You find yourself constantly apologizing. Sometimes it’s easier to end disagreements by apologizing even if you’re not the one at fault. When it becomes an occurrence that happens too often, however, and you find that your partner refuses to be accountable for their own actions, that can be a huge sign that something’s not quite right—especially if they’re constantly twisting things around and somehow putting the blame on you.
You can’t express your feelings to your partner. If you can’t communicate with someone, you can’t be with them. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings because you’re afraid that they’ll be dismissed or turned against you, there’s no solid foundation on which to build a healthy relationship. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells.
You feel less and less like yourself. Sacrifice and compromise are a part of any relationship, but when they jeopardize who you are as a person, that’s a big indication that your relationship may be toxic. Your identity and integrity matters, and anyone who respects you would never do anything to destroy that. Don’t change who you are to make someone else happy. It’s OK to have differences of opinions but you should never feel obliged to fall in line with their way of thinking.
You aren’t honest with your friends/social media about your partner. I’ve always been the type of person to share everything with everyone because I believe that honesty is important in any relationship, romantic or otherwise. When I was with my toxic ex, I would only share the good things with my friends and online. I tried to portray only the good parts of my relationship to fool the people in my life and also myself because I didn’t want to admit what was really going on.
You deny that it’s abuse because they haven’t hit you. Physical abuse is not the only type of abuse. It is more common and can potentially be more damaging long term to be emotionally abused. Gaslighting and manipulation aren’t always easy to recognize at first, and these behaviors can often turn physical. In my experience, abusers/toxic people are quite good at seeming charming and personable which gives them the ability to trick you. You reassure yourself that it’s not toxic or abusive but you forget that words can be just as hurtful as actions.
Your partner is overly jealous and doesn’t trust you. Some jealousy is perfectly normal. However, when you’re constantly being accused of things you haven’t done and forced to justify yourself, it becomes seriously problematic. If you have to check in with your partner to let them know where you are/who you’re with/what you are doing, they don’t trust you. And from my experience, they’re often projecting because they’re hiding something themselves.
Your friends/family don’t like them. You’re an adult and you’re 100% free to make your own decisions, but your judgment can sometimes be clouded and you have difficulty seeing what can be obvious to others. My mother has always seen past the BS of my boyfriends and even friends. If the people closest to you aren’t keen, you know something’s not quite right.
You feel controlled and monitored. I’m not going to lie, I’ve sneaked a peek or two at my partner’s phone when a new text comes through and lights up the screen. However, if your partner is going through your message or browser history, there’s clearly no trust between you. My ex made me delete certain Facebook friends (attractive males or men I had slept with at some point) but refused to do the same with the women in his life.
There’s always a “but.” You try to use their redeeming qualities to counteract the toxic ones. “We fight a lot, but we have good days too!” “They go through my phone, but only because they care a lot for me and want to protect me.” “They’re ignoring me, but they’re probably just busy.” “They said mean things to me, but they apologized afterward.” You’re justifying behavior you know is wrong and it has to stop.
Their relationship with drugs/alcohol is often more important than the one they have with you. Substance abuse can be really harmful to your relationship because it turns people into the worst versions of themselves. It may or may not be used as a justification for their actions but it often seems to. If they’re dependent on drugs or alcohol (or even something like gambling), you have to get out and they need to get help.
You get put down more than you’re built up. If your partner is taking constant jabs at you, it can really start to stick. There’s a difference between playful poking fun and malicious remarks. If your partner encroaches on your self-esteem rather than encouraging it, that’s pure toxicity.
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