When people are young, romantic in nature, and naive, they believe that mutual attraction or love is capable of bridging any divide, gap, or obstacle. The problem is that this is not always the case. Some relationships just can’t work, and while it’s rarely just due to one partner, there are a lot of scenarios where one partner is more toxic than the other one. Namely, according to domestic violence statistics, approximately 84% of victims are psychologically abused by their partners. With that in mind, here are six signs that you might be in a toxic relationship or with a toxic partner.
1. Emotional manipulation and gaslighting
The biggest myth about emotional manipulation is that it’s always malicious or intentional. The fact is that the majority of emotional manipulators do this without a conscious plan. They just remember the pattern that worked well on you the last time, and they apply it over and over again. The truth is that if you really want to salvage a relationship, you need to stop this as early as possible. When you confront them, they might resort to gaslighting, which is a method where they’re trying to convince you that you’ve imagined a very real problem. They might also try to convince you that they never said/did something they definitely did do. They say that there’s no one angrier than a narcissist accused of something that they absolutely did. The best way to protect yourself from manipulation and gaslighting is to ask for more time to think this through and give them an answer. If they get offended by the idea that you might give this issue some thought (or even ask someone else for their opinion), chances are that they’re consciously gaslighting or manipulating you.
Mistrust can happen over a lot of issues. After all, there’s a joke about all trust disappearing when you suspect that someone is sitting on a remote. All jokes aside, while trust is important for a relationship, expecting someone to trust you 100% is also a sign of a toxic relationship. Everyone tells white lies, people embellish their stories, and even our memory is flawed, which means that we sometimes lie, even unintentionally. The problem is that our partners sometimes mistrust us so much that they start actively spying. They might install a spy app or a keylogger on our device. They may even figure out how to track a phone if they suspect we lie about our itinerary. This is more serious than you think. About 37-68% of people admit to spying on their partner in some form. Being suspicious is natural; however, this type of invasion of someone’s privacy is never O.K. This is especially so because you can never really prove innocence to a partner that’s so far off. They take your phone and find nothing; their first thought won’t be that you’re innocent but that you’re hiding well.
3. Too much control
Some people love when their partner takes charge (regardless of their sex) however, not all of this domineering is voluntary. Moreover, it might not be the relationship dynamic that you established early on. People give big promises and try to portray themselves in the best light. Not only that, but they try to read their partner and sometimes go extra hard in portraying themselves as the type of person their partner hopes them to be. This is a dishonest tactic but a common one nonetheless. Later on, they start controlling your every move, even going against their own statements about their supposed tolerance.
4. Intimacy problems
We’re not just walking about sex. Just falling asleep together is so indicative of the fact that your relationship is on the right track. Hugging, small pecks on the cheek, compliments, and passionate/warm gazes are just some of the indicators that you and your partner still care for one another. Sure, not everyone is as physical, and not everyone has the same libido. The problem doesn’t come from the fact that your partner can’t do it as many times as you would like (or the other way around). The real problem is the fact that they no longer feel the need to be intimate with you. The main reason we separated sex from this right away is the fact that, in a lot of toxic relationships, sex is still there long after the intimacy is gone. This is a nuance that, sadly, a lot of people fail to see. Roughly 21% of individuals feel like intimacy is a significant problem in their marriage.
5. Lack of accountability
Another trait that toxic partners often display is the total lack of accountability. Even when their answer is disproportionate, it’s never about that; it’s about the fact that you brought that in them. You’re the one who made them do it. If they don’t blame it on you, they’ll blame it on their parents, their childhood, their former partners. The thing is that while some of these things may have had an impact on their mindset, it’s not a good excuse. Also, guess what? After you’re done with them, you’ll probably be presented as an abusive ex to their next partner, as well.
6. Constant criticism
There is no one in the world who is so incompetent that they can do nothing right. So, if your partner makes you feel like that, chances are that it’s not you who’s the problem; it’s their perception of you. For whatever reason, they’re frustrated with you, your relationship, or their life, and they’re taking it out on you completely unjustly. Just remember one thing – it’s never about what they say it’s about. Even if you mess something up, there’s a nicer way to go about it. Even if they choose to mock you for it, there’s a playful way to do so and a mean way to do it. Still, chances are that if you try to point this out, they’ll gaslight you into oblivion. People who have previously been in a toxic relationship know that this is not the way it looks from the start. This is how you can tell that it’s not your personality or theirs that’s causing the problem. There was a point in your relationship where this arbitrary situation wasn’t a problem. Then, at one point, it became one. According to one source, contempt is the No.1 reason for divorces and separations.
While not always a definitive sign of trouble, these signs are always worrying
A symptom or two doesn’t mean that the relationship is toxic. Some people have a hard time admitting they’re at fault. Others may have intimacy problems for other reasons. Still, if too many of these symptoms appear or are too intense, you might have a bigger problem on hand.