Relationship Red Flags : What makes a relationship “toxic?”

As many of you know, relationship red flags may be hard to identify. Because relationships by nature are hard and require a lot of work, you may ask yourself sometimes “is this really healthy?” We have all been there. It can be challenging to know how to identify what’s a “normal” amount of dysfunction and what is down right toxic.

Red Flags

 We have all been there. It can be challenging to know how to identify what’s a “normal” amount of dysfunction and what is down right toxic.

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Here are some examples of relationship red flags to watch out for:

#1 Your partner never accepts accountability for their actions. Or if they do, they make sure to say “but I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t done X.”

#2 You never feel heard/considered in the relationship.

#3 You often question your own sanity or feelings. You may get stuck in self doubt, shame and guilt.

#4 You’re afraid of your partner’s reactions/judgements, so much that you find yourself altering or censoring yourself often.

#5 You struggle with being honest with your family/friends about your relationship. You may even start to isolate from people that were once close to you.

#6 You start becoming someone you don’t recognize.

#7 Your partner uses your vulnerabilities against you.

#8 You constantly feel like you’re in a power struggle in everything that you do.

#9 Your partner directly or indirectly demands things from you. There is no compromise in the relationship.

#10 You had high self esteem until this relationship.

#11 You feel controlled.

#12 You cannot see yourself as your own person. Your partner has become a part of your identity and you need their approval and love.

#13 Arguments are volatile or abusive in any way.

#14 You feel intimidated.

#15 Your partner acts completely different around other people than they do when they are with you.

#16 You catch your partner in repeated lies. Even they are small.

#17 Your partner is highly defensive and never shows their vulnerable side to you.

#18 Your partner refuses to see other people’s perspectives in anything they don’t agree with.

#19 You feel coerced in having sex.

#20 Your partner calls/texts you constantly when you are away.

#21 Your partner does not support you doing new things and acts threatened often.

#22 Your partner threatens self harm in an attempt to cause a reaction out of you.

#23 You and/or your partner is unwilling to go to therapy. (If you are too afraid, they are too defensive).

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Relationship Red Flags: How to walk away from a toxic relationship

If you find that you are in a toxic relationship, but struggle with feeling confident in getting out, here’s what you can do. First, if you are in an abusive or threatening relationship it is important to have a safety plan in place, (protective factors such as a place to stay, access to authority, etc).

It can also be incredibly helpful to have a safe, unbiased confidant like a relationship therapist. Because they are also educated on understanding human behavior, they will have a better perspective on what’s “healthy” or not. They are there to support you with building the self confidence and awareness you’ll need to leave the relationship. They can help you create and practice necessary boundaries to help you through the transition. Therapy can also help you connect any dots from past/childhood that may be impacting your current situation/feelings, which may help in healing any past traumas that are being impacted with your current situation.

Lastly, educate yourself on unhealthy relationships, personality disorders and/or addiction if applicable. This is something you can do in therapy, or on your own. Education is helpful at de-personalizing the problem and getting you to see the reality of a toxic situation.