Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship

controlling people emotional abuse toxic relationships Aug 12, 2022

You can experience ups and downs even in a healthy relationship. It is not always easy to balance your needs, your partner's needs, and your needs as a couple. However, toxic relationships are another story. Toxic relationships are draining; they drain you mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can be difficult to realize that you are in a toxic relationship at first. In the beginning, it can appear as a bump in the relationship; it’s a bit more stressful, some arguments, and then a slow rise back to "normalcy." But toxic relationships keep you in a spiral, constantly on edge and worried about what will happen next.  


Common signs you are in a toxic relationship

A toxic relationship can come in various forms, but here is a list of some common signs that you are in a toxic relationship.

Toxic communication

Communication seems to get you nowhere. Toxic communication can include being aggressive, blame-shifting, or being highly critical. It is easy to shift into a toxic communication pattern when in a high-stress or extremely emotional situation. Our thoughts can be clouded, making it difficult to get our point across. When we think of toxic communication, we often think of loud and angry arguing, but toxic communication can come in a number of ways.

They refuse to communicate with you

Sometimes it is important to take a break from emotional or difficult conversations as a way to calm down or even protect your mental health. But at some point, we need to be allowed to come back and address the problem. When they refuse to communicate with you, it is stonewalling. Stonewalling completely shuts down any conversation and is another type of toxic communication behavior. They might say they are done arguing and then simply walk away. There is no resolution, and it is something that they refuse to discuss later. When your partner is stonewalling, they could also dismiss your concerns or try to shift the conversation. 

Lack of support

You give it your all but get nothing in return. Being in a partnership means having a partner who is there for you and supports you. But, in a toxic relationship, we find that we are giving more support to our partner and not getting the support we need back. This could be emotional support, mental support, or even physical support. They expect you to give your time and energy to them and then neglect you when your needs aren't being met. 

Lack of trust

They don't trust you, and you constantly need to defend yourself. The lack of trust could come from high and unrealistic expectations, so when you inevitably fail, it reaffirms their negative view of you. Lack of trust can also come from mistakes in the relationship or from past experiences. 

 "Constructive" criticism

They always seem to find something wrong with you. This could be finding a fault in the way you dress, the way you wear make-up or don't wear make-up, how you talk, or even a flaw in your mental or physical health. However, they expect you not to be upset at what they are saying by hiding these remarks behind "constructive" criticism. They aren't saying it to be "mean" but as a way to “help” you. Unfortunately, even if you work at correcting what they found to be wrong with you, it is either not good enough, or they suddenly have found more things that are wrong with you. This constant criticism and failure when you cannot be perfect really begin to wear you down mentally and emotionally.  


Resentment can come for a variety of reasons and can be a combination of feelings, including anger, contempt, disgust, and shock. We can see resentment when partners have different life goals, an imbalance of chores, or when one partner has to sacrifice something for the other partner. 

Lack of self

You feel like your losing yourself and becoming who your partner wants. You avoid activities that you once loved and only participate in the activities that they enjoy or only do activities as a couple. You rarely get to do things that you like on your own.  

Controlling behaviors 

Controlling behavior can appear in a number of ways, such as tracking your phone, demanding your passwords, or isolating you from friends and family. A lot of the toxic signs on this list can also be a sign of controlling behavior, such as constantly needing to prove your trustworthiness, constant criticism, and not respecting your time alone. Someone with controlling behavior may also resort to threats or violence to force their partner to submit to them. 

Toxic relationships can often start as small, minor issues. Something that you can easily explain away or even believe that they will change in time as your relationship grows. Unfortunately, these things are hard to change, and they can even worsen as time and the relationship progresses.