Toxic relationship — if you are someone with even a little bit of knowledge of these two words then you must very well know the meaning of such a relationship. But what if I tell you that knowledge is not wholly correct?
We often limit the idea of toxic relationships to a box of stereotypes that has somehow rooted in our heads via movies, novels and other forms of entertainment media.
Emotional manipulation, abusive behaviour, resentment, controlling behaviour, narcissism from one of the partners. This is what comes into the mind of most people when they talk about a toxic relationship.
Unfortunately, in the real world, the list of behavioural attributes and signs that are associated with toxicity in a relationship are much more than that, truth be told I have written two articles (part 1 and 2 of my toxic relationship series) about the same topic and I’m still not able to put even 50 per cent of them in words. It sure is a very vast topic.
In my previous articles of this series, I have talked about many tell-tale signs of toxic relationships that are commonly found in the majority of toxic relationships and if you have read any of them, you must already know how important it is for us to recognise or spot these signs in our relationship.
I know, what you’re thinking — if you have already done two articles on the same topic, why a third one? Well, this article is different but at the same time correlated to them.
In this article we are going to focus on the signs of toxic relationships that many people don’t even know are toxic. People either ignore these signs, consider them acceptable or even worse — consider them as signs of a healthy relationship. Yikes.
Below are 8 signs that many couples consider normal but are actually toxic behaviour that are harmful to you as well as your relationship in the long run.
Disclaimer: When I mention toxic relationships, I mean toxic relationships, not abusive ones. Also, this is a gender-neutral article meaning it will work for most of you.
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1. The relationship scorecard is never healthy.
Most of the people in today’s time are growing up with a competitive mindset. As great as it is to have such a mindset in other aspects of life, you have to understand a relationship is not a competition between two people.
Your significant other is not your competitor but a partner. It’s a common behaviour in a long term relationship to keep a scorecard of each other. What’s worse is the fact that these couples instead of focusing on the good aspects of each other tend to unfairly push towards the negative ones.
It rarely is about what good their partner did and more about the hurtful, offending and insufficient things they did. In the long run, the negativity which is poured into these scorecards leads to the feeling of escalated resentment in one or both partners.
This behaviour often leads to increased conflict. It triggers the instincts of proving one’s “rightness” to the other and in the same spree forces us to prove our partner’s “wrongness”. Hence, it is the sign of a toxic relationship.
If you keep up a scorecard of your relationship, you might come out as a winner but it’s your relationship that will end up on the losing side.
The other (harmful) side of this behaviour being, it shifts your mindset to — I will only do something nice for my partner when I receive something from them beforehand. Doesn’t sound too foreign? Well, it’s toxic.
There’s a good chance that your partner feels the same and if they do what good will come out of it? Nothing. Bad? Plenty. Starting from leaving both of you filled with disappointment and ending with you being trapped in a stalemate.
2. Lack of identity is a sign of toxic relationship.
A common behavioural pattern noticed in some of the couples nowadays is that in the initial stage of their relationship, they are generally very immersed in each other’s interests, views and hobbies.
In other cases, they agree with their partners’ opinions even though they differ from their own, just to eliminate conflict. Although it may come off as the right thing to do at the moment, it is the sign of a toxic relationship meaning it will only do the opposite in the long run.
Yes, It seems great to share a similar thought process, interest and hobbies with your partner but if it’s actually not like that in reality and you are simply altering your own interests to match them with your partner, you will gain nothing and instead lose your identity.
You should not only treasure your identity but also keep it as your number one priority, no matter how hard it seems to do so in a relationship.
Your relationship should be your safe place, where you can celebrate your uniqueness and if you are feeling the other way around — it’s not exactly a healthy relationship.
If you are experiencing a similar situation then self-care and self-love should be your number one priority. You can look into the Blessing Manifesting’s ultimate self-love planner and other add-ons to make self-care a priority in your life.
3. Possessiveness — affection or insecurity?
Time ( okay, the media) has changed our idea of having a possessive partner and made it quite normal. A partner’s possessiveness is seen as a sign of love and care instead of what it actually is — Sign of toxic relationship or toxic behaviour.
They are possessive of you because they love you, care for you or because they just want the best for you, right? Not really. In reality, Possessiveness actually originates from fear and insecurities instead of what we like to think of it.
It’s hard to tell when possessiveness crosses the line of affection to controlling behaviour, due to Jealousy or insecurities. This possessiveness may seem cute right now (trust me, I have heard people saying that) which is not too bad but if it is not dealt with at the right time, can badly affect your relationship in the future.
4. Buying away the solution is not healthy in the long run.
The above point should top this list of things that may come off as a sign of a healthy relationship but are actually signs of toxic relationships.
I know most people won’t really even know something like this is happening in their relationship until they sit back and give it a good thought. Now that you’re here, this is exactly what we are going to do.
Think with a clear mind, how many times have you found a solution after having an argument? How many times have you really found a middle ground?
We all have arguments with our partners, it’s absolutely common. We all have different opinions, thinking processes and take on life hence, conflicts are bound to happen. But what you really need to focus right now is on the outcome of the argument.
Now try to answer this (to yourself obviously) — Do you get a solution after having an argument with your partner or do you go to bed without resolving the problem and get a gift the next day which lifts up your mood and makes you forget the happenings of the previous day?
If it’s the first, congratulations. You are one step closer to having a healthy relationship.
On the other hand, if you’re on the latter side don’t feel bad, yet. If your partner is giving you gifts, it’s a great thing (most of the time) and if you forget about the conflict, it’s alright. Anyone who receives a gift gets happy, that’s the purpose of a gift, obviously, they’re going to fulfil it.
The problem comes, if you feel like your partner is following this pattern every time you argue, especially if you are not able to come to an agreement during that argument.
Giving you gifts to solve the argument is not necessarily a bad thing but remember this — if you are not able to find a solution, middle ground or an agreement after your arguments are over.
Your anger, frustration and resentment will pile up and turn into something that will force you both to attend couples therapy. It is necessary for couples to have arguments and come to an agreement to have a healthy relationship.
5. Lack of privacy is a sign of toxic relationship.
Privacy is very important for human beings. The three main pillars of a healthy relationship are love, trust and respect, which also includes respecting each other’s physical as well as emotional boundaries.
Humans are social beings, yes. But at the same time, it’s very necessary for us to have some sort of privacy in order to have emotional, social and mental well-being. If you feel like your partner is not able to respect your privacy, then you have to evaluate your relationship with an open mind because it is the sign of a toxic relationship.
They want to know what you are doing, with whom you are hanging out or where you are all the time, being too immersed into your friend circle and of course the most common one — wanting access to your social media. Any of the above seems like home? I feel sad letting you know, your home is toxic.
6. Giving excuse for their bad behaviour is toxic in a relationship.
If you often keep giving out excuses for the bad behaviour of your partner to your family, friends and even yourself then please stop locking yourself up with a toxic partner.
If you constantly say things like — they’ve just had a bad day, it’s due to workload, they’re just stressed, it’s the mood swings, it’s their boss etc then you are already well aware of the fact that your relationship is a toxic one.
You have to understand, It’s not the boss, stress or a bad day, it’s simply your partner. You have to stop blaming others for everything and start letting your partner know of their bad behaviour.
Sometimes your eyes might not be able to see what others do. People often find it hard to see the toxicity in the behaviour of their significant other due to the love and care they hold for them in their eyes.
While others might be able to pick on it as quickly as on the first meet, hence don’t ignore the warnings of others around you by putting the tag of an outsider on their heads.
It is important to know when you need help and not hesitate to reach out to ask for it. You should consider paying a small visit to a therapist to deal with your situation in the best possible way.
If you’re someone who doesn’t prefer therapy, then you can try Therapy-At-Home Workbook by love and life tool box. It is a cost effective, do-it-yourself, therapist-guided alternative of traditional therapy in the form of downloadable products.
7. Your partner might be a dark empath.
In recent years psychologists have revealed a new personality type namely — Dark empaths.
After carrying out various researches it was concluded that this personality type is as interesting as it is revolutionary. Why?
Well, the people who possess this personality type in addition to various dark traits have an abundance of empathy in them as well. Now don’t mistake this empathy for love, care or positivity.
You may find a dark empath pleasing at first sight but they can get as dangerous as traditional dark traits such as narcissists, ghasligjters and psychopaths. The Empathy that they are bestowed upon is nothing but an ability to understand others’ emotions and bend it according to their will and ease for their personal gain.
In short words, these people alongside dark traits have a golden expertise in emotional manipulation. Pretty dangerous if you ask me.
In a recent study it was calculated that almost 19.3% of people in a group of 991 people are dark empaths. If we take these stats in consideration then approximately 20 in every 1000 individuals are dark empaths. Hence, it’s not impossible that your partner is one of them.
Want to learn more about the concept of dark empaths? Well click here to reach my detailed article about the most dangerous personality type (Dark empaths) and their 7 major characteristic traits. Who knows maybe you are one of them?
8. You deserve better.
I read this quote on Pinterest a few days ago and couldn’t get past, how true it actually is. A person in a healthy relationship has a very slim possibility of having such thoughts, while a person in a toxic relationship will think about it once if not plenty of times in a week.
You might not be able to pick up the signs of toxicity easily in your relationship but you surely will know if you deserve better or not hence, if you do so there’s a good chance that your relationship is a draining one.
The second step? Find out what exactly is it that makes your relationship toxic and is it something that can be eliminated or do you need to cut yourself off from your relationship.
Concluding thoughts on toxic relationships.
There are plenty of major signs that will let you know if your relationship is a toxic one or not but the majority of toxic relationships don’t even have those common toxic signs. Most of the time, it’s these small and unnoticeable behaviours that turn a healthy relationship into a toxic one over time.
These signs may look like something that you may not necessarily see as toxic behaviour, but trust me if they’re not dealt with at the right moment, they will most certainly make your relationship toxic.
A lot of people in today’s time are taught to tolerate these “small” things in relationships by saying things like — relationships aren’t always perfect, your ideas of a relationship are too unrealistic, you should learn to be a little tolerable but that’s not the reality.
Your relationships might not be perfect but it sure as hell shouldn’t be toxic either. If you keep up with toxic behaviour in your relationship, you’ll end up getting socially, mentally, emotionally and in some severe cases physically hurt.
Like I always say, toxicity is a disease that should be cured (if possible) or eliminated as soon as possible and if we are never told to tolerate diseases, why do so with a toxic relationship?
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Thank you for sticking with me till the very end.