You may have had some tough times in your relationships in the past but you have stuck with your partner because everyone has ups and downs. That may be true but some relationships go beyond the normal level of arguments or disagreements. Sometimes the wrong partner is worse than no partner at all. If you’re with a partner who makes you feel worse about yourself, you may be suffering from a toxic relationship and that can have deadly consequences. Here are some signs to look for once your relationship goes from rocky to toxic.
Your Self-Esteem Drops
A loving, nurturing relationship makes you feel better about yourself. So what happens when the person you love beats you down physically, verbally, or emotionally? You begin to lose faith in yourself and your self-esteem bottoms out. If you’re giving your love to someone who belittles you, it’s not a healthy relationship. Toxic relationships fuel the fire for mental health issues. If you don’t already have one, you can develop one when someone is constantly cutting you down or making fun of your beliefs and dreams.
Are You Feeling Sick or Becoming Ill?
While toxic relationships can cause you mental distress, they can also manifest as being sick all the time or presenting problematic symptoms. For instance, you might start suffering from insomnia or headaches. You may have generalized muscle and body aches that appear to have no cause. Your partner may disregard the symptoms and tells you that “it’s in your head.” This further emphasizes your unreliability in their mind by chalking up any problems you may have as a lie or your imagination.
You’re Afraid When Your Partner Is Around
You live in fear of setting off your partner’s anger or a barrage of insults. Shouting and raging can be just as frightening as physical abuse and may coexist with violence. One side effect is that you’re afraid to express your opinion or stand up for yourself in an argument. You can’t expect to live in constant fear and not have anxiety, depression, and potentially more mental health symptoms. You can’t live in a constant state of “fight or flight” without your mind and body breaking down into an unhealthy state.
You’re Relieved When You’re Ignored
Think about the above statement. You aren’t looking for nurturing, support, or love so much as you want to be left alone in the relationship. Maybe your partner gets involved in a video game or has friends over to celebrate football. If a distraction from your relationships gives you relief, it’s a major red flag.
Violence and verbal abuse are always signs of a toxic relationship. Something needs to change before you get hurt. Or worse. Likewise, if you actively engage in distractions from the relationship and its negativity, you may be engaging in a coping mechanism to deny the reality or trying to hold on to the relationship, no matter how toxic to your well-being.
Big Little Lies
Dishonesty is another hallmark of toxic relationships. The lies can be on both sides of the relationship. You may lie about where you’ve been for fear it will cause a fight or lie about friendships outside the home. Your partner may lie about why they’re coming home so late, where the money has gone, or about anything else.
You may find your partner trying to gaslight you. This is a form of psychological warfare where your partner tries to make you feel you’re in the wrong or exaggerating something when in actuality, you’re in the right. This kind of lying can range anywhere from a refusal to follow logical arguments to outright denying the reality of the things you experience.
Having to Explain Every Minute
If a simple trip to the grocery store results in a major argument and an interrogation, you’re probably in a toxic relationship. If your partner wants to know what took so long, where did you go, who did you see, and one million other details, they are trying to manipulate you into an isolated relationship in which you only interact with them. It’s not that they care or show any signs of caring, typically, but the toxic partner sees you as solely someone to fill their needs rather than a fully-formed person who has needs too.
Toxic Relationships Exist Outside of Romantic Ones Too
Don’t forget that a relationship can be toxic even if it isn’t romantic. Friends and family often form these destructive relationships with each other. Or instead of friends, maybe we should call them “frenemies.”
If you’re in a toxic relationship, so-called friends are fairly easy to cut ties with. Family relationships are tough to cut ties with or change because the relationship likely formed over your entire life. Relationships with a romantic partner are also difficult to break because, despite all the hardships and lies, you may still have feelings for them–or at least have feelings for the person they used to be. Unless that person is willing to change or get counseling, you may have to cut them out of your life. Yes, that can mean family, too.
Relationships should strengthen you and give you the love and support you need to become a more confident person. They should inspire you and help you achieve your dreams. Unfortunately, for far too many people, a relationship with someone can become toxic and you may have to leave. If it’s become toxic in a violent way, immediately seek intervention and you have to get away from that person now. It’s a sad situation when the people you love the most become the ones who hurt you the most and cause you mental duress. Here at Everlast Recovery Center, we treat the mind as well as the body. Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand, and we’re equipped to fulfill your needs, no matter what they are. Our Riverside, California campus offers holistic treatments such as yoga, nature walks, and equine therapy. If you are in a toxic relationship, it may be time to get away and get yourself strong and mentally healthy. We can help. Call us at 866-DETOX-25.