What do you think of when you hear the words “toxic relationship”? A couple on Jerry Springer who clearly should have broken up the first time he cheated on her with a prostitute? Sure. Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown? Obviously. Sid and Nancy? A given. Cersei and Jamie Lannister? Even if you haven’t watched Game Of Thrones you know about them.
But these things don’t have to be so dramatic. There are toxic relationships all around you. There’s your pal who you’re not very close with anymore because his girlfriend makes horrendous digs at him in front of your face. You can’t handle seeing her mug him off like that, so you’ve stepped away. But of course, that couldn’t ever happen to you, could it? Well, it could.
Feeling like you’re treading on egg shells around your partner all the time is a sign that things aren’t right
We all know that digs and arguments happen in the best of relationships – so what’s the line between the odd screaming match and a relationship that’s downright toxic?
Behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings says, “A toxic relationship is harmful. It is when someone is doing something damaging to another person, repeatedly.”
If it’s affecting your mood all the time to the point you are losing sleep and feeling snappy in your everyday life, you need to have a rethink
We’ve all a had a relationship that made us second guess ourselves. Here are the signs that you’re in a toxic relationship – and how to get out before it gets too deep.
You’re Feeling On Edge
If your relationship feels consistently imbalanced that’s a red flag that things aren’t right – and this can make you feel anxious as a result.
“Feeling like you’re treading on egg shells around your partner all the time is a sign that things aren’t right – and if it’s affecting your mood all the time to the point you are losing sleep and feeling snappy in your everyday life, you need to have a rethink about whether this person is making you happy,” Jo says.
Your Friends Have Brought It Up
It’s worth bearing in mind that if you are in a truly toxic relationship then you may not see it. If a pal takes the time to explain to you that they don’t think that things between you and your significant other are quite right, it’s worth listening.
Quite often if you’re in a toxic relationship – you can’t see it
You might not want to hear the truth initially, but hear them out.
“Quite often if you’re in a toxic relationship – you can’t see it,” says Jo. “It would be easy if you were in one and wanted to get out of it. But sometimes people don’t realize they are in one – until a friend addresses it.
“If you are crippled by a relationship then you may have been brainwashed into thinking that it is OK for it be like this. And the person who points it out to you may be in the firing line as a result.”
But if you feel afterwards that a friend has made a decent point to you about your partner’s ways, try to really consider and act on what they have said.
You Weren’t In A Good Place Before
Think back to before you met this person. If you met them when you were at a low point and are now feeling even worse about your life, it’s worth reconsidering your options.
If you would feel better without this person around, maybe you should end things
Psychologist Dr Elle Boag says, “If you are feeling worthless when you meet someone then it can be easy for them to draw you in by giving you attention at first. This attention can soon turn negative – but as you are used to it you still crave it.
“Think about how you would feel if you were single. It might be a scary thought, but if you would feel better without this person around, maybe you should end things.”
You Feel Drained
Relationships should be about making each other feel good. But if you’re left feeling increasingly drained by your partner, this isn’t a good sign.
If your partner isn’t a radiator to you then why are you with them?
We’ve all heard the adage about radiators, vacuums and drains. Some people are radiators, giving out warmth to the people around them. While some are drains or vacuums, sucking the life out of their surroundings.
If your partner isn’t a radiator to you then why are you with them? Is it worth wasting your energy over someone who makes you feel used up and burned out? If you feel like you need to go on a vacation to recoup after hanging out with your other half, give this relationship a rethink.
You’re Being Controlled
Britney Spears once sang: “I’m addicted to you, don’t you know that you’re toxic?”
Britney was right. Controlling relationships leave one person powerless – but they may also bestow a misguided sense of feeling loved.
If you are being controlled by a partner you may think, ‘They’re doing it because they care about me’
“If you are being controlled by a partner you may also think, ‘They’re doing it because they care about me,’ or, ‘At least someone loves me.’ But really, this control is preventing you from really living your life,” Jo says.
If you feel like you are being made to live a life that isn’t the way that you would like to, you are being controlled.
Dr. Elle adds, “If you’re aware you’re being manipulated and decide that you don’t want to experience this anymore, it’s time to get out.”
There Are More Lows Than Highs
All relationships have their ups and downs, but when the lows are very low then it might be time to call it a day.
Behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings explains that while some people initially enjoy the rollercoaster, this isn’t something that can or should be maintained: “Toxicity can make you feel belittled or inadequate. No relationship is balanced 100% of the time, but if you are left feeling rubbish about yourself the majority of the time, that’s not right.”
It’s Never Their Fault
Some people are always right. But this kind of stubbornness isn’t OK in a balanced and mature relationship.
“If you try to discuss your issues with your partner and it’s never their fault – always yours – you will repeatedly feel belittled and inadequate,” says Jo. “If the blame is always on you then you will struggle. You might not always see it but others will.”
Why should anybody live feeling they are constantly on the back foot? If your partner isn’t mature enough to see both sides of an argument – or indeed any side that isn’t their own – then they’re really nothing more than a big baby. And, frankly, babies shouldn’t be dating.
We have all had the friend who relies on their other half to do things for them. Maybe your girlfriend is in control of your spending – or your social life.
If someone is making you feel like you can’t, for example, do anything without their help then this is undermining to your self confidence.
This isn’t healthy – you need to be independent within a relationship. Of course, people do things for each other to be nice or to help each other out.
But if someone is making you feel like you can’t, for example, do anything without their help then this is undermining to your self confidence.
Dr. Elle says: “Dependency can keep you in a toxic relationship. It’s easy to go with what you know – even if it’s not what you really want.” Don’t let fear trap you in a toxic relationship – remember you have control to leave before your sanity is any further depleted.