Toxic relationships have effects on your mental health, your happiness and can stunt the growth of healthy relationships in your life. Learning how to remove those negative influences will greatly improve your mood and the quality of your relationships.
Lately I’ve been seeing so many posts on Twitter and Instagram from people talking about what their partners can and cannot do. These posts range from going out with friends to flat out not talking to certain individuals. That’s very concerning for me. These are hallmark signs of toxic relationships. So, in the interest of increasing the quality of relationships in your lives whether they’re romantic, friendships or familial relationships, we can all benefit from removing toxic relationships from our lives.
1. They want to spend all their time with you.
This sounds innocent at first. After all, they might really enjoy their company. But if they only want you to spend time with them and restrict you from engaging in the other relationships in your life that is important to you, that is definitely a red flag. This is most definitely one of the biggest telltale signs of toxic relationships and should be noted.
2. You don’t think you can be your authentic self.
It’s natural to have information you wish to keep to yourself. However, if you don’t feel comfortable being your authentic self with this person and you feel like you’re walking on eggshells at times or have to pick and choose your words a little too carefully, that’s a problem. True love, regardless of the nature of the relationship, is based on mutual recognition, the idea that two people can show their honest selves knowing that they will be cared for and loved regardless. If you don’t feel that way with this person, it might do you well to consider changing the nature of the relationship and how close you are with this person or distancing yourself altogether.
3. They tell you they don’t want you speaking to certain people in your life.
Naturally in life there are going to be people who are just problematic and messy who you should look out for and be aware of anyways. The issue is when your friend/partner/family member, etc… wants to prevent you from communicating with other people in your life because of their own jealousy and possessiveness. No one has the right to tell you who you can and cannot be around. Sure people can give their advice if they see you entering a potentially negative or harmful situation, but they cannot all out restrict you. You are entitled to speak to whoever you want.
4. They are overtly possessive with you.
Do you feel scared to like pictures on Instagram? Are you afraid to even talk to someone mildly attractive? Do want you to focus on them and only them? This is similar to 1 and 3 but I bring this up because I’ve been in so many situations with my guy friends where they start dating a girl and suddenly I or any one of their female identifying friends are public enemy no.1 Or when they go out, they’re afraid of other people flirting with them because their partner will freak out.
Hear me when I say this, you may know you’re in a relationship but the entire world does not know about your relationship.
You cannot be upset if someone flirts with your partner. You can be upset if your partner flirts back. Until they do that, have a little faith and trust. Don’t worry, they’ll shut the situation down and if they don’t, that’s an indication of a bigger issue afoot. You shouldn’t feel like you need to be an FBI agent in your relationship and you shouldn’t feel like you’re dating one either. Also, have grace with the people in your life who are oblivious to flirting. As one of those people, I just try to be honest with my romantic partners and they know that I won’t disrespect them or hurt them by entertaining anything and that’s all you really can do. The same way you find your partner attractive, someone else probably will. At the end of the day, you have to have trust because without trust, there is nothing.
5. They hold things over your head.
Does it feel like this person is always keeping track of the times you “failed”? Whether that was you saying something hurtful in an argument or forgetting your plan to hang out. Do they then turn it around on you to talk you into doing things that may not align with what you actually want to do? This is textbook manipulation at worse and resentment at minimum, neither of which have a place in a healthy relationship. It’s one thing to express that they don’t feel like your relationship is reciprocal. It’s another to rehash the past every time you have an argument.
6. They love “dropping hints” and get mad at you when you don’t know what they want.
Friend, we are not in kindergarten. People are old enough to vocalize their needs. It is unrealistic to expect anyone to just know what you want all the time. Unless y’all have telepathy, stop with the passive aggression and figure out a way to communicate. COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Even if you or the person is non-confrontational, I find journaling your feelings to be very helpful so you can be clear about what’s bothering you. If passive aggression is commonplace in your relationship, that is something you should reevaluate and try to fix. If not, distance might be the better option.
7. They expect you to be their emotional savior
No one should have control over your moods and emotions, even those closest to you. There also shouldn’t be an expectation on either end of a relationship that someone’s happiness is directly tied to another person’s emotions.
8. The entire relationship feels like a battle.
You don’t feel supported. You don’t feel heard. At this point you don’t even try to vocalize what you need because you know they’re not going to hear you. At this point, external support might be necessary, maybe that’s a counselor or mutual friend. Otherwise, this may need to be a lesson in letting go. Your relationship isn’t a fight. There are challenges that help you to grow but you shouldn’t feel like Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill and never making it to the top.
9. They lie as easily as they breathe.
Needless to say, you need to be able to trust the people with whom you form connections. Lies are a surefire way to erode that relationship. This is even worse if they can’t be honest about the little things. You can almost guarantee they’re lying about the big things. You should never have to question if what they’re saying to you is true. If you find yourself doing that constantly, I’d recommend just cutting them out of your life. Even more so if they’ve already made attempts at changing but can’t.
10. They don’t respect your autonomy especially in decision making processes.
This is especially common in friendships where you don’t feel like you have a say. They make all the plans and your presence is expected without protest or input. It’s like you’re an extra in the movie that is your friendship/relationship. It can reach to a point where you don’t feel like you have a say in anything. You might even feel like your needs don’t matter. You are 100% valid if you feel this way and you should vocalize that. If they don’t change, maybe this isn’t a relationship that you should give your time and energy too.
Recognizing toxic relationships in your life is never easy but it’s worth it to understand and address them.
Identifying toxic relationships you to move forward in a way that benefits everyone involved. Moreover, if the relationship does not change, sometimes, the most valuable lesson we can learn is how to let go of the things that no longer serve us.
Don’t block your blessings by staying in toxic relationships that are negative to your well-being.