Content warning: this article contains the mention of abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse of any kind or might be, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Toxic relationships can take different forms. Although it is a broad term, a toxic relationship generally refers to a relationship that is unhealthy in some capacity. Sometimes, people don’t realize that the relationship is unhealthy - while one may feel effects such as stress or strained self-esteem, they may blame themselves, internalize what is going on, or try to fix things to no avail. What are the possible indications of a toxic relationship? Furthermore, how does one walk away?
Recognizing the signs of a toxic relationship is crucial, and it might be the first step to ending a connection that hurts your mental health, whether the harm done is intentional or unintentional. Here are some of the potential signs of a toxic relationship:
What makes a relationship toxic can vary extensively, so you must note that these are only some possible signs you might notice. All in all, it’s crucial to get in touch with how you feel, if the other person is or is not willing to make a change with you, and if the best choice you can make for yourself is to call it quits. It may also be beneficial to look at what a healthy relationship may look like in comparison. In a healthy relationship, you’ll likely feel secure, a sense that you are respected as an equal, maintain your sense of autonomy while feeling close to one another, and know that you are supported as an individual, and have, or are working toward, an open line of communication.
Sometimes you will need to walk away from a relationship, which can be a painful experience, even if the relationship was or is toxic. So, how do you do it? Here are some steps you might take:
If the situation is an abusive one, or if you are at all concerned for your safety, put your wellbeing first. As you heal, it’s vital to feel your feelings and give yourself the space to do so.
Healing after you let go of a toxic relationship can take time. You might experience grief related to the loss of the relationship, which could mean that you move through some or all the stages of grief, which include denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance. Depending on the circumstances, you may experience concerns such as difficulty trusting others and impacted or lowered self-esteem. It is possible to heal from the effects of a toxic relationship; again, support can make a world of difference. A therapist or counselor can help you move past the effects of a toxic relationship, which can be lasting. Mental health professionals such as therapists and counselors can also help you move toward the future you want. You may be able to find a therapist to work with in person, or you may opt to work with a therapist using remote options, such as through an online therapy platform. No matter what you choose, the important part is getting the support you need.
Internet-based or online therapy is well-studied and can help people who want to work on a range of different concerns with the help of a professional. BetterHelp has continued to improve throughout the years, and over 20,000 licensed, independent providers currently offer therapy through the BetterHelp platform. When you sign up, you will take a brief questionnaire to help our team match you with a professional who meets your needs. If you need to cancel your BetterHelp plan or change therapists at any point in the process, we make it easy to do so. Online therapy through BetterHelp is convenient and is often more affordable than traditional, in-person therapy or counseling without health insurance applications. Even better, financial aid may be available for those who need it.
Are you ready to try it? Click here to get started, or read the FAQs and therapist reviews on the BetterHelp website to learn more about our platform and the professionals who use it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Signs Of A Toxic Relationship?
Signs of a toxic relationship can include but aren’t restricted to envy or jealousy, resentment, financial behaviors that impact you negatively, lying, or lack of communication, support, autonomy, or affection. The relationship may also be toxic if you notice that you walk on eggshells around your partner or if you experience consequences such as lowered self-esteem. In the absence of abuse, you may be able to overcome patterns of a toxic partnership together. This will require acceptance of the issue at hand, investing the time necessary to repair the relationship, and seeking professional help in the form of couples counseling if needed.
How Do You Leave A Toxic Relationship When You Love Someone?
Leaving a toxic relationship when you love someone can be difficult, but it is something that you deserve to do for your health and long-term happiness. You deserve to be treated well. Recognizing patterns and understanding the impacts this relationship, regardless of intent, has on you may be the first step to leaping to leave. No matter the reason, if it’s hurting you, it is hurting you, and that is enough. Many individuals find it helpful to cut off contact completely or as much as possible given the situation, such as having children together. It can also be crucial to turn to your support system, work on things like your confidence and sense of self or anything else that was impacted while you were in the relationship, and let yourself feel the entire spectrum of emotions that you might experience during this time. Although they may be confusing, rest assured that anything you are feeling is okay.
How Do I Know If I Am The Toxic One?
Having the self-awareness to realize that you may be engaging in unhealthy behaviors in your relationship is a powerful thing, and it’s something to give yourself credit for. Signs that you may be damaging your relationship can include but aren’t limited to lying, failure to communicate, passive-aggressive behavior, putting a partner down, attempting to control a partner, or taking anger out on a partner. It is important to recognize where you may be hurting your partner or relationship, as this allows you to fix it. Seeing a therapist may be helpful and is highly recommended. Therapy is a safe space where you work on creating healthier patterns.