A toxic relationship can cause a lot of emotional and psychological harm – to one or both partners.
But here’s the thing: it’s not always easy to recognize the warning signs, especially when you’re deeply invested in the relationship.
People don’t realize just how toxic their relationship is until things get very bad.
And when things get bad, you need to be able to take the necessary steps to protect your mental well-being.
To help you out, I’m gonna share a list of 13 warning signs that your relationship is becoming toxic.
Let’s get right to it:
1) Constant criticism
One of the most common warning signs that your relationship is becoming toxic is when your partner keeps finding fault with everything you say and do.
- You left the light on in the kitchen again.
- You forgot to put the toilet seat down.
- You’re so gullible, you actually believe what they say on the news.
- You’re ridiculous, how can you think such things…
Now, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s normal to have a small dose of criticism in a relationship, it’s human nature after all.
But constant criticism that makes you feel worthless and like you’re no good is not normal, it’s toxic.
2) Lack of trust
If your partner keeps checking up on you to see where you are and who you’re with, if they get jealous easily, or if you’ve caught them snooping on your phone, then you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t trust you.
And guess what – trust is essential for a healthy relationship!
Some people have a hard time trusting because they’ve been hurt in the past. I get it.
But if they don’t deal with the past, they carry it with them into their other relationships, creating a negative atmosphere.
Simply put: Mistrust plants toxic seeds in a relationship and needs to be addressed ASAP.
3) Controlling behavior
Ok, so this usually happens when your partner is jealous and insecure.
They’re scared to lose you, but instead of dealing with their issues and working on your relationship, they try to keep you by force – by controlling your behavior.
For example, they’ll monitor your whereabouts by constantly texting and calling you to see where you are. They’ll want to know what you’re doing and who you’re with.
You may even feel like you can’t make a decision without them and like you’re constantly walking on eggshells to avoid setting them off.
This is actually a pretty big warning sign. Nobody should be telling you how to live your life, let alone controlling you!
Building on their controlling behavior is their attempt to isolate you from other people in your life.
- Does your partner want you to spend all your free time with them?
- When you have plans to go out with friends, does your partner try to guilt trip you into spending time with them instead?
- Do they try to create conflict between you and your family?
These are just a few examples of how your partner may try to isolate you and keep you from having other relationships in your life.
If it sounds like something that your partner is doing, you need to talk to them about it and tell them that it’s unacceptable behavior.
And if you don’t feel like you can talk to them, if things have gone too far, it’s important to reach out to a friend, family member, or a professional to ask for help.
Remember that even though you may feel isolated, there’s always someone you can reach out to!
5) Frequent arguments
Does it seem like lately all you do is fight with your partner?
Would it be fair to say that you spend more time fighting or not speaking to each other after a fight than you do enjoying each other’s company?
If you answered yes, then it’s possible that your relationship is headed in a bad direction.
Everyone argues, but their arguments aren’t supposed to dominate their relationship.
So, what happened to you? Everything seemed to be going great in the beginning and now it seems to be turning into a nightmare.
Does it mean that you’re with the wrong person? Or is there something that you’re doing wrong?
Well, according to the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, the answer lies in the relationship that you have with yourself.
In his eye-opening free video, he explains how most of us grow up with the wrong idea of what love is. Fairytales and Hollywood have us looking for something that doesn’t exist, it’s really no surprise that we end up in toxic relationships.
If you want to get to the bottom of why you’re in a toxic relationship and what you can do about it, I strongly recommend hearing what Rudá has to say.
Here’s the truth: You can’t have a happy and healthy relationship without respect.
A healthy relationship means that both partners feel free to express their feelings and opinions. They know that they will be validated and heard.
But in a toxic relationship, your needs, thoughts, and emotions are constantly being dismissed and ignored.
You may be the target of verbal abuse such as name-calling, belittling, and various insults.
Worst of all, your partner doesn’t treat you as an equal.
To be honest, I’m not sure that this is something you can fix. I mean, how can you make someone respect you? It’s such a basic thing, any decent partner should have respect for you, it’s not something you should have to for.
This fascinating term was taken from the title of the 1940s movie Gaslight. It’s become quite popular in recent years.
So what exactly does it mean?
Basically, if you’re being gaslighted by your partner, it means that they’re messing with your head to make you question your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
For example, imagine that your partner does or says hurtful things. You decide to confront them about their behavior, and they respond by telling you that you’re overreacting, imagining things, or that you didn’t understand that they were joking.
They’ll keep doing this over and over again until you start to doubt yourself.
- Does your partner think they’re superior to you somehow?
- Does it feel like your opinion and your input aren’t valued?
- Do they keep making decisions for you and expect you to just stand by quietly?
If you answered yes, then it’s another surefire sign that your relationship is becoming toxic.
9) Lack of communication
One of the foundations of a healthy relationship is good communication.
Good communication is about being open and honest, but it’s also about being able to clearly state your needs and express your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement.
So if you and your partner fail to communicate effectively – or to communicate at all – your relationship is in trouble.
Without good communication, you end up making guesses about the other person’s thoughts and intentions. You’re also likely to feel resentful and frustrated and get into fights.
The bottom line is that you really need to work on your communication if you’re committed to making this relationship work.
10) Passive-aggressive behavior
This is often the result of poor communication.
If your partner feels angry or resentful and doesn’t know how to talk to you about it, they’ll resort to passive-aggressive behavior.
Here are some examples:
- Snide remarks and backhanded comments
- The silent treatment
- Indirect communication, such as leaving you notes instead of talking to you
- Forgetting to share important information
It’s all about punishing the other person while maintaining a facade of politeness.
11) Emotional manipulation
This is also connected to poor communication, but it’s also about control.
Emotional manipulation is when your partner uses guilt, shame, or other tactics to make you do what they want.
As warning signs go, this is one big red alert!
Now, disinterest doesn’t always have to mean that your relationship is becoming toxic.
It’s possible that your partner is going through something that has nothing to do with you.
It’s also possible that they’re feeling disconnected or that you’ve grown apart. In that case there are plenty of things you can do to get your relationship back on track.
But sometimes, disinterest means that your partner has lost interest in you and the relationship.
They don’t care about how your day went or how work is going. They’re not interested in your hobbies or being part of your world. It’s like they don’t even care about your well-being.
Basically, they’re no longer sure why they’re with you.
You deserve to be with someone who takes an interest and who cares deeply about you.
Another warning sign that your relationship is becoming toxic is if your partner starts blaming you for everything that goes wrong.
This can be quite upsetting when it’s not your fault.
It’s also indicative of the fact that they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions and they probably don’t want to work to fix your relationship either. That’s why it’s easiest to blame you.
Can you fix a toxic relationship?
Yes! It is possible to fix a toxic relationship, but it requires two willing participants and a lot of hard work to make positive changes.
Here are some steps that you can take:
Recognize the problem
You need to start by recognizing that there is a problem – that is to say that your relationship has started to get toxic.
Once you’ve done that, try to see if you can identify any specific areas or issues that are problematic and need work.
Open and honest communication is crucial if you want your relationship to work out.
This means that both you and your partner need to be able to express your concerns and needs without judgment or defensiveness.
When it comes to toxic relationships, it’s important to establish boundaries. Your partner needs to know that there are lines that they shouldn’t cross.
This means that they need to give you your personal space.
They need to accept that you have a life outside the relationship and that you will not be controlled and manipulated.
They also need to know that you expect them to respect and trust you.
Make sure you are very clear about any boundaries you come up with.
Work on personal growth
Irrespective of who is to blame for the fact that your relationship is getting toxic, if you want things to get better and to go forward with a healthy foundation, it’s important that you both take some time to focus on personal growth and to address any negative behaviors or attitudes (and we all have them).
I think Ruda’s masterclass could be a good start in the right direction.
Seek professional help
In my experience, when it comes to serious problems in a relationship, it’s very difficult to remain objective. That’s why it’s always a good idea to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.
They’ll be able to offer insight and give you the advice that you need based on their professional experience while remaining impartial.
Finally, you need to know that you can’t fix a toxic relationship overnight.
It’s going to take a lot of effort and quite a bit of time, that’s why it’s important to be patient and remain committed to the process.