Is My Relationship Toxic Or Unhealthy?
While both toxic and unhealthy relationships can cause emotional distress, there is a significant difference between the two. Unhealthy relationships often involve negative patterns such as poor communication, lack of boundaries, or co-dependency, which while problematic, can often be addressed and improved with mutual effort, commitment, and professional help. On the other hand, toxic relationships are characterized by a chronic pattern of harmful behaviors such as manipulation, control, constant criticism, and emotional or physical abuse. These relationships are damaging and destructive, with one or both partners causing intentional harm. Unlike unhealthy relationships, toxic ones are often resistant to change and can lead to severe emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical damage. It’s important to recognize these distinctions when seeking help and deciding on the best course of action.
Here are some signals of a toxic relationship
You feel drained or unhappy after spending with the person.
The relationship lacks fun and playfulness.
You always seem to irritate each other.
You cannot seem to stop arguing or bickering over minor issues.
You dread the thought of seeing them.
There is a lack of support and encouragement.
Every achievement seems to become a competition. You cannot trust them.
You feel your needs and interests do not matter.
Most conversations include sarcasm, contempt, outright hostility, or criticism.
You avoid their phone calls.
Envy and jealousy exist in the relationship.
There is suspicion and mistrust.
The person becomes annoyed or irritated when you do not immediately answer texts, or they text you repeatedly until you respond.
There is an obvious need for control.
There is a tendency to hold grudges.
You do not feel safe speaking up when something bothers you.
You find yourself lying because you worry how they will react if you tell them the truth.
There is a pattern of being chronically late, “forgetting” events, and other behaviors that show disrespect for your time.
The other person consistently disrespects financial agreements or breaks promises.
You find yourself constantly on edge, even when there is no significant stress from outside sources.
You frequently feel miserable, mentally and physically exhausted, or generally unwell.
You go along with the other person’s wishes, even when it goes against your comfort level.
You have stopped spending time with friends and family to avoid conflict.
Worrying about your relationship occupies much of your free time.
You have let go of your usual self-care habits, withdrawn from hobbies you once loved, neglected your health, or sacrificed your free time.
You believe if you just change yourself and your actions, the other person will change, too.
You worry that by bringing up problems, you will start a fight. You tend to be a people-pleaser.
You are conflict-avoidant and keep any problems to yourself.
What can you do if this is part of your relationship?
1. Identify toxic relationship patterns.
2. Compare the patterns to those of your own parent/caregiver(s) and notice commonalities.
3. Recognize your triggers with potential new friends/partners.
4. Be aware of warning signs (red flags) early on.
5. Recognize there is nothing wrong with you. You may worry there is something wrong with you. Attracting toxic people does not mean you are a bad, useless, or worthless person. It suggests you have unmet needs and issues from your past that have not been fully addressed. You may benefit from exploring this with the help of our services.
6. Maintain your boundaries.
7. Focus on you. Consciously build your confidence, self-respect, and sense of worth, and address guilt and shame.
Download My Free PDF on Improving Communication In Relationships