According to Merriam-Webster, something toxic is “extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful.” Sometimes, people don’t want to think of their relationship with someone they care about as abusive. Abuse is something that happens to others, right? Abuse means bruises and broken bones, doesn’t it? Abuse does indeed mean these things, but it means so much more.
It might be easier to conceptualize unhealthy relationships by thinking of them as toxic. A toxic relationship harms. A toxic person causes emotional and/or physical damage to another person. If you don’t quite think you’re in an abusive relationship but are concerned about how you’re being treated, look for these signs you’re in a toxic relationship.
- Control issues. Your partner is rigid and must have his or her way. You find yourself complying to keep the peace and because it’s easier.
- Communication difficulties. Any time you express concern or a differing opinion, you’re met with some form of anger and manipulation (shouting, shunning, belittling, aggression, etc.)
- Feeling on edge. Because of his or her behavior, you walk on eggshells. You must justify everything, and you can’t be yourself.
- It’s you. You’ve been made to feel that the relationship and partner are fine; the problem lies with you and your misinterpretation of reality.
If you recognize these signs, you could be in a toxic relationship. You deserve better, and it’s okay to reach out for help.