If You Regularly Feel These 11 Ways, You’re In A Toxic Relationship

A toxic relationship is one in which you feel unsupported, diminished, unfulfilled, and maybe even trapped. Often, the dynamic is so unhealthy and entrenched that it is difficult to recognize from the inside. However, there are certain things that you can look out for. If you feel these things, you may be in a toxic relationship.

  1. Jealous Jealousy is a normal feeling, even in healthy relationships. However, if it becomes a constant, nagging emotion that underlies your thoughts about your partner, you should take a closer look at your relationship. It may be evidence of trust issues, emotional manipulation, or a lack of respect, all of which point to toxicity.
  2. Controlling Jealousy is the precursor to controlling behavior. If you think your partner is unfaithful or untrustworthy, you may begin to monitor their activity, facilitate their movements, or eavesdrop on their texts and conversations. This is a clear sign of a lack of trust and a breakdown in any respect you may have had for each other. Controlling your partner is a sign that you feel trapped and dependent because otherwise, you would have abandoned the relationship long ago.
  3. Secretive The flip side of controlling behavior is being secretive. If you feel that your partner is controlling you, you’ll likely try to hide your activity for fear of upsetting them or creating a misunderstanding. Secretiveness can be a signal that something much darker is present. If you are fearful of what your partner might do if they discover something they don’t like, you may be in an emotionally or physically abusive situation.
  4. Lonely You should never feel lonely in your relationship. Even when you’re away from your partner, you should feel loved and supported by him or her. Unless you are struggling with your own mental health, a relationship that leaves you feeling lonely is missing a fundamental ingredient and will never provide you with comfort or stability.
  5. Insecure Nothing indicates a toxic relationship more clearly than emotional insecurity. Feeling that your partner isn’t invested in you or that they may abandon you the moment a better option comes along is evidence of dysfunction. Try to identify the source of your insecurity. If it’s because you have your own struggles with self-image, you should seek to heal yourself before continuing a relationship with someone else. If it’s the relationship, your partner is not providing you with the love and reassurance you deserve.
  6. Ignored Feeling unheard or shut down whenever you ask for what you need is a sign of a toxic relationship. You need to be able to speak openly with your partner and feel mutual respect. Without it, you will be stuck in a cycle of hearing only your own side of the story and be completely incapable of productive communication. Without healthy dialogue, a relationship cannot last.
  7. Numb When you’re in a toxic situation, you may get so used to feeling stressed and unhappy that your emotions shut down. This is a dangerous position because we need our emotions to tell us when things have reached a breaking point. When you feel so overwhelmed that your body stops communicating with you, you may lose the ability to recognize how toxic your relationship has become. If you are experiencing numbness, therapy may be the best way to reconnect with your emotions and see your relationship for what it is.
  8. Resentful Resentment builds when you feel ignored or when you are afraid to speak openly. You internalize all your anger, doubt, and loneliness until the dam breaks. Toxic relationships thrive off of resentment because the longer truths go unspoken, the longer you will stay together. Explosive arguments, though painful and upsetting, release the pent-up feelings and often mark the beginning of the end of a relationship. Resentment allows toxicity and codependency to multiply.
  9. Petty Another downside to burying emotion and being unable to communicate your needs is that it doesn’t defuse the negativity you feel towards your partner. Instead, those unspoken feelings express themselves in small acts of retaliation, such as picking arguments about things you don’t care about or dropping small insults here and there just to make your partner feel bad. This will allow the relationship to spiral into deeper unhappiness and toxicity bit by bit, without spinning out of control quickly enough to be untenable.
  10. Passive-aggressive The next layer of retaliation below pettiness is passive aggression. Instead of landing small insults, you hurt your partner by omission. For example, you may give them the cold shoulder when they attempt to start a conversation, or purposefully “forget” to do something you promised to do or do it badly. This is one of the most common forms of emotional manipulation, and whether you are the victim or the perpetrator, you are on the losing side.
  11. Exhausted In any toxic relationship, the pervading feeling will be exhaustion. A healthy relationship makes you feel safe, respected, understood, and heard. In other words, you can relax into it. Toxic relationships are so emotionally stressful and unfulfilling that you will be physically and emotionally empty. You have nothing left to give. Because of this exhaustion, it can become increasingly difficult to free yourself.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.