How To Spot Abusive People So You Don’t Get Stuck In A Toxic Relationship

There’s a reason they say that love is blind. When you’re falling for someone, it’s easy to focus only on their positive attributes and ignore potential red flags. You may have a skewed, idealized version of the person in your mind that conflicts with the impression they leave on other people. In some cases, your significant other may not show you their true colors until you’ve been together for some time since there’s less of a chance you’ll break things off when you’re already head over heels. Once you’ve fallen for them, you may dismiss toxic behavior or even put the blame on yourself. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for certain behaviors in order to avoid getting stuck in a toxic relationship.

  1. They See Themselves As The Victim.  Having a victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which an individual tends to identify themselves as the victim in situations, even if the evidence is contrary. This person acts like the whole world is against them and others are always the reason for their misfortune. They’re a master manipulator – they make others feel like they’re to blame. If you notice that your love interest constantly portrays themself as the victim, it won’t be long before they begin putting the blame on you, resulting in a toxic dynamic. It’s a sign to run. If you don’t, you’re sure to get stuck in a toxic relationship.
  2. They Mistreat Other People. When you’re interested in someone, it’s important to observe how they interact with other people. Not just those who are close to them, but random people they meet in their everyday lives – servers, cashiers, or fellow passengers on public transit. If you observe them being rude or pushy to other people, then it’s a major red flag. Even if someone is having a bad day, it doesn’t give them the right to mistreat other people. If your significant other has no problem being rude to complete strangers, it won’t be long until he directs this energy to you, if he hasn’t already started doing so.
  3. They Intimidate To Get Their Way. Abusive or toxic people often think the world owes them something – and they’re not afraid to demand what they think they deserve. A classic sign of a troubled person is if they use intimidation to get their way. They’ll threaten to get someone fired if they don’t feel they’re being accommodated, or they’ll demand to speak to the manager for the slightest reason. Before long, they’ll begin using intimidation or threatening tactics with you in order to manipulate your feelings. But don’t give in to this toxic behavior.
  4. They Love Bomb You. This is probably the biggest warning sign that you’re going to be stuck in a toxic relationship if you don’t get out now. Love bombing is a type of manipulation tactic that involves grandiose demonstrations of attention and affection. It’s a method use by abusers in order to exert control over their victims – by making them feel loved and appreciated, it’s harder for the victim to see the abuser for what they are and leave. Love bombing manifests in different ways, but be on the lookout for someone who buys extravagant gifts, gives constant compliments, and is obsessive with flattery, specifically after an argument or they’ve done something to make you upset.
  5.  Their Compliments Are Backhanded. Showering you with compliments isn’t always a sign of affection – it can also be a control tactic. Backhanded compliments are insults disguised as compliments. They’re used by abusive people in order to break down the victim’s confidence and increase their need for the abuser’s approval. Your significant other may tell you that you clean up well (implying that you look bad when not done up) or ask if you’ve lost weight after saying you look great (implying you would look better if you lost a few pounds). Needless to say, if the compliment leaves a bad taste in your mouth or seems to have a subliminal message, trust your gut.
  6. They Always One-Up You. When a person is trying to one-up you, they’re going to constantly try to show you how they’re better. This is another manipulation tactic designed to lower the victim’s confidence and increase their desire to get the abuser’s approval. Watch out for a significant other who can’t celebrate or recognize your accomplishments without pointing out their own, or will tell you how you could’ve improved. You want a significant other that builds you up rather than tears you down, so don’t stand for this type of negativity. There’s nothing that creates a toxic relationship atmosphere quite like this, and you don’t want to get stuck in it.
  7. They Call Insults Constructive Criticism. If you call out your significant other for insulting you, but they respond by saying it’s merely constructive criticism and you’re over-reacting, be on guard. They’re trying to manipulate you into thinking that you’re in the wrong. By making you question yourself, it will also decrease your confidence. Your partner should be apologetic after you explain why something they said feels insulting. They may try to explain what they meant, but they should be respectful and not dismissive of your feelings. If they can’t do this, then it’s not someone who can give you a healthy relationship.

If your significant other displays any of the aforementioned signs, you may be in a toxic relationship. You can’t change an abusive person – that sort of change needs to come within. You’ll only endure pain and heartbreak the longer you stay in a toxic relationship. You deserve to be in a healthy, loving union, so don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Alexandra is a freelance writer in Montreal, Quebec. She enjoys shopping as a sport, Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-runs, and being a plant mom.