When you are on the outside looking in, it’s easy to identify troublesome behavior that’s happening between your friend and their spouse. But it can be much more difficult to acknowledge toxic relationship problems when you are the one who is actually in the relationship.
Victims with toxic partners want to see the best in their spouse. They may continually give them the benefit of the doubt or are simply so used to how their partner treats them that they don’t see the bad behavior that is right in front of them.
Are your friends consistently telling you that you aren’t being treated well in your relationship? Don’t let a toxic partner take away your spirit and your light.
Here are 5 warning signs that your relationship problems have become dangerous to your mental or physical health.
1. Communication is Beyond Lacking
Healthy relationships are all about open and honest communication.
You should feel like you can talk to your partner about anything, and vice-versa. Talking is how couples resolve problems, deepen their romantic friendship, and strengthen marital happiness. If your partner refuses to communicate or problem-solve with you like a mature and respectful adult, there will be more relationship problems to come.
Passive-aggressive behavior may seem like a sarcastic way to move on, but it can actually be a sign of a major relationship problem. Spouses who are passive aggressive will use these subtle attacks to belittle you or to prevent any real communication from happening.
Even the happiest and most loving couples will have arguments every now and then.
Part of healthy communication is learning to solve problems in a way that is mature and respectful. When you ask “Are you alright?” and your partner responds with something like “I’m fine” or “Whatever” it is a sign that they are trying to undercut healthy communication.
2. They’re Controlling
Toxic partners love to have an element of control in the relationship. Some signs of a controlling partner include:
- Makes unreasonable demands of you
- Expressed unhealthy jealousy
- Stalks you
- Manipulates you
- Has control over your phone/social media/e-mail accounts
- Never apologize/Consistently makes you feel like you are wrong
- Verbal abuse that is belittling or degrading
Another one of the biggest relationship problems for someone who is controlling is to try to isolate you from friends and family. That is because they know these are the people who would be the most likely to help you out of your toxic relationship.
They may suggest that your family or friends are “against them” and that they don’t like you hanging out together. An outright request for you to stop hanging out with those people could also happen.
Your toxic spouse may also try and move you out of the city with them to get you away from your loved ones.
3. You feel Bad All the Time
A healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good about yourself. You should feel loved, supported, and safe.
The biggest factors in a long-lasting, successful relationship are respect, treating each other like best friends, viewing your relationship as sacred, and spending quality time together. In fact, research shows that married couples experience significantly less stress and greater happiness when they are spending quality time together.
Is this how you feel in your relationship?
If you consistently feel on edge, insecure, or worthless when you are around your spouse, you are definitely dealing with a toxic partnership.
4. Volatile Partner
Do you feel like you are always walking on eggshells when you are around your partner? Are you afraid when your phone goes off for fear that your spouse is going to have a bad reaction to the person who is texting you?
These are clear signs that your spouse has an unstable personality.
A volatile partner will have high-highs and low-lows. Even if they are in a good mood one minute, it won’t take but a second for you to set them off into a rage.
The oxytocin released when two loving partners interact on a physical level has been proven to reduce anxiety. If this sounds like the opposite of your relationship or you often feel a bubble of stress when trying to predict your partner’s mood, this could be a toxic situation.
5. Physical or Emotional Abuse
One of the most common relationship problems in a toxic partnership is the presence of emotional or physical abuse.
Emotional abuse can be just as devastating to your psyche as physical violence. Signs of emotional abuse include:
- Passive-aggressive hostility
- Gaslighting; manipulating a victim to the point that they believe they are crazy
- Threatening a partner
- Threatening one’s own wellbeing to guilt a partner into submission
- Monitoring everything you do
- Demeaning/belittling/humiliating you
- Threatening to hurt loved ones
Physical abuse is another sign of severe toxicity in a relationship. Signs of physical abuse include: pushing, hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, biting, kicking, threating or abusing a partner with an object, and rape.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,774,000 women will experience physical violence at the hand of her intimate partner each and every year.
Not only is this terribly common, but it can also be deadly. Further statistics show that 3 women will be murdered every day by their romantic partner.
It is never okay, under any circumstances, for your partner to lay their hands on you in an aggressive or violent way. This is definitely toxic behavior and you should start creating a strategy to get out of this highly dangerous situation as soon as possible.
Are your relationship problems turning toxic?
If so, it may be time to consider getting some professional help. Whether you need the help of an organization like the National Domestic Violence Hotline (reachable at 1−800−799−7233) or a marriage therapist, it’s best to make your move soon before things get out of hand.