Sometimes, love just isn’t enough. But there’s something even more dangerous: love can turn toxic, creating sadness and sucking the air out of the room, leaving only jealousy and mistrust.
You’d think it would be easy to recognize when your engaged in a toxic relationship. But unfortunately, it’s not, and that’s why some people end up in them on more than one occasion. When you’re in love with someone, your cognitive and emotional state gets distorted somewhat, and it can be hard to “wake up” to reality. Open your eyes.
In today’s article, we want to clue you in to the most obvious signs of a toxic relationship.
How to know if you’re in a toxic relationship
1. You see only walls where there once were doors
It’s pretty likely that before you were in a relationship you were a very independent woman. You made all the decisions surrounding your work and home life. You had your friends, went out with your colleagues, and arranged a happy daily routine.
But now, the relationship you’re in has altered your reality:
- You find you can’t decide what you want to do before agreeing on it with your partner. If you mention that you’re planning to go to a corporate dinner or go shopping with a friend, your partner frequently won’t allow it.
- Your life, from the evening to the morning, is micromanaged. One symptom of a toxic relationship is something like having to change the kind of clothes you wear to please your partner, for example. Or starting to cut out things that you previously enjoyed: wearing makeup, using your cellphone, staying out a little late…
- You might also start to notice that your partner is limiting your own personal advancement. Maybe they don’t think you should move up in your company. From one day to the next, you see walls going up around you when you once saw opportunities…
- Every day, it seems like an invisible fence is being constructed around you.
2. Your emotions are ignored, attacked, or manipulated
Most people get involved with another person with great enthusiasm. Love is so intense, overwhelming, sincere, and filled with emotion that it’s normal to offer our complete selves to the person we love. But remember that it’s important to balance that love with the same amount of care for yourself.
- One cornerstone of a toxic relationship is emotional manipulation. And this often manifests in the most subtle and destructive ways.
- Toxic people are always looking out for their own benefits. Remember that people like this have very low self-esteem and weak personalities. Their insecurities breed mistrust and a desire to control their partner. They might be afraid of being abandoned, of the possibility that another person might attract you away from them. And that leads to continuous surveillance and uncontrollable jealousy…
- The desire to control you puts them in a position of absolute power where only one member of the relationship has the right to make decisions. If you don’t do what your partner asks of you, they come up with clever ways to make you feel guilty. They make themselves appear to be the victim, laying all the blame on you. You have to be very, very careful.
3. Your unhappiness grows day after day…
You may still be in love with your partner, but a strange things starts to happen: when they’re not by your side, you feel at peace. You can breathe again, and finally relax. Look closely at other couples who live more harmoniously together, where each partners respects the other’s personal space and allows for personal growth.
Pay attention to your true feelings. If you’re feeling unsatisfied and experience any of the things we listed above, you’re losing yourself, coming apart…You’re not who you were before. And you might begin to feel like your self-esteem has been crushed, or that you’re broken inside.
You have to take all these things into account. A lot of times the emotional distress you’re experiencing can transform into physical symptoms. What does that mean? Anxiety and fear can cause headaches, for example, or pain, nausea, and more. People with these symptoms can go to the doctor but never receive the proper diagnosis.
A doctor might tell you that you have migraines, for example, but what you’re really suffering from is depression generated by your unhappy situation.
How can you escape from your toxic relationship?
It may be hard to believe, but statistics show that toxic relationships can sometimes last for years. How can that be? Here are some of the sobering reasons:
- Some people are afraid of the consequences of leaving their partner. They fear for their children or that their spouse might turn on them and hurt them.
- Some of us simply can’t imagine “being alone.” So they’re compelled, in a way, to suffer in an unhappy situation rather than live in solitude.
- Sometimes these relationships last because the couple is still in love. But it’s an unhealthy love that only causes damage, and yet they don’t know any other way to be. It seems strange, but it’s true.
In order to escape from a toxic relationship you first have to be aware of what’s happening. Understand and accept the situation, and admit to yourself that you’re unhappy. Possibly your friends and family have noticed all these signs well before you did. Lean on them, seek support when you need it.
The next step is to talk to your partner. Tell them how you feel, explain your frustration and your unhappiness. If you find that doesn’t motivate them to help improve the situation, or if you believe there’s no way that things can get any better…you need to pull away. Your peace of mind and emotional health and integrity come first, so don’t ever doubt yourself.