When love goes terribly wrong, you may not always be aware of the signs. There are some toxic relationships that just engulf you to the point where you don’t even know you’re being treated horribly. Others may argue you chose to ignore the signs.
Relationship expert Devin Walters said it’s important to recognize and deal with toxic behavior before it gets out of hand. “Sure, no relationship is ever perfect. Sometimes you even need to strike a compromise in order to build a potentially good relationship into what it could be. But when someone you thought was important to you starts to do more harm than good to you and the people around you, it’s time to make a change before it’s too late,” said Walters. There are usually some clear indicators that something is amiss. Here are a few signs you may be in a toxic relationship.
1. Your partner is consistently critical
Do you get the feeling like nothing you do is right? Are you making an effort to please your partner, but it’s never enough? If you’re constantly being criticized by your partner, even for minor things, this indicates a problem. Your relationship should be one of mutual love and support, not caustic remarks.
Therapist Lori Marchak said it’s important to speak with your partner about how this behavior makes you feel:
Begin to talk to your partner about your desire to work together to change your relationship patterns, no matter how longstanding. The last thing in the world most people want to do is be hurtful to their partner, and for most people, the opportunity to redeem themselves is precious. This can only happen when both partners are ready to move away from blame and judgment to a place of mutual curiosity and understanding. Many people find this process too difficult to do on their own, and attend couple counseling or a couple workshop to succeed.
2. Your partner has trouble controlling anger
Does the slightest thing make your partner fly off the handle? If you’re always dealing with someone who quickly goes into fits of rage, this is a red flag. Being around someone who is always angry and looking for an argument is not only draining but also unhealthy. You deserve to be spoken to with respect.
Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, director of the Institute for Marital Healing, said relationship anger can cause health problems:
The impact of angry, turbulent marriages is substantial: for example, research demonstrated that unhappy marriages were a risk factor for depression and were associated with a 25-fold increase relative to happy marriages. Similarly, researchers have found a 10-fold increase in risk for depressive symptoms associated with marital discord. Marital conflict and anger are also associated with increased blood pressure, impaired immune function, and a poorer prognosis for spouses with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.
3. You feel worthless
Are you struggling with your sense of self-worth? Are you often on the receiving end of insults? Your partner should make you feel cherished and valued. No one has the right to make you feel like you don’t matter or that you are not worthy of love. Author Anneli Rufus writes about how feelings of worthlessness can change you over time. “I’ve seen what self-loathing can do. I’ve seen it steal the light right out of eyes. I’ve watched it drive the beautiful, the brilliant, and the kind to places from which they could not come back.”
If the insulting behavior has gotten to the point where you feel you may hurt yourself, your first step should be to call a suicide hotline and tell a close friend or family member about these thoughts. Once you’ve gotten more stable, you may want to look at possibly ending the relationship.
4. You’re being isolated
You should be concerned if your partner insists that you don’t see your friends or family. Isolation is often a precursor to abusive behavior. Let your loved ones know what is happening so you can get out before it’s too late. The crisis team at Dating Abuse Stops Here said attempting to isolate a partner is a control move. “Isolation from friends and family is a key controlling behavior. If you are with your partner constantly, he or she can keep tabs on you. The abusive partner can control where you go, who you see, and what you do … An abuser just wants to keep you under control,” the team said.
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