7 Signs Your Relationship Is Toxic

7 signs your relationship is toxic

I found myself in the hardest season of my life when I was in an extremely toxic and controlling relationship. 

Sometimes when I think back on that time, it’s hard to believe it was even real life. There were so many moments I suppressed, trying to force my brain to stop reliving the trauma, and the times I felt insignificantly small

It took me years to work through, and it forever changed who I was. It carved a line between the “old me” and the “new me”, opening my eyes to something I never knew was possible. Trauma changes us in ways that I never could have understood before experiencing it myself.

A toxic relationship, according to VeryWell Mind, is: “one that makes you feel unsupported, misunderstood, demeaned, or attacked. A relationship is toxic when your well-being is threatened in some way—emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.” 

Through my experience, I learned these types of relationships aren’t always as black and white as they seem. Sometimes the signs are obvious, but other times they’re hidden in deceit and buried in the hope that things will someday change. It’s easy for us to perceive a situation and relationship for how we want it to be, rather than accepting the reality of what it is. As somebody who lived through it, here are 7 signs your relationship is toxic:

1. You Always Feel Like You’re Walking On Eggshells 

Do you ever hold back in your relationship how you truly feel because you’re worried about backlash or retaliation? A healthy relationship encourages open and honest communication. A toxic relationship might make you feel like you have to constantly watch what you say in fear of displeasing them or saying the wrong thing. 

I remember I was afraid to speak my truth because my opinion was constantly put down or disregarded. I was always trying to adapt to the ever-changing emotions and never knew what to expect next—which was exhausting. A person who loves and respects you, values your opinions. A healthy relationship will never disregard your feelings, or make you feel as if you constantly have to tiptoe around them. You should always feel secure and safe in a relationship, not constantly worried about how your feelings will affect your partner. 

2. There’s Generally A Lack Of Trust 

When I was in a toxic relationship, I became too trusting of believing that the other person would never intentionally hurt me. I was always making excuses, and any time something did happen that was extremely upsetting, I would often overlook it to try to defuse the situation.

A major indicator of a toxic relationship is when there’s generally a lack of trust from the other person, especially when there’s no reason for it. They might even try to accuse you of things you would never even think about doing. It takes time to build trust in a relationship. But when the person you’re with constantly seems on the defense and tries to find reasons not to trust you, it starts to become a red flag for concern.

A healthy relationship consists of somebody who trusts you unconditionally, encourages you to spend time with the people you love, and knows that you never purposely have bad intentions. Be careful if the other person is always pointing the fingers at you, especially if you’ve never given them a reason not to trust you. When there isn’t a solid foundation of trust, not just in terms of the other person being faithful but not harming you in any way, it’s nearly impossible to have any sense of security. 

Toxic relationship

3. You’re Constantly Being Put Down, Rather Than Lifted Up 

When it comes to relationships, the person you’re with should always leave you feeling better when you’re around them, not worse. A huge indication that you might be in a toxic relationship is if you’re constantly being put down either through criticism or belittlement, rather than lifted up and appreciated. 

Happiness comes naturally when you’re in a healthy relationship. There isn’t constant turmoil, and it doesn’t always feel like an uphill battle that you can’t win. While there are disagreements and conflicts in relationships at times, you’ll never feel diminished or small in a healthy relationship even when a conflict does arise. 

No matter what the disagreement is or what you’re going through, there’s never an excuse for your partner to criticize you or make you feel less than you are. A person who truly loves and respects you would never even think twice about treating you poorly, regardless of the situation you’re in.

The person you’re with should always lift you up, not constantly put you down. Pay attention to how you feel when you’re around your significant other—do they bring out the best in you, or the worst? 

4. They’re Not Receptive To How You Feel 

I used to suppress my emotions in the past because my feelings never felt validated. I easily lost sight of my voice from repeatedly being told my way of thinking was wrong. When you’re constantly told the same thing over and over, then a part of you starts to believe it. Even when it’s far from the truth.

If the person you’re with is never receptive to your feelings or doesn’t encourage you to express how you feel, it might be a sign of a toxic relationship. 

After I met my husband, it took me a long time until I felt comfortable opening up and sharing my feelings. I wasn’t used to being with somebody who respected how I felt and encouraged me to voice my opinion when something was bothering or upsetting me.

Never forget that your voice always matters, and it’s always important.

A healthy relationship is receptive to how you feel and listens to your concerns with respect and care. When you’re with somebody who deeply cares about you, they’ll always be receptive to your feelings, even if or when they can’t necessarily understand them.

5. They Make You Question Your Reality 

There are different types of toxic relationships including controlling, physical or mental harm, and gaslighting. Gaslighting is a type of manipulation that makes somebody question their reality, memory, or perception of what actually happened. 

With gaslighting, the other person denies what happened and makes their partner believe they’re overreacting or being too sensitive to a situation. An example of gaslighting, is if your partner were to react to you being upset and say something such as: “It wasn’t that bad, you’re blowing it out of proportion.” When, in reality, it was just as bad as you remembered, and you aren’t blowing it out of proportion.

It took me a long time to grasp the concept of gaslighting because there are so many layers to unravel when it comes to it. In the toxic relationship I was in, the person I was with was gaslighting me daily. I honestly think part of my healing took as long as it did (among many reasons) because I had to keep reminding myself that what happened was real, and not simply a figure of my imagination. 

When somebody makes you question your reality, it causes you to self-doubt what you know to be true and second-guess your confidence in what actually took place.

6. They Refuse To Take Responsibility 

Does your significant other validate you by admitting and taking responsibility when there’s a mistake, or is everything somehow turned around to always be your fault?

If they deflect blame on you or refuse to take responsibility for their actions, then it might be a sign of a toxic relationship. Toxic people like to shift the blame because they don’t want to accept or admit their faults in the situation. They never want to face the reality of the things they might have to change within themselves, so it’s easier for them to deflect all of it onto somebody else.

Taking responsibility is such an important part of a healthy relationship. You can never work through faults, flaws, or mistakes if you aren’t willing to admit what they are and take steps to try and improve. 

A healthy relationship vs. a toxic relationship

7. You Feel More Unhappy Than Happy

Looking back, it’s hard to believe how much time I wasted being unhappy. Every day, it felt like there was either a new problem that arose, or something was being carried over from the day before. I was completely emotionally and physically drained by the end, and no amount of effort on my end could’ve changed or altered the situation. 

Anytime somebody is unhappy with who they are, it’s typically taken out on the people closest to them. Especially when they have unresolved issues within themselves that they aren’t wanting to address or deal with. 

One of the most important things we need to remember is that people will only change if they want to change. We can’t force anybody to change, no matter how hard we try or how bad we want them to.

The relationship you’re in should always leave you feeling persistently better. If you’re constantly unhappy and feeling drained, then it might be a sign that you need to re-evaluate where your relationship is at and where it’s headed. You always deserve to feel respected, loved, and most importantly safe with the person you’re with. 

A healthy relationship should always lift you up, accept you for who you are, and never try to diminish or put you down. If you feel like you’re in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, know that there’s always hope for a better future.

The signs of a toxic relationship might not be obvious right away, but know that you deserve to be in a relationship that respects and loves you for the person you are. It’s never easy learning how to let go, but it’s always worth your happiness. Love never, ever hurts.

Leave a Comment


  1. 6.5.24

    I can relate on so many of these points. My ex-husband is a narcissist who carried on dozens of affairs for most of our 9 year marriage. I realized I had seen many of these signs once I discovered his infidelity. Gaslighting is the absolute worst. I’m happy you’ve moved on from this toxic relationship.

    • 6.7.24

      So sorry to hear that you went through that, too. I agree, it took me so long to grasp the concept of gaslighting because I couldn’t understand why somebody would do that to somebody they “love”. It’s crazy how much we can see after the fact. Happy you are safe!

  2. 6.5.24
    michelle said:

    when there’s a lack of trust, honestly the relationship is over.

  3. 6.5.24
    Jasmine said:

    Very insightful post! Amongst the toxic signs, I resonate with the first one- “walking on eggshells” from a previous relationship and it was incredibly exhausting and destructive emotionally. I’m glad I had faith to let go and realized that the relationship was expiring when it did. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    • 6.7.24

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you had the faith to let go also ❤️ It’s never easy at first, but always worth it in the end. I remember getting to a point and knowing that it was so much better being alone than with the wrong person.

  4. 6.5.24

    Your post was incredibly insightful, especially your analysis of how gaslighting makes you question reality. I appreciate that your tips apply to both romantic and platonic relationships, as toxic behavior isn’t limited to just one type. Your personal experiences and advice are really helpful for anyone feeling lost in a relationship. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly🫶🏾🫶🏾🫶🏾

    • 6.7.24

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! Absolutely, it can unfortunately happen in any type of relationship. & sometimes it becomes easier to overlook when it’s the people closest to us. Really appreciate you reading!

  5. 6.5.24
    Sandi said:

    How difficult it must be to endure a toxic relationship — my heart goes out to those stuck in a painful pairing.

    • 6.7.24

      It’s awful, and my heart still breaks for people who are in a similar (or worse) situation than I was in. I never understood it until I went through it myself, but now that I went through it, I realize there’s so much more to it than what we see on the outside. My hope is that everyone knows how strong they really are, even when they don’t necessarily feel like it ❤️

  6. 6.5.24

    This is a helpful post! Definitely signs to look out for!

  7. 6.5.24
    Stelios said:

    This post must have been very difficult to share, but I applaud you for doing so. There are so many that should read this, it would help them recognize that they are worth more than what they’re getting out of a toxic relationship.

    • 6.7.24

      Thank you, that means a lot! I’ve come a long way in sharing my story. Revisiting the painful memories isn’t easy, but I know it’s important that I continue talking about it, even if it helps one person in a similar situation. I hope everyone knows and realizes their worth too, and it doesn’t take them as long as it took me!

  8. 6.5.24
    Kat said:

    Your courage in sharing your journey through a toxic relationship is inspiring. Your insights into recognizing the signs are invaluable. It’s vital to prioritize our well-being and recognize when a relationship is unhealthy. Thank you for shedding light on this important topic.

    • 6.7.24

      Thank you so much ❤️ So so important to prioritize our mental/psychological/physical health. I think it becomes hard when we get wrapped up in a situation and aren’t sure of a way out, but we have to remember we never deserve to be treated poorly. Thanks for reading!

  9. 6.6.24
    Olga said:

    It is a great article on a very important topic! I have been in a toxic relationship, but I didn’t understand my situation. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.

    • 6.7.24

      Thank you! Sorry to hear you’ve been in a toxic relationship too. It’s so hard to understand when we’re directly in it—it took me many years to fully grasp what actually happened.