Is Your Relationship Toxic? 40 Warning Signs To Look Out For

Is Your Relationship Toxic? 40 Warning Signs To Look Out For

How can you tell you are in a toxic relationship?

People very often ask how they can be sure a person they are in a relationship with is a narcissist. The struggle to not only understand but to accept what they see and feel can cause so much confusion to survivors of narcissistic abuse. One thing that is asked for is a checklist of abuse, a way to check and see if what is being experienced is really abuse and not the fault of the survivor.

Toxic Relationship? Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Are you struggling to understand what is going on in your relationship?
  • Have you questioned things then later second-guessed if it was you that was at fault?

Breaking Trauma Bonds and Healing

In this video, I talk about 40 ways you might experience narcissistic abuse. The things described in this video are meant to help you understand and be aware of signs of toxic abuse in relationships. The more you understand about narcissism the easier it is to accept a narcissist is a narcissist and will abuse. Acceptance helps you to break those horrible trauma bonds that tie you to an abusive person. Know the signs, ask questions, get informed!

Additional Resources for People in Toxic Relationships

40 Red-Flag Signs Your Relationship Might Be Toxic

40 Red-Flag Signs Your Relationship Might Be Toxic

Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships is both confusing and debilitating for the victim of the narcissist. But what is interesting is that nearly everyone who has experienced it can relate to certain issues that come up. In fact, you might be surprised to learn how often we hear the same questions, again and again.

For people who are surviving narcissistic abuse, some of the most common questions I hear from my coaching clients are the following. 

Questions like these are asked so often that you might be shocked. But I get it because I’ve been there personally – as have all of our narcissistic abuse recovery coaches and counselors here at QueenBeing.  In fact, that’s exactly why we do what we do! We’re here to provide the validation a survivor seeks to help with moving forward. The truth is that getting out of toxic relationships often feels impossible without some validation that the relationship is indeed as bad as you think it is. 

Without a psychologist’s diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, we may wonder if we’re misunderstanding things. Because we can’t personally diagnose the abusive person, we doubt ourselves and we wonder if there’s something we could be doing to cause the problems in our relationships.

The thing is that, quite frankly, a label does not matter. What matters is how you are treated in the relationship – and how you feel when you spend time with that person. 

Toxic is toxic.

The struggle to even know if your relationship is toxic is totally normal with emotional abuse. Many of the mistreatments and abuse can be covert and almost impossible to describe. Check out this list of signs that your relationship may be toxic if you need support and validation. Hopefully, this will help you see some common ways people know things are unhealthy and can help you make the decision that is right for your healing and life.  

Some signs of a toxic relationship:

  1. You walk on eggshells.
  2. You are confused by any conflict because it feels like your reality is being twisted (gaslighting).
  3. You are required to check-in and it feels like your every move is monitored. You have anxiety if you do not check-in or check-in late. 
  4. You feel sad when your partner jokes with you because the jokes feel like hidden criticism or emotional attacks. This is especially true for those who normally find joking to be a fun way to enjoy communication with others.
  5. You apologize when you have done nothing wrong.
  6. You fear “hot and cold” moods so you are trying all the time to keep the peace or fix things.
  7. You are hyper-vigilant over your partner’s mood.
  8. You feel like your partner never sees the good in you and that they belittle your achievements. 
  9. You feel like sex is an obligation or even happens against your will. They threaten to leave you if you do not have sex.
  10. They continually withhold sex and you feel dirty or ashamed for wanting it. 
  11. You feel like there is no connection during sex; you are dissociating.
  12. Stress in the relationship causes you to space out or dissociate easily.
  13. You make excuses for your partner’s behaviors or you rationalize the abuse.
  14. Holidays or vacations are stressful to plan because you fear the fun will be sabotaged by your partner.
  15. You notice your insecurities are used against you.
  16. You are desperately trying to “make things like they used to be” and make it like it was in the beginning.
  17. You are soothing and reassuring the abuser after mistreatment happens to you.
  18. You can not talk about issues within the relationship.
  19. You can not safely talk about issues your partner may have that you feel hurt you or the relationship.
  20. You feel shame about yourself for qualities you have that your partner once used to like. 
  21. You feel like communication is shut down and you feel unheard.
  22. You are treated nicer in public than you are at home. The abuse is hidden.
  23. You are begging or pleading for them to end silent treatments.
  24. You are told that you are too sensitive, even if you were just treated horribly.
  25. Your feelings are minimized, belittled, ignored, or negated.
  26. You are feeling jealous when you normally are not a jealous person.
  27. You feel like you are being compared to others.
  28. You are cut off and isolated.
  29. You are constantly protecting your partner’s ego.
  30. You feel the majority of responsibility for making the relationship work out.
  31. You feel like you are the abuser and are told you are when you know what is being said you did not do. The things they do they accuse you of.
  32. You have anxiety.
  33. You have body pain. 
  34. You feel like you are not enough and can not satisfy your partner in the relationship.
  35. Everything feels like a competition with them.
  36. Things you enjoy you do not like doing with your partner around.
  37. You are afraid of making any decisions alone.
  38. You can’t identify your boundaries.
  39. You can not pursue your dreams. You have lost touch with your own ambitions and dreams for your life.
  40. You have lost your sense of self. You don’t really know who you are anymore.

Videos: More Signs You’re Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse in a Toxic Relationship

How to Spot a Narcissist (Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship)

12 Signs You Love a Toxic Narcissist

Get personal support in your narcissistic abuse recovery.

The Psychology of Toxic Relationships Between Narcissists and Codependents – Trauma Bonding

The Psychology of Toxic Relationships Between Narcissists and Codependents – Trauma Bonding

Let’s dig into the psychology of what happens between a narcissist and a codependent in a toxic relationship. The typical toxic relationship involves trauma bonding. Learn why and how trauma bonding happens in a toxic relationship, plus the psychology of the narcissist as well as the psychology of the codependent during the relationship. And finally, we’ll touch on what it takes to heal after such a relationship.

What is Trauma Bonding?

Trauma bonding is a common condition among narcissistic abuse survivors and their abusers. Thanks to an ongoing cycle of intermittent reinforcement, many survivors of toxic relationships go through this, much like kidnapping victims and hostages do. Trauma bonding is often a bigger issue for people who also grew up in toxic and abusive homes, partially just because it feels like “normal” to them.

Read more about trauma bonding here. 

What is a Narcissist?

A narcissist, in general,  is someone with a high opinion of him/herself, but when we’re talking about narcissistic abuse, we’re talking about the type of person who is toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive. They may or may not also be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. For the record, while it is not considered to be a “mental illness,” but a personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder manifests in an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is complex, but a general definition is that it is a toxic emotional and behavioral condition that makes it nearly impossible to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form and stay in relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive. The term originates from Alcoholics Anonymous but fits toxic relationships surprisingly well.

What stage of narcissistic abuse recovery healing are you in?

Knowing your stage of recovery is the best way to know what to do to heal yourself if you are in one of these toxic relationships. Take our self-assessment to find your stage in narcissistic abuse recovery right here, free.

Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Do you think you’re being abused by a narcissist in a toxic relationship? Have you dealt with narcissistic abuse in the past? Are you working on narcissistic abuse recovery? If so, you’ll want to know about these resources.

Helpful Videos

Signs of a Toxic Relationship (Everything You Need to Know)

Signs of a Toxic Relationship (Everything You Need to Know)

Letting go of toxic people is an act of self-care. – Karen Salmansohn

Are you in a relationship that involves someone who emotionally, mentally or physically damages you? Do you feel like a shell of your former self since becoming involved with this person? After you spend time with this person, do you feel energized and refreshed, or do you feel drained and exhausted?

While toxic relationships are both damaging and devastating to those who are involved in them, they have a much deeper effect than most people realize. Despite popular opinion, most victims of toxic relationships are far from your standard “victim-type” personality; in fact, most are intelligent, attractive and capable. This is part of what attracts the toxic partner.

The Toxic Relationship Cycle

Toxic relationships start quickly and they are as firey as they are fast. But unlike their healthier counterparts, toxic relationships don’t settle into a comfortable place – rather, the toxic partner gets “bored” and quickly begins to devalue the victim. This will inevitably be followed by a discard phase, which will lead to what we call the hoovering phase – where the toxic person attempts to suck the victim back in.

Could my relationship be toxic? 

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you in a relationship with someone who is making you miserable?
  • Do you ever feel drained when you spend time with that person?
  • Do you often find yourself feeling tired and unmotivated or even sort of paralyzed?
  • Do you find yourself putting that person’s needs before your own?
  • Do you often feel shocked by someone’s disrespectful behavior?
  • Does someone in your life make you feel like you don’t matter or like you’re not as important as they are?
  • Have you ever described the way you feel as emotionally “dead” or numb (or something similar)?
  • Have you ever found yourself questioning your own sanity?
  • Have you started to think you’re just not good enough?

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is similar to a dysfunctional relationship but less repairable, often due to at least one partner being unable or unwilling to change and/or take responsibility for their wrongdoings. When you’re in a toxic relationship, you’ll find that it involves more negativity than positivity. Most importantly, a toxic relationship does not emotionally support one or both of the people involved. A toxic relationship will also often involve resentment, contempt, communication problems and varying forms of physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

Being involved with a toxic person (or a narcissist) in a toxic relationship will lead to a serious loss of self and a significantly reduced ability to be happy, healthy and fulfilled in your life. These relationships often feel empty or one-sided and leave one or both partners feeling codependent and miserable.

Can a toxic relationship be fixed?

While dysfunctional relationships can often be repaired, toxic ones are less likely to be worth the trouble of trying. That’s because while it does theoretically seem that narcissists and toxic people are capable of personal growth and change, it is rarely seen. So, while most narcissists COULD change, they most often will not, at least not long-term.

Read This: Can a narcissist change? The experts weigh in

While a few clinicians claim that they can heal narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), their evidence is thin and often refuted. Remember too that the longer you remain in the toxic relationship, the further damaged you will become, mentally, physically and otherwise. And, despite appearances, toxic people generally maintain the same cycle of abuse throughout each relationship in their lives – meaning that your partner will not be happier with someone else. 

What are the signs I’m in a toxic relationship?

Be sure to click the links on the points that resonate with you below – each opens up to a detailed post that outlines the signs of a toxic relationship as they relate to that point.

Helpful Video Playlist: Signs of a Toxic Relationship

In this video, the QueenBeeing coaches share their advice on how to find out if your relationship has become toxic. Are you with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder? You can find out, right here.

What causes toxic relationships?

I know, you’re probably asking yourself, “How did I end up in a toxic relationship?” I get it. It’s almost always a shock when you realize you’re in a toxic relationship, and this may be due to the fact that you’re a strong, intelligent and attractive person who generally reads people like a book. But in many cases, you also had a difficult or traumatic childhood, whether it was a result of abuse, neglect or some other sort of situational trauma.

There are certain features that make you an ideal source of narcissistic supply – learn about those features here.

Helpful Resources for Understanding Why You Got Into a Toxic Relationship

Related Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

How do I know if my relationship is unhealthy? What do I do if my relationship is toxic?

Take the Toxic Relationship Test below to be directed to helpful resources for your situation. 

 

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