5 Signs Your Friend May Be in a Toxic Relationship

Signs your Friend May Be in a Toxic Relationship


            Everyone has had or has known a friend that seemed to be a little off every other day and then began to have problems with their significant other. You know the cycle. They fight, break up, and then they’re back together like nothing happened. You laugh, roll your eyes, and sit with her while she cries or vents about him/her, but have you ever wondered if your friend is possibly in an unhealthy relationship? Not merely unhealthy, but toxic. Toxic is literally defined as “acting as or having the effect of a poison”. Being in a toxic relationship is the same as drinking a poisonous love potion every day. Science has shown that being in a toxic relationship can lead to disturbed sleep and even an increased risk of heart failure. Moreover, it can cause serious psychological damage than can take a while to recover from. All abusive relationships are toxic but not all toxic relationships are necessarily abusive. The problem with a lot of toxic relationships is that they are not taken seriously, people assume that it’s “just how they are”, or that their friend is just dramatic. This is sometimes the case with dramatic friends, but here is a list of some subtle signs that draw the line between a relationship that is dramatic, and a relationship that is downright toxic. These are often clues that your friend may be experiencing some psychological turmoil.


1. Your friend mentions feeling crazy

People love to romanticize the idea that “love makes you crazy” and this is true, but where is the line drawn? If every time your significant other speaks to you about disagreements that they have with their partner and says things like “Am I nuts?” this is a warning sign that they are possibly being gaslighted. If you notice your friend is not using logic when her partner is clearly in the wrong and she is still not sure if she’s right or not, this is a bad sign. Gaslighting is a tactic, abusers use; they completely deny saying or doing abusive things, and many abusers will manipulate the truth so often that an individual may begin to doubt their own memory or sanity.


2. They’ve been M.I.A


If you and your friend used to work out together every week or just generally hang out and now you barely even hear from them, that is a warning sign. There is a difference between not hanging out with a friend as often because they’ve gotten paired up, and it’s normal during the honeymoon phase of a relationship for a friend to go M.I.A, but if your friend could die and you’d have no idea, that’s not normal. Abusers slowly erode their partner’s friendships, leaving them with no support or resources if they ever want to leave the relationship.


3. Your friend seems afraid of her S.O. (Significant Other)


If your friend avoids a lot of seemingly normal things because her SO would get mad, that is a big warning sign that the relationship is toxic. If he/she controls what she can and can’t wear or who she can and can’t talk to, to the point that she avoids doing these things completely in fear that they’ll find out, that’s not ok. No one should be afraid to be reprimanded by their partner, they’re your partner, not your parents. Being overly jealous about clothing or platonic friends is controlling.


4. Your friend lost their confidence


Toxic partners assert their control in a relationship by chipping away at the other half’s sense of self-worth. If you notice that ever since your friend has gotten paired up she’s been making a lot of self-deprecating comments or mentioning comments her partner has made about her that are negative, she could be in an abusive relationship. It’s one thing to point out someone’s actual flaws that cause a breakage in the relationship and must be mentioned to improve it, but if it seems like her partner is picking at aspects of her personality that they simply don’t like and demand them to change, that is a big no-no. Partners should love you for who you are and not try to change fundamental traits of who a person is.


5. Their partner has no sense of boundaries



This sign is incredibly important to keep your eye out for because it can easily be masked as “romantic behavior”. Movies such as 50 Shades of Grey, have turned examples of boundaries being crossed as romantic. Your friends SO showing up without her inviting them is not romantic, but just way out of place. If your friend can’t even tell her partner she’s going for a night out with the girls without a bunch of drama, if her SO goes through her phone, if they randomly show up to pick her up without her asking them too, if her SO invites themselves to plan, these are red flags. Boundaries being crossed are extremely harmful to a person because it is possible that eventually, your friend will stop trying to do things they enjoy out of fear their partner will create a bunch of unnecessary drama.


What can you do to help?


If one of or all these signs sound familiar to your friend’s relationship, then here are some things you can do to help them. It is important to approach the subject delicately and not directly voice your disapproval for their SO. This can keep them from talking to you if they already know your opinion of their partner, and they might even fear judgment from you. Although it can be difficult seeing your friend acting weird or not using common sense, it is important to be supportive. But you must understand the fact that they are possibly being manipulated and you should not use any type of aggression when speaking on the subject. Always listen to them, hear them out and let things fold out naturally. Tell them about toxic relationships you’ve been in, and subtly let them know that it isn’t their job to stay with someone like this. This also helps because you’re reminding them that they aren’t stupid for staying with someone toxic or abusive. Check up on them, it reminds them that they have someone, build up their self-image, remind them how awesome they are. Never criticize, but if the relationship is beginning to seriously worry you, air your concerns. More importantly, be honest with them. If they ask you what you think, you can kindly and honestly answer their question. Always be there for them and remind them of that. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in a relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. It is open 24 hours a day.