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What is a Toxic Relationship? Definition, Signs, Causes, Types, and Everything else

What is a Toxic Relationship? Definition, Signs, Causes, Types, and Everything else

Updated on Dec 01, 2023

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Toxic Relationship - Definition, Signs, Causes, Types, and Everything else

I am both happy and sad that you’re here… reading about a toxic relationship.

Sad because you or your loved one is experiencing this and happy because you’ve finally decided to educate yourself about it and find a way out of it.

Toxic relationships can leave you scarred for life.

This person by your side never seems satisfied, no matter how hard you try. You keep working to make them feel happy and they still criticize your efforts every time…

I know how it feels… disappointed, heartbroken, and full of self-doubt.

Mate, it’s time to break the partner… and in this think-piece, you’ll know all about it.

So, let’s first begin with.

Toxic Relationship Infographic

Toxic Relationship - Definition, Signs, Causes, Types, and Everything else
Toxic Relationship – Definition, Signs, Causes, Types, and Everything else

What is a toxic relationship?

Partner(s) in a toxic relationship feel trapped and controlled by others. They don’t feel love and encouragement from the other person, instead feel guilty, lose confidence and sometimes it’s even abusive.

The term toxic relationship defines an unhealthy relationship where either or both sides feel drained, trapped, and manipulated by the opposite side.

It might be physically, mentally, or emotionally abusive altogether or either of them.

Healthy relationships need effort and adjustment which is missing in a toxic relationship.

For instance, in a normal relationship people help each other belief in themselves. However, toxic people make their partners feel insufficient so they can feel good about themselves.

So, a toxic relationship can make you doubt your capabilities, beliefs, and worth.

Also, toxic relationships possess detrimental factors for either or both sides in the relationship. The lack of support itself can ruin the relationship and the people.

The definition will be crystal clear with some…

Toxic relationship examples

If you’re in a toxic relationship, you might initially feel the other person is protective. You feel safe because of their jealousy and think they’re cute. But soon it might take a different form. 

For instance, something like…

1. Your partner always texts you to track you and blames you for cheating whenever you can’t reply.

2. You fear being truthful because your partner will get angry and physically, emotionally, mentally, or verbally abuse you.

3. You can’t speak to people of the opposite gender because your partner “loves” you so much that it makes them insecure.

4. You and your partner verbally abuse each other both in private and in public and feel nothing is wrong.

5. You feel you can’t do anything without your partner because they tell you so.

However, many use abusive relationships and toxic relationships interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. Let me help you identify the differences.

Abuse vs Toxicity

You probably thought that toxicity and abuse were one and the same because you refer to them in bad relationships, drama, manipulation, dissatisfaction, and so on. 

So, let’s find a clear boundary between abuse and toxicity to understand your relationship better…

General descriptionYou might suffer from emotional, mental, verbal, or physical abuse and the intensity can vary in different relationships. Sometimes, the abuse victim might not be aware.In any relationship, you might notice toxicity in multiple forms which might even include abuse. However, it’s not a compulsory case.
Assailant-victim rolesUsually, you’ll see one abuser in an abusive relationship who wants to control the other completely.Both partners can be equally responsible for a toxic relationship.
Self-worthYou might feel you’re unfit for everything because your partner reprimands you for your mistakes.You blame each other and feel spiteful towards one another’s flaws.
Stress and AnxietyYou always doubt whether you can continue your life with your partner.You don’t always question the validity and future of your relationship.
Distancing loved onesYour partner forcibly separates you from your other loved ones.For instance, they make trouble when you want to meet/talk to them.Or tell you they don’t need you.Due to toxicity, you might need some alone time away from friends and families, but they might not force you.
Disturbance in goalsYou’ll face serious intrusion about studying or working as they’ll want to control you with a lack of connection with the outside world.They might tell you something rude or suspect you of infidelity with a co-worker but they won’t stop you from studying or working.
TerrorThey might physically attack an inanimate object and scare you to follow their orders.You won’t observe toxic people using brute force unless they’re abusive.
Verbal crueltyYour partner will verbally abuse you to trigger self-doubt in you. Public humiliation is a common act in abusive relationships.You both might verbally abuse each other but you don’t feel dragged down because of it.
Financial manipulationThey might talk you into a joint account and restrict you from using finances without their permission.You’ll have control over your own money, you’re not helpless. 
GaslightingThey’ll deny their abusive behavior and make you believe you’re at fault and play the victim themselves.You both take responsibility and fight with each other without mental manipulation.
Suicidal threatsYour partner might exhibit controlling behaviors with suicidal threats to obey them.Either of you won’t use self-harm as a sheath or gambling piece.
ViolenceYour partner might harm you physically, intentionally. They might later say it was unintentional.They won’t harm you physically.

Toxicity and abuse are quite closely woven, and your toxic relationship can also turn into an abusive one if you don’t take strict actions.

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all for all toxic relationships… there are different types, let me help you identify them.

Types of Toxic Relationships

Your partner might exhibit toxicity in a different way from your parents. If you identify only one kind, you might overlook other kinds and give into others’ toxicity.

I don’t want that for you – so here are all types of toxic relationships and I repeat, they are all equally TOXIC.

1. The Deprecating Relationship

Your partner makes fun of anything you do or say. It can be in private, public, or in front of your loved ones. They’ll always indicate that you’re foolish, naïve, or lack obvious intelligence.

However, if you ask them to refrain from such behavior, they’ll only mask their toxicity under the veil of jokes. They’ll belittle you and say “you never get my jokes”.

Though, you both know it’s on purpose, not a joke.

They want to strip away your decision-making authority and enjoy it themselves. So, they slowly instill self-doubt in your mind over time and tell you nobody wants someone like you.

2. The Eggshell-Walk Relationship

Your partner always gets angry at random things. You try to do things perfectly so that they don’t boil with anger and yet, you fail every time.

You might always flinch in fear and try pleasing them in multiple ways but always end up triggering their ill-temper.

However, people outside your relationship have no idea what’s going on inside. Somehow, you feel you’re alone in this dark secret of your partner.

Even if you talked about it with their family or friends, everybody thinks they’re the sweetest person in the world which makes you feel lonely.

3. The Guilt-Trip Relationship

The person makes you feel guilty about something they don’t like or approve of.

Sometimes, they’ll indirectly let you know that your actions hurt them so that you feel guilty about your actions. Meanwhile, they pose as a saint who lets you be on your own.

They bind you with new and old guilts in the relationship so you crave ways to resolve the guilt-inducing situations.

Once you follow their lead, they’ll support you in some important life decisions as a reward. They control you with “good feelings” only when you listen to them.

This kind of toxicity increased amidst the Covid-19 situations in families.

4. The Deflecting Relationship

In such relationships, when you express your discontent with them, they overreact, and then you care for them…. even though it was you who communicated disappointments.

Somehow, you find yourself nursing their emotional scars more than yours.

Sometimes you feel it’s better to bottle up your feelings rather than exhausting your last breath to calm them.

You forget your grief while treating them and think “How cruel of me to bring up such upsetting topics”. You blame yourself for insensitivity where they were at fault in the beginning.

For instance, you confronted your parents about not informing you of their late arrival, and they lash out at you for not thinking about them.

5. The Caretaking Relationship

They depend on you for everything – from how to inhale to how to exhale. Sounds extreme? It originally is!

Moreover, if you’re feeling drained because they don’t move a finger in the household, this is pretty much your relationship.

Also, when anything goes wrong with your decision, they easily bail out and blame you for your short sight.

They control you with their passive-aggressive nature whenever they’re unhappy because “you chose something they asked you to choose”.

For instance, they’ll stop talking to you for a few days leaving you to figure things out yourself. You might be anxious and tired while trying to understand your partner.

They make you believe that you have the authority but ideally, you don’t.

6. The Independent Relationship

People in Independent relationships never keep their word because they aren’t your slaves. They’ll say something and go do the polar opposite because they’re their independent person.

You always feel uncertain about their portion of responsibilities and end up doing it yourself. This kind of person controls you but never does what you want.

They always have an entirely different priority in their life and it exhausts you beyond words. Also, you’re always insecure about your relationship.

You question if they really want you, whether they commit to you emotionally. When you ask about long-term commitment, you won’t receive a direct answer resulting in your anxiety.

7. The Exploitative Relationship

In such relationships, they behave very kindly to exploit you. However, the moment you can’t satisfy their demands, their kindness fades away.

The exploiting person emotionally drains you while you get nothing out of the relationship. You always want to provide them with better things, else they’ll desert you for a better provider.

Some intelligent exploiters can manipulate you for a longer time with small inexpensive favors once in a full moon to gain your trust.

This will make you believe that they’re not here for the “gains” but originally, they are.

If you don’t obey them after that, they’ll make you feel guilty about their past (non-existent) emotional or financial investments.

8. The Owning Relationship

In this relationship, your partner bars you from interacting with others because they feel insecure.

You tend to their insecurity with all kinds of commitments they desire – a joint account, engagement, a registered marriage, everything that can tie you ONLY to them.

However, the more you give them, the more they control you. They’ll ask you why you smell of unknown perfume and always indirectly blame you for cheating.

If it’s a long-term relationship, you’re possibly tired of proving yourself innocent every time. They probably ask your neighbors when you return and who goes in and out of the house.

So many types… How will you rat them out?

Signs of a toxic relationship

A toxic relationship doesn’t confine itself to romantic or marital relationships. It can be a professional relationship, personal, or even social relationship. 

So, let yourself loose when you read this. You might find the truth of some relationships unexpectedly if you notice a similar pattern like these…

1. Your back is open to attacks

Nowadays, your go-to person doesn’t support you as much as before. You feel you’re all alone in this vast world and they don’t have time for you.

You’re constantly feeling down because nobody got your back. You keep saying to yourself that you came into this world alone, will leave on your own… and relationships are just a sham.

2. They have a bitter tongue

You distanced yourself from them because they always spread negativity. No matter what’s the cause, they’ll make fun of a serious situation.

Whatever you do, they’re ready to sprinkle salt over your wounds and worsen it. They don’t have any ointment for you but definitely have some more bitter words.

3. You don’t need any privacy, that’s for cheaters!

If they doubt your faithfulness to the point of monitoring your social media, that’s a warning sign.

Sharing social media and checking one another’s feed for entertaining each other is alright, however, if it’s to remove suspicions, you’re in a toxic relationship.

Nobody in a healthy relationship intrudes on privacy like that.

4. You MUST receive my calls

If your partner or loved one forces you to always be at their beck and call, your relationship is toxic. Also, their toxic behaviors might soon convert into emotional or physical abuse.

They might say “Someday I’ll die but you won’t know because you were too busy to receive my call” and that’s one of the toxic relationship signs.

5. You always hurt me, remember that time…

If either or both of you hold old grudges for the other’s faults, that’s a sign of a toxic relationship.

In healthy relationships, you’ll resolve the issue ASAP, forgive each other and move on.

However, when people ignore a problem and use it for years to torment each other, it deters mental health too.

6. You leave them in the dark to party

If you always hide your whereabouts, prefer spending time with others, and despise them for intruding on your enjoyment, these are warning signs.

You clearly don’t like being around them. Instead, whenever they ask where you’re going or when you’ll return you become defensive like “Are you my mother now?”

7. They have something more important to do

If they prioritize themselves over you and bail out at the last minute intentionally because they have better work to do, that’s disrespectful.

They say “Do you know how important my work is? We can reschedule that cheap date anyway”.

If they refuse or stall your advances with rudeness, that’s a sign of toxicity.

8. What do you need money for anyway?

If they restrict your access to money, cease your cards and instead ask what you would need money for, they want a prisoner, not a partner.

Suppose they aren’t well-off then that’s understandable. However, if you don’t have access to your own money, that’s toxic.

They only want you to feel grateful for them… “providing” for you so you can’t leave them.

9. You can’t take it anymore

Stress is normal for any relationship, however, constantly feeling anxious proves that your relationship is side-tracked and on the verge of toxicity.

If your partner/loved one stresses you out, you’ll soon wish for the end. You’ll disrupt your psychological and physical health if you’re always stressed.

Consult experts if you feel suicidal because of your relationship.

10. A little compromise goes a long way

Do you always adjust to their needs and ditch your own?

Perhaps they planned a surprise date but you sprained your ankle and can’t move. You still continue with the plan because they want it.

However, they aren’t aware of your situation. Do you hope they’ll like you more for sacrificing yourself?

That’s a toxic trait and you can still fix it.

11. You don’t need anybody else

Perhaps your partner always restricts you from meeting your friends or family. They either think it’s an excuse to cheat or blame you for not spending enough time with them.

Or, you don’t want to explain your partner’s toxic dynamics to friends and avoid them.

Also, you might spend long hours handling your partner’s tantrums and get too tired to meet loved ones.

12. You’re always tired

If you feel that caring for yourself or engaging in things you love is a task, something is wrong with your life.

Perhaps, your loved one emotionally and physically exhausts you with their toxicity and you don’t have energy for anything else.

In toxic relationships, you ignore everything that brings happiness because “you’re too tired”. You might also suffer from depression.

13. You know they have potential

Staying in a relationship when everything seems dull isn’t easy. However, you still do because you know they are pure at heart.

When things don’t change, you feel you can modify yourself according to their wishes to make it work.

Perhaps, they’ll love you if you obey them better? That’s a toxic relationship scam, don’t fall for it.

14. You play Red-Light Green-Light

Do you always worry that you’ll be dissatisfied with them?

Perhaps you don’t know but you always make trouble for them. They always fix your mess and you feel guilty for that.

In a toxic relationship with an overreacting person, you’ll always fear what might trigger their anger and they’ll hate you for that.

You want to avoid any kind of disagreement and only want peace.

15. They wish a porcelain doll over you

Do they always find something lacking with you?

Perhaps “your dress is like a rag”, “your hair is too rough”, “why don’t you doll up?”

Instead of basking in your beauty (of course, you are), if they make you feel insufficient, it’s a sign of a toxic relationship.

Why are they with you if you’re insufficient? They only want to play with an exotic bird.

16. You’re their pet project

Instead of treating you like a human, if they always look for ways to modify you, make you enough for themselves, that’s a toxic trait.

They want to make you a better person as if you’re not already one and need more programming for them to hit the market.

They think they own you and you must obey them whatsoever.

17. You’re an unpaid babysitter

Instead of being a partner/sibling/friend and sharing responsibilities equally, you find yourself taking all the responsibilities?

Perhaps you asked them to take out the garbage and that turned into a fight about how you didn’t smile at their grandma and disrespect them?

These are warning signs and you’re clearly babysitting an adult child. Whatever you’ll say, they’ll use it against you.

18. You’re absolutely clueless

Do they like you? Are you still the prettiest? Do they find you dashing? If you have no clues about what they feel then your relationship is a toxic one.

Everyone needs affirmations and appreciation, so nothing’s wrong with your questions.

However, it’s your partner’s job to remove your insecurities with their gestures whenever you express them.

19. They create a stonewall around them

Whenever you confront them, if they put up a wall like an armadillo holding onto its life, they stonewall you.

They block any form of communication and think it’s better to leave things as it is than you’re quite frustrated.

Though they don’t do anything directly, their unresponsive behavior tires you to the point of giving up on the topic – another red flag.

20. Your loved ones’ instincts never lie

Sometimes, people close to you notice your behavioral change and they instantly know when something isn’t right.

If your loved ones frequently pry into your matters, know they want the best for you. You might think they’re nosy and they don’t know a thing, but they can’t find the old gleam in your eyes.

How can they not pry in?

21. They play hot-and-cold with you

Sometimes they become the most passionate person in the world. You believe nobody’s as lucky as you.

However, the next moment they become a fairy-tale out of your grasp. You want to know them but they won’t let you in. As if your relationship was a dream and you woke up from it.

Isn’t it confusing and frustrating?

22. They’re pro at mind games

You might not instantly recognize someone’s intention. For instance, when they ask your opinion about something and get upset because you didn’t approve of their opinion, it’s a red flag!

This is a trick to make you feel bad for expressing your opinion and ultimately give in to theirs.

So manipulative and toxic.

23. You pretend or lose them forever

Perhaps they want you to act in some manner but never spoke about it directly.

Suppose you asked something about their favorite games, they might say “Nevermind that…You’re not a gamer anyway…”

It’s like they wish you were one and you try hard to please them. They try to change you with mind games which is clearly a sign of toxicity.

24. You don’t know why you feel so bad

In healthy relationships, people bring the best out of each other and feel confident about who they are. You thrive to be a better person without the other asking for it.

However, that’s not the case in your relationship, and you don’t even know what’s wrong.

Chances are your relationship is a toxic one and you gave up on yourself.

25. Your instincts say they won’t stay

You no longer ask them if you’re the only one, because your heart says you’re not. At some point, you waited for sweet nothings from them, but no more.

If you feel that you’re waiting for things to wrap up for good, then your lack of trust says it all. Leave before you feel more miserable once they leave.

26. They’re too mighty to be wrong

Whenever any tough situation occurs, their first reaction is blaming others. Everything is somebody else’s fault. They can’t be wrong because they’re the God of perfectionism… and this is a toxicity sign.

In a healthy relationship, people fix their own problems themselves instead of making others the villain. They’re too immature for a relationship and you must break free from it.

27. They cheer for your failure

Instead of aiming to win and do better, if they express their competitive side with wishes bad for you, that’s the greatest of all red flags.

How can a loved one hope you fail in life to be the superior one? They only aim to boss you later on for their convenience. You possibly don’t share your victories for the same.

28. You read between the lines to find love

Whenever they misbehave, you reason out their actions to think they love you.

For instance, they ask for your social media passwords to keep a tap on your actions in the name of insecurity… but you think they’re just being protective.

Or, they stop you from meeting your friends and you think they miss you and can’t share with you.

You’re interpreting their toxicity wrongly and supporting their misbehavior.

29. They never meant to abuse, it was a mistake

When you suffer from emotional, mental, or physical abuse, you brush it off as a mistake. You think it wasn’t on purpose and they lost their cool for a moment.

They might have sworn by that and you trust them blindly.

You’ve committed yourself to a toxic relationship if you observe an abusive pattern.

30. They didn’t return favors

You shower them with compliments all the time, however, they don’t compliment you. Rather, they criticize you all the time.

If you ask them to stop, they defend themselves “I’m sure you don’t want me to lie to your face, it’s all for your good”.

In reality, they keep you around so that they can feel good about themselves without giving away equally.

31. Negativity runs in their veins

If this person always has something bad or ominous to say about you or your life, that’s downright crazy toxic.

For instance, while you’re working day and night to grab your dream job, they say “I don’t think they’ll need a plastic doll” or “You sure your lame presentation will work?”

They always spread negative vibes even in your weakest moments.

32. Life in a drama seems easier

If you feel that the Game of Thrones or Shutter Island was less twisted than your life, that’s a red flag.

Perhaps you’re always scared of arguments and absolutely tired of them making a new issue from a random topic. Why is the A/C temperature so low? Why can’t you keep it down in the morning? Why do you sneeze so much?

Don’t bear the troubles silently.

33. They walk all over you, after all, you’re a rug

I think Red will look bad on you, wear the Green one.

Can we have this discussion later? I’m sure it’s not as important as my work.

They won’t or don’t listen to your opinions or suggestions.

However, if deep inside you loved that red dress and you can’t or won’t say it, it’s a toxic relationship.

34. You think you’re too high maintenance

Do they pass remarks like “You spend a lot on nail-art, is that really important?”

If they pass such mean remarks about everything you do, you’ll eventually believe you ARE a spendthrift.

However, you only spend on self-care, and whenever you refuse them, they say “I only had your best in mind.” which leads to guilty feelings again.

35. You’re happy with the shorter side of the stick

You know no matter what you tell them, they won’t listen to you. Once they decide on something, they won’t listen to you anymore.

If they’re not open to amends even for your sake, they’re too self-centered. You don’t have a reason to make do with anything less than what you deserve.

The other person is manipulating you with toxicity.

36. The damage control isn’t enough for the harm

All relationships have troubles and misunderstandings. However, if they don’t make proper amends or apologize for their faults sincerely, you’ll always remember the hurt.

You carry around those deep scars forever and whenever they repeat old mistakes, the past comes back rushing.

This toxic relationship clouds your mind with uncertainty and hurt. You mustn’t stand by the ill-treatment any longer.

37. Your relationship is like an examination

You chat with them heartily but they assume things on their own, turning the conversation sour.

For instance, you told them how pretty the city lights are and you didn’t notice their magnificence until yesterday.

Instead of absorbing your thoughts, a toxic person will ask who you were with or who pointed out the beauty. They’re suspicious of your happiness – what’s worse than that?

38. Your relationship is a puzzle with no fix

Suppose you want to talk things through about some issue about your relationship, but they turn a deaf ear to you. Instead, you find it was better to not share it at all because the situation turned worse.

No matter what the problems are, they never have enough time to solve them. If they won’t even lend a shoulder, they can’t be any more toxic.

39. They compete for sympathy

Whenever you say you’re hurt, they might show an excuse of hurting more.

For instance, if you ask them to take over responsibility for your sickness, they’ll only compare your inconvenience to theirs and make you feel sorry for asking.

In the long run, they don’t want to entertain any requests from you and instead send you on a guilt trip for asking, which is a toxic trait.

40. They double-check everything you say

For instance, you told them you went bowling with your friends, they’ll know the name of your friends and cross-check with everyone about their whereabouts.

If you confront them, they’ll tell you they were worried. However, they actually don’t trust you and your loyalty.

Even when you take them out with your friends, they think someone from your circle hits on you and refrains your parties.

If you think the signs were too faint, look out for some obvious…

Symptoms of a toxic relationship

A toxic relationship can have both physical and psychological symptoms on your body. Toxicity leads to stress which again harms you in ways you never imagined. 

So, let’s quickly dig into some of them.

1. Rapid change in weight and appetite

In a toxic relationship, you might become hypersensitive about your appearance or completely lose interest in yourself because of stress and diminishing confidence.

You might try forgetting about the chaos in your life with too little or too much food. Or you might eat too much if you’re skinny or vice versa, leading to a loss in weight. 

2. You might have depression and anxiety disorders

If you’re always preparing for negative comments or arguments because of their sudden outbursts, you’ll always stay alert.

You might feel you’re just being cautious, but in reality, you’re anxious. You continuously look for ways to not aggravate them.

However, if the situation aggravates anyway, you might also suffer from depression.

Or, you might be unaware but suffering from both due to the stress.

3. You’ve got inflammation

From stress, you might also suffer from issues in your digestive tract or skin like acne on the face or any other portion of the body. You might suffer from any type of inflammation.

If you’re someone who doesn’t usually get acne but getting it now, or your acne is suddenly all over your face, yet you didn’t do anything worth aggravating the situation, that’s your cue.

4. You’re sleep-deprived

Unless you ritually stay awake at night, your sleep deprivation might be another symptom of stress and toxicity in your life.

Possibly thoughts of your loved one tormenting you haunt you the most when you hit the bed. 

You remember all the bad occurrences on the day, analyze them, think you’re not enough and it becomes a pattern.

5. You fall sick easily

If you get inflammation, then you’ll also be more prone to sickness. To summarize, your immune system weakens because of the combination of stress with inflammation.

Sometimes, excess stress might lead you to suffer from some latent infections which don’t usually appear. 

For instance, if you get herpes but can’t find the reason, your doctor might prescribe you stress medications.

6. You developed nervous system issues

Constant stress, anxiety, depression can result in nervous system issues as it over-secretes cortisol or adrenaline which harms the chief organs of your body.

You might even become more vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes due to excess secretion of those hormones.

But this toxicity didn’t show up just one fine day, it has its roots in the individual’s past. Let’s find out where.

What causes toxic relationships?

Your toxic relationship might have a deep history like some kind of trauma, abuse, or even some fears arousing from them.

Let’s dig into all the causes possible for toxic relationships here…

1. You faced a lot of abuse

If you observed your caregiver or a close family member overreacting to almost anything and everything, even if it hurt or scared you back then… you believe that it is normal.

To avoid hurting yourself, you built a wall around you so it doesn’t scar you further.

Moreover, the caregiver possibly told you it’s normal, so you developed the same toxic dynamics.

2. Someone left you hanging

When innocent child faces abandonment, they blame themselves for doing something wrong or displeasing the other person.

They fumble around to cling to any person, even if they abuse or disrespect them.

If that sounds familiar then your attachment to your toxic partner might be because you can’t accept the abandonment. You feel like accepting all the terms to live along.

3. You’re bad at expressing your thoughts

If you or the other person, or both of you don’t know how to communicate, you might burst out with negative emotions every time you express any issues.

Perhaps, you’re not sure how to approach the situation and decide to attack the other person’s weakness because you’re upset.

Many people feel happy only when they hurt others. However, you never resolve the issues

4. You’re commitment-phobic

You feel that a relationship will snip your independence and so you keep your distance in unhealthy ways.

If you have abandonment issues, then you’ve more reasons to hate commitment. You think the other person will leave you behind if you reveal your vulnerable side in front of them.

5. You’re a dom-sub pair

Not in bed, but even in life if your partner plays the superior role and you abide by them all the time, then you might suffer from an inferiority complex and lose confidence rapidly.

If your partner always wrongly blames you and you accept their allegations and burn yourself with guilt, then your personalities are incompatible.

6. Nobody fulfilled your desires

When you desire basic feelings like love, security, or respect, and yet don’t receive them, you might extort them at some point.

Perhaps you didn’t feel wanted since childhood, or your caregiver criticized you, you might feel that only forcing or scaring the other person can get you happiness.

You want the other person to show their feelings when they break down.

7. Your impulses get the better of you

If you face difficulties controlling your emotions, whenever you face anything unpleasant, you’ll lash out at the other person. Your lack of control makes your relationship toxic and you have no idea.

You call yourself helpless because you can’t control your reactions.

However, you must take professional steps like seeking medical advice to find a solution. Otherwise, none of your relationships will last.

8. It’s your coping mechanism

If you faced unbearable pain from a young age, you possibly didn’t know how to handle it.

However, you searched everywhere to find the best way to forget the reality even for a second’s worth of pleasure.

Some people indulge in addiction, gambling, crimes, or even irresponsible sexual encounters.

If that sounds familiar to you, you must find a different coping mechanism.

9. You faced many difficulties

Whether you’re a toxic person yourself, or whether the other person is toxic, you think you can’t change anything, so why bother?

Perhaps you faced many difficulties in your life. However, your best efforts didn’t help you protect yourself from the worst occurrences.

You think what’s meant to be, will happen even if you do or don’t do anything so you give up on the situation.

10. You suffer from personality disorders

If you suffer from personality disorders like narcissism, you might face difficulties accepting your flaws. 

You believe you’re the best in everything you do and don’t need to change your ways even when others mention it.

Moreover, you feel that others reprimand you because of their jealousy towards you. Your thought process led to many toxic relationships in your life.

If you think you can live with toxicity in your life, think again as there are many…

Impacts of Toxic Relationships

A toxic relationship can change you from an optimistic person to a melancholic in moments. You don’t believe that? Well, all those signs and symptoms aren’t for nothing.

Know how severe it can get with these…

1. Your walls are higher than Selfish Giants

Toxic relationships teach you that you mustn’t express yourself to others else they’ll take advantage of your weaknesses.

However, you don’t understand that it’s only that person and not the entire world. After all, you didn’t open up to others due to your fears.

Moreover, you’ll destroy all prospective relationships and cause more relationship issues in the future.

2. You stop believing in yourself

Whether you stay in a toxic relationship or find a way out of it, they make irreversible changes in your psychology. You might possess pessimistic feelings about life and stop believing in yourself.

You’ll miss great opportunities in your life because you don’t believe in your capabilities anymore.

The relationship sowed seeds of self-doubt deep inside you and you find everything bleak and meaningless.

3. It drives you crazy emotionally

If you entertain a toxic relationship for too long, you’ll soon gasp for air. You nourish the relationship and the other person so much that you forget that you need emotional nourishment too.

You’ll always tend to the other person’s emotional needs like a babysitter and neglect yourself. Slowly you lose patience and have no emotions to spare for them or yourself.

4. You always seek others’ approval

When a significant person criticizes you repeatedly, you believe something is definitely wrong. Perhaps you don’t possess enough hindsight about your situation and really lack in several ways.

You question your steps and decisions and everything seems unsure. Toxic relationships consume your confidence to the point of no return.

Moreover, you seek others’ approval and cling to toxic people’s opinions to feel worthy again, yet it’s useless.

5. You lose the sunshine

When you deal with a toxic person or relationship, you always focus on them. 

There’s hardly any time for you and you miss out on all the opportunities in life to grow as a person… like a plant in the shade you wither away without the sunshine.

You don’t prioritize yourself and feel drained once you give away your nutrition.

6. Your common sense is up for a toss

When you cling to a toxic person, or when you don’t witness a genuinely healthy relationship around you, you believe that’s how it is. Believe that they are your world and you think the world is the same.

Your common senses define every relationship with toxicity. You might even treat others with toxicity when you meet them and get involved in new relationships.

7. You become weak – physically and psychologically

Toxic relationships bring about stress in your life which further impacts your emotional, psychological, or even physical health.

With time, you give up on your health and one issue leads to the other. 

By the time you find a way out of your toxic relationship, it might be too late to fix the health concerns. However, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll care for yourself.

8. You develop trust issues

Another impact of a toxic relationship is that you never trust anyone ever again. You might befriend people, be involved in new relationships, start off a new life away from that toxic person.

But you become a ticking bomb, waiting for someone else to pick up the same trail. Perhaps you wait until your new boyfriend’s behavior becomes like your toxic one’s.

9. Your emotions are all over the place

When you constantly suppress your emotions in your daily life, you’ll burst out at some point.

So, the chances are high that you express your anger on an innocent subordinate instead of expressing it to your spouse.

Your toxic relationship will make you cranky and rude because of the negativity and stress it brings along.

10. Your productivity drops immensely

If you don’t know how to tackle the stress from your toxic relationship, you might lose focus on what’s really important in your life – YOU.

You have your own life, a professional or academic one.

However, if your emotions are all over the place, your mind will not be able to focus and your productivity will drop drastically.

It will then impact your work and the undesired results will eye right back at your confidence.

If you still vouch to stay by your toxic loved one, let me tell you…

Can a toxic relationship turn healthy?

Before you try to deal with a toxic person, remember the journey is rough and full of disappointments, and the chances are very slim. However, if you must, give therapy a shot.

If you really want to turn a toxic relationship healthy, your number one reason is probably – they mean a lot to you.

However, this person harmed you in multiple irreversible ways, so what makes you love them?

You can’t define love with a few words and it’s always complicated for everyone out there. So why is your and their love so different from the rest of the world?

You must feel safe and empowered by others’ love. However, if they can’t help you bring the best out of you, then bringing the best out of them will be very draining.

Usually, people fail to fix a toxic relationship because the road is very rough and people give up halfway.

Moreover, you both must accept that something isn’t normal with your relationship and agree to change.

You need a couples’ therapist or even a clinical psychologist to understand the roots of your issues and find a middle ground to fix them.

Although it’s a tough journey, if you both want a better relationship, your willpower might favor your luck.

But before you invest your energy, check for…

Signs a toxic relationship can be fixed

Dealing with a toxic person is harder than controlling their anger issues.

You must reform you both from within and stick to healthier coping mechanisms, communicate more and react less… overall it takes a lot of work for two people to get rid of the toxicity.

So, ensure if it’s worth it with these…

1. You both sense something is off

If you guys ever talked about suspecting that your relationship isn’t working out, or that you think you’re better off apart, then there’s still a chance.

It sounds gloomy to talk about splitting up, but that implies they’re still in their right mind. If you both think of it rationally, you both can make it work once you’re sure about your love for each other.

2. You both want flowers over flame

If you’re both always angry at each other or boiling with rage at anyone, there might be a psychological issue beyond repair.

Either of you will become defensive at the idea of fixing a relationship because they believe everything is okay…

However, if you’re both usually the calm types, and you’re only blazing each other, then you need resolution.

3. You both cherish each other

Do you praise them behind each other’s backs? Perhaps your neighbor approached you to say you’re lucky to have them?

You might deeply like and love each other, however, some misunderstandings pile in between. Maybe you misread each other’s intentions leading to hurtful exchanges.

If you get genuine indications about their love, that’s a sign of fixable toxicity.

4. You both own your mistakes

Perhaps you both fight a lot however, at the end of the day you guys accept where you went wrong, or even apologize.

You both go to bed thinking the next day will be a better one, but give in to your impulses.

If this rings a bell, you still have plenty of chances to mend the rough patch.

5. You’re both aware of the toxicity

If you both understand that your relationship is toxic, then you both are in your right mind. Accepting flaws isn’t an easy feat.

Moreover, some people get defensive about the thought that something might be wrong with them or their life.

Awareness is the first step to mending unhealthy or abusive relationships.

6. Neither of you like the toxic label

Now that you know that you have some toxicity in your relationship, how do you guys react to it?

Do you both not give a s**t about the labels?

However, if you both want to get rid of your labels, you both will seek ways to resolve the past issues and test how it works.

Your trials might not work instantly so hang on.

7. You both have your own way

Even though you feel “He never understands me”, you observed him trying something to please you. However, this time, it wasn’t out of fear or obligations but from their heart.

At times when they burst out, you reason out with their reactions too. If you both put enough effort to build the relationship from scratch, that’s a green flag.

8. You discuss the issues together

Perhaps you don’t leave one another to imagine what your problems are. Instead, you talk to one another about what puts you off, what works and what doesn’t.

If you guys back up each other so that nobody steps on a landmine, later on, that’s a great sign. You both understand that you don’t want to blame one another pointlessly.

9. You both analyze your reactions

When you don’t understand your outbursts and aren’t sure of the triggers… and admit it, that’s good news. You both honestly agree to the fact that you were out of line and really want to introspect.

If you guys sit together to reflect on the reasons behind your triggers, that’s great. You really want to keep each other.

10. Counseling was on both of your lists

When you guys listed the possible solutions to your problem, perhaps you both thought about seeking an expert.

Possibly you guys talked with friends and family yet didn’t find a suitable answer to the issue.

You both want unbiased opinions of a third person to save your relationship from further toxicity. Your openness to the idea speaks volumes about your determination.

Found your relationship fixable? Yay! Then move on to…

How to Fix a Toxic Relationship? (as How to Move On from a Toxic Relationship?)

Do you want to fix your relationship? I got your back… but hey, don’t celebrate yet. You have a long way to go, champ… just keep at it and carry out each of your steps with diligence. 

So, start with the basics…

1. Check if it’s really fixable

From the last section, find out if your relationship is amendable. However, be extra careful so that your emotions don’t jumble with your reasoning.

Do NOT take up any gesture as a sign unless they express their desire about fixing the situation.

Sometimes people imagine things because they want them, so be careful.

2. Be open to the downside

Since you’re already off on a new difficult journey, remember it’s quite close to impossible, and the outcomes depend more on you guys together.

Do you want to end things? Or perhaps they want to end it? End it, no point dragging a toxic relationship against your will.

Remember, whatever happens, you’re always good on your own, so don’t let them overpower you.

3. Touch up the basics

You guys might not actually hate each other but don’t know how to communicate.

For instance, you guys Accuse, Blame, Criticize, and Demand one another beyond a healthy amount. Notice these basics and you’ll surely find a pattern.

Create boundaries together, discuss what’s wrong for you to ask, and also express your disappointments.

Perhaps, make a chart about what’s okay and what’s not to refer to during blow-ups.

4. Don’t keep quiet

Sometimes you let it slide because they’re in a bad mood. And then one fine day, you find that you’ve been behaving dumb all along.  

Your silence only allows the other person to take your feelings for granted and think they’re right.

While you keep quiet, you get used to being a rug for their frustrations. Immediately stop this!

5. Refuse to be a punching bag

You are a human with emotions and you can’t always be a sandbag for your loved ones. Though once or twice is alright, don’t let them imagine you’re a real sandbag.

Whenever you feel they crossed the limits tell them so and take space from them. If you always babysit them, they’ll never value you. Express that you really need some space to cope.

6. Contact the experts

When nothing seems to work with the situation, and if you’re both open to it, consult a mental health expert.

Perhaps, you guys missed out on certain deets and the doc’s insights can help you.

If you change your perception and take up some treatments for long-term issues, it might be more efficient for you both.

7. Pave the way with faith

You might question your goals, whether there’s really any point in this journey.

Well, why do you have such questions? If it’s because the other person demotivates you, then you’ve all the more reason to continue.

Keep faith that you can surely find the end of this issue and receive your answer for all the pain.

8. Transform pessimism into optimism

If they have this habit of criticizing your actions and pointing out how it can be better, that’s normally great. However, you need encouragement too.

Express that they damage your willpower more than help you. Take a chance to learn constructive criticism and stay within your boundaries.

Perhaps, this will help you both in your professional and personal life.

9. Don’t surrender to pressure

When you honestly express your concerns, do they make you regret your choice with their seething anger?

The other person is tricking and intimidating you to give up at this point. Don’t take the bait yet, stand on your grounds.

Charge forward for a better relationship and it just might work out.

10. Fight for a resolution

Usually, people feel bad about something, lash out at each other and leave it at that when they don’t think things through.

If you also follow the same route, change it from now. Whenever you feel like you’ll fight them, ask yourself what went wrong, how they hurt you.

Now talk to them as you did with yourself. Take it slow, you need time.

However, if your relationship is beyond amends, learn…

How to Get Out of a toxic relationship?

If you found nothing good out of the fixable section, that’s painful. You might even deny this fact and cling to them. However, will that really be the best for you?

When they don’t care, but you do, perhaps that’s an obsession. I’ll show you how to leave them behind…

1. It’s high time to accept it

If you tried so hard and nothing worked out, it’s fine. You invested a lot of emotions and expectations and have difficulties imagining a life without them.

Well, think of the bright side that you won’t need to stay up at night fearing the next day’s drama. You’ll finally own the canvas of your life. Nobody will control you.

2. Make journal your bestie

You’ll feel a hoard of emotions and perhaps have nobody around to express it. Or, you don’t want to stress others with your negativity.

Time to pick up your pen and journal. Pen down all the emotions and every little step you take to move forward.

Dump out all of your negativity in your journal to live through it.

3. Don’t dismiss the fake positives

Why were you with this toxic person for so long? You possibly noticed something good in it. Well, put it on the paper too.

For instance, My job makes me unhappy, but it fills my stomach. Or, I hate my partner, but they cook for me.

Understand whether it was actually a good option to stick to them or NOT.

4. Serve yourself with everything

Well, once you ditch them, you also ditch the perks of being in a relationship. So that makes you open to tend to yourself.

Bet you feel miserable to take responsibility but you’ll figure it out.

If food was the issue, learn cooking or for finances, work yourself.

Hit up old friends to borrow shelter but never expect them to provide for you.

5. Ensure they’re genuine

Don’t go to someone who isn’t open to accepting your situation. If they say you better get back with them, that’s your cue to avoid their place.

You’re putting back a scattered puzzle, so don’t allow others to scatter your pieces all over. Find good allies who can help you reduce your anxiety and depression and not add to it.

6. You need YOU the most

Everyone in the world might help you, but they’ll be useful only when you support yourself. Don’t forget that your will can do wonders for you.

If you’re too hard on yourself and dwell on the past for too long, you’ll bring down all the progress to zero. Leave a You Rock post-it on the mirror, put in some effort.

7. Celebrate your victories

Everything seems gloomy and you curse that person every moment. That’s a great reason to reward yourself for you can finally prune out the good from the bad.

The more you hurt and identify the wrong, the better. You’re doing great so even if you feel that you did a good job, that calls a party too.

8. Close the way to guilt-town

If you feel guilty about what you did to them, or what happened to you, pardon yourself because you’re a novice.

Nobody learned the right and wrongs in relationships in their mother’s womb, you’re the same. So take up new chances and you’ll feel alright in no time.

9. Force some optimism

Remember how your mom force-fed you in childhood because you needed nutrition? Well, that’s important in extreme situations.

Force some positivity on yourself. Your heart is full of negativity, nourish it with some force. Practice self-care and self-love.

When you see a depressed friend, don’t you cheer for them? Take some time out for yourself and indulge in a pep-talk.

10. Use time as your best bet

You can’t transform all the negativity into positivity overnight. Also, you can’t apply all the steps in a day and expect to wake up with a glowing face and brimming optimism.

Take time before you give up on this step guide to heal yourself.

Even a scratch doesn’t heal in a day, so how will you dump toxicity so fast?

Now that you got away, it’s time for some healing…

How to Heal from a toxic relationship?

You got away but the efforts don’t stop there. Even when you’ve successfully found your way out, you’ll still feel the urge to know about their whereabouts’ and wonder if you should take another chance.

Well usually, you can’t so don’t dwell on the toxic past and look forward to these steps…

1. Don’t snoop on them

You lived or shared many emotions with that person so you might feel obliged to drop by to check how they’re doing.

Honestly, that’s a pretty bad idea so get rid of all communication channels with them for yourself. If they cared, they wouldn’t mistreat you when they got you.

However, if you have children, switch your times to when they aren’t around or meet them outside.

2. Never expect any courtesy

Toxic people don’t possess any basic courtesy so don’t expect that. You probably learned their patterns as long as you stayed together and learned how they play the cards.

So, move on from the thought of their apologies because you’ll only disappoint yourself. If you stay in contact, they might hurt you for worse.

3. Sign up for support groups

Nowadays, you’ll find online support groups for everything – for all sufferers and victims. Look up some on your social media. Find the different stories of multiple sufferers from across the world.

Understand that they’re fighters like you and find a motivating story every day to cope with your situation. Sometimes, you need a lot more than condolences.

4. Share your story

Everyone on the support group is a real human and despite their scars, they share every ounce of it without shame or guilt. Well, even if they’re guilty of something, they’ll soon get over it like you.

So, speak out your heart to alleviate the suppressed pain. Many people from the support group will suggest ideas for coping. Seek a therapist if you want.

5. Pick up a forgotten talent

Forgot your passions and talents while juggling with the toxicity? Well, that’s natural, don’t feel bad. Instead, invest time in your passions.

Surely, you’re rusty after neglecting your skills for so long. This is the perfect time to revive your forgotten dreams. Chase them and be free like a bird as you didn’t deserve that cage.

6. Direct some love towards yourself

Meanwhile, you focus on the battle, you forget to tend to the wounds. You can’t fight with open wounds, what if you infect them? Take some time and be kind to yourself.

When others can’t take care of your tender heart, take up the responsibilities. Become your knight in shining armor when the world won’t.

7. Put on your armors

In your fight to relieve toxicity from life, ensure you’re coming off as someone strong and not a sufferer.

Change your identity from a helpless being to a strong one. Though you can’t do that in one day, ensure you don’t perceive yourself like that.

Become stronger than ever from the flames that burn you… like a phoenix.

8. Self-blame isn’t your short-cut

Strolling by the self-blame river? Well, don’t drown in that, why blame yourself for the unknown future? You expected them to be someone responsible for your feelings.

Perhaps they even were initially but changed mid-way. But that’s not your fault, though even if it is, hop on the boat of forgiveness.

9. Build new fences

After experiencing that hell-ride, you learned your limits. Take time to note down turn-offs.

What do you want in your new life? What will you tolerate? What’s a red flag for you?

Learn from your mistakes for real, because it’s high time you stop them from walking all over you.

10. Patiently focus on NOW

Don’t hurry the process, you’ll heal at some point. However, if you long for a healed heart, you might feel the finishing line is too bleak. Not a great way to motivate yourself.

Instead, focus on the little changes you can make right now. Find out what’s the best for your present to reach the finishing line faster.

If you feel overwhelmed with so much information, let me help you reach the conclusion with this quiz…

Are you in a toxic relationship quiz

Answer this short quiz and you’ll find a definite answer to your relationships in no time.

However, always cross-check if they were mean to you for a reason before you draw conclusions… After all, a broken heart can imagine a thousand things

Let’s begin with the quiz…

1. When they begin an awful fight, what happens in the end?

A. They try their best to win you back

B. They don’t apologize directly but indirectly try to please you.

C. They shrug off as if it doesn’t matter

D. They expect an apology from you

2. While expressing your worries about your relationship, how do they react?

A. They try finding solutions after listening

B. They don’t find a solution but still listen

C. They think it’s meaningless

D. They get defensive about themselves

3. Who sacrifices when both of you make different commitments?

A. You both do, depending on the priorities of your duties

B. They prioritize their commitments

C. They don’t care if you sacrifice, but they won’t compromise

D. They force you to sacrifice your commitments

4. What do you do when you’re in trouble?

A. You handle things like a team

B. They’re beside you but don’t express any support

C. They think you’re overreacting and it’s no biggie

D. They leave you alone because they got better work to do

5. How does a disagreement start?

A. You both equally disagree

B. They don’t react initially but become sensitive way later

C. They defend the situation with sarcasm

D. They attack you with past disagreements

6. How do you deal with professional calls at a personal time?

A. They encourage you to draw limits

B. They withdraw themselves and stop communicating

C. They don’t bother about it

D. They get suspicious of you cheating or indulging in shameful acts

7. What happens when you publicly sc**w up?

A. They cover to protect you from embarrassment

B. They don’t do anything but stay beside you

C. They make fun of you

D. They criticize you for being rustic

8. How do they behave publicly?

A. They exhibit PDA

B. They accompany you without touching

C. They focus on their surroundings equally

D. You become invisible to them

9. How do they treat your loved ones?

A. They spend time with them and respect them, even feel grateful to meet them

B. They stay respectful but aren’t open to emotional bonds

C. They don’t pay much attention to your loved ones

D. They stop you from socializing with your loved ones

10. How does this person react to any situation about you?

A. They prioritize you over everything else and get to the end of it

B. They take time but ultimately come back to you

C. They don’t value it much and handle it half-heartedly

D. They compare their troubles with yours to get off the hook

If you relate mostly to option A’s, then your relationship is completely fine, what are you worrying about?

If you answer B most of the time, they care, however you must let them know you’re concerned to work it out soon.

However, if you opted for C more, then though toxic, you can still fix your relationship, so it’s not the time to give up yet.

Lastly, if your answers mostly include D, your relationship might be beyond repair. That person doesn’t value you. Yet take a chance and communicate for one last time.

If you want to get into the vile examples of a toxic relationship, check out these…

Books about toxic relationships

Are you a bookworm and fiction stories got your heart more than these serious signs and deductions?

Well, you can check out some paperbacks about toxic relationships to dig deep into the topic.

1. My Lovely Wife (Samantha Downing)

Two married serial killers twisting their truth to each other will leave you sympathizing for a murderer and you find life is about bad and worse, not good and bad.

2. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

A toxic couple you’ll grow to hate and be passionate about simultaneously. They use their dishonesty to bring the best out of each other.

3. Deep Water (Patricia Highsmith)

How many mind games can one play? Well, the toxic couple will show you. A bad marriage is an understatement for this plot.

4. Sunburn (Laura Lippman)

Two people who make the most unpleasant pair wish how they can change time and lead a better life without knowing the other’s existence… that’s how much they hate each other.

5. Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)

You don’t know what’s gaslighting until you read this piece. Learn how men were control-freaks back in the day, leaving you sympathizing with the involved women.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Nobody identified a toxic relationship overnight; you face days of toxicity and even abuse before you reach your conclusion. 

No worries, after all, everyone makes a mistake and you’re no alien.  

However, you might possess a deep desire to tie that person to yourself because you feel helpless elsewhere. 

That’s not true, you have immense opportunities in your life so don’t give into fixing a toxic relationship forever. Your relationship isn’t just your personal responsibility.

If they’re not ready to take up their share of responsibilities, remember you’re not a nanny. Go chase your dreams and life instead of rotting with them.

There is one type of relationship that resonates with a toxic relationship. Know all about the tumultuous relationships here!

Are you interested to know more about ‘Serial Cheater’ then click here?