7 Ways To Identify If You're In A Toxic Relationship And How To Get Help

By Stephanie Kirby|Updated June 23, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Laura Angers, NCC, LPC

All relationships face their share of struggles. However, there’s a big difference between a rough patch in a relationship and one that’s toxic. If you believe that you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s important to get help.

There are many reasons why it might be hard to realize if your relationship is toxic. But, these seven signs can help you learn to spot the toxicity in your relationship. This is the first step to getting the help that you need.

  1. You Aren’t Encouraged To Grow As A Person

Your significant other feels threatened when you are growing yourself as a person. They would rather you stay exactly as you are. They may even express this in a way that sounds like a good thing, but their intentions are not good underneath it all.

They may be fearful that you are growing ahead of them, which can make them jealous. Or, it can make them worried that you’re going to realize that the relationship is not what it should be and put an end to it. Your significant other will most likely want you to participate in things that they enjoy, but they won’t do the same for you in return. If you want to further your education, climb the corporate ladder, or start volunteering your time with a nonprofit organization, they’re not going to encourage you to move forward with it. They want you to stay stuck right where you are.

  1. You’re Starting To Wonder If You’re “Crazy.”

You may have heard the term “gaslighting” before. If not, this is when your partner manipulates the situation to the point that you think you might be the wrong one. Deep down, you know that their behavior in the relationship is not correct, but they cause you to doubt yourself so much that you end up thinking that you must be going crazy.

It could be that they deny saying things that you know they said or doing things you know that they did. Or, it could be saying that you said or did things that you know you didn’t do. However, they are so convincing and determined to prove that they are right. No matter what you do, they don’t back down, and you end up wondering if you were wrong.

  1. They Have Encouraged You To Withdraw From Family And Friends.

Toxic people don’t want you spending time with others. Especially those that will recognize that you’re not in a healthy relationship. This essentially removes you from your support system. If you don’t realize that this is what they’re doing, then you might be tempted to think that it’s just that they want to spend time with you. And, while that is what they want to a certain degree, it’s also that they don’t want interference from others in the way your relationship is going.

When you start to wonder if there’s a problem in your relationship, you don’t know who to call for advice. You don’t feel close with family or friends anymore, making it uncomfortable to talk with them. If you find yourself in the situation, remember that it was you that pulled away from your family and friends, and they are most likely still there, ready to lend you a listening ear.

  1. You’re Not Yourself Anymore

When you’re in a toxic relationship, it can change a lot about your personality. You may have been outgoing and bold before, and you have slowly become more and more withdrawn. Or, maybe you used to enjoy volunteering and helping others, but your partner doesn’t support that, so you stopped. The longer you’re together, the more you realize your personality has changed, and you don’t recognize yourself.

When you’re in a healthy relationship, you’re continuing to grow as a person healthily. You should end up better than you were before your relationship started. A toxic relationship works the opposite. You may reach a point when you realize that you don’t even really like the person you’ve become.

  1. You Feel Like You’re Always Walking On Eggshells

Feeling like you’re always walking on eggshells is a concrete sign that you’re in a toxic relationship. If your partner is overly sensitive, easily angered, or takes offense to every little thing, it’s very hard to have a healthy relationship. This is not how a relationship should be and will not allow you to continue to grow as a person either.

All relationships will go through difficulties from time to time. Still, if you feel like you constantly have to be on edge or like you’re just trying to do everything you can to keep the other person happy, you’re not in a healthy relationship.

  1. You Get The Silent Treatment

There is a time and a place for taking a break from an argument or conversation with your partner to get your head straight or calm down. But, this is different than the silent treatment.

When you can’t resolve issues because you’re getting the silent treatment, it’s a problem. If your partner chooses to ignore you any time you disagree about something or even if you’re trying to get them to decide on something, it’s a problem. This is one more way that they are working to control you and manipulate the situation.

  1. Your Partner Did A 180

When you first started dating, everything was sunshine and roses. It felt like you hit the jackpot. They seemed to respect you, care about you, and put you first. They made you feel special. But, somewhere along the way, they started to do a 180. And, it might have happened so slowly that you didn’t even notice that it was taking place.

But, one day, you realized that things aren’t like they used to be. They don’t treat you the way that they used to, and you feel like you had the rug pulled out from underneath you.

How To Get Help When You’re In A Toxic Relationship

First things first, if you are in a physically abusive relationship, it’s important to get the help that you need. This can be a scary step to take, but without doing so, none of the other steps may matter.

Toxic relationships are more common than most people realize. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

Toxic relationships can come in all different shapes and sizes. They could involve physical abuse, or it could be emotional and mental abuse. But, it doesn’t matter what type of wrong behavior is taking place within the relationship; a toxic relationship is not one that you want to stay in.

Recognize The Situation For What It Is

You aren’t going to get help for your toxic relationship until you’re able to recognize that you’re in one. It’s time to analyze your relationship with open eyes. Stop covering over and making excuses for the things that your partner is doing wrong. Most likely, people from the outside may be able to recognize that there are some problems in your relationship, but that’s not always true, especially if you’ve pushed everyone away. So, this is something that you might need to do for yourself, but it doesn’t mean that you need to do it completely alone.

Leaving a toxic relationship is hard. It’s been reported that women in abusive relationships will try to leave seven times before they do.

Talking to a therapist can help you to recognize if you are in a toxic relationship. If you’re afraid to reach out to a therapist because of what your partner might think, then that’s a good sign that you’re in a toxic relationship. There are online counseling services that make it easy for you to talk to a therapist without drawing a lot of attention to yourself.

Recognizing that your relationship is toxic is crucial in being able to move forward and getting help.

Build Your Support System

It’s time to start re-contacting those friends and family that you have walked away from. If they are people who truly love you and value your relationship, they’re going to be there for you and want to help you and understand what’s going on. It could be hard to trust this because your significant other may have spent a lot of time knocking down those people but think about your relationship with your friends and family before being in your relationship with your partner.

Having a strong support system can be very helpful when trying to leave a toxic relationship. Even if you know that it’s the best choice for you, you may question your decision from time to time. The people within your support system will be able to remind you of why you made the decision you did and why it was so important for you.

Get Professional Help

Getting out of a toxic relationship and getting help isn’t as simple as just ending the relationship. There’s a good chance that your self-esteem has been damaged from being in the relationship. This can take time to heal and move past.

Talking to a therapist can be a good way to improve your self-esteem and regain your confidence. They can also help you to learn what brought you into that relationship in the first place and how to avoid repeating that mistake in the future.

If you are unsure how to get out of your relationship or even start, a therapist is a good place to turn.

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