Sure, your relationship may not be abusive or recognizable as unhealthy, and there may not even be any signs you're in a toxic relationship. But if you don’t feel like your relationship is in a good place – whether it's romantic, professional or otherwise – you gotta be able to spot some toxic signs, then get out before it's too late.
Maybe your person is not an angry soul or explicitly derogatory, but are they frequently passive-aggressive?
Living or working with someone who doesn’t say what they’re thinking or feeling but then punishes you for not already knowing those things is damaging to your mind and dangerous for your overall well-being.
Additionally, you shouldn’t feel like you’re always competing with your person or constantly having to prove you’re good enough, which can be the effects of passive-aggressive behavior.
Passive-aggressiveness is a subtle attack and a low-key way for one person in the relationship to gain control and have the upper hand over their partner. The reasoning behind passive-aggressive behaviour is to manipulate you in an unobvious way — and the challenge is to recognize it when it’s happening.
You Walk on Eggshells.
Do you feel like you have to watch every word you say? Are you afraid of your person's volatility? Do you find yourself fearing what they will do or say and tailor your actions to avoid setting them off?
A relationship shouldn’t have you feeling like you need to brace for a storm. Questions shouldn’t feel like traps. You should not be consistently afraid of or stressed about how another person will react, even if you know you’re going to say or do something they may not like.
It’s All About Them.
It’s one thing to be in a relationship with someone or work with someone who has a strong personality… it’s quite another to be in a relationship with someone who is narcissistic or who consistently makes everything all about them and centers the relationship around themselves.
In a toxic relationship – your opinion doesn’t really matter, your feelings are unacknowledged or deemed unimportant and your needs go overwhelmingly unfulfilled.
A relationship should be mutually respectful and supportive… not one-sided.
You may not even realize it right away, but has your person been isolating you from friends and family? Or have you been isolating yourself from them because of this relationship? When you’re in a toxic relationship, your significant other may attempt to distance you from your loved ones in order to control you better.
And because your friends and family know you best, they may become a threat and try to intervene in your relationship.
Also, in a toxic relationship, your mental health can really be hit hard as it’s exhausting to walk on eggshells and try to predict how that other person will react to things or how they’re feeling on any given day.
That exhaustion can then translate to you pulling back from those who love you, which will only put you deeper in your toxic relationship as it becomes an unhealthy cycle.
Lies, Lies, Lies.
Does your person lie to you or spread lies about you? It may be a small lie about doing something they were asked to do – to something as big as hiding the fact that they’re cheating or taking credit for your work.
Regardless of how big or small or how little white that lie is, lying is a sign of a toxic relationship. When lies are rampant, it means there’s no trust or respect and they can slowly but surely eat away at your confidence and well-being.
Honesty is key for any relationship to thrive and if truthfulness seems to be optional, you’ve got to get out of this relationship.
Physical, Emotional, Verbal Abuse.
Of course, the most obvious signs of being in a toxic relationship is abuse of any kind. You shouldn't be talked down to or called names, told your feelings don’t matter, or suffer physical violence.
Don’t make excuses for them by saying it was a one-time thing or happened in the heat of the moment… abuse is abuse and if it’s happening in your relationship, you’re now in a toxic one.
If any or all of the above red flags are present in your relationship, the time to get out is now. Don’t wait and hope that things will get better; they won’t, and in fact, will probably get worse.
You are worthy of and deserve positive relationships in your life — but the only person who can make that happen is you. And the sooner you are out of your current toxic clusterfuck, the sooner you can pursue a safe and nurturing one.
Okay, so how do I get out of it?
It’s easy to say, “you’re in a toxic relationship and you need to dump your partner or quit your job, etc.”, but much harder for those in the relationship to actually leave.
However, if you’re in a relationship similar to the ones described above, you do need to get out of it. And the first step is recognizing your relationship is unhealthy, where the negative moments far outweigh the good and that you are not actually benefiting from it.