Signs of a toxic relationship

Signs of a toxic relationship

After coaching countless women over the past ten years, in the beginning many of them struggled to acknowledge or even accept the signs of a toxic relationship. Although they knew their relationships caused pain and emotional trauma, getting clear on whether the relationship was toxic was a process. Whether you’re seeking signs of a toxic husband or wondering, “am I in a toxic relationship,” you will gain insight and awareness of the signs of a toxic relationship.   

Toxic relationships often seem normal to people who have a history of being mistreated and taken advantage of, and it can be challenging understanding the signs of a toxic relationship or even recognizing the signs of toxic men. However, you can decide today to no longer accept or allow yourself to ever be involved in a toxic relationship. The following are signs that you are dealing with a toxic relationship, they can also be used as signs your toxic.

#1 Feels exhausting, draining - not energizing

Toxic relationships are draining. They deplete you of your energy, mainly because in these types of relationships you are giving much more than you’re receiving. Toxic people are often takers. They enter your life to take and get whatever they can and whenever they can. They are only focused on what benefits them above all else. If you feel yourself constantly trying to appease the other person and you are overly exhausted from people pleasing and trying to get their approval and validation, that’s a sign you’re in a toxic relationship. It’s time for you to create boundaries and no longer deplete yourself by diminishing your energy in a toxic relationship.

#2 Feel like you’re walking on eggshells with them

Do you constantly worry about hurting their feelings or getting them angry or upset? Do you feel like you can’t fully be comfortable being yourself? You struggle to relax with them and often worry about them being triggered or becoming outraged. This is a toxic relationship and it’s not healthy for you to continue engaging in this type of relationship without first creating healthy boundaries and communicating healthy relationship desires. Create a plan on how you can effectively communicate your concerns and boundaries. If the person is not open for healthy dialog you may want to begin creating distance in the relationship.

#3 Fearful to discuss relationship issues

No relationship is perfect. Even healthy relationships have disagreements and wholesome conflict. Therefore, when relationship issues come up, it’s important to discuss solutions and communicate to get a clear understanding and reconciliation. However, in a toxic relationship you may become fearful to discuss issues due to the violence or abrupt behavior. It’s important to communicate that toxic behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Your relationship is meant to unite you with another person. There should be mutual respect and a consistent practice of listening to understand each other.

#4 You’ve connected your identity to the relationship

If you feel like you wouldn’t be anything without them in your life, that’s a sign of an unhealthy attachment. You must understand your personal value, self-worth, and unique identity. It’s great to have a close relationship, however, you should never allow yourself to believe you’re nothing without your partner. When you attach yourself to another person to the point of feeling like you have no worth without them that type of thinking and mindset is very dangerous and toxic. Begin to invest more in the relationship you have with yourself by prioritizing self-love and building a healthy self-image.

#5 They expect you to change entirely to fit their criteria

Anytime someone tries to change you or interfere with you being yourself, that’s toxic. When they don’t fully accept you and instead complain that you are lacking and need improvement in some way, that’s toxic. Now, there is nothing wrong with encouraging your partner in the progression of personal development. 

However, it gets toxic when the person is constantly treating you like you’re not good enough. When they call you fat, dumb or ugly or if they force you to do the things they like and abandon your own moral standards and desires. I had a client who said her boyfriend forced her to engage in sex acts with multiple people when she was with him. She felt that it was against her moral beliefs, but she did it to appease him and now she’s left with the regrets.

#6 You’re in the relationship only because how long you’ve been together

These long-term toxic relationships gain a sense of loyalty because of the number of years they’ve been together. I hear it all the time, “we’ve been married for 35 years but he has been cheating on me for 18 years.” They are holding on because of the number of years. However, these relationships will always be toxic. 

They have built toxic patterns, unhealthy habits, and discouraging expectations. Change is almost impossible due to years of toxicity. You’ve heard the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” There is some truth to this regarding old toxic relationships. I often advise clients to focus on the individual healing work on yourself and if your partner wants to join you great, but if not, don’t let their lack of growth stop you.

#7 Instead of supporting you in bad times your partner mocks you or insult you

It’s like being kicked while you’re already down on the ground. This is when your toxic partner blames you for the struggles you face. They insult you, verbally, emotionally, or physically abuse you while you’re in your lowest point of your life. 

Maybe you lost your job, or your car broke down or you went through an issue with a family member, instead of encouraging you and supporting you, they insult you. They want you to suffer and feel bad. They don’t sympathize with you and instead humiliate you. Read more about the signs of a toxic relationship and how to start your 30-day healing plan in my bestselling book, Addicted to Pain. Click here to learn more.

Author: Rainie Howard

Rainie Howard is a relationship expert reaching millions online as an award-winning CEO and Podcast host of The Rainie Howard Show. For the past six years, Rainie has sold more than 120,000+ copies of eight books as a self-published author. Rainie also hold a master’s in business management and leadership.

Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit

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