Maybe you first read the headline and thought, ‘signs of a toxic relationship, no that’s not me. That doesn’t describe what I have with my partner.’ And if that’s true, amazing. But, before you dismiss this advice as being for someone else, I’d love you to ask yourself these questions honestly.
- Do you feel like you can truly be you in your relationship in every way? That is, without censoring what you say or suppressing any quality about yourself?
- Can you cry freely in front of your partner when you’re upset without making them feel awkward or like you’re just a big sook?
- Can you celebrate a big win without feeling like you’re raining on your partner’s parade?
Let’s face it. No relationship is perfect.
But it’s important to realise that toxic signs are often subtle and can be tricky to spot. Here are four signs of a toxic relationship you can look out for, plus advice about what you can do if you think you may be in one.
#1 sign of a toxic relationship – You’re on different pages
It’s great to have some different interests, hobbies and passions. But different relationship goals, life dreams and values? Or hugely different communication styles? Make sure you’re not compromising on your values and the things that are super important to you.
#2 sign of a toxic relationship – It feels like hard work
You love your partner, so you should keep trying, right? Right?? You figure if you want your relationship to work, it’ll take work. But it’s starting to take a toll. You know what the problem is. You fight about it, and you end up compromising in the hope that things get better. Here’s the thing. You can love someone but still be in a toxic relationship. You can be with the person you think is your soulmate, but it’s just not a good fit. Your partner may be depressed but refuses to take action, accuse you of cheating because they’re insecure (but they say they’re trying…) or never take your side. Even if everything else in your relationship is ok, and you love your partner, you don’t have to stay and ‘work’ on it. You get to decide.
#3 sign of a toxic relationship – Emotional manipulation
What does emotional manipulation (sometimes referred to as gaslighting) look like? This is when someone tries to control a situation or conversation by undermining your perception of reality. They may deny your thoughts, experience, feelings and emotions. Here’s some tips on how to spot it. It might look like being shut down or told you’re overreacting. It could sound like ‘You’re the one with the problem’, ‘This is your fault’, ‘You’re crazy!’ or ‘You’re too sensitive.’
#4 sign of a toxic relationship – You can’t be YOU
Have you unconsciously changed your behaviour? Are you worried about what your partner thinks about you more than usual? When you’re in a toxic relationship, you feel you can’t be your true self. You don’t want to set your partner off because you’re scared of losing them. Do you find yourself doing any of these things?
- Avoid crying in front of your partner in case it makes them uncomfortable
- Make yourself smaller and deny celebrating your successes
- Gradually becoming a shadow of your former self.
So, what now?
What’s the alternative to continuing in a toxic relationship? Moving forward, you probably realise you deserve better. But you’ll need some tools to help stop patterns repeating and to rebuild your sense of self-worth and self-esteem. You could start by thinking about what a healthy relationship alternative could look like.
One where you:
- Feel heard and free to be you – exactly as you are
- Experience a sense of ease and comfort
- May have an argument, but you find a peaceful resolution
- Have aligned values, goals and dreams.
It may be that choosing these kinds of partners has become so habitual you’re not even aware you’ve been doing it. In order to help make healthier relationship choices in the future, you need to heal your past. You can also work on it together, and get some tools to turn your relationship around. Talking to a counsellor can help you navigate this process. I’d love to chat with you about this, or whatever else is on your mind. Your first call is free – book in today.
Over to you
I’d love to know if you found this article useful. Please drop a comment below or share it with a friend who might be interested.