Relationships are good for you. They increase your life experiences, bring you new things and help you grow into a better version of yourself. But there are other relationships that may end up degrading you as an individual. This is referred to as a toxic relationship.
Most toxic relationships involve a romantic partner but quite often they can show up as a relationship with a friend, family member or co-worker. But the essence is the same: they are manipulating you into believing that you cause their problems and issues. Sometimes the red flags of a bad relationship are not noticeable because you want to feel safe, loved and happy in your romantic relationships. You end up feeling horrible and making more mistakes without knowing the real problem.
Signs of a toxic relationship
It is said that realising the problem is the first move towards wholeness, self care and empowerment. So, are you in a toxic relationship? Here are five signs of a toxic relationship to help you recognise if you are.
1. They gaslight you
The term “gaslighting” is a common one in toxic relationships. It is a reference to a classic 1944 film, Gaslight. The movie showed how a man makes his wife question her reality by manipulating her psychologically. If you are concerned about your relationship and they push them aside or questions your sanity or feelings, this is a sure sign that you are being gaslighted.
An example of gaslighting would be when you worry about your partner’s social media comments and they wave your arguments aside. They may also add that they can’t believe you don’t trust them and accuse you of wanting to know their every move. On the other hand, they may also get suspicious of your associations and want to know your every move.
2. They don’t respect you
It may seem obvious that mutual respect is the core foundation of every healthy relationship. But this isn’t always the case. Lack of respect in a relationship exhausts both parties and creates negative emotions like anxiety and fear. It makes you feel like you have to prepare to fight or keep your guard up around them. You become afraid of communicating because you already know how the argument would go. If you’re constantly feeling defensive, it may mean that your partner does not respect you or doesn’t show it enough.
3. They make your decisions for you
In a healthy relationship, both partners must feel free to pursue their own interests and projects away from the other person. If your partner gets annoyed or suspicious when you want to do something without them it may be a red flag. If they downright forbid you to spend time with certain people or go to certain places to the point that it’s not even up for a discussion, that’s a problem and a clear sign you are in a toxic relationship.
4. They manipulate you with sex
A classic sign of a toxic relationship is if you feel that your partner is manipulating you with sex. If they only consent to have sex as a means of achieving some sort of goal then you may be in a toxic relationship. It is one thing for your partner to withhold sex because they are angry at you but another if they try to control or manipulate you by withholding sex.
5. They are bullies
If you feel that you’re often being bullied, manipulated, degraded and abused in your relationship it is a major sign of a toxic relationship. Your partner may also refuse to compromise or participate in mutual dialogue. If they choose to always have their way and show a lack of respect for what’s important to you, then you’re in a toxic relationship.
If you feel like any of the above signs of a toxic relationship resonated with you, the first step is deciding whether you want to salvage the relationship or call it quits entirely. Know that sometimes no matter how much you try to love someone or care about them, it is no guarantee that they will provide you with the healthy, supportive relationship you deserve.
Are you ready to work on your toxic relationship issues? Please book a counselling appointment today.