Many people have experienced loving and being loved not because they know exactly what to look for or how to answer the deepest questions about relationships but merely because they have been lucky. In fact, no one in the world has the keen and skilled eyes to recognize the presence – and even the absence of this rare feeling called love.
There are times when people think that they are one of the few fortunate individuals to deserve love only to find out that what they have was never real. Most of the time, it’s already too late to realize that what they have mistaken for as love has ultimately ruined them.
The same scenario can be observed in toxic relationships and you’ll only understand that you have fallen into this trap when it’s already too late. The question to ask is, are there signs of a potentially toxic relationship? Fortunately, we may have the answer to that.
If you’re in a toxic relationship or being led into one, you would easily observe these obvious (but sometimes almost unnoticeable) signs:
1. Being loyal means not going out with your old friends anymore.
Have you been accused of cheating just because you went out with your old friends for a drink? How about being called unfaithful just because you replied to a friendly text message? Loyalty never means that you can’t talk to anyone but your significant other (SO). If you are told otherwise, then you know something should change.
2. You’re always being told to wear this and not that.
Imagine if you can’t even wear your style anymore because it’s too “revealing” and “flirty”. Some may say that your partner is just being overprotective and others even think that it’s cute – but if you think about it, your personal style is an expression of yourself. Limiting you from this freedom is both wrong and unnecessary.
3. You have lost your confidence in yourself.
When was the last time you’ve felt that you are strong and confident? When your relationship makes you lose your self-esteem and turns you into a shy, socially anxious and reluctant person, then something must have gone wrong along the way.
4. You are always called names and awful labels when they’re angry.
It’s normal for couples to fight and argue. However, someone who truly loves you won’t even dare to call you names – terrible names that do not only affect how you see yourself but also hurt you to the core. What’s more terrible is when everything has been said and done, they would come to you like nothing happened. No apologies, no regrets, nothing.
5. You can’t go out alone unless you’re together.
Going outside? If you’ve ever been called a bad girlfriend (or boyfriend) because you can have fun and plan a night out without your significant other, then you have to reexamine your relationship. However, if you mutually want to be always together, why not?
6. You feel trapped.
That helpless feeling of being in a situation in which you can never get away from can be emotionally draining. You feel trapped and alone and even the mere attempt of telling your close friends and your family members about how you’re doing is considered a form of betrayal – at least according to your significant other.
7. You’re scared for your life whenever you’ve done something wrong.
You don’t have the normal fights that couples typically experience and instead of a constructive argument, you get physically and emotionally reprimanded. Most of the time, you feel scared for your life because arguments are often loud, violent and emotionally traumatic.
8. You no longer think you’re worthy of anything.
Toxic relationships can often turn people into lifeless and depressed individuals. Most of the time, they would not even think of themselves as someone worthy of love and respect. They would just accept whatever is thrown at them, loyally following and obeying their partner’s wishes even if it’s against theirs.
9. Your dreams are undervalued and your ambitions, ridiculed.
Some types of relationships often come in this form. When your significant other belittles your ambition and thinks that your dream is too simple and shallow, you’ll know that you’re in the presence of a condescending and a toxic person. Believe in yourself and find someone who’ll cheer for your victories, big or small.
10. You don’t get to take part in the decision-making.
You don’t have a voice in matters concerning not only your relationship but also on personal decisions. Toxic partners often convince you that you are not capable of making good decisions and that they should be the ones deciding for you.
11. They always put the blame on you even if it’s clearly their fault.
They don’t take responsibility and you are often blamed for everything wrong that happens in your relationship. Whenever they are found guilty of doing something bad, they would always find a way to turn it around and make you feel responsible.
12. You experience emotional and physical abuse.
Most battered partners often ignore this obvious and often deadly sign of a toxic relationship. If you’re constantly abused, physically and emotionally, do something about it. Sometimes it can be scary to make a move but it’s the only way to save yourself before it’s too late.
13. How you feel doesn’t matter and you’re just overreacting.
You can’t be negative and you can’t be sad – showing these undesirable emotions are considered a waste of time and energy. Have you ever heard the same thing before? These are all wrong and misleading. It’s okay to cry and feel sad sometimes and anyone who doesn’t respect that should be kicked out of your life.
14. You can’t say NO or suffer the consequences.
When you no longer have the option to refuse and just simply say NO, then you know it’s time to run away and never look back. Realize that you have every right to say NO, to protest against something you’re not comfortable doing, to refuse something you don’t want.
15. Jealously from groundless accusations always brings out the worst in your SO.
An obsessive attitude of finding even the tiniest reason to be jealous about is where toxic people are good at. They’ll observe and investigate everything you do until you’ll no longer want to do something just to make them feel at ease.
16. You forget to love yourself and to care for yourself.
If you “love” your significant other so much that you even forget to take care of yourself, it’s no longer healthy. You have to acknowledge your own needs and take time to take care of yourself. Your world should not revolve around your SO or anyone.
17. You’ve changed a lot – and not for the better.
You’re no longer the jolly and optimistic person you once were. If you’ve noticed changes in your personality – and if most of these changes are not contributing to make you a better person, take time to step back and reassess where you are. Do you deserve it? Do you really feel that you belong here?
If you think you’re on the brink of giving up and losing every single part of what makes you a happy and optimistic person, know that there is still hope. Many people who have had the horrible experience of going through a draining and traumatic relationship with a toxic person have survived.
Perhaps the lesson that you can learn from their experiences is: love yourself first and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s wrong.
Finally, take note that the ones listed above are only signs of a potentially toxic relationship. They can be correct or wrong. But the earlier you recognize them, the better chance you have to properly deal with them. Remember that when you’re already married and have kids, it’s not that easy to just drop everything and leave. You will have to consider factors and consequences that could affect your family and the future of your children.
At the end of the day, it’s still your choice that counts, because you’re the only person who knows your own reality.
Photo by Christopher Windus