5 Signs You're Living in a Toxic Relationship

5 Signs You’re Living in a Toxic Relationship

Relationships are hard work. They should really come with the warning label “handle with care” but since they don’t, we’re left to figure them out for ourselves.  A few bumps along the way is just part of the course, but when is it too much?  

When it comes to the people closest to us, we tend to walk around with blinders on and more often than not, the line between a simple rough patch and something toxic becomes too thin for us to realize.

Here’s what you should know about toxic relationships and signs to look for:

1. Toxic relationships can take on any form

Relationships come in all shapes and sizes – student-teacher, parent-child, SO’s, friends, mentors – the list is practically endless. It’s how we connect with people and how we feel understood, but any type of relationship we form can be unhealthy if it’s not filled with mutual respect, compassion and admiration. Don’t dismiss any warning signs just because your relationship doesn't fit the typical stereotype we’ve grown up hearing about.

2. Lack of trust

Trust is the key to any lasting, healthy relationship. Without trust, you can’t depend on the other half of your relationship. You’ll always second guess their word and wonder if they truly have your best interest at heart. The doubt and insecurity that comes from a lack of trust can leave you feeling hollow and alone.

3. Passive-Aggressive Behavior

The Mayo Clinic defines passive-aggressive behavior as a “pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them.” People who are passive-aggressive tend to be hard to deal with, rarely express their anger, and continuously repeat this behavior over time. Passive aggression can be damaging in a relationship because it’ll cause a lack of security. After an argument, can we ever really be sure the fight is over?

4. Overly Controlling

People with overly controlling personalities tend to be very manipulative. They exploit situations to produce an outcome that ends in their favor. They also tend to be highly unreasonable and believe they have a say in every aspect of your life. Some common signs of an overly controlling person are deciding how you should be spending your time, micromanaging your life, chronic criticism and using emotional blackmail as a weapon in your relationship. Over time, victims of a controlling relationship tend to feel shame and isolation. In extreme cases, some victims even feel like they lose the right to their own opinions.

5. Isolation

Isolation in a toxic relationship can take on many forms. It can come from the abuser or even the victim. Abusers use isolation as another form of control, they separate victims from their friends and family in order to make them entirely dependent. This can also work in reverse where abusers isolate themselves from their social circles and become entirely dependent on their partners, forcing their partners to bear the weight of the relationship on their own

More damaging, however, is when victims of a toxic relationship choose to alienate themselves from their friends and family. They’ll often find it easier to stay home and separate from others rather than explaining why they couldn't go to brunch last Sunday or why they missed girl’s night for the third week in a row. Navigating through a toxic relationship can be draining, leaving no room to deal with others.


Letting go is one of the hardest lessons to learn but when it comes to a toxic relationship, the grass is definitely greener on the other side.