Love.

We all desire to be special to someone.  We will give a lot of ourselves to make a relationship work and blossom. However, it’s crucial we recognize the signs of a toxic relationship, so our passion doesn’t blind us to the truth. Most people believe that they would quickly leave a toxic relationship. Unfortunately, that is not always true since a toxic person can be very manipulative.  It can become increasingly hard to know when a relationship has gone from one with a few problems to toxic.

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5 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

You Feel Worse About Yourself

First, a toxic relationship is a relationship that is unhealthy for you.  It does not bring out your best. It has all the elements of an abusive relationship.  However, without physical abuse many excuse their partner’s behaviors. But I have found that when I ask someone, ” How do you feel about yourself in this relationship?” the excuses drop away.  If you feel worse about yourself or you find it hard to function at your best in the relationship you are probably in a toxic dating relationship.

Your Partner is Jealous

This jealousy, which is an attempt to control, present in several ways. Your partner may often ask you to account for your time or question where you have been.  They might check your phone or just happen to “drop by” often.

Your boyfriend or girlfriend may try to manipulate you into feeling guilty if you choose to go out with friends or family instead of them. You may begin to let go of some relationships. Or you avoid talking to certain acquaintances at parties, so you all won’t fight about it later. As your relationship continues, you may discover that your friends and social group seem to be shrinking to only a few people your partner finds “acceptable.”

Consistently, making small adjustments so that your partner won’t be jealous is a strong indication of a toxic dating relationship.

You are Verbally Abused

Verbal abuse is involved in every toxic relationship.  Verbal abuse is one of the premier signs of an unhealthy dating relationship.  Name calling, threatening to harm someone or cause them mental distress or telling someone how stupid they are is not normal or healthy.

It is also very dangerous.  The verbal abuse gradually erodes at your self- confidence.  It can be harder to see the abuse as you slowly begin to believe that there is something wrong with you.

In my work with victims of abuse, it was the verbal abuse that was reported as the most hurtful.  They remembered the cutting words long after they had left the relationship. All relationships have tense moments. But it is a clear warning sign that your relationship is toxic if there is a pattern of verbal put-downs.

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Your Feelings are Ignored

As I mentioned, one of the fundamentals of being in a toxic relationship is that you begin to question your thoughts and feelings.  In a toxic relationship, you may try to defend yourself against the verbal abuse or try to tell your partner how you feel.  They, in turn, will just point out where you are wrong.   They will belittle your feelings, say you shouldn’t feel that way or even say that you have no right to feel that way.  In a toxic dating relationship, you may be ridiculed for opening up and sharing how hurt you feel.

After a while, most people caught in a toxic relationship no longer trust their judgment.  After all, why would a person who tells you they love you be lying to you?  If they are always telling you that you are dumb, then there has to be some truth to it, right? And at the same time, they are telling you, you just need to “toughen up,” they expect you to cater to their every feeling.

The Relationship is Not Stable

A toxic dating relationship is full of ups and downs beyond the norm.  Instead of your relationship adding stability and comfort to your life, it is a constant source of anxiety.  A person caught in a toxic dating relationship uses a lot of energy to keep everything perfect, but nothing they do is ever enough.

The relationship will have some good days.  The good days drive the belief that you can somehow keep those good days going, but they never last.  In a toxic relationship, you may experience anxiety knowing your boyfriend/ girlfriend will be upset with you again and threaten to leave you.  It is exhausting!

Our dating relationships are a significant investment of our self.  We all want our investments to pay off.  We don’t want to feel like we have given to something or someone, and it is all for loss. However, when it comes to our dating relationships, it is a healthy idea to hold loosely and with our eyes wide open to the truth. You can protect yourself from an unhealthy relationship by knowing and understanding the signs of a toxic dating relationship.

So what is the truth about your current dating relationship?  Is it healthy and motivates you to become a better person?  Or does your relationship cause you to feel panicked and less of a person than you were before?

You are so worth a healthy relationship.  Reach out for help or encouragement today if you discover that you are in a toxic relationship! Join the discussion here by commenting below or in the online community Wright Wellness Center has set up. I’m part of the community and would love to chat with you.

I’m Miranda, The Reluctant Cowgirl. Educator and Vibrant Life Mentor. A city girl married to a country boy!  At The Reluctant Cowgirl, it is all about encouraging and equipping YOU to do more than SURVIVE the twists and turns of your life. After 15 years of facilitating groups, I have witnessed the challenges that so many faces in life.  But I don’t want you to give up hope and settle for just surviving.  I can’t wait to see you GROW and THRIVE! Join me on this adventure at The Reluctant Cowgirl.