When we’re ‘in-love’ with someone it’s sometimes difficult to recognise the signs that you’re not being treated with the respect and kindness we expect from the person we love. It can be a challenging ask, but occasionally we need to take a step back and try to take an objective look at our relationship and how the other person treats us. If this sounds too daunting, ask a trusted friend to share their opinion based on what they see and hear about your relationship.
A toxic relationship can present damaging behaviour that is physical and/or psychological – some of us live in denial, making excuses for our partner’s treatment for fear of causing more damage or losing the relationship, however staying in a toxic relationship can be immensely damaging to our mental and physical health.
Most toxic relationships do not start out being toxic, commonly they begin just like any other relationship or quite often they appear ‘just too good to be true.’ Slowly, overtime your partner may begin to blame you for things beyond your control or pick at your faults, using humiliation, jealousy, and control amongst other abusive behaviours. Gradually the behaviour and abuse are ramped up, slowly draining you of your self-worth and alienating your support system leaving you feeling trapped and miserable before you even realise the signs.
Regardless of you being mistreated emotionally, verbally, or physically it can be difficult to comprehend that someone you love, and who claims to love you could also abuse you. As difficult it is to understand, sometimes your partner may not even realise what they are doing is wrong.
Here are some signs that you may be in a toxic relationship: –
- Humiliation – It may start out with a simple and subtle jibe or insult in private and then grow to become full-blown yelling in public causing deep embarrassment before you even realise what is happening. Typically, it does not take much for a toxic partner to get angry for the smallest of reasons and convince you that you are the guilty party. This type of humiliation is meant to make you submissive and to control you in front of others
- Verbal insults – It’s not usual for you or your partner to lose your cool in an argument occasionally, but that should never overspill into verbal insults about your looks, your intelligence and your worth. Verbal insults are used to wear down your self-esteem so that you are compliant and solely reliant on your partner.
- Picking out faults – Does your partner treat you like a child? Most toxic partners who use verbal insults as their prime tool will treat you like a misbehaving child – yelling and disciplining you, using meanness and pointing out your every fault, however if you try to correct them get ready for a seriously defensive and angry backlash.
- Unpredictable behaviour – Often extreme mood swings are common for toxic partners – they can be pleasant and romantic one moment and then fly into a fit of total rage the next, this extreme unpredictable behaviour is typically aimed at a submissive partner who they know will not challenge them.
- Controlling behaviour – A controlling partner may aim to alienate you from your friends and family, so they will not recognise the signs of toxicity or come to your aid. Most toxic partners want you to be totally dependent on them and no one else. At first it may appear that your partner is just really invested in your life and your decisions, but it will slowly spiral into them wanting to control your life.