Subtle Relationship Behaviors That You Think Are Normal But Are Actually Toxic

No one ever said that relationships were easy. We get into arguments, have our own set of hang-ups, and disagree with each others way of doing things. But where exactly do we draw the line from normal to “crazy”?Toxic behaviors in relationships are much more common than we’d like to admit, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept them. Do you ever find yourself or your partner doing these harmful things?

  1. Keeping score Does your partner constantly bring up your past mistakes? And do you throw his mistakes right back in his face? This is called a relationship scorecard, and it’s the last way you want to communicate with someone you love. Keeping score keeps you both stuck in the past while using it to justify the current halo that you have on your head. Stick to the present and dump the score; you both should be playing for the same team.
  2. Passive aggression We’ve all used sarcasm a time or two, but it’s not a normal way to communicate in a healthy relationship. Instead of using language that speaks plainly, passive-aggression uses hints to express that you are pissed. This kind of communication shows that you aren’t comfortable enough bringing up your needs or saying how you feel. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Learn to state your needs without fear; your partner can choose to do what he wants with them.
  3. The silent treatment The silent treatment has been responsible for smacking that last nail in the coffin of countless relationships. While many of us see the silent treatment as a normal response to a disagreement, it’s anything but. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this monster, it can feel like a punishment worse than death. Instead of exercising control over your partner through silence, humble yourself, ask for forgiveness, and get over yourself.
  4. Perfectionism Life isn’t perfect, and it never will be. When you expect perfection from your partner, you’ll be left continually disillusioned and unsatisfied. No one will ever be able to get to the top of your impossible ladder. The sooner you let go of your lofty expectations, the sooner you can better appreciate what you have right in front of your face.
  5.  Stonewalling If you’ve ever used the word ‘whatever,’ and walked out of the room, you’ve been guilty of stonewalling. This unwillingness to consider your partner’s perspective is just a thinly veiled way of controlling or manipulating, and it’s anything but normal. We may use this tactic as a protective measure against getting hurt, but in the long run, it does nothing but degrade relationships. Step outside yourself, accept your inadequacies and be willing to talk things through with your partner no matter how much you want to avoid a subject.
  6.  Jealousy Whenever a person of the opposite sex is within arm’s reach of your guy, you turn into a raging maniac. If you’re checking his phone when he’s not looking, you’re the one who’s already breached the trust between the two of you, not him. This may sound crazy, but you’re going to need to learn how to trust your partner. You’re also going to need to learn to be secure with yourself. If you don’t, you’ll end up pushing him away, which is exactly what you didn’t want happening in the first place.
  7. Overt negativity No one wants to be around a Negative Nancy. If you’re continually refusing to look at the bright side of life, you drag down everyone around you, as much as they want to like you. When you find yourself in constant negative mindset, you don’t exist in your true reality. Meditate, take some time to focus on the positive, or get some exercise; but whatever you do, get out of that negative headspace.
  8. Being obsessed with validation When you’re in a race to win the affection or attention of everyone around you, it can be downright exhausting for friends to keep up with. If you’re in a never-ending battle to get validation, you’re unintentionally sucking the life out of your relationship by bringing your partner down. By accepting yourself as you are, you open up the door to true validation from those that love you instead of exhausting yourself to receive those coveted accolades.
  9. Gaslighting Do you find yourself denying you said something or trying to convince your partner that an event or conversation never happened (even when you know damn well it really did)? This is called gaslighting: a dirty tactic used to make victims question their own reality. Even when there’s proof, gaslighters will deny any wrongdoing, making victims feel like they’re going crazy. If you find yourself engaging in this manipulative tactic, look deep within and examine your motives. To be in a healthy relationship requires both partners playing fair, so it’s time to start.
Lauren is a freelance writer living in New Jersey. When she's not deeply immersed in pondering the cosmos, you'll find her hiking a mountain, reading something philosophical, or dancing in her underwear. Read more of her existential musings at