Toxic relationship: what are the signs and how to deal with it

Toxic relationship signs

Everyone wants to have a successful relationship. But in reality, maintaining a healthy, successful relationship is not at all easy. Even when you’ve been careful, it won’t guarantee that you will not fall into a toxic relationship. Being in a toxic relationship can cost you a lot, both mentally and physically. 

When you’re in a toxic relationship, you will question yourself whether it is all worth it. Should you stay and try to fix it, or should you end everything and leave? A lot of the time, you can’t even tell whether things are normal or bad because you are caught up in a subtly vicious cycle. Or you can tell that the situation is bad, but since you’ve been together for a while with your partner, you think you can change them if only you stay longer.

Having a good mental health is not only nice, but also necessary. It can only be achieved if you surround yourself with people that can support your well-being, instead of diminishing it. Cutting yourself off toxic people and ending toxic relationships should be your priority, and you need to do it as soon as possible.

I’ve been in a bad relationship before. It was with my first boyfriend many years ago. We were schoolmates; he was the same age as mine. The problem was that he was quite insecure. After we had graduated from high school, I had a fairly smooth path. I went to university, graduated on time, and had my first job quite easily. His course, on the other hand, was not as simple. He had to drop out of university, had trouble getting a job, plus he had to deal with some family issues.

At one point, I told him I wanted to continue my study to get a master’s degree and switch to a more challenging job because I needed the experience. He said I would have no time for him if I switch jobs, and that I would embarrass him if I had a master’s degree and he had no degree at all. What eventually ended the relationship, for me, was when he said that he would resort to drugs if I were to break up with him. 

We were together for a long time, and at first, I didn’t want to break up with him because I thought he would change his mind and improve himself. But he didn’t, so I finally pulled the plug. It wasn’t at all easy. It broke my heart, and I couldn’t do anything for weeks, but I finally moved on. Looking back, if I could change anything in my past, I would break up with him sooner.

Signs of a toxic relationship

Toxic relationship signs

Knowing the signs is the first thing to do to get out of a toxic relationship. Yes, we all have doubts. Sometimes, we just don’t know when to quit even when we know it’s bad for us. We are afraid of making the wrong decisions. Is the relationship fixable or not, and should we run?

From our experience, you have to leave a relationship if you encounter these things:

1. Your partner constantly guilt-trips you

If they always make you feel guilty for their inconvenience and implicitly pressuring you to do things that they want, they’re guilt-tripping you. For example, when they tell you that you work too hard and that you should stop chasing your dream because then you’ll neglect them.

2. Your partner blames you for their own feelings and emotions. 

In a healthy, loving relationship, no one wants to hurt the other. But if your partner makes you feel like whatever you do is wrong, then there is a high chance that they are emotionally blackmailing you. Instead of dealing with their own feelings and emotions, they will hold you accountable. For example, they threaten you that they will resort to drug addiction if you break up with them.

3. Your partner gaslights you.

They constantly lie; they will say one thing, and then deny it the next time. They will also dismiss your feelings because they think it’s not important or that you’re exaggerating. Then they will tell you that you forget things until you start doubting yourself and questioning your own sanity.

4. Your partner likes to control you.

When everything that you do is under intense scrutiny or has to be approved by your partner, then they’re manipulating you by taking control of the relationship. Usually, this means that they are very insecure, therefore, they do whatever it takes to dominate and rule you.

5. Your partner disrespects you and your boundaries.

You don’t have any privacy; what’s yours is theirs in the name of love. You can’t take up a hobby, can’t go out with friends, can’t spend time by yourself. They assume that you are always available for them no matter what.

How to deal with a toxic relationship

Toxic relationship signs

Once you’ve identified the signs, and you determined that you need to leave, there are things you can do to deal with the grief and the heartbreak:

  1. Forgive yourself.

    Stop blaming yourself for being trapped in a toxic relationship. It’s not your fault; it’s the manipulator’s fault.

  2. Find your support system.

    Find a friend or family member that can help and support you, especially if you need a (physical or emotional) safe place to get away from your partner.

  3. If necessary, get professional help.

    Your friends and family can only do so much, while a psychologist has the tools and the knowledge to give solutions to your problem.

  4. Be firm.

    Cut off all communications. Don’t fold. Respect yourself and set boundaries.

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