Six signs you are in a toxic relationship

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if you find you’re unhappy much more than you’re happy when you’re with someone, then it may be time to assess whether this is the right person or relationship for you. Perhaps your relationship is not working, and isn’t giving you what you want or need. But maybe things are worse, and it’s toxic.

Toxic relationships can happen to anyone. You’re not weak if you get caught in the grip of a partner who you love but who is essentially poisoning your self-esteem, happiness and wellbeing.

Ask yourself, does your partner…

  1. Bring you down?
  2. Make you feel unsupported?
  3. Have some positive characteristics that keep you with them, despite other destructive traits?
  4. Make you feel ‘hooked’ on them?
  5. Undermine your feelings, publicly or privately?
  6. Make you doubt yourself or feel insecure?

If you answered yes to most of these, you could well be in a toxic relationship.

What to do about it

  • Talk to someone you trust and ask them, as an outsider, if they feel happy or concerned for you in your relationship.
  • Tell your partner what you like and don’t like about the way they treat you. They may not be aware of their behaviour, and telling them gives them the opportunity to recognise it, and change negative patterns. But, as Honey says: if they reduce your concerns as being “all in your head” or insignificant, then they are likely to value their own self-image above your feelings. This does not make for an equal, happy partnership.
  • Ultimately, if a relationship’s not working, you can walk away.

Where to find support

If you have concerns about your relationship, visit Relate for more information, and to message a counsellor for support.

It is always good to speak to someone you trust about the issues you might be facing, no matter how big or small. Although it can be hard talking about relationships, everyone finds them challenging at times. So if you are experiencing difficulties, don’t feel ashamed or different and don’t feel you have to hide away from it.

If you are experiencing emotional or physical abusive, or are concerned about someone who is, you can speak to someone at SafeLives call the 24 hour Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Alternatively, you can speak confidentially to someone at Women’s Aid and Mankind, or visit their websites for more guidance and advice.

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