Online Psychotherapy Across Ontario

Open Door Therapist Counselling & Psychotherapy Across Ontario

10 Signs You Are In A Toxic Relationship

Toxic Relationship Signs Blog

We hear the term “toxic” a lot but what does it actually mean when we are referring to a relationship? 

In its most literal sense, for something to be “toxic” means it is poisonous, harmful, or destructive to living organisms or their environment. 

In the context of relationships, a “toxic” relationship refers to one that exhibits patterns of behaviour, dynamics, or interactions that are harmful to one or both partners involved and can damage one or both partners’ well-being and health.

Toxicity in relationships can manifest in various ways, including lack of trust, poor communication, controlling behaviour, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, lack of respect, unequal power dynamics, and a general feeling of unhappiness.

Toxic relationships can be emotionally draining and damaging.

Here are 10 signs that you might be in a toxic relationship:

1. Constant negativity

If your partner always focuses on the negative aspects of your life or frequently criticizes you, it can take a toll on your emotional well-being, leaving you feeling drained, anxious, depressed, or constantly on edge.

2. Lack of trust

Trust is essential in any relationship. When trust is eroded due to dishonesty, betrayal, or suspicion, it can create toxicity.

3. Manipulation

One partner may exert control over the other’s actions, decisions, or freedom. This can look like guilt-tripping, gas-lighting, coercion, or attempts to restrict the partner’s contact with others.

4. Isolation

Toxic partners may try to isolate you from friends and family by undermining your life outside of the relationship, which can make you feel dependent on them for emotional support and validation.

5. Constant conflicts

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if you find yourselves constantly arguing or unable to resolve conflicts peacefully, it could be a sign of toxicity. Toxic relationships often follow a pattern of tension-building, explosion (ex. conflict or abuse), and reconciliation (ex. apologies or promises to change).

6. Lack of respect

Respect is crucial in a healthy relationship. In a toxic one, partners may disrespect each other’s boundaries, feelings, and autonomy, leading to constant criticism, belittling, or contemptuous behaviour.

7. Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse

This can take the form of verbal attacks, humiliation, jealousy, withholding support or love as a form of punishment, physical violence, threats, or sexual coercion, unwanted touching, or restricted access to birth control.

8. Feeling drained

If being with your partner leaves you feeling emotionally drained, anxious, or unhappy more often than not, it’s a sign that something is wrong. In a toxic relationship, you may feel like your needs are not being met, you are disrespected, and stressed out on a regular basis.

9. Unequal power dynamics

In a healthy relationship, power is balanced, and decisions are made collaboratively. Toxicity can form when one partner holds power or influence over the other, leading to feelings of helplessness and dependency.

10. Lack of personal growth

A healthy relationship should support personal growth and development. In a toxic relationship, you may question your sense of self, feel like you’re stagnant, or held back by your partner. You may also feel disconnected from your values and not recognize the person you feel you have become.

How to move foward

If you resonate with any of these signs in your relationship, it’s important to address them openly and honestly with your partner, however, that may not always be possible. If attempts to improve the situation are unsuccessful, seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist can help you gain more clarity while prioritizing your safety and well-being. External supports can also help you think about what boundaries you want and need to set, as well as how you can establish a safety plan if there are potential risks involved with ending the relationship.

Safety, respect, and feeling valued and loved are part of a strong foundation for a relationship. Our therapists are available to support you through what you need in order to move forward with confidence – whether the decision is for both partners to commit to improving and strengthening their relationship together, or, to leave and start to rebuild your life and renew your sense of self.

Use the button below to schedule a free 20-minute consultation call with one of our therapists.

Get Started With Open Door Therapist

Use the buttons below to book an appointment or free consultation directly online. Prefer to send us a message? Click here.