you cannot make the relationship work when you are being your true self, then it is time to walk away. This is unhealthy.
If you want to work on the issues, therapy can help build and restore the relationship, but only if both people are willing to do the work. At the core of every healthy relationship is trust, communication, and honesty. If these things cannot be attained, it is time to move on to something much healthier.