When you are in a healthy, long-term relationship, things just fall into place naturally. There may be setbacks at times, but for the most part, you make decisions together, openly express any difficulties that come, and genuinely enjoy spending time together. On the other hand, a toxic relationship leaves you feeling exhausted, drained, and sometimes even troubled. Furthermore, when you’re in one, it can be hard to notice the signs, which is why it’s so important to educate yourself.
A toxic relationship can cause a massive breakdown to individuals, loved ones, and even work environments, but they’re not always the domain of the frail, oppressed, or vulnerable. Individuals who are strong, stable, and independent may find themselves engulfed in a toxic relationship. If you consistently feel worn out or miserable after spending time with your significant other, it may be a sign that something needs to be changed.
Relationships progress. They evolve and alter over time. Sometimes, they collapse, and they burn down. We never know how things will turn out when a partner’s less lovable, kind of terrible habits emerge, or when they are influenced by alcohol, drugs, or bad peers. This is why it’s important to recognize whether you’re in a healthy or toxic relationship.
What Defines a Toxic Relationship?
Many of us enter the dating scene without knowing how to recognize toxic traits in ourselves and others. When one or both partners prioritize love over the three main elements of a healthy relationship: trust, affection, and respect, the relationship becomes toxic. This may sound absurd to some, but love should not be the driving force behind staying in a relationship because it may influence our judgment in these other key aspects.
If you focus on the love you get in a relationship over the respect you deserve, you will end up being treated like a doormat. If you choose love over trust in a relationship, you’ll have to struggle with lies and deception. And if you put your relationship’s importance on love rather than affection, you’ll end up with an aloof and cold presence in the relationship.
We put up with bad relationships for various reasons: maybe we lack trust, perhaps we’re not paying attention enough to see what’s going on, maybe we don’t have a decent grasp on our emotions, and so on. However, this results in a shallow, emotionally unappealing, and potentially harmful relationship.
We’ve put together a list of warning signs of a toxic relationship for you to be aware of below!
Watch Out for 9 Red Flags
A toxic relationship doesn’t have just one form. Still, there are several red flags of bad relationships that a lot of couples either overlook or, even worse, mistake for signs of a healthy relationship.
1. You always have a bad feeling about the relationship
You doze off worthless, and you wake up feeling similarly dreadful. At the same time, you feel a deep sadness when you watch other couples enjoying themselves and being affectionate. What makes you think that such feelings aren’t possible for you? It certainly is, but you must first pave the way for it to find you. Choosing to leave a relationship is rarely easy, but staying in a toxic relationship for an extended period of time can undermine whatever courage, mental fortitude, and confidence you have in yourself. When that occurs, you’re trapped.
2. Arguments are full of false equivalencies
And you start to see it coming. Questions and assertions such as “So, do you want to go out with your friends or do you want to sit at home with me?” or “Either you break off that friendship, or you break my trust and ruin this relationship.”
When a partner uses false equivalencies, they aren’t trying to make a sincere argument. They’re trying to trick you and break you down. It’s impossible to go on from here. Everyone commits mistakes, but yours are being used as evidence that you’re too uninvolved, unnecessarily off-base, or too dumb. The only thing you are is worth too much to be treated this way.
3. You don’t express your needs because you always get shut down
People have needs, many of which they seek in a relationship. Connection, acceptance, respect, passion, sex, and love are a few of the huge ones. When those needs are ridiculed or disregarded, the neglected need’s void will start ringing like an old church chime. If your attempts to address what you need always result in an argument or with allegations of insecurity, distrust, or insanity, you’ll either ignore the need or despise the fact that it is still being neglected. It’s toxic in any situation.
4. Your partner keeps a scorecard
The “scorecard” paradox occurs when your significant other continues to chastise you for past misdeeds, keeping a “scorecard” of who has done what. It’s what we call the “relationship scorecard” scenario, where the relationship eventually turns into a competition to see who has messed up the most over the years and hence who is in debt towards the other.
The relationship scorecard is a one-two punch suck fest. Not only will they divert the recent concern by zeroing in on previous wrongdoings, but they’re using past blame to control you, the significant other, into feeling awful in the present.
5. You’re the only one putting in any effort
It’s impossible for someone to maintain a relationship because they’re the only one doing the work. It’s desolate and depleting. If you’re not ready to leave the relationship yet, give only what you want to give and nothing more. When there is no work to appreciate and love you, invest time for you, and share the things that are essential to you, the relationship quits giving and starts taking far too much.
Relinquish the fantasy that you can improve things if you only invest even more time and effort. Instead, buckle down, say enough, and do what’s needed. Take a step back and breathe. You’re more than enough. Keep that in mind.
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6. “No” is considered a bad word
In any relationship, the word “no” should be respected. Even if it’s for the sake of love, don’t scratch it from your vocabulary. Solid relationships require compromise, but they should also consider the needs and desires of both parties. It’s just as essential to discuss what you need to communicate what you don’t. Discover your “no”, refine it, and remember when to deliver it.
A considerate partner will understand that you do not need to agree with everything they do or say. It’s probably time to end the relationship if you’re only acknowledged whenever you say “yes”. If you’re concerned about the void that you’ll create once you leave, get some superglue for your soon-to-be-ex. Problem settled.
7. They use passive aggression against you
Passive-aggressive actions are a roundabout attack and a terrifying attempt to gain leverage. The toxic act lies in limiting your ability to respond and deal with problems in a straightforward manner.
The assault is unobtrusive and frequently masked as something completely different. For example, outrage camouflaged as aloofness such as “whatever” or “I’m fine”; control masked as consent like “I’ll just stay home while you go out and have a good time without me.” Worst of all, it can be a scoundrel pretending to be a savior, “You appear to be truly drained, darling. We don’t have to go out this evening. You can stay in and make yourself a meal, and I’ll have a drink or two with Maria alone, okay? Since her orders were canceled earlier this morning, she’s been a total wreck.”
You know the activity or the conduct was intended to control you or hurt you since you can feel the tingling pain. However, it’s not clear enough to directly address. If it merits getting distressed about, then it’s worth discussing. Then again, passive-aggressive action closes down any chance of this.
8. Issues never get resolved
We can understand that each relationship will have its own set of problems. However, nothing gets sorted out in a toxic relationship because any disagreement leads to another argument. There is no assurance that the other party can handle the situation safely and securely. When this becomes a pattern, needs get overlooked, and in a relationship, neglected needs will consistently consume hatred.
9. They’ve become physically and verbally abusive
Physical aggression may result from violence and derogatory slurs. If your companion is punching, kicking, or bullying you, it’s evident that the relationship has deteriorated.
What Does This All Mean?
Love should never cost you your tranquility, your euphoria, and your happiness. Roadblocks happen in every relationship, but you should bear in mind when these roadblocks are slowly turning into red flags. Never fall prey to a toxic relationship because it’s difficult to get out once you’re hooked.
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