A toxic relationship has the ability to surface in any type of relationship such as with a significant other, a child, a parent, a co-worker or even a best friend. For your mental and physical health, it is essential that you get rid of toxic relationship situations in your life as quickly as possible.

It is important to keep your eyes open to red flags as a toxic relationships can have serious and severe consequences. Some of such consequences can be to your long-term health.

Once you get rid of toxic relationship circumstances, your life will quickly begin to head in a positive direction, your self-confidence will return, you will begin to succeed at work, your other relationships will return to ones of positivity and you will feel happier each day.

Here are 18 signs that you need to get rid of toxic relationship people in your life:

You Give, They Take

Adam Grant, who is a Wharton professor and a highly regarded relationship author, says that the best way to achieve a successful relationship is to establish an equal match of give and take. In a toxic relationship, one person only takes and never gives.

While being a giver in a relationship, whether it be business or romantic, does not necessarily mean you are being taken advantage of by someone. You might simply like to take care of others. For a successful relationship, it is important to learn to establish balance.

You are Exhausted

An unhealthy relationship can be entirely exhausting. You might feel depleted and emotionally drained from arguing, walking on eggshells or hoping you do not encounter the toxic individual.

These people can be anyone from a co-worker who constantly tries to undermine or demean your accomplishments or an in-law who likes to cause trouble. If you are simply exhausted from speaking or encountering these people, you are likely in a toxic relationship.

Low Self-Esteem

Are you typically a confident individual in most situations, yet with that certain someone you often feel bad about yourself after you spend time together? If so, you need to get rid of toxic relationship people who give you low self-esteem.

According to a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, low self-esteem in a relationship can cause you to perceive the relationship differently than its reality. It can cause you to behave differently than normal and even make you paranoid or insecure.

You Feel Threatened

You can feel threatened in a number of ways. For instance, you might feel threatened to lose your identity. You might feel threatened by a third party in a jealous manner. Or, you might feel threatened in a more dangerous manner. If you ever question your safety, get out immediately.

You should never be made to feel intimidated or threatened in a physical manner. This is unacceptable, and you should tell someone. Do not hesitate to involve the authorities.

So Much Drama

Too much drama is not constructive and results in a toxic relationship. Examples of excessive drama include game playing, an open-ended relationship status, wondering eyes, not cleaning up after one’s self, being jealous, constant gossiping, neediness and emotional unavailability.

A little drama can be directly related to passion; however, if the drama never stops, it is likely unhealthy and time to walk away.

Controlling Tendencies

Do you feel as though you cannot express your opinions without this person having a bad emotional reaction? They will attempt to control the way you think, as well as the things you do and the people with whom you spend time. They will also make fun of you to make you feel bad.

Some ways to break free from such individuals, according to Psychology Today, is to create a support system, ask for help, establish goals to get rid of toxic relationship circumstances and follow through in the end.


Belittling may not seem like a big deal; however, it absolutely is a big deal and should be dealt with as soon as possible. When someone is intentionally, or unintentionally, putting your down, it is not okay.

This type of toxicity is typically regarded as emotional and psychological abuse. Abuse does not have to be physical to cause lasting damage and should never be tolerated.

Negativity Bias

Negativity bias contributes greatly to bad habits and bad situations. That’s because negativity bias forms from bad experiences over time.

These experiences make a person assume a circumstance is going to result in the same manner and react negatively before the other person even has a chance to respond or act. If you or the other person is always assuming the worse, the relationship is unlikely to succeed.

Physical Reactions

Even if the person in your negative relationship has never been physically abusive, you can still have involuntary physical reactions to someone. You might become nervous, anxious or even ill in their presence or simply from thinking about an upcoming encounter.

According to an NBC News article, some anxiousness is normal and even considered good. However, if these feelings are negatively impacting your life, it is not a good sign.

The Endless Bickering

Do you feel as though you are in an endless argument because you are fighting incessantly? It is important to note that many mental health professionals, such as couples therapist Wendi L. Dumbroff, MA, LPC, believe that some fighting in a relationship is healthy.

Note that constant disagreements are not considered healthy, and the way you approach disagreements, fights and arguments can be considered healthy or unhealthy. If you rarely find common ground and disagree about most things, this is likely a toxic relationship.


If an individual wishes to remove you from all other relationships in your life, this type of isolation is toxic. The person will do everything in their power to remove you from your support system so they can control you even further.

It is important to be mindful of whether or not it is you or your partner trying to isolate you from the people in your life. Some people unknowingly disappear when they start a relationship without influence from their partner, and this is not necessarily toxic.

Keeping Score

Every couple knows that it is quite normal to keep score on occasion. However, you need to get rid of toxic relationships when scorekeeping increases from rare to common.

Dr. Bernstein also states that keeping score often stems from frustration and significant misunderstandings. He suggests that to avoid this type of destructive communication it is best to point out positive aspects and eliminate criticism.

Everything is a Competition

A toxic relationship based on competition is often found in work relationships and friendships; however, they can also occur in romantic partnerships and with family members. These people never actually listen to you and they will constantly try to one-up you in every aspect of your life.

Power Struggle

It is possible that you are both contributors to the toxicity of the relationship in some way. This is the result of a power struggle by both parties. When a person feels powerless in a relationship, they will often lash out in a demanding way as a method of overcompensation.

This dynamic can occur in all relationships from a child and a parent to interactions between co-workers. Sometimes, the reaction is based on another person attempting to control the other; whereas, in other circumstances, the lashing out is a self-imposed powerless feeling.


You or the other person in your relationship may be deliberately or subconsciously sabotaging the relationship for a number of reasons. Someone may feel the relationship has run its course. They may feel highly insecure about the relationship. Or, it could be a reaction to past experiences.

Lack of Trust

Trust is difficult for some people. Whether you have been wronged in relationships in the past or you have a feeling that the person in your current relationship is not trustworthy, you cannot move forward if you do not have trust.

toxic relationship

Some actions that may prove that you do not trust someone are that you constantly monitor their social media, you ask others to confirm where they have been, you make accusations, you get jealous or you insist on having their passwords. These are all bad signs.

Judgment and Criticism

If someone is constantly passing judgment on you and criticizing you in a highly non-constructive manner, they are a toxic person. It is important to note that a complaint is not criticism, and a person who holds contempt in a relationship is equally as toxic.


According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, respect is the most important factor in building a healthy relationship. A person with respect in a relationship will not incorporate many of the previous actions listed. Think of behaviors like belittling, accusing irrationally, or inflicting emotional abuse.

Final Thoughts on a Toxic Relationship

Toxic people can cause a rapid decline in your quality of life, as well as negatively impact all of your relationships. The good news is that you can take control back and turn all of those negatives into positives.

It is important to pay attention to all red flags and be sure to take accountability for your own possible contributions to the toxicity. If you feel bad about yourself in any relationship or if you ever feel in danger, it is time to make a change, and do so quickly.