There are the obvious signs you’re in a toxic partnership such as abuse (physical, emotional or substance) and adultery. Other transgressions may be less obvious but equally harmful to your mental and emotional state. Especially if your relationship has been spiraling into bigger, unresolved conflict for years, you may be so emotionally drained that it’s difficult to even recognize the signs, let alone break the cycle.
If you’re here, you may already feel a discomfort about your relationship or the relationship of someone you love, but perhaps you can’t quite articulate what it is that’s causing your uneasiness. Know that while the below are common indicators of a toxic relationship, they do not necessarily signal the end of your marriage. There are always promising options that could guide you through discord such as professional intervention or counseling. Even still, it’s important to be able to recognize signs of toxicity so that you are empowered to take action to protect yourself or a loved one.
Signs to Help You Identify a Toxic Relationship
- Depression and Exhaustion
You can trace your depression directly to your spouse. Likewise, your spirit and confidence are dampened, leaving you feeling constantly drained.
You are never sure what to expect from your spouse. He or she may be warm and fuzzy one day and cold and distant the next, but you can’t identify or predict a pattern.
- People you trust have expressed concern
Those who love and care for you, and have known you through many different seasons, have recognized harmful patterns in your marriage.
- You are on the defensive
You feel you have to explain or justify every decision and situation you’re involved in. Even when there’s logically no one to fault, you feel constantly blamed for everything.
- Your partner is not your emotional support person
You increasingly share your deepest emotions with someone other than your spouse. Additionally, you don’t share genuine, loving intimacy and don’t come to each other in times of joy or turmoil.
- Your partner lies to you
You witness acts of dishonesty. When you address your spouse, he or she makes excuses. Similarly, you find yourself trying to rationalize your spouse’s untrustworthy behavior.
- You feel manipulated
Your spouse uses devious mental tactics to control your actions.
- You don’t have outside relationships
Your spouse is possessive of your time, invades your privacy and space, or makes you feel guilty for spending time with others.
- You don’t enjoy spending time with your partner
He or she makes you feel uneasy, you dread going home and when you are together, your partner seems to deliberately incite insecurity in you.
- Your partner doesn’t respect your opinions
He or she refuses to compromise and frequently makes decisions, especially larger ones, without consulting you. You avoid addressing topics or expressing yourself for fear of a volatile discussion.
If you recognize these signs in your marriage and you need guidance, please feel free to call us. This does not mean you have decided to pursue divorce. Rather, a consultation could help you enumerate and explore your options with an objective professional.