If you recognize these 9 signs, a toxic relationship is taking a toll on you

A toxic relationship might sneak into your life, wearing a mask of intense passion or deep commitment. Sneaky, right? And before you know it, it starts chipping away at you, messing with your mental and emotional well-being.

If you’re going through this, chances are you’re getting a vibe that things aren’t quite right in your relationship. And hey, just realizing that is a pretty big deal.

In this read, I’ll help you spot the warning signs of a toxic relationship – the subtle ones that are easy to brush off and the more in-your-face red flags.

Without much further ado, let’s check out the 9 signs that might hint a toxic relationship is throwing you for a loop.

1) You’re constantly walking on eggshells

There’s a huge gap between being mindful of your partner’s feelings and living in constant dread of how they’ll react.

If you catch yourself always walking on eggshells around certain subjects or holding back what you really feel just to dodge a showdown, chances are you’re stuck in a toxic relationship.

In a healthy relationship, both partners should be able to spill the beans without worrying about backlash or getting hit with harsh criticism.

Just to be clear, it’s not about changing who you are to please someone else. It’s about being you and still getting that love and acceptance.

2) You feel drained, not energized

Relationships should be a source of “feel-good hormones” – not a drain on your energy. They’re meant to leave you feeling upbeat and positive, not wiped out and emotionally spent.

I can recall a time when I was in this relationship that had me feeling drained 24/7. After hanging out with my partner, it was like I’d just finished running a marathon without actually moving an inch.

It felt like all my energy was getting sucked away, leaving me with this empty, tired feeling. I later realized this wasn’t the norm or healthy.

In a solid relationship, spending time with your partner should generally leave you feeling recharged and better about yourself. In case that’s not the vibe you’re getting, maybe it’s time to do a bit of a check-in.

3) There’s constant criticism

Constant criticism isn’t constructive, it’s destructive. It’s not about helping you grow, but about bringing you down.

Did you know that in his research, renowned psychologist Dr. John Gottman found that in a healthy relationship, the ratio of positive to negative interactions needs to be 5:1? That means for every negative interaction, there should be five positive ones to balance it out.

When you’re constantly getting put down and criticized by your partner, with no balance of positivity or praise, take it as a sure sign that your relationship is taking a toll on you.

4) Your self-esteem has taken a hit

Your partner should be your hype squad, don’t you agree? They should be your personal cheerleader, always boosting you up and helping you see your awesomeness.  

But when you’re in a relationship where your partner is out to break you, you end up feeling small, like you’re not enough, and your self-worth is on shaky ground. 

Has your confidence been taking a nosedive since getting into this relationship and you’re stuck in constant doubt about your value? If so, it’s a red flag that things might be toxic. Keep in mind, no relationship should mess with your self-esteem or joy.

5) You’re isolated from friends and family

One common tactic of controlling partners in a toxic relationship is to isolate you from your support system.

This could indicate that your partner is trying to exert influence over your social life, isolate you, or establish dominance in the relationship. 

Healthy relationships allow room for outside connections. Your partner should understand and respect your need to spend time with people other than them. The moment their actions make you feel isolated or restricted, it’s essential to communicate your concerns and boundaries.

6) You’re constantly trying to justify their behavior

You know you’re in a destructive relationship when you constantly find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior, especially when they treat you poorly.

You might tell yourself they’re just under a lot of stress, or they didn’t really mean what they said. You end up rationalizing their actions, convincing yourself that it’s not as bad as it seems.

But deep down, it hurts. And no matter how many excuses you make, it doesn’t change the fact that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

Take my word for it: In a healthy relationship, one partner shouldn’t constantly have to explain the other’s actions.

7) Your dreams and goals have taken a backseat

In a healthy relationship, both partners support each other’s dreams and aspirations. But in a toxic one, your goals and dreams may be sidelined or even ridiculed.

I remember when I wanted to start my own business, I was excited, full of ideas and visions. But my partner at the time didn’t share my enthusiasm. Instead, they constantly belittled my ideas and made me feel like my dreams were unrealistic and unachievable.

I ended up putting my dreams on hold and lost a part of myself in the process. It took me a while to realize that the person who truly loves you will not belittle your ambitions but will be your biggest cheerleader.

8) You feel trapped

Feeling trapped in a relationship? It’s probably a toxic one. 

This often happens when your partner uses manipulation, guilt, or even threats to keep you from leaving. You might feel responsible for their happiness or worry about what would happen to them if you left.

But don’t forget that you’re not responsible for someone else’s happiness. Your primary responsibility is to yourself. If you’re feeling trapped, it’s time to seek help and find a way out. You deserve freedom and happiness just as much as anyone else.

9) You’re unhappy more often than not

The biggest clue that your relationship has gone toxic is your declining level of happiness.  

Relationships are meant to bring joy, have your back, and be full of love. Sure, there’ll be arguments, but if the gloomy days outnumber the good ones, it’s not worth it.

Word to the wise: it’s way better to be solo than stuck in a relationship stealing your happiness and peace. Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.

Final thoughts: It’s about self-love

In the big picture, recognizing the signs of a toxic relationship is like hitting a crucial point of self-awareness. It’s not just about spotting the warning signs; it’s also about realizing how it’s messing with your well-being. Now that you’ve pinpointed these signs, the next moves are super important.

Make your own happiness and peace of mind a top priority because no relationship should mess with your self-worth. Reach out to friends, family, or pros who can help you navigate this journey of healing and growth. Just remember, you’re not going through this alone, and there’s strength in realizing it’s time for some positive changes.

Yeah, the road ahead might seem tricky, but with each step away from toxicity, you’re carving out a future that’s brighter and more fulfilling. Find the courage to kick negativity to the curb and embrace self-love. 

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