There are lovely couples, and there are poisonous ones. When you’re involved in a toxic relationship, the actions and behaviors of one or both parties are damaging. Sadly, the injury can be physical or psychological, and sometimes things can escalate to life-threatening levels. What does it mean when there’s toxicity between you and your partner?
A toxic relationship means one person feels frightened or threatened by someone who is supposed to love and protect them. This person may walk on eggshells around them because they fear being physically abused or verbally bashed. The emotional reactions of the toxic person are all over the page, and it causes you to live in fear.
A healthy relationship allows for communication without judgment, and you never worry about being hurt because you can freely state your opinion.
Twelve Signs of a Toxic Relationship
If you’ve ever stopped and asked yourself if you’re in a toxic relationship, you already know the answer. People with healthy partners don’t question such matters. Why does your relationship have so much toxicity in it?
You should know that toxic connections are never the same, as there are different types of abuse and behaviors. Here are some signs that your relationship is not healthy, and it can have a dramatic impact on your mental health.
1. You See Possessive Jealousy in a Toxic Relationship
One of the most harmful behaviors to see in a relationship is being possessive and jealous. While jealousy is considered normal when you’re in love, the type of behavior displayed here is for dominance and control.
They’re not showing you love but trying to keep you from the outside world. They want you all to themselves where they can control and manipulate you without anyone else’s influence. When you step beyond their comfort zone, they will react to change the situation. They will use tactics, including but not limited to faking a sickness, so you stay home with them.
2. Nothing You Do Pleases Them
Do you ever feel like nothing you do is right? Everything you do upsets or annoys them, almost always leading to an altercation. Toxicity in a relationship can be from tiptoeing around your partner for fear of setting them off. They criticize everything you do and constantly put you down. It’s destroying your self-esteem, and you’re frustrated and unhappy.
3. Mind Games Occur in a Toxic Relationship
Communication is one of the signs of a healthy relationship, but when things are toxic, your partner expects you to read their mind. They may play games, so you must guess what they’re thinking.
When communication is lackluster in a relationship, it can cause all sorts of unnecessary stress. Someone who expects you to know what they’re thinking without them ever telling you is impossible to handle. They give you so little but want so much in return.
4. There’s Overwhelming Negativity
A toxic relationship has lots of nasty energy. Someone’s always angry, tense, or crying because of all the hatred between one another. It’s not uncommon for people in this situation to quickly go from love to hate.
Being with a negative person can drain the life right out of you. It puts you under mental, physical, and emotional stress that weighs you down. Living with a partner with a dark cloud following them around tends to overshadow you too.
5. There Are Theatrical Displays During a Confrontation
Toxicity often brings about theatrics. If you’ve seen a narcissistic personality in action, you know that some of their performances are Oscar-worthy. A toxic partner may scream, throw their hands about, and let the poisonous words flow like a river from them.
During an argument, the theatrics are often on display. If you ever confront them about something they did or said, they will turn on their performance skills to deflect. The louder and more profound their performance, the more you will back off from them. While this isn’t categorized as physical abuse, they use tactics to avoid reality.
Sadly, they don’t realize how much damage they’re doing to their body when they have these explosions. According to Harvard Medical School, someone that gets mad enough to make their blood boil is causing changes in their body that elevates their risk of a heart attack. The study shows that the risk remains elevated two hours after the explosive event.
6. You’re Miserable
Being in a toxic relationship takes a toll on you. A healthy relationship makes you happy, and you can’t stand being away from your partner. Sadly, when the toxicity is high in your connection, you feel depressed, anxious, and plain miserable. You don’t feel supported, and the joy you once shared is gone. If you’re constantly in misery, it’s a sign that something isn’t right.
7. Partners Keep Mental Scorecards in Toxic Relationships
When you get upset with your partner, do you bring back all the other things they’ve done in the past? Keeping a mental scorecard is a sign of toxicity, as these behaviors are used for manipulation. Some people will use past situations to deflect from the current problem.
For instance, if you disagree with your partner because they did something that hurt you, they might throw up the times you’ve hurt them to deflect. Keeping this mental scorecard is used to control future arguments and shows that there’s no true forgiveness.
8. Alienating Friends and Loved Ones
One of the most common behaviors of a manipulator is that they like to remove outside influences from you. They will get upset with you if you visit your family or friends. While they may have been okay with it initially, they’ve slowly tried to pull you away from your inner circle over time.
According to the National Library of Medicine, someone with a narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t have empathy for others. They don’t care that they’re hurting you because it’s fulfilling their agenda. Some studies mentioned in the article suggest that these people lack gray brain matter so that the abnormalities may cause their behaviors.
9. You Feel Alone in a Toxic Relationship
Toxic relationships will contaminate you and happen so gradually that you might not see it occur. Once you’ve alienated your inner circle, you’re left alone and depressed. You spend time figuring out what’s wrong with you rather than putting the blame where it belongs.
When you feel like you’re losing yourself or don’t even know who you are anymore, it’s a sign that you’re in an unhealthy situation.
10. You Live in a Hostile Atmosphere
Your home should be a haven where you can relax and have peace from the outside world. However, the atmosphere is heavy and thick with poison when your home is toxic.
It should be noted that everyone goes through times when things are tough, such as a teen that’s gone rogue or financial burdens, but the stress from a toxic relationship is much different, as it never goes away. Once things escalate between you and your mate, it seems like it’s never resolved.
11. Mutual Avoidance and Annoyance
When there’s no communication between a couple, it can lead to issues like avoidance and annoyance between you. Perhaps you don’t know how to put things into words, but the toxic person would rather ignore the problem. When you don’t communicate with one another, it’s impossible to understand how the other person feels. Over time, you build up annoyance for them and their behaviors, slowly building resentment.
12. You Feel Inferior, Causing a Toxic Relationship
Someone with narcissistic personality disorder can make you feel inferior and mess up your self-esteem. The crux is that toxic folks have superiority issues and believe they’re better than everyone around them. While they genuinely don’t feel this way inside, it’s what they display on the outside.
This individual will completely disregard your feelings as they only see things as one-sided. At the same time, they portray that they’re confident and in control. The truth is that they have very vulnerable self-esteem from childhood or other traumas.
Their volatile reactions aren’t personal, but it’s the only way they can survive. Sadly, it makes for a very toxic relationship where you are collateral damage.
Final Thoughts on Toxic Relationships
Are toxic people beyond reproach? Can you save whatever good things are between you? Sadly, many narcissists don’t change because it requires admitting something wrong and working on those things. They would rather go through life blaming everyone else and using people to get what they want.
These master manipulators will take you down with them if you allow it. A strong person must notice the signs of a toxic relationship and take action. You have two choices, you can either get counseling to try to correct the situation, or you can leave. You owe it to yourself for peace of mind, so sometimes leaving the person behind is the best option.