Toxic Relationships: How to Recognize them

There is some truth when people say, “the signs you ignore in the beginning will be what leads to the end of your relationship," or “follow your gut feeling” and your “intuition." Healthy relationships play a crucial role in sustaining mental and emotional health. The people that we surround ourselves with deeply impacts our identities and our well-being. So how do you know that you’re in a healthy relationship? How do you recognize the signs of an unhealthy or toxic relationship? It’s simpleyou know. Girl, I know you know. 

Relationships, whether it be romantic or not, should only add to your happiness...not subtract from it. Here are 4 signs that you are dealing with an unhealthy or toxic relationship.


1. You feel like you’re the only one giving

Sometimes relationships can become so one-sided, that you may not even realize how much you’ve been draining yourself by not receiving any reciprocation. Of course, giving is not always about expecting something in return; but people who truly love and care about you will usually reciprocate something back. When I say “give", I mean simple things like: giving your time, your support, listening to the other persons needs, etc. Unfortunately, some people will take advantage of what you bring to the table, whether they recognize it or not. If this is the case, take a break. Stop giving for a moment. See if this person will do anything in return for you without you making the first move.


2. This person says they will change or “fix things” but never really takes action to do so

Actions speak louder than words. Period. If the person you’re in a relationship with is constantly saying “I’ll change” or “I’ll fix this”, but you don’t see anything happeningchances are, things aren’t going to happen, and things probably aren't going to change. This is not to say that everyone is perfect. Nobody is. But if someone wants to be in your life, they will make the effort to change or get rid of whatever is hurting you or making you unhappy in your relationship. Sometimes “changing” is not even possible because it may be a huge part of someone’s personality that just doesn’t mesh very well with your own. If this is a personality trait that is constantly making you unhappy, the best thing to do is walk away. Sometimes our personalities just don’t go well with others. 


3. They have little or no respect for your feelings or opinions 

Constantly crying, screaming, or holding negative emotions towards the person that you are in a relationship with, is not healthy. It’s important to express when you don’t like something someone says or does to you. It could even be a reoccurring thing. That’s when you know it’s really bad. It’s important to say how you feel and you should feel free to express your thoughts and your opinions too. You shouldn’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells when you’re around this person. If you express your feelings, but this person continues to hurt you, they're probably toxic. 


4.  They try to control you or manipulate you

A lot of times, toxic people use manipulation and control tactics because of an inner-conflict that they may have with themselves. It could be caused by things like insecurities or trust issues. Whatever reason it may be, you shouldn’t feel confined by the walls of your relationship. Nobody should be telling you what you can and cannot do, who you can talk to, what you can wear, and where you can go. There should be no “don’t do this or else…” or “if you do this, I’m going to do this to you." Being in a healthy relationship means having the freedom to be yourself while having someone who is by your side to support you. If you feel like you are losing your identity because you can’t be yourself, you’re probably in a toxic relationship.

If you identify with some or all of these signs, please take the time to re-evaluate your relationship. Think about whether this person is making you happy. Is this person supporting you mentally and emotionally? Do they truly care about you? Do they take your feelings and opinions into consideration? Do you still feel like your genuine self? Is this person adding to your happiness, or subtracting from it? 

There are many more signs that may indicate an unhealthy or toxic relationship. You can find more in-depth information here on PyschAlive or on Inc.. You can even use the resources provided by your college campus. There are counselors available to help you with personal issues like being in a toxic relationship. You can find the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s counseling services.