Toxic relationships can at times make us feel as though we are looking at life through fun house mirrors. I’ve been in these types of relationships-where my entire center of gravity was off as I constantly second guessed myself and my feelings.
This is the catch 22 of a toxic relationship, though. You become so entrenched in negative patterns that its hard to tell which end is up. The signs are often missed until they have rooted so deeply into the foundation of the relationship that all we can do is look around and question how we ended up here.
These warning signs are meant to serve as a guide-to jar us awake and help to highlight patterns before they become so deep we cannot find our way out of them. While there are many signs these 5 are the signs I see in great frequency with my clients and also personal experience.
1. You feel poorly about yourself when you are with them.
Most would agree that relationships are meant to be uplifting and supportive; a place where we can be fully our authentic selves and be loved for it. In relationships that are becoming toxic, however, we find that we feel as though we are walking on eggshells. There is a sense of constant anxiety that we will do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing. These are the relationships where we are made to listen to a long list of our many perceived faults that leaves us questioning our worth. It creates tension whenever we are with our partners because we feel as though we are operating with out a rulebook on what is appropriate according to them.
2. Constant arguing with no sense of closure or resolution.
I am of the mindset that sometimes arguing can be a very effective process…provided that it comes with a sense of resolution. Things become toxic, however, when there is no resolution. When the argument is not so much aimed at releasing emotions and coming to a sense of healing but instead is just a means of venting/projecting resentments.
3. Resentments reign supreme.
I once was in a relationship where towards the end I felt little emotion but resentment towards him. I had used every method I could to convey my needs and time and time again the lack of sustainable action sent a clear message that my needs didn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly at fault for not getting the message sooner but the point remains. When we encounter things which seem unfair and hurtful its hard for resentment to not settle in. Toxic relationships often times have a disproportionate amount of resentment which festers and creates an emotional infection.
4. Everything boils down to power.
Does every discussion seem to come down to a power struggle? Do you feel as though you are each constantly vying for control or to show superiority? This is a sign that the relationship has devolved to a place where at least one of you feels a sense of powerlessness. Rather than approaching discussions from a place of being empowered it creates a sense of stability that allows for each person to feel grounded we flex our muscles in an attempt to gain the upper hand. It is then that we end up uprooting and destabilizing not just the other person but the relationship as a whole.
5. Communication is nonexistent.
When a relationship has become toxic there is quite a bit of bickering but very little in the way of effective communication. There is a sense that you are talking at one another as opposed to talking to one another. In the end it not only creates a gap that does not allow for resolution but it ends up festering the fabric of the relationship. It creates a sense of being on separate sides of drawn battle lines when in truth we are meant to be working together to create something meaningful and successful.
Not all toxic relationships are doomed relationships. In fact, by creating an awareness of toxic patterns we are able to correct them much sooner. Our tendency to ignore the signs that toxic patterns are taking root only increases the odds that our relationship will reach a point of no return. By paying attention to these signs both partners can join forces to correct bad patterns and watch as their relationship grows stronger than ever because of it.
Laura Brown is a wearer of phenomenal shoes, drinker of delicious wine, and diviner of relationships. She is the owner and Relationship Goddess of Modern Sibyl, a contemporary hub for receiving modern intuitive readings and relationship coaching to reach your highest romantic aspirations. Stay up to date through her Facebook page and receive free daily intuitive tarot readings by following her on Instagram.