The Main Characteristics of Toxic Love - Step To Health

The Main Characteristics of Toxic Love

Toxic love can take many different shapes, from physical and emotional abuse to unrealistic expectations. Do you identify with any of these types of toxic love?
The Main Characteristics of Toxic Love

Last update: 06 May, 2021

Toxic love is much more common in relationships than you might think. It can take relationships down a bitter path that often breakup. But this might be an issue of learning: we’ve learned to settle for toxic love because of our fears, hopes and dreams, and somewhat misguided beliefs.

So, here are the main characteristics of toxic love.

The main characteristics of toxic love

A woman crying with the silhouette of her partner in the background.

Trying to change your partner

In a toxic relationship, one partner tries to change the other person. This is because they want them to become the perfect image of the partner that they have in their mind. But they end up not accepting the other person and loving them for who they are. In a toxic relationship, what you really love is the idea that one day you’ll become the perfect couple that you’ve always dreamed of.

That only brings frustration. After all, changing someone is hard – and often impossible – task that will have you wasting a lot of energy.

Emotional dependence

In some ways, this is one of the great evils of our time. The fear of being alone and the thought that nobody loves you can causes you to become emotionally dependent. In some cases, there’s a childhood full of emotional deprivation and traumas hiding behind this. Oftentimes, that kind of thing ends up causing problems in future relationships.

Emotional dependence absorbs, consumes, and confuses love with a strong addiction.

Being possessive of your partner isn’t love

This is definitely one of the major characteristics of toxic love, and one of the big mistakes that leads couples down the path of bitterness.

  • Being possessive of your partner and overwhelming and controlling them isn’t love, it’s insecurity.
  • Nobody belongs to anyone else. We’re all free and should never have to find ourselves in a position where someone thinks they own us.

But what’s really behind a desire to possess your partner is a feeling of distrust. For example, you might be afraid that they’re unfaithful or that they want to break up with you. Sometimes, this insecurity arises because you may have thoughts like these yourself. On other occasions, it’s the result of a damaging negative experience from which they were damaged for any of these reasons.

They hit you when they’re frustrated

A woman crying and holding her hand out in front of her.

Physically hurting someone who you “love” is never okay. No one has the right to raise their hand against you, no matter what you’ve done.

If your partner mistreats you, not only physically but also verbally, this is clear evidence that your relationship is toxic.

You have to talk through your disagreements. No one should ever be subjected to someone else’s willpower or lack of self-control. You have to always respect each other.

You distance yourself from your friends

It’s understandable not to see or think about your friends as much as you used to in the first few months of a relationship. The new experience attracts you, and you want to be with the person who has captivated you and get to know them as well as you can.

But if this is still happening after a year, or maybe even two or three, you’re in a more delicate situation.

  • It might be that you’re not going anywhere without your partner anymore. You don’t hang out with your friends if your other half can’t also come, so you meet up with them much less frequently.
  • There’s something you may not have realized, and this is that friendships can last a lifetime if you nurture them. But sometimes, the simple truth is that a romantic relationship’s days are numbered.

Be careful, because when your relationship ends you’ll want to have support from your friends. But they may no longer be there to support you.

Love based on illusions

A woman ripping a photo of her and her ex.

This is the kind of toxic love that’s hard to get rid of because it has a lot to do with the first phase of falling in love.

Expectations and illusions cause you to idealize our partner. But what happens after that phase? The things that you previously ignored begin to bother you.

Many partners don’t know why their relationship changes over time. But mature love opens your eyes from the beginning and doesn’t let itself get carried away by expectations that are only realistic in your head.

Did you identify with any of these characteristics of toxic love? Now that you know more about them, it’s time to avoid falling into these kinds of relationships, even if it’s difficult and takes a lot of effort.

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