- Lack of positive emotions
The hallmark of a toxic marriage or relationship is that there is no more joy, no more positive emotions. You feel that everything is hard and negative. It’s as if a wide grey cloud covers your mind and soul. Your partner may claim they love you, but the words are meaningless, as their actions show the exact opposite. In fact, you don’t just feel a host of negative emotions, you feel drained, as if you have no more emotional energy to carry on, thus you give up on yourself and your expectations.
- Your partner is always judging you.
Does your partner constantly make negative comments about your weight, appearance, personal characteristics, overall personality, style, behavior, or ability to do things? Does your partner see you through belittling lenses, thinking they are superior and you are inferior? Do you feel that you are always being tested for something that you don’t even know what it is? This is a cardinal sign of toxic relationships.
- Your partner is chronically angry.
If you live in a relationship where anger prevails, then there’s not much room for positivity. If your partner is irritable, grumpy, bad-tempered, snaps, yells, and has angry outbursts most of the time, that’s a sign your relationship is toxic. Although these may be characteristics of depression or other psychiatric conditions, left without treatment they can lead to much disruption and sorrow in the relationship. You probably live in the edge, you are stressed, pressured, and always on the lookout as to what’s going to be the next excuse for yet another scene.
- Your partner doesn’t value you
The pattern of your interactions is clearly skewed; your partner tends to criticize, ridicule, scorn, discredit, and belittle you, either privately or in front of friends and family. Your partner disagrees with your likes and dislikes, your taste, your ideas, attitude, life outlook. Your partner often comments on your mental ability and critical thinking, by commenting “are you stupid? How can you say this?” Even worse, after verbally attacking you and disparaging you in public, your partner tells you smiling “I was just joking!” You feel that no matter what you say or do, your partner doesn’t value you.
- Your partner doesn’t see anything wrong
People in toxic relationships tend to have polarized views concerning reality. One person is upset and realizes that the relationship is dysfunctional, while the other disagrees and doesn’t see any problem. When the couple differs so fundamentally in their views of their shared reality, it’s hard or even impossible to start a dialogue about what’s going on, pinpointing the problems and setting out to fix them. If you try to bring up a discussion about your relationship, your partner changes the subject, outright refuses to talk, or bluntly blames the whole thing on you, making you feel foolish for even considering this possibility of trying to fix things.
- Your partner is adamant about not changing
You tell your partner that there’s this behavior that really bothers you and they don’t even acknowledge your feelings, let alone changing the behavior. I am not referring to behaviors such as “you need to drop 20 pounds,” or “put the toilet sit down,” and the like. I am talking about major issues that affect the quality of the relationship. Your partner is unwilling to consider internal changes, they are not willing to truly listen to your concerns and wishes and show you their love and caring by considering these changes. That’s not being told what to do; it’s listening to the needs of the other person in the relationship. Neither is it “I am right, you are wrong.” It’s more starting a dialogue about being willing to acknowledge and fulfill the needs of the other person and that’s mutual.
- Your partner has started an emotional war
When your partner focuses more on trying to control you, threatens you, doesn’t allow you the freedom to be yourself, doesn’t support you, creates drama and tension, constantly criticizes you and undermines you- they don’t show you love. Your partner doesn’t invest in your relationship or you as a person.
- Around your partner you are not your authentic self
If you feel that you need to think, feel, and act in a certain way when you are with your partner in order not to cause problems, if you feel that you are not free to be your true self around them and you always walk on egg shells, that’s a sign that you are in a toxic relationship. When the decisive factor in your behavior is how your partner will react and when you try to avoid friction and fights, then you are stuck in a toxic relationship.
- Your partner is jealous of you
Despite the fact that your partner talks badly about you, devalues you, criticizes, discredits and undervalues you s/he is jealous of you. Your partner doesn’t like it when you are happy, successful, friendly, self-confident, popular, or anything that makes you feel good. Your partner undermines you, and gets mad when you are on the phone, when you make plans to see your friends, when you do stuff that’s good for you. Furthermore, your partner doesn’t like any of your friends and has something vitriolic to say about you and your choices.
- Your partner is manipulating you emotionally
You are stuck in a relationship where your partner knows what to say or do to make you feel bad and guilty. Your partner slams doors, accuses you, shouts, curses, tells you it’s all your fault, and expects to do “something more,” this elusive thing that if you were to perform things would change and become “just perfect”. Of course, there isn’t such a thing, it’s only an illusion on the part of your partner who wants to have the upper hand in the relationship. The only way of being for your partner is to feel that they have control and power in this relationship.
- You are not happy, and you can’t do anything to change the relationship
All marriages and relationships have ups and downs, that’s the natural course of things. All couples face issues and have struggles that they need to solve together. there is no 100% happiness 100% of the time- that’s unrealistic. When you realize that you have lost your natural ability to smile, when you feel unhappy, devasted, or drained and dead inside, then you know that something is seriously wrong in your relationship. When it seems that trying to work around this issue and attempting to change the situation doesn’t make any difference, then you know that you have a real issue- you are in a toxic relationship and you need to get out of it.