Toxic relationships come in a variety of forms – from unhealthy friendships to abusive, romantic relationships.
Sometimes, the signs of toxicity are obvious, like relationships where there’s physical abuse, other times, you may just have an uneasy feeling about someone. Whatever it is, if you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s in your best interest to cut all ties with the person.
Toxic relationships will leave you feeling down and depleted, and will crush your self-esteem. At times, these sorts of relationships will even put you in life-threatening situations. Take heed from the advice discussed below and always put yourself first. Put good support systems in place and if necessary seek legal and psychological advice.
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Don’t ignore these warning signs.
If someone tries to control the way you behave and act, it’s a red flag. Some examples of controlling behavior include controlling when and where you can go out, what you can and can’t wear, whether or not you can have a job, and who you can or can’t be friends with.
Someone who is controlling can eventually take away your independence, deprive you of your support systems, and control your day-to-day life.
If you have clear boundaries, and have communicated them, yet the person you’re with refuses to respect them, it’s a huge red flag.
If your boundaries are constantly overstepped you will feel drained and frustrated, and eventually you’ll stop setting any healthy boundaries at all. Being with someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart is a warning sign.
One of the clearest warning signs you should stay away from someone is if they are abusive in any way. Unfortunately, many times the victim of abuse begins to believe that they’re somehow deserving of the abuse. You are not to blame for someone else’s vicious behavior!
An abusive relationship will wear you down, erode your self-esteem, and put you in dangerous situations. If you’re eventually lucky enough to break away, you’ll need years of therapy to rebuild your self worth. Avoid this by leaving your toxic relationship as soon as possible.
An abusive relationship can involve physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse. Some of the warning signs to look out for include:
Being around someone who is constantly negative about life is incredibly draining. Not only is it draining, but this negative energy will sooner or later begin to affect your outlook on life, your mental health, and your ability to find joy.
A toxic person will rarely (if ever) leave you feeling good about yourself. Instead, they will constantly compare you in a negative light to others, will put you down about your looks and your abilities, and give you underhanded compliments. Such a person will leave you feeling sad, uneasy, isolated, and questioning your self-worth.
If you feel so poorly about yourself when you’re around your partner, it’s a clear sign you should leave.
If the person you’re with constantly plays the victim card as a way of getting your attention or sympathy, or as a manipulation tactic, it’s a sign of toxic behavior.
People with this mentality believe that bad things always happen to them, and it’s always someone else’s fault. They will also rarely accept help or suggestions for solutions.
If you’re in a relationship with someone like this you will soon feel drained of your emotional energy. Going your separate ways might be in your best interest.
Any healthy relationship is a two-way street that requires an equal amount of give and take. If you feel someone is constantly taking from you and rarely returning the favor, they might just be using you. Trust your gut feeling and walk away if you need to.
Guilt trips, ultimatums, disregard for personal boundaries, lying, playing the victim, silent treatment, gaslighting, and love bombing are some of the warning signs of a manipulative person, and, really, all signs you should stay away from someone.
All of us have moments when we need to vent our frustrations to friends and family. However, if you find yourself complaining about your significant other more than you sing their praises, you might want to take a hard look at your relationship and evaluate whether or not you’ll be better off walking away.
Life isn’t always fun, but you should at least have a fair amount of fun in your relationships with friends, family, and your partner.
Research suggests that couples who have fun together have higher relationship satisfaction, and are more easily able to work through challenges together. If things are mundane and you never laugh or play together, it might be time to cut ties.
Toxic people usually have a habit of attracting drama wherever they go. They find the thrill of drama exciting and oftentimes don’t recognize that they, too, have a role to play in all of the drama.
Healthy relationships and healthy people are usually pretty drama free. If you’re feeling bogged down by the constant drama someone adds to your life, you’ll be better off if you leave.
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People are usually secretive when they have something to hide. Whether they’re secretive about their whereabouts, always hide their phone, or have very little information about themselves on social media, these are warning signs you shouldn’t ignore.
At this point, alarm bells should be going off! One of the surest signs you should stay away from someone is if you’ve been speaking to them online, via social media, or via dating apps and they won’t meet in public. Don’t ignore these warning signs.
If you’ve never met the person before, meeting up in a public space the first time around is the safest thing to do. This gives you a chance to see whether or not the person is for you, and whether or not they’re everything they pretend to be online.
You should stay away from people who don’t support and encourage your dreams and growth. There are many people who will be pessimistic and dismiss your ideas and goals as a way to make themselves feel better and more content with their own lives.
Good friends and healthy relationships will not stunt your growth, look for those!
If they’re constantly rescheduling or canceling plans, they don’t respect your time or energy as much as they should. It might also mean that they’re not truly interested in a friendship or romantic relationship with you.
Bring this to their attention, set boundaries with them, and see if they change. If not, it might be time to leave.
Chances are, if you’re constantly surrounded by a toxic person, other important relationships in your life may begin to suffer for a variety of reasons. Those closest to you may warn you about the person but if you don’t heed to their advice after a while, they may choose to distance themselves from the two of you.
Being around toxic, negative people will eventually begin to affect your mood and outlook on life. This may infiltrate into your work life, friendship circles, and family. Even family members may begin to lose respect for you/your decision to stay with such a toxic person.
If this is the case, my advice would be to leave before you’ve created irreparable damage between yourself and your loved ones.
If you’ve adopted unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive around toxic people, like excessive drinking, overeating, or drugs, it is one of the clear signs you should stay away from someone. Walk away for your own health and well-being and seek out a strong support system.
Sometimes, if you spend too much time around a toxic person, you may find yourself stooping to their level. Remove toxic people from your life who influence you to behave in a way that doesn’t make you feel good, or proud, about yourself.
Gaslighting causes victims to question their own sanity/take on reality through psychological manipulation by the abuser. For example, the abuser will do something unacceptable but then outright deny it to the victim. To understand gaslighting better, give this article a read.
Name calling, yelling, insults, constant criticism, and humiliation are some of the ways in which someone can belittle you. This tactic is used by abusers to make their victims feel small and unimportant. It’s a form of emotional and verbal abuse.
Belittling behavior can have a serious impact on someone’s self-esteem. If you’re a victim of this sort of toxic behavior, it’s a major sign that it’s time to walk away.
If you’ve been spending a significant amount of time with someone and they never remember important details or conversations you have with them, it might be a sign that they’re not interested in you/your life.
Date nights, fresh flowers, hand written notes, and compliments are small and simple ways you can make someone feel special. Toxic people won’t make an effort to make others feel loved and special, they take but never give back.
If your closest friends and family warn you about this person, you should use it as a warning sign. Worse so, if people who know them are warning you about them, it’s a clear sign you should stay away.
Toxic people are opportunists and often form friendships or relationships for their own benefit. If someone you’re in a relationship with only makes friends with people who they can benefit from in some way, you might want to think twice about whether or not they’re using you too. This is one of the telltale signs that you should stay away from someone.
Helping people can be an incredible, fulfilling experience but be careful of parasitic relationships where one person is always in need of help/assistance from the other.
Some people are in constant need of emotional, mental, or financial support and are constantly feeding off of the other. Someone who always needs help can drain your energy and cause a toxic relationship to form pretty quickly.
Although distancing yourself from someone can be extremely difficult, it’s sometimes the only option you have if you want to protect your energy, values, relationships, and self-worth. Here are 11 steps you can take if you want to remove yourself from a toxic friendship or relationship.
If you’re in a relationship with someone toxic, let those closest to you know that you’re ready to leave or end the relationship. Before collecting your belongings you may want a friend, family member or police officer to accompany you and help protect you as you’re at high risk for abuse in these situations.
Relying on a strong support system after leaving a toxic relationship will help you move on.
This is an extremely difficult step to have to take, but a very necessary one. Let the person know how you feel regarding their behavior and the way interactions with them leave you feeling. Be calm but direct in your approach and conversation with them.
They may not take it well because emotions will be heightened but you should try to remain level-headed and calm. After the conversation, leave.
If you aren’t in a serious or long-term relationship, you may want to end things by slowly creating distance between the two of you. By creating some distance initially, ending the relationship won’t come as a massive shock to your partner.
If you’re serious about ending things, you’ll want to avoid social or work situations where you might come in contact with them as best as possible. Coming into contact with them could cause old emotions to surface or altercations to arise.
Deleting their number from your phone might be your best option so you’re not tempted to contact them at any point. Drunk texting can be especially tempting so remove all temptations before you find yourself in a possibly sticky or awkward situation.
Block your ex on all social media so you aren’t tempted to keep tabs on their life or message them in times of weakness. Blocking them also prevents them from contacting you, which could make things more difficult for you.
Switching up your routine slightly while you’re going through a rough patch post-breakup will help you avoid running into the person. Don’t alter your whole life, just consider changing up small things like which coffee shop you frequent and what time you hit the gym.
If you’ve been in an abusive relationship/friends with a very toxic person, you might want to consider getting a court order, especially if the person makes you feel uncomfortable, doesn’t respect boundaries, or has displayed abusive or dangerous behavior patterns in the past.
Being alone with the person could cause a heated confrontation. If you work at the same place, avoid working late hours when you might be alone. If you have the same social circles, avoid being alone with the person by asking other friends to accompany you to any events/parties that both of you have been invited to.
Learning to say no is empowering. You are allowed to say no to things that don’t sit well with you or drain your energy.
Saying no to toxic people may be especially difficult because they are generally master manipulators, but once you see through their manipulative ways, saying no will become easier.
Always do what feels right for you. Trust your gut feeling.
If there’s someone toxic in your life you’ll need to set firm boundaries with them. Clearly communicate these boundaries as well as the consequences of what will happen if they’re overstepped. If this person values you, they will respect your boundaries. If not, it’s one of the signs you should stay away from someone.
Toxic people generally show signs of manipulation. They also only have their own interests at heart and you might feel as though they take far more from you than what they give, physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll know a person is toxic by the way they make you feel when you’re around them.
If someone is toxic, it’s in your best interest to draw the line and let them know how you feel. Make them aware of their behavior and the way it leaves you feeling. Follow on by saying something along the lines of “I think we’d be better off going our separate ways/cutting ties for now.”
If you’re afraid of this person and the way they might respond to you wanting to cut ties, ask friends, family, social workers, or the police for their assistance. Always put your safety first.
Cutting all ties with someone can be a very difficult thing to do. However, it’s important to remember that your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being should always be taken care of first.
If you dread spending time with someone or they leave you feeling depleted, you are better off ending the relationship. It’s also important to remember that the way someone treats you is not a reflection of you or your worth, it’s only a reflection of who they truly are. If you need professional help, don’t be afraid to ask.
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