Any type of relationship can become toxic, whether it is with coworkers and colleagues, an intimate partner, or family and friends. Toxic relationships can deplete physical and emotional health and can even impact financial security.
Toxic relationships are those in which there are unhealthy standards as well as lack of trust, insecurity, manipulation, control, and other detrimental factors. A toxic relationship is one that breaks you down instead of building you up.
Toxic relationships can take on many forms, so it is most important to examine your own personal boundaries and requirements for a relationship in order to determine if the relationship is beneficial for you or if you may be involved in a toxic situation that needs your attention and action.
Seven Signs of Toxicity:
- You do not trust your partner
Trust is the foundational element of a positive relationship. When there is a lack of trust within the relationship, then it is likely a toxic situation. In a mature relationship, both partners can be honest about their experiences and can work together to resolve issues.
In a toxic relationship it is necessary to hide things from your partner because they don’t trust you. Conversely, you may not trust your partner due to their past actions or secrecy. Lack of trust in a relationship is toxic and does not build meaning.
- You feel judged or disrespected
If a partner is constantly judging the decisions you make or disrespecting your opinions, you may be in a toxic relationship. Being with a partner who is judgmental can affect mental and emotional health and can cause you to question yourself. If your partner judges you then they are not being supportive and are not serving their primary purpose in relationship.
- Communication is lacking
When communication is lacking it may be a sign of a toxic relationship. Not all people communicate well, and some relationships innately require less communication than others to run smoothly. Yet, if you cannot communicate with your partner due to fear of their reaction, or if you are not allowed to share your opinions and have them heard, then you are in a toxic situation.
- You feel unsafe or uncomfortable and may be “walking on eggshells”
If you fear that something you say or do could “set off” your partner into rage, anger, or other insult, then you are in a toxic relationship. If you feel unsafe in any way you should immediately reach out for support and leave the situation as soon as possible. The idea of “walking on eggshells” around someone is not a healthy form of expression and is instead a suppression of your own needs and desires and ideas.
- You do not have autonomy or independence
If your partner tries to control you by not allowing you to make decisions for yourself, then you have likely lost your autonomy and independence. If you partner tells you what you are and are not allowed to do, you are in a toxic and controlling relationship. You should always be supported in your exploration of self-identity and able to come and go as you please.
- Your feelings are dismissed or criticized
If your partner is highly critical of you and always dismissing your ideas or putting you down, you are not in a healthy and equitable relationship. Your partner should value your feelings and should not criticize you or cut you down.
- You are unhappy
If you are not happy in your relationship, you may be in a toxic situation. Not all toxic relationships are obvious or contain abuse. Sometimes people are controlling or judgmental of others without ill-will or intention. But, if you are not whole-heartedly happy and fulfilled in the relationship, you may need to do work to ensure that you are in a positive and uplifting, engaging relationship.