Toxic relationships hardly ever start out that way, which is why they can be so hard to spot by the couple involved.
All relationships require hard work.
One can’t exactly avoid friction when two people from different backgrounds come together to form a unit. But when the negative emotions outweigh the positive ones in a relationship, it may be time to stop and consider what has gone wrong.
Relationships can be tough and draining, but they’re also sweet and provide that unbeatable feeling of having your person; that one man or woman who you trust to always be in your corner. Everybody deserves that, I tell you. So now, imagine having that one person in your life, but they’re also the ones who make your life unbearable the most. Ugh! Pure torture.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the people in a toxic relationship are sometimes the last to realize it. They might even fight off friends and family who try to point out the danger. Probably, the first hints that you’re in a toxic relationship can be found in the definition. According to a communication and psychology expert, it is:
“Any relationship (between people who) don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.”
A little disclaimer before going on with other signs. A toxic relationship is not restricted to only romantic pairings. It could be a parent-child or virtually any other kind of relationship.
Okay, so let’s see if you recognize any of the following in your relationship:
1. Crippling tension
When we find ourselves always walking on eggshells around our partner, something is wrong. I don’t mean occasional, unrelated moments when there’s a specific issue being dealt with. I mean a constant state of being tense in our partner’s presence, or even just at the thought of them.
2. Unhealthy communication
Our partner should be the one person in the world we’re unashamed to be vulnerable with. We should be able to speak freely with them. But when the opposite is the case and all our conversations somehow leave us feeling worthless, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
3. Insane jealousy
We all get jealous. It’s a natural urge, but the trick is to curb it. When jealousy becomes uncontrollable and our partner finds it difficult to be genuinely happy for our growth and achievements, something is wrong. This applies if we’re the partner who can’t curb our jealousy as well.
4. Controlling behavior
This is, sometimes, the result of uncontrolled jealousy. When one or both partners have an unhealthy need to know what the other is up to at every second or when a simple missed call or unanswered text always results in something close to rage, all is not well.
5. Feeling alone
For me, the best thing about being in a relationship is the companionship. When our partner stops being our happy place or safe haven, it’s time to take a look at the relationship. Another angle to this is support. If our partner stops being supportive of our goals or shoots us down at every turn, something is wrong somewhere.
6. Deep unhappiness
I know all too well how our partner can get on our nerves, and vice versa. At that moment, we probably think of them and go, “Why am I even in love with this person?” But that’s the thing. Even when we’re mad at them, we should still be able to realize we love them and that they make our heart smile. But when the thought of our partner or relationship makes us persistently unhappy, or when we find ourselves deeply envious of happy couples, it’s likely we’re in a toxic relationship.
7. Isolating from people
When we find ourselves cutting off friends and family, avoiding hangouts just so we don’t run the risk of exposing our unhappiness in a relationship, that’s a huge red flag.
In some cases, a toxic relationship can be fixed when both parties are willing to accept responsibility where due, make necessary changes, and not dwell on the past.
In other situations, however, it’s best to cut our losses and start afresh, especially where one partner is violent.
Remember, if it’s costing us our peace or threatening to snuff life out of us, it’s not love.