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5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” ~Billy Wilder

I’ve had my share of toxic relationships, or at least what I thought was toxic. Is it fair to say you have too? My guess is that we’ve all endured the company of people who were not shooting for our highest good.

As for me, the relationships that were the most debilitating and unhealthy gave me the feeling that I wasn’t taking care of myself spiritually, mentally, or physically like I should.

I was feeling less than myself, like I was compromising my life goals with each second I stayed around those people. Mind you, these were both friendships and romantic relationships.

I call these relationships toxic because my authentic self withered away into someone I didn’t recognize—denying all that was natural for me.

The label “toxic” means something that drains life and energy. Before I knew it, I was weak and feeble, subject to the whim of the person to whom I’d given my power.

I was guilty of it: hanging around those people too long in an effort to do what was supposedly right by societal standards—fighting to stay in a relationship instead of giving up “too soon.”

Little did I know that my desire to be agreeable and accepted was suffocating what was right for me.

Why did I have to sacrifice my happiness for what society says was right? I was living stifled in self-judgment and fear, and I’m sure society couldn’t have cared less!

While some difficult relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives and expand our awareness, some obviously shut us in and hinder our development. Our intuition will alert us one way or the other. It tells us, change and growth should feel good!

It’s important to know when you’re in a toxic relationship so you can choose something better for yourself.

When I was in my toxic relationships, I ignored my intuition in favor of my logical mind, which told me that losing that person was worse than having him/her around.

But our intuition knows best; unlike our mind, its only motive is our happiness.

5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship

“Toxic” doesn’t only entail obvious damage like physical abuse, stealing, or name-calling. It also represents all the internal turmoil that results from an unhealthy relationship. I’d like to share how I learned to recognize when I was in a relationship that was not suitable for me.

These are 5 signs that you are in a toxic relationship:

1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.

The other person constantly puts you down as not good enough. They mock your personality, and you feel ashamed most of the time. You only feel pardoned when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging.

2. Everything is about them and never about you. 

You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t hear them. You’re unable to have a two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered and respected. Instead of acknowledging your feelings, they battle with you until they get the last word.

3.  You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person.

Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always raising gripes about you. Their attempt to control your behavior is an attempt to control your happiness.

4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around that person.

You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family.

5. You’re not allowed to grow and change.

Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.

If you’re experiencing even just one of these signs, check in with yourself to see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you.

Embrace the answers that come from your intuition, as it wants the best for you—and this relationship might not be it.

Take deliberate action according to your gut feeling. You won’t be sorry.

Maybe you choose to talk about your feelings with the other person, or you decide to put more space between the two of you.

It’s important that if you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsettled in the relationship that you not wait around until the effects of the misery settle into depression. Taking any action is the best medicine.

Now it’s your turn: Without giving names, do you find yourself in a toxic relationship? Have you left a toxic relationship and want to share how that decision has changed your life? Or are you afraid to leave a toxic relationship because you fear the repercussions? Leave a comment and share your experience.

An added note: If you’re in a physically abusive relationship, get help today. Don’t wait.

Photo by nattu

Avatar of Yvette Bowlin

About Yvette Bowlin

Yvette Bowlin is founder and host of 'i heart life: The How-To of Spiritual Living.' An expert in decluttering your life, she teaches how to get free and clear of clutter—in mind, body, heart and home—and live a life of peace, presence and purpose at lifefreeandclear.com. Find Yvette on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • looneytoon

    I’m afraid of the repercussions…

  • SocalSB

    I recently just got out of a toxic relationship. I have experienced all 5 signs and was never willing to face the truth. In the end I felt as though I had changed so much from who I thought I was and none of the changes felt positive. I have never felt more confused and lost in who I am spiritually and what path I am going to take with my life as I am now that I am no longer in the relationship. This person was the biggest love I had ever known. All my plans and goals centered around making this person happy not realizing in the moment that it was at the expense of my self worth and happiness. Everything is all in retrospect now and the journey begins to heal myself again. This website helps with that.

  • Irving Podolsky

    Dear Yvette,

    All combined, your five-point check list sounds like the worst possible domination and brain-washing torture conceivable. It almost sounds too melodramatic to be real. And yet people I know have described their failed marriages and horrid husbands in those terms. I can’t imagine anyone tolerating that, but people do, mostly because they’ve been trained to believe there is nothing better to escape to.

    Or worse – that they won’t survive outside their partner’s control.

    Or even worse – that they will be physically harmed if they try to leave, and their children will as well.

    Then someone shoots a gun, someone dies and the story makes the headlines.

    But there are other situations, the opposite in nature, that can crush the soul just as much, but it takes a thousand cuts to do it.

    I’m talking about emotional abandonment. Physical separation too.

    I’m talking about friends and family who don’t return letters and calls, who don’t follow through with a promise only to say they meant to. I’m talking about the passive/aggressive message sent with silence that says, “You’re not important enough in my life to respond to you. Maybe I will someday. But only when everything else is taken care of.”

    How many “friendships” like this do we rationalize keeping, thinking… “They have lots of things going in their life. They’ll eventually call back. It’s not about me.”

    That’s right. It’s not about me. But it should be!

    Unless our friends are really sick or away or someone died, they should be there for us when we need them. And if they can’t be, they should tell us why. And if they don’t tell us why, they’re not our friends, and pretending they are will serve no constructive purpose.

    Frankly, I’ve let those marginal “friendships” go. With family, it’s more complicated and so I’ve kept up the pretense of compatibility. But with friends who drift away, and then pretend it hasn’t happened, I still cut the rope. Because there’s nothing to lose.

    So you’re right, I don’t have a large circle of friends. But the ones I do have, are real. And I’m making new ones.

    Thanks for letting me rant, Yvette. But I stayed on topic.

    Irv

  • Dochy

    I recently walked out of a toxic relationship of 4 years. It was a very difficult decision, one that spanned over a year as i thought he was the one. We were on our way to getting engaged sooner or later. I can’t put my finger on one or more of the 5 signs listed above but I need to say that I didn’t feel good. The last year was excruciating with lots of changes and sacrifices from my end and nothing very tangible from his. I felt like I was not a priority, though everything he did, in effect was supposedly for me and us. Through these times I realized that anyone who truly loved you, would always pay heed to your needs, stated or otherwise. Someone who’s not doing this, might claim that they have a different way of showing their love, but if thats not in sync with what you want form life,. then that’s your cue to rethink the relationship.

    I believe that in the saying “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free”. Right now, I’m single and though I feel lost and alone on certain days, I need to admit that I feel free, free to be myself, and relieved to be out. That feeling, amidst it all, in my opinion, is priceless.

  • Dolcevita

    IME what is called a toxic relationship can have much to teach us.

    NOT IF IT’S KILLING YOU, OF COURSE. As the writer of the post says, if you’re being hurt, get help and get out.

    But otherwise, and especially if you’re toxic yourself, wait around to learn the lesson.

    I used to be so very angry – as my kids will tell you.

    And though a psychologist might tell me that my undeniably angry husband is ‘toxic’ I think we’re all strong enough to use this for our good.

    1. I have had to face my own unacceptable anger and deal with it. Every day i am thankful for that opportunity.

    2. My husband has had a rough life.

    Yes, we could add ourselves to the long line of ppl who have kicked him into touch, or permit him to walk out on us, or we could give him – repeatedly – the opportunity to be loved for who he is, warts and all. Everyone deserves that.

    3. People have complicated lives. Sometimes I have so much on my plate that, much as I adore my friends, I cannot spare them the energy and time I would love to be able to. sometimes i can spare no time at all. Sometimes i need to talk through a challenge life has thrown into my path with someone i trust. But i can’t return the favour and listen to their problems at the same time because mine are too great.

    and sometimes my friends find the same happens in their lives.

    Do I write them off because they are toxic ppl who talk and think only of themselves, moan about their life, and make our time spent together so uncomfortable?

    No – I. understand. i offer them the space and time they need to do what they need to do. I trust them to be doing what’s right for them. And me.

    And when we have moved past the challenges life threw up – maybe after days or months or years – i know we might spend happy times together again. Or we might not. It’s ok.

    That’s what friends are for.

    Don’t fear the challenges – face them, be with them, sit with them.

    Don’t fear that toxic person! Before you turn your back on them think: could this be the very person I need in my life today ?

    Love and light

  • aryn

    After reading this post I felt relieved that other people consider a relationship to be toxic. After just recently ending a 3 year “toxic relationship” my mind tends to jump back into history and replay moments I still question to this day. I cannot help but draw into one right now. For the good majority of the last 8 months in the relationship I kept saying “this is so toxic” ” I am drowning in a toxic relationship”.. Yet I continued to stay.. Looking back how ridiculous was I not to listen to my own mouth saying the exact words to run and get out.

    I would like to contribute by giving a few more valid signs that can occur in a toxic relationship….

    When your partner/friend cares more about money and materialistic items, there is a huge problem. ” Things” do not buy love. Love is love, nothing more nothing less.

    If someone makes you feel guilty by saying you are too emotional when you express your thoughts and feelings. RUN! Do not walk… leave now.. no one should be put down because they want to express them selves.

    Lastly, if you feel you need to start lying to keep up with all their lies or the thoughts of revenge come to mind. ” I am going to do this to them… because they hurt me… and I will show them how it hurts”. Their toxic waste is changing you into an unhappy version of them.

  • Irving Podolsky

    I’d like to add a more positive note that I should have mentioned when I wrote my comment last night.

    In every case where a friend left me hanging, I explained how that hurt. On a number of occasions, those people apologized and we did come back together. And it’s been good. I dropped the resentments.

    So I guess what I should have stressed more than anything, is that if we are hurt, we should let our loved ones know about it. As my wife pointed out, we own it to THEM. We have to give them the chance to express in action, that they want us in their lives.

    If they don’t, there is nothing we can do about it. If they do, then we are all the more richer in love.

    Irv

  • ohagi

    I absolutely can relate to this article because I myself went through the same thing. I just got out of a toxic 2 year relationship where I didn’t even recognize who I was anymore. Spending time and integrating myself with his life was so tiring and I felt physically and emotionally drained. It would have been alright for me if my feelings were returned but he was negligent towards my needs. So much that whenever I brought up an issue, he would claim I’m having a “bitch fit” even when I was doing it in a calm manner.

    I think a lot of people out there are afraid to take the chance to do what they know is right. Perhaps its the amount of time you’ve spent with that person, all the time and energy you’ve invested. But I’ve found it very easy to move on because deep down inside I was not happy. My emotional and spiritual needs were not met and even worse they were ridiculed.

    Best of luck to those out there who went through or are experiencing something similar. Honestly, when I look back, I am so much happier now and my soul is calmer.

    Thank you for the article.

  • http://twitter.com/ElleSommer Elle

    Great post. As someone who has experienced those rotten ‘toxic’ relationships I can say that once we begin to value ourselves, to see that we are all wonderful unique beings deserving of good things, amazing shifts occur.

    Today I can say, hand on heart, that my lovely husband is one of the reasons I’m the happiest woman walking the planet.

    Believe me. Choose you first.

    Love Elle
    xoxo

  • Roh

    Hi There, the timing of this article is perfect. I have been in a relationship now for 3 years. My wife and I have nothing in common. Mentally, emotionally, physically we are a world’s apart. I was introduced to my wife by my family. Asian family pressures meant we were married before we got a chance to get to know each other. Within a short space of time we ended up having a child who is beautiful and loving. For the last 2 years I have been trying to change myself to be more forgiving and learn to accept my wife’s aggressive and abusive side as I don’t want my child to grow in a broken family. In the process I feel as if I have been battered and bruised within. My wife is all about looks and nothing internally where I am a spiritual deep individual. I try to see the best in everyone and feel we all have a soul and therefore we all should be able to love and give. The problem is that my wife was raised in an abusive family and for me the upbringing was exactly the opposite. My mother has given me so much love and support in life and till this day she is doing that. My wife is not just abusive to me, she is all abusive and aggressive to my mother and my child ( the abuse towards my child has however stopped since I threatened her with police call). She has never been physically abusive it”s always been verbal uncontrolable abuse because of her inability to communicate and love. I know what the right decision for me to do is. I cannot stay in this relationship but the thaught of having joint residency to my child as advised by the solicitor makes me what to continue in this relationship. My house is no longer a loving place of peace and calm instead there is constant negativity and fear of a backlash. I feel I am becoming aggressive too which I really dislike this about myself. How do I get out of this mess? How do I make this decision easier for myself? I am 37 years old and feel a little scared of breaking free from this with the thought of lonliness in the future and hate from my child for breaking this marriage. Any suggestions would be much appriciated. God bless you all.

  • Nik

    Hello, I can absolutely relate to everything you have written. I am just out of a 9 year relationship with a man who had “some” good qualities but left my soul begging for attention. Just as you have mentioned, when I’d bring the subject up he’d accused me of “wanting to argue” (even when I was totally calm in my approach). I stayed for so long because my mind kept telling me I had invested too much time to give up but my heart was telling me “run you’re not happy here”. I thought would be hard but I feel renewed and very optimistic about what life w/o him will be like! Best of luck to anyone who might be going through the same thing. Life is too short and it should not be spent devoting time to the wrong person.

  • beachsand

    Is it the law of attraction or what that this article has come at the right time when I have been trying to think about the health of my marriage. I know I would have never had the courage to evaluate my relationship with my husband on being toxic(how we try to fool ourselves and convince that everything is fine). I dreaded reading this article because i knew I might end up saying yes to all the signs mentioned here.

    But what will you do if you are in a toxic relationship that happens to be a marriage with a year old child. Can you go against everything to save the person you are? The child would need his/her father, is it selfish to walk out and push a tough life on your child. I keep looping through these questions everyday. When i talk to people all they say is ‘Marriage is not eutopia’..there is compromises, you have to kill the real person you are and try to be happy in whatever it is…

    Talking to my husband doesn’t lead me anywhere. The discussions are always a cycle of blame and conclusions that ‘I have a problem’. My confidence is at rock bottom .. I am being ridiculed for everything I am !!

    I sometimes feel that physical voilence is better, at least it gives you a clear signal that you NEED to walk out. Emotional voilence is a slow poison which sucks the very life out of you..it is like a quick sand where you keep sinking deep with a hope that you might come out of it ‘someday’.

    Is it required that I should do a self evluation because it looks like(as per my husband) all my desires are centered around ‘me’ only. Me having some concerns over my MIL is because ‘You have some problem with my mother’..when the fact is that she is the one who is trying to control things in my life and expect me to behave in her ways. Am i wrong in expecting to build my life as i want? 90% of my time I am feeling anxious and depressed…the rest 10% is when I am with my daughter.

  • severina Suriel

    I am so glad somebody explained, so clearly, the meaning of toxic. Something that drains life and energy. That’s how I felt in my 12 years of marriage! Yes, it took me that long to leave because I was listening to my logical mind instead of my institution, and justifying that by living that person life was going to be difficult in other aspects. Meaning, he provided a very comfortable life and I was afraid to go out there and try on my own. I left 2 1/2 yeras ago and I have never had any regrets.

  • Ruth

    I rushed into a marriage , circumstances with my parents at home left me very litlle choice , so I weighed the options and decided to take what was being offered by them my family , who then saw me as a problem to be rid of ….I didnt think much of what I was really entering here…thought i would make a whole new fresh start .. in a new country far far away from them , learn the language and maybe make the marriage work with this new person I barely knew …
    I went through years and years od depression, the marriage too dissapointed me within the first two years but there was no where I could go , nothing I could do to change my situation , I had no money , and noone to help me . so i just continued living the marriage … but was mentally unhappy and just didnt know how to fight for myself . After three children , and 22 years in the marriage i finally started to wake up and want to change my life, this was met by my husband with much resentment and he still wants to possess me till death do us part. I am so stuck at the moment, unable to make changes , unable to enter a divorce since I dont want to traumatise the children for the sake of my search for happiness…… I hope I will be free one day … it has been a toxic relationship. ! I’m still confused how to go about this

  • BellinghamPhotographer

    My suggestion is to get divorced. Your children know what’s going on already. They can sense all the negativity around them and it will affect their lives. I wish my parents had divorced. My father was the most toxic person I’ve ever met in my life. Believe me, your child will thank you when they grow up as a child needs positive reinforcement, not put downs and negativity. I spent my entire childhood being told that I was not good enough, that I was stupid, etc. When I got my college degree, I was told that my degree and $1.00 would get me a ride on the subway. My mother was proud of me. My father was not. It took three years of intense therapy for me to have a self esteem. Don’t do that to your child. If you can find a way to get custody, do it. Judges often give full custody to fathers when mothers are abusive. Start documenting all of the abuse and then get a good solicitor and go for full custody.

  • beachsand

    I think you should walk out of this relationship. Being an asian myself I understand the societal pressure this will attract but I believe this will do you, your wife and your kid good in long run. I have seen so many marriages in Asian culture which last 50-60 years but there is no love attached to it..it is just a habit of a person which can be seen in two people.

    Few suggestions before taking that final step:

    1. Communicate – you and your wife need to talk..when i say talk communicate…i wud suggest a marriage councellor…they will enable effective communication – talk abt issues and not past happenings

    2. Last chance – After knowing why your wife is doing what she is doing you need to things which you can do to make her feel hopeful of this relationship(trust me in a relationship no one side is right or wrong mistakes are from both sides). This is when you think somewhere in your heart that this is worth a save. From your judgement about her family/spirituality looks like you already have an opinion abt her, may be she has sensed that and it is her ego to live upto that image now(sub consciously)

    3. Take some action – Take some action in next say 5 days. Action can be booking an appoitment with marriage councellor or talking frankly to your wife or something to mk things better. I think most of the time problem with such situations in life s that though they are painful as hell we keep talking abt it, sulking abt it, let it suck every bit of hope and life out of us…but we keep living like this. If you really want to gv your marriage a last change..see next 6 months..tell your wife also about your intensions so that both sides are making some effort.

    If all above fails, i think it is better to move out. It is wasting three lives – u , ur wife and ur kid. What he/she needs most is peace/happiness and good env to grow and kids are very receptive in getting vibes and thus forming their pyche. you can be apart and still give her/him good guidance, may be not as per asian family standards..but do you want best for your kid or want to please society which doesnt even care if you exist!

    I am not sure if I have a right to gv you suggestions, but your situation did appeal out to me. sorry if I have offended you in any way. May God be always with you and your wife..and guide you to a better life…together or apart!

  • Shelley

    Goodness me. As with many postings on tinybuddha.com, this one arrived as I was asking a good friend the same questions about my particular relationship. You are right, dear writer, and I must listen harder to my instincts. Not always easy, as even in the most controlling of relationships, lie good moments of love and beauty. But I do know better. Thank you.

  • surfergirl

    2, 3, and 5 really hit home for me. The good thing is, I realized these things (or finally admitted to someone other than myself what was happening) about 3 months ago and have made a big effort to change what was happening in our relationship, which started with me kicking my husband out. Part of why I never did anything before was because (1) I didn’t want to be “another divorce statistic” like every woman in my family, which is part of the reason I waited until 30 to marry at all, and (2) after digging deeper with my therapist, I found that I was addicted to this relationship. I had enabled my husband to continue doing the things he was doing (I was actually supporting him instead of vice versa – though I didn’t want him supporting me, I’d much rather live as equals), and after 12 years expected him to rely on me, to *need* me to survive. Obviously, my offerings were toxic as well.

    What helped me start to realize my relationship was ‘toxic’ was when my spiritual path changed. I became a student of A Course in Miracles, and as I felt I was growing, things at home would happen like an argument and my husband would throw the Course in my face, mocking my studies and how I was still a bitch or whatever after practicing for almost 2 years. While I would have loved (and still would) for my husband to take this path, I never ever forced it upon. I was hoping to be a good example, but situations at home made it hard because while I felt like I was changing internally, I was allowing the same things to happen in my home, putting up with the same BS I’d been putting up with for years.

    As I go through the steps of healing and learning to forgive myself, I’ve found myself yearning at times to call/text my husband for the stupidest reasons (I baked a giant batch of cookies a few weeks ago and thought I should call and offer him some. Proud to say I did not – I did a forgiveness worksheet instead). I am determined to hold my ground though and do the right thing – for myself and my husband, although he would never agree that what I’ve done is the right thing for him. I hope that he will change his mind. If not, instead of this separation that we’re dealing with right now, it may mean the end of our relationship altogether. I am prepared to deal with whatever happens, knowing that it will all be okay no matter what. I feel lonely sometimes at night, but I try and think of God in those times and trust that I am okay… and getting better :)

  • Shelley

    Dear Roh, loneliness is – in my experience – a wonderful place from which to absorb lessons learned. I have also learned that children thrive in a non-toxic environment. Do what you know you have to do, with compassion for your wife, and abiding love for your child. Be stronger than you feel, and act with dignity. You and your child will be better than fine.

  • Shelley

    Dear Nik. Thank you for this. It gives me even more courage to do what I know has to be done, and courage for adding hurt to the lives of people I love; but in doing it with love.

  • beachsand

    When ever i share with my better half that I have changed as a person(not for better) and I feel restless and sad…i get a response that ‘you can never be happy…you are always crying and cribbing’…can it be so…root of the problem can be me too…

  • Ruth

    I’ m kind of going through the same thing with my husband …all attempts to convey that I want to be free , all attempts to do things i wish to do for myself are met with arguments, threats , negativism … and totally draining my energy … and I also feel very alone and sad that life turned out the way it did ….

  • Thanks

    It’s so timely that I read this now in the midst of fretting the Holidays with my family. I dread being around my toxic sister, who brings a negative soul sucking vibe to every festive occasion. I know how to eliminate toxic people in my life and I surround myself with super amazing people. But I can’t seem to avoid this one. I have to stay in my truth and remember I do not need to defend or argue or stand there and get attacked. I choose my response, period. Wish me luck people and I wish you great strength too.

  • HJ

    This was an excellent post! I just wanted to add that a toxic relationship could also be with a family member. A little over 5 1/2 years ago I made the hard decision to end my relationship with my parents. For 36 years I had let them bully and belittle me and I experienced all 5 of the signs listed above, along with many more including psychological and spiritual abuse. Society makes it hard for us to take action when the people who are damaging us are in our own family. However, I managed to make my wishes known to them and have not regretted it since. I encourage anyone out there who is having trouble with a toxic relationship to consider discussing the situation with a counselor. Getting an objective opinion on the situation is unbelievably valuable. Extricating yourself from the toxic relationship is priceless.

  • survivor

    Good article! We all go through it at some point or the other. Some last longer than the others. Mine was 2 years long. I came out of it battered and exhausted. Though there was no physical abuse, the stress and strain that I had to go through each day took its toll on my body. Its been 2 years since, and I’m still recovering from it all. The mental healing takes longer. At times it is tough to keep up the positive attitude and not blame yourself for walking out. But the reality is this; the only way to survive is to walk out! And one should not apologize for wanting to survive!

  • John

    I think everyone in the comment section mirrored my thoughts exactly. This article hits home right now as I am currently purging toxicity from my life. Thanks for tweeting this so I could find it easy. Love you all.

  • emily

    This is a great post. Listening to your instincts is a must. I knew my husband was wrong even before we got married. But I felt I had to go through it all., I couldn’t walk out I could put it right even it felt wrong. I would have been letting myself and others down. How wrong was I. I ended up bankrupt and a single parent but feeling so much better not being in such a toxic relationship

  • Loulou

    I was in the same boat, left a toxic relationship after 2 years, and like you thought I had finally found the one, which was why it was so hard to let it go. It came to a point where I was so unhappy that I used to cry and beg God to let me not wake up in the morning. It seemed the more I tried to fix things, the worse they became and all the blame somehow landed at my feet. Eventually though, thanks to having stayed in previous toxic relationships for longer than I should have, I learnt that this was not serving my highest good, and I walked away. Like you, I have felt alone and sad, and lost, but I am also climbing out of that hole, and I no longer feel put down and unworthy. I realise now that what I was experiencing was not real love, but more a response to wanting love, because love does not do that to you and yes the relief of being free far outweighs the loneliness. I am learning that my own company is actually enjoyable and to love and accept me for who I am.

  • Forest

    A couple of criteria to add:

    - They walk all over you because you’re unable to stand up to them, even when you both know they’ve done something terrible. you let things go and bottle them up when they should really be argued out, because you’re scared they’ll leave if you stand up to them.

    - You’re always waiting for and pinning your hopes on the next great thing just round the corner – reaching your destination at the end of a car journey, waiting for the food to turn up in the restaurant – so there’ something to distract you both from how terrible you are together when you have nothing but eachother.

  • UTA

    I’m in a toxic relationship that has been toxic from the start…going on 10 years…and I feel like there will never be a way out for me. I’m in a country that is not my own, where the laws are not in my favor, and I feel like every day is a battle to keep a grip on my sanity. I want to run as far away from here as I can, but the fear of losing my child is what prevents me from taking action.

  • Bill

    Our dads sound a alike.

  • abbygirl

    I can completely relate to this article. I was in a toxic relationship for 7 or so years, the last 10 months of it was spent married to him. From sooo early on in the relationship I knew it was toxic, I couldn’t do anything right for him, I was judged by him, I was cheated on. I was with him from 19 to 26, so at 28 much of my reactions to things are as a result of how I learned to react with him. Although I am improving greatly, I still find myself sometimes tip-toeing around my current (wonderful) man, only to realize there is no reason to tip-toe, he accepts me for me.
    In the end, after 10 months of marriage I was the one that did the cheating. At the time I wasn’t even sure why I did it, but I have to come to realize that it was my way of ending the relationship I knew I couldn’t stand to be in for the rest of my life. It was a low way of getting out of it, but at the time, I wasn’t able to end it, just like I hadn’t been able to end it from very early on in the relationship. At this point in my life I wish I would have been strong enough to truly be the one to decide that relationship was over, instead of me being the cheater that got kicked out, but c’est la vie.
    Even on my wedding day, and so many times before that, that little voice in the back of my head told me this just wasn’t right…I chose to ignore it. So, today I try and listen to that listen voice as much as possible. It’s hard sometimes, but that little voice has never ever failed me.

  • kd12

    dear beachsand — Can you make an appointment with a counselor? I have faced similar experiences, and when I decided to leave my marriage I went to a counselor to begin working on ways I could stand on my own two feet and recover my sense of self worth.

    The therapy has been priceless. Their guidance, along with my new-found awareness of self-love, has helped me become a person who would never again accept the circumstances I once lived with.

    Your experiences are not worthless — they too are priceless. A gift, really. Your real feelings are showing you just how far off your original, authentic path you’ve gone (me too). That’s why you feel terrible — your feelings are saying, wake up! wake up! This is not how it is supposed to be!

    Once we’ve got those signals, it is up to us to get back on our authentic path to our true selves. And there is so much help out there — bookshelves are full of wonderful, wise mentors who give guidance on recovering self worth and self love, and the internet has great sites that will provide help as well.

    Listen to your feelings — honor them. They are your internal guidance system. Carve out time to meditate; turn off all distractions; cry your eyes out (it feels really good), keep a journal of how you feel; and hug your little girl to make you both feel great.

    Since i’ve been doing this emotional work the relationship I have with my young daughter has improved dramatically. She deserves a happy mom. I deserve to be happy, and so do you!

  • joke

    I think when you deceive and lie and people aren’t comfortable with it and they are fighting you on it–of course it will make you feel defeated. It’s crazy how the people you feel defeated by are the ones calling your bluff.

  • Bill

    I just got out of a toxic relationship with one of the most emotionally unavailable, passive aggressive, uncommunicative person I have ever met. Her character traits were a hybrid of those of my extremely toxic, bitter, abusive parents. A lot of us have a predilection for recreating the toxicity of our childhoods by entering into unfulfilling toxic relationships with both friends and lovers. What makes this so insidious is that each time we get enmeshed in such relationships, it only confirms and fuels our self hatred and our feeling of being unlovable. In my last relationship I contorted myself in every imaginable way to make things work, completely losing my identity in the process. Being with her meant forgoing a career I am very passionate about; a career I am so passionate about I even work as a volunteer in the same capacity. For mere crumbs of very occasional affection I was willing to give that up.

    Our relationship ended and given the fact we were cohabitating I moved out and had to move in with my toxic mother or be homeless. Out of the fire and into the frying pan. Now I am questioning myself and thinking that if I just could have done this or that differently things would have worked out. The last couple of months have been really tough. My family is totally fragmented, toxic, and abusive. All of this just in time for the holidays! I am going over to a friends house for Thanksgiving but will probably be alone on Christmas. Actually, due to family issues, I have spent more holidays alone than with other people. Kind of used to it but it still hurts especially when you see people out and about looking like they are happy and normal, though of course the reality could be quite different, but still it hurts really bad. When you come from a horrible family you tend to put all of your emotional eggs in the relationship basket, which usually ends up being codependent and unhealthy. When the relationship ends you don’t have anything to go back to and feel beyond destroyed. Right now I am out of work with nothing but time on my hands so the thoughts just swirl and swirl out of control. I gotta say this is one of the darkest times in my life right now.

    The good news is that I am attending support groups that address these issues in great depth. Being around people in the same situation, or even reading these posts, is super helpful. Now if I could just get this horrible anxiety to stop.

  • abbygirl

    I can completely relate to this article. I was in a toxic relationship for 7 or so years, the last 10 months of it was spent married to him. From sooo early on in the relationship I knew it was toxic, I couldn’t do anything right for him, I was judged by him, I was cheated on. I was with him from 19 to 26, so at 28 much of my reactions to things are as a result of how I learned to react with him. Although I am improving greatly, I still find myself sometimes tip-toeing around my current (wonderful) man, only to realize there is no reason to tip-toe, he accepts me for me.
    In the end, after 10 months of marriage I was the one that did the cheating. At the time I wasn’t even sure why I did it, but I have to come to realize that it was my way of ending the relationship I knew I couldn’t stand to be in for the rest of my life. It was a low way of getting out of it, but at the time, I wasn’t able to end it, just like I hadn’t been able to end it from very early on in the relationship. At this point in my life I wish I would have been strong enough to truly be the one to decide that relationship was over, instead of me being the cheater that got kicked out, but c’est la vie.
    Even on my wedding day, and so many times before that, that little voice in the back of my head told me this just wasn’t right…I chose to ignore it. So, today I try and listen to that listen voice as much as possible. It’s hard sometimes, but that little voice has never ever failed me.

  • unionmaid12

    my 17 yr relationship is ending, and it has ushered in a period of self-growth like no other i’ve ever gone thru. there is a child involved, but i am certain that embracing my own authentic path — who i really am — is so much better for our daughter than being stuck in depression, low self-worth, and giving up.

    This amazing revolution in my own self esteem has happened as a result of taking action — I began to see a wonderful counselor; I began reading books on how to love myself, how to reconnect with my soul, how to reclaim an identity that had been so buried i didn’t think i’d ever see it again. I signed up for seminars online that were free, aimed at healing the spirit and the mind (Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping, is easy to learn via youtube and it is awesome!). I started to eat better, take long walks, pray, meditate, and journal.

    It is nearly two years since the moment i realized I had to change my life and get out of my marriage. It has taken that long for me to honor my own feelings, root out so much negativity, face my anger, feel my fear, and weep a billion tears (which truly washes away so much pain). I stopped getting distracted by stuff — tv, noise, the phone, busywork — and began spending time in solitude and listening to the still voice inside me. these are habits i will keep for the rest of my life.

    and wonder of wonders — it all works. i am happier than i have been since i was an innocent, small child. there is a joy that is indescribable. the inner work is SO worth doing…the payoff is tremendous.

    When a river gets blocked, it stagnates. that’s what happened to me for years. i hardly recognized myself. we can break through our blocks and get back to flowing like a river — which always flows forward.

    i wish all of you a flowing out to who you really are, and much joy along the way:-)

  • Dolcevita

    Dear Roh, writing as the child of parents who kept a toxic relationship going for fear of what harm divorce might do to the kids, I ask you to consider leaving for your child. The damage watching you and your wife tearing one another apart might do to the child is unknown but potentially pretty devastating. No one enjoys life in a war zone – not even the kids. Good luck in whatever you decide. I hope you find a happier future. God bless.

  • Jami

    What if you have a toxic relationship with one of your parents? How are you supposed to just cut them out of your life? I’m having a really hard time with this right now. I’ve always looked for my mom’s approval, but I’m starting to realize she cause more damage to me than she’s worth. Family’s supposed to be for life, but how do deal with someone who’s never going to change? Am I supposed to just cut her out of my life? I’m so confused and hurt.

  • jg

    you need help . . . & you DONT need 2 be giving anone any advice . . . i know enough 2 KNOW THIS !

  • jg

    in reguards 2 the 5 step plan that is . . .

  • Chris Steines

    Great advice and article.

    It would probably be the understatement of the century to say that toxic relationships are no fun, having been in more than a few.

    I know one of my biggest challenges (especially as a self-admitted saboteur) is to have the something [detachment/wisdom/courage] to know when it’s a toxic relationship and when it’s just my Silly Self analyzing all the ways in which something is not “perfect” and/or not right for me.

  • Guest

    This article really hit home for me. It opened my eyes. I was surprised as to how many of the 5 signs I can relate with. I have been with this person for almost 2yrs. I must say, before I begin that him & I are of different cultures. I’m Canadian. And he, is from the Middle East. Every thing was sweet in the beginning. He was cute, caring. I would stay over at his place any time that I didn’t have my kids. Long story short, I feel as though today when ever I try to express my feelings, he makes me feel stupid. I always have to second guess my self. I have to walk on egg shells not to upset him. Times we have talked I tell him of the things I’m concerned with he tends to turn the subject around like my issues don’t matter but all the things that are going on with his ex & the war back home do. I sympathize to a certain extent. But you know, what about me? There often are times I don’t think he realizes how his words hurt. It’s the way he uses them. For example, tonight he was asking me to watch a poker game (which I just do not understand even though he has explain it to me all before..it’s just not my thing..I don’t get it.) He was saying that there are only a certain number of hands I want you to fold. Um ok, I thought. I did just that but then I seen a card I thought he had mentioned & question him on it. He quizzed me..what is that hand..what did I say?! He unplugged the computer and walked a way. I said, ‘I’m sorry I just don’t understand’.. and after that I immediately became sad..it hurt, I felt stupid. I cried. It’s easier for me to be myself when I am alone. I’m afraid to talk to him. To express my ideas. What I like. When it comes to cooking, I’m not the best but I’m able to feed myself and my kids. I must admitt he is really good. And he also makes it known when something I make isn’t to his liking. When have I ever turned up my plate at him because I didn’t like his dish? He is also of the protective/jealous type. I can’t really wear a nice bikini to the pool with my kids without him. Mind you, I don’t care there but he has made it known. He has told me to change before so other men wouldn’t hit on me. He wants me to move to Calgary so he can be closer to his daughter. He wants me to come with. I have made my decision multiple of times. Yes, no, yes, no & maybe. He doesn’t understand the severity of this issue for me. I’m not able nor do I want to move away from my kids. He goes on to say how I don’t see them often enough anyways, so what difference would it make? And besides, they will be in their teens soon enough anyhow (I get my kids everyother weekend). I know in my gut what I have to do. I know I have to stay for my kids. I would be stupid to move with him like I was stupid to let him move in. But I don’t know how to end it. That sounds silly I know. I want to be free to do things the way I want. I know I have change in the last two years. I’m not who I use to be. I fear hurting his family back home. For they are really nice people. I’ve been told my different people of what I should to but every opinion is different. But they don’t see what I do. Everything is perfect on the outside. My opinion is what matters. I know what my ‘gut’ or intuition tells me..I know what I want.but I choose to ignore because I fear being alone, yet I cannot handle feeling this way. So much for a short story. I really thank you for this post I came across. It has opened my eyes.

  • Nefertiti

    This article really hit home for me. It opened my eyes. I was surprised as to how many of the 5 signs I can relate with. I have been with this person for almost 2yrs. I must say, before I begin that him & I are of different cultures. I’m Canadian. And he, is from the Middle East. Every thing was sweet in the beginning. He was cute, caring. I would stay over at his place any time that I didn’t have my kids. Long story short, I feel as though today when ever I try to express my feelings, he makes me feel stupid. I always have to second guess my self. I have to walk on egg shells not to upset him. Times we have talked I tell him of the things I’m concerned with he tends to turn the subject around like my issues don’t matter but all the things that are going on with his ex & the war back home do. I sympathize to a certain extent. But you know, what about me? There often are times I don’t think he realizes how his words hurt. It’s the way he uses them. For example, tonight he was asking me to watch a poker game (which I just do not understand even though he has explain it to me all before..it’s just not my thing..I don’t get it.) He was saying that there are only a certain number of hands I want you to fold. Um ok, I thought. I did just that but then I seen a card I thought he had mentioned & question him on it. He quizzed me..what is that hand..what did I say?! He unplugged the computer and walked a way. I said, ‘I’m sorry I just don’t understand’.. and after that I immediately became sad..it hurt, I felt stupid. I cried. It’s easier for me to be myself when I am alone. I’m afraid to talk to him. To express my ideas. What I like. When it comes to cooking, I’m not the best but I’m able to feed myself and my kids. I must admitt he is really good. And he also makes it known when something I make isn’t to his liking. When have I ever turned up my plate at him because I didn’t like his dish? He is also of the protective/jealous type. I can’t really wear a nice bikini to the pool with my kids without him. Mind you, I don’t care there but he has made it known. He has told me to change before so other men wouldn’t hit on me. He wants me to move to Calgary so he can be closer to his daughter. He wants me to come with. I have made my decision multiple of times. Yes, no, yes, no & maybe. He doesn’t understand the severity of this issue for me. I’m not able nor do I want to move away from my kids. He goes on to say how I don’t see them often enough anyways, so what difference would it make? And besides, they will be in their teens soon enough anyhow (I get my kids everyother weekend). I know in my gut what I have to do. I know I have to stay for my kids. I would be stupid to move with him like I was stupid to let him move in. But I don’t know how to end it. That sounds silly I know. I want to be free to do things the way I want. I know I have change in the last two years. I’m not who I use to be. I fear hurting his family back home. For they are really nice people. I’ve been told my different people of what I should to but every opinion is different. But they don’t see what I do. Everything is perfect on the outside. My opinion is what matters. I know what my ‘gut’ or intuition tells me..I know what I want.but I choose to ignore because I fear being alone, yet I cannot handle feeling this way. So much for a short story. I really thank you for this post I came across. It has opened my eyes.

  • Swisars

    I was in a very toxic relationship for 7 years. #2, 4 and 5 really hit home for me. I kept excusing bad behavior, in hopes of change. That day never came. In fact, it got a lot worse. I learned its ok to think of myself and my happiness and my well being before someone else’s. It’s not selfish. Relationships should enhance your life in some way, to some degree- not exhaust it. I also am learning to forgive myself for being stubborn and foolishly trying to stick it out in hope of a better day tomorrow instead facing reality sooner. Share this post with those you love. It may help someone now or in their future. It helps me now to know I’m not alone and helps give me some additional clarity in my healing. Get strong- stay strong- life’s waiting!

  • Sherbear020

    I can check yes to everyone of the signs! I was in a relationship with a narcissist! The relationship with him was a fairytale while he was reiling me in! I ignored all the gut feelings at first! After a year or so intuitions started becoming very strong until they lead my right out of it! I was so in love with him and the life he said that our future would be! He was in love with being in Love, but was not capable of loving anyone but himself! The end of this relationship almost destroyed me! I just couldn’t let go even knowing it was not healthy for me to stay! It’s been two and half years and I still struggle! I wish I could take his power that he still has over me away! I need inner peace!

  • Steph

    What if you know, deep down, that you’re the reason for the toxic relationship. Any tips? I really don’t want to hold my boyfriend back but I have so many issues that I take out on him. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Ruth

    I know exactly what You mean …in the end I just cannot be Me with my parents and its an issue of having courage to confront or just be oneself and let them deal with it … and we all know very very what kond of reactions that would evoke with them …. so i have two toxic to deal with parents and husband… I think we have to be assertive for ourselves … if they are hurt about it they will adapt eventually… i dont see why they dont realise … they got their life and lived it and still live it , why not let me live mine …

  • Ruth

    I would say if You know , the first thing is its good you are conscious about that aspect … and from that point you need to make a conscious effort to change your way of thinking and make small changes in the relationship… to stay positive , to continue to work on yourself ….. have you read JackCanfield .. Living the Law of attraction …We all need to remind ourselves loving the other is about giving our Love unselflessly , love doesnt flourish in an atmosphere of fear , and most of what we try to impose on our partners stems from fear of losing them. Keep Loving openly

  • http://alidavies.com/ Ali Davies

    This is such an important topic and I think you have made the point beautifully. Too many people settle for relationships that are damaging to who they are as a person because of what society “norms” dictate and the pressure to conform to the status quo and a whole load of other reasons too.

    I was one of those people for many years. But I found the strength and courage to say “enough” and to learn how to extricate myself from those relationships that were too toxic to stay in and to set strong boundaries in other relationships that just needed me to protect myself better.

    Was it easy? No. Has it been worthwhile? Absolutely YES. It has been one of the most liberating things ever. Quality of life has rocketed. Feeling fulfilled dramatically improved. I now have very strong boundaries on who I allow into my personal and professional space (I am Self Employed so easier for me to pick and choose business contacts than when I was a corporate employee). Only allowing healthy, constructive relationships in my life is now a non-negotiable part of my life and work.

  • http://alidavies.com/ Ali Davies

    Two books that are very good on this topic are – Toxic Parents by Susan Forward and Toxic In-Laws – also by Susan Forward.

  • Cat

    I have just left a toxic marriage of 11 years. I was excited to read the title of this article and the opening paragraphs, and I agree that the five signs are definitely signs of toxic relationships but for me it was a lot more subtle than that. My intuition was telling me from day one that the relationship wasn’t right for me and I chose it anyway – due to societal pressures, an ‘easy’ escape from a difficult family…and who knows why else. My intuition told me for 11 years that the relationship was holding me back and didn’t feel right for me and yet I kept on with it. We had lots of good times and made it work as best we could and I felt I could express myself and I tried to be myself but my husband couldn’t engage with me on the level I needed him to engage on. I felt alone and like he really didn’t get me one bit. For me I would add a sixth sign; if you find yourself talking yourself into the relationship and finding ways to justify it in your head and have to repeat this exercise on a regular basis then listen to your gut feeling and get out.

    I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have a lot of the wonderful things I have in my life if i hadn’t followed that path but I am so relieved to finally be listening to what’s right for me. I feel alive and energised and engaged with the world again and ready to grow. And I am now in a healthy relationship which has shown me just how wrong the last one really was for me.

    Never try to talk yourself into loving someone. When there’s a real connection you’ll know and it will be worth waiting for.

  • Jessica Burton

    I waited through four “counseling” groups and numerous I other interventions including the courts. Ten years of my life wasted on a man who could not love me or his own daughter. My partner now is very special but I am having a really hard time because of my past.

  • Dolcevita

    You are partly right and we do have help. We are working together, healing our relationship (we are not bad people – all of us are angels at heart); working to a better life and a better way of being, every day. I disagree with you about my right to write about my situation – what you call ‘giving advice’. We are all free to ‘give advice’; none of us has to take it. it is for each individual to decide whether to take it depending upon their own life path, which may be very different to one’s own. My post is not irresponsibly written – it carries a health warning at the top. I acknowledge that I have expressed a different point of view, and have done so because in my case, and so perhaps in others, there is another way. Love and light.

  • Flower

    Yvette ~ thank you for this post. It’s a good reminder for me ;) I walked away from a very enticing yet toxic relationship 10 months ago and the quality of my life has improved ever since. I don’t know why that negative dynamic was so strong ~ participating left me lifeless and a shell of my former self. I’m a better person for having gone through it and your post reminded me to continue to work on bringing positive people into life and to walk away from the negative, thank you ;)

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Choose you and your health first! Wonderful, Elle. Our only measure of how healthy we are in this lifetime is how we feel. If we feel awful, everything else will feed off that poison and multiply, and we will wither away.

    I’m so happy for you and your happiness! I can feel it from here!

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Absolutely don’t fear anyone–thank you for that clarity, Dolcevita. Does no good.

    Follow your gut in any situation. Sounds like yours told you to stick around? There will always be a lesson to learn, because we seek to find one in all things. It’s how we operate. And that’s great!

    Just because someone might leave a toxic situation doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned that person or abandoned a lesson; it means they’re looking out for their well-being. Until we nurture and care for ourselves (and ‘follow our bliss’ as Joseph Campbell said), we can’t help another person. We’re only exchanging more toxin, like an enabler to an addict. On a plummeting airplane, we put our oxygen mask on first, right?

    If you leave a toxic relationship and believe that it was for everyone’s highest interest, then who knows, all parties will become healthy again, and you two could meet again and have a happy future together. Nothing’s impossible as long as you’re healthy enough to see the light.

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Not to assume that your relationship was toxic, but sounds like you’re in a better place outside of it? Or at least that’s the hope you have. And hope’s a start. A good lesson here might be that we all have to balance the love we have for one with the love we have for ourselves and others. It’s all the same love, just expressed differently. Why should we feel the need to build our lives around one person when we have our families, friends, and others that are just as much a part of our lives?

    All the best on your journey toward healing. I’m glad you’re seeking resources to help along your path. You’re going to be just fine!

  • Yvette Bowlin

    I really appreciate your perspective, Irv. You’re bringing to light our own role in a relationship. It’s not up to the other person to make us happy, however as a joint, mutual effort toward ‘communing’, it’s nice that both parties actually communicate. This is how we get along and flow with each other. We all deal with conflict differently, as is evidenced by what annoys us, irritates us, causes us to leave… As we learn and grow in knowing and understanding the other person (which will be an ongoing practice as we each constantly change and grow), it becomes easier to see the heart of this person and hold compassion for her/him even in the most upsetting moments. Being able to progress past the battles and bitterness is truly rewarding as long as you stayed true to yourself in the process.

    Leaving is not always the solution and neither is staying. It’s all up to you. It’s your call to make. Whether a relationship is serving you or not is up to you–it’s for you to evaluate.

    Here’s to being richer in love,

    Yvette

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Swisars,

    I’m so happy to hear you’re forgiving yourself! What strength that shows. I’m in awe of you and your revelation. Life’s only beginning for you. Stay tuned for more greatness because you are walking in yours.

    All the continued best,

    Yvette

  • Dolcevita

    Thank you. yes i agree – that is what I meant to convey but you said it so much better than me :-) Sometimes in our modern busy world we can give up on people too easily though, I think. And sometimes i have walked away only to be faced with the exact same lesson at a later date – these lessons do insist on being learned!
    who am i to question them?
    Who am I to judge these ‘toxic’ people – they’re obviously walking a difficult path.
    I didn’t give much detail in my post but yes, my gut says work this one out – at least a while longer. As I said, I’m tough enough to do this for now, although it’s hard sometimes to keep trusting that. I have my eyes open and am taking care to consider the good of everyone involved.
    One of the crucial points you make is ‘can we help’, to which i’ll add even if we can, we still dont have to.
    We’re where we are because it’s where we want to be, and when it’s not we are free to leave.
    Love and light

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Beachsand,

    I hear the struggle in your words. The truth is, only you can answer those questions. Seeking answers outside of yourself is calling upon you more confusion. Confusion comes when we battle against our own opinions and those of others. Sometimes we need to just stand firm in a decision, backed by our intuition, and we’ll see life take on new light and shape.

    Your confidence is shaken, so you’re seeking answers outward instead of inward because you don’t trust yourself. I guarantee you know what to do, what’s best in this situation. What’s best for you will end up being best for everyone.

    Make a decision. And then make another one, and another. Do it for you.

    Love,

    Yvette

  • Dolcevita

    Anne Dickson ‘A woman in your own right’ says this, which might help you:
    * I have the right to state my own needs and set my own priorities as a person independent of any roles that I may assume in my life
    * I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being
    * I have the right to express my feelings
    * I have the right to express my opinions and values
    * I have the right to say yes or no for myself
    * I have the right to make mistakes
    * I have the right to change my mind
    * I have the right to say I don’t understand
    * I have the right to ask for what I want
    * I have the right to decline responsibility for other people’s problems
    * I have the right to deal with others without being dependent on them for approval
    Love and light

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Yes, where we are is where we want to be. Exactly. We are always at choice and thus always free to leave a situation, and there’s no shame in that. What you feel you owe another person in effort or communication is up to you. Whatever you feel is best, do.

    I can understand your point about feeling as though we give up on people too soon. If we feel that way, we’ll see that mental projection reinforced in our experiences. And consider, too, some stay too long… If you feel you can give this relationship more of yourself, then you are following what you feel is best. That’s all we can give, is our best.

    Really, there’s no ‘too long’ or ‘too soon.’ Let there be no judgment in staying or leaving.

    Sending you strength and love,

    Yvette

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Make no decisions from fear, only love. But do make a decision. How can you be more loving to yourself, your wife, and child now? What does that mean for you? Start there.

    All will be okay as long as you are.

    Peace and love,

    Yvette

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Can I just say wow?! Whatever took place to get you to this state, I’m grateful. I’m so happy for you and your newfound peace. Here’s to more where that came from! ;)

    Yvette

  • Tazchicken

    I used to be the toxic person in my previous relationship. My ex broke contact with me 2 months ago (after we broke up over a year ago). Even though I’ve changed, he doesn’t feel he has the energy to find out anymore. I understand completely. I was awful to him, because I had been toxic to myself, I was also toxic to him.

    I don’t think he’ll ever want to communicate with me again. The hardest part is knowing I didn’t just destroy our relationship, but also our friendship.

    I will never treat myself or anyone else that badly again. Learn to love and accept yourself and don’t take those who love you for granted! But also know that many people will come and go in your life, do not try holding on to them so tightly that you give them no room to be free. Just be present and allow life to flow naturally, don’t try to control it.

  • unionmaid12

    thank you yvette — many blessings to you as well:-)

  • Sophie

    I believe that for a lot of people this toxicity you speak
    of within relationships can also be very subtle. To the point where although
    the instinctive part is telling you something is not right, the reasoning part
    overpowers it. I have just ended a relationship where I loved my partner but I
    felt stunted and trapped. I felt I was
    compromising myself a little too much to be happy. I bargained with my instinct
    on many occasions and when I did talk to my partner about it he would add
    further weight to my reasoning mind. He was unable to see how much my energy
    had been drained, how I was not able to do certain things because I did not
    feel inspired on any level and I did not have the space to find my own
    inspiration. All the time I would think ‘but
    it’s not awful’, and it is true it was not awful, we had some wonderful times
    together. Yet I couldn’t push down the instinctive part of me no matter how
    creative I was with my ‘reasoning’ mind.

    I feel, at times, desperately sad and miss him hugely and
    still I battle with my instinct, but my instinct always prevails, I have no
    other choice than to go along with it, not just for me but for him too, I’m sure he felt my toxicity too. I wait patiently for acceptance to come, I acknowledge
    that my pain is a natural phenomenon and that it will pass, I keep busy doing
    things that are meaningful. I was terrified to leave because I was frightened
    about how I feel now, but in all honesty it is not quite as bad as I
    thought…I say through gritted teeth! It’s true though.

  • Sher

    Hi I too have been in these relationships and unfortunatly I have a hard time ending or leaving them I have been married now almost divorsed and finally now understanding the patterns of people I choose to involve myself with whether it be romantic or friendship if only I start to feel able to let go before it becomes totally toxic

  • NinANAIS

    I was, I believe, in a toxic relationship. It maybe that I triggered it, or maybe a relapse of “my then” boyfriend’s toxic relationship with his ex. It was draining, consuming and everytime that I had to deal with their shit, I am sucked inside “their” black hole.

    As much as I know that my “then bf’s” feelings are real and true, he couldn’t, would not, let the girl go.

    I tried to understand their situation, believe me, I even turned a blind eye because they’re living together, but sometimes self preservation comes in first.

    It took me awhile to have the courage to leave him, I went through depression, became needy, even came to a point that I was hurting myself just to feel something, anything
    I’m still struggling and I miss him everyday, but I remind myself 2 things every time that I feel this: 1) once you feel that you overcompensate, there’s something wrong, 2) never BEG SOMEONE to love you. Ever.

  • SRPlus

    11/24/12 Saturday: I marvel at the warmth, wisdom, and love expressed here. I’m a clinical psychologist with a passion for assisting people (mostly women) in breaking free of toxic relationships by, first and foremost, learning (or RE-LEARNING) to love themselves. I could speak all day long about this topic from a professional perspective. But to me, the words flowing from those who have actually LIVED it – and achieved liberation from bondage – carry so much more credibility, and inspirational power. I am so grateful that I have a job where I get to witness intrinsically sensitive, bright, loving human beings as they choose the more challenging path of discovering personal empowerment, versus perpetuating a life of fear-based bondage, devoid of self-respect, happiness, and fulfillment, which constitutes the path of least resistance. I see so much healing on these pages. Very cool, indeed.

  • Liz Roberts

    Great post! Thanks for sharing… love the hat too :) I too was in a toxic relationship until I reached my own “last straw”. I realized that I had to love and cherish myself first and foremost. I would never find this in the the man I was “friends” with. That light bulb moment came when I had been agonizing over an important trip home; money, time off, carrying my mother’s remains to her final resting place (her beloved west coast), the many, many emotions and fear seemed to be swirling almost out of control and I needed a shoulder, a hug… a kind word. I had started to cry in his garage trying to explain what I was going through. He walked away and left me there crying alone without even saying a word. When he came back to get an axe to split fire wood, I had asked for a tissue. He simply pointed to a plastic bag on the floor and said “there are rags in there”. That was it – right that second, I was done. Much went on in the following week and I ended up having to change my phone numbers, my driving routes, I had a safety plan established at work, etc. It was a very difficult time, but I’ve never looked back. I have forgiven him and wish him peace in his life, but more importantly, I have forgiven myself for not loving myself enough to believe that I deserved so much more, so much better. Fast forward many moons later, I am still single and content to just be with me!! And when the time comes to meet that special someone, my heart will be open, and healthy, to receive only love, kindness and a whole lot of respect!! Sending light and joy your way. Liz (on a little side note, I took that trip home and it was filled with tears, laughter and everything wonderful!)

  • nessa

    Finding that this article hits quite close to home.

  • Mb

    Great post. I ended a year and a half toxic relationship in April and it was the best decision I have ever made. I finally feel free and am able to move forward with my life.

  • Rachelle

    Sophie thanks for sharing your story, it has really given me hope.

    I am in the middle of leaving a 9 year relationship, pretty much the only one I’ve had my whole adult life (been in it since I was 18). For years I have felt in my gut that he is not the “one”, but I have buried that feeling due to a mix of (a) insecurity about finding someone else (b) lack of belief in my gut instinct (c) societal pressures and feeling like it’s too late to back out.

    He is a really nice guy which makes matters SO much harder, but we really just don’t connect at all. I don’t feel like he knows me at all, I feel so lonely when I am with him, particularly the last 3 years. When I try to talk to him about plans or goals or dreams, or work on things that are wrong between us, it’s always a hassle in his eyes, me being moody or crazy or ‘that time of the month’. When I try and grow and change, he is not supportive and more or less tells me that I can’t. He thinks philosophy and spirituality, things that are so important to me, are silly and pointless.

    I am moving out in a week, and I KNOW for sure I am going to miss him terribly and feel like I am making a big mistake. But like you, I need to continue to listen to my instinct, and remind myself why I am doing this.

    I can either have the short term gain of running back to what is familiar/safe/warm but completely unfulfilling and dysfunctional… or I can suck up the heartbreak and pain, for the LONG TERM gain of freedom to be myself and to let my soul/heart/mind flourish.

    Like you have touched on, when the pain swallows me up, I am trying to just let it be, to just accept it and observe it and not read anything into it. It will eventually pass, I know it. I am repeating the phrase to myself “this too shall pass” as a bit of a mantra.

    On the plus side, I am incredibly proud of myself for finally having the courage to face my fears of hurting my partner by leaving, and of being alone, and of being judged by my family/friends for making the wrong decision. It’s taken me so long to get to this point and I really need to pat myself on the back for facing such a difficult situation head on, knowing in the long term it’s the right thing to do.

    Good luck to all in the same situation! x

  • Yvette Bowlin

    So grateful it served you. Grateful, too, you made a decision bettering the quality of your life 10 months ago. ;)

    Thank you for reading, Flower.

    Love,

    Yvette

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Yes, you do know what to do and what’s right for you. You’ll make the best decision for you–whatever you trust that is–soon enough. I have faith in you!

    Love,

    Yvette

  • Jac

    What an amazing article. More than once in my life I’ve had toxic relationships that had me constantly questioning “how do you know when you’ve done everything you can”? Because of the toxic nature of the relationships, my lack of self confidence, and my fear of being unlovable (hello, core belief!) I suffered needlessly.

    To anyone who is questioning how to know when you’ve done all you can… Be confident in yourself, keep your boundaries, and know when to choose to love yourself enough to leave (even if you still love the other person). This does NOT make you selfish, or mean you didn’t try your best to make it work. And if all else fails, ask yourself what you would tell a friend in your situation (honestly). We often have a lot more empathy for others than ourselves x

  • Chris

    I have been seeing the same girl since high school and there is no doubt in my mind that I am completely head over heels for her. Unfortunately I did some things to break her trust, though I never cheated. Recently, things have been going well but on the other hand, I can certainly relate to some of the signs that I’m in a toxic relationship. I cherish this girl but sometimes that means I let her walk all over me. I always try to consider her feelings and make things right. Unfortunately I don’t believe she cares too much about my feelings or even tries to consider my point of view, even though she claims she loves me. I am still young, 23 to be exact but she tells me I’ll never change. My friends and family on the other hand see that I am a great guy and that anyone would be lucky to have me.

    I’m in dire need of some advice. I hope someone can help me out with this.

  • Lotus Truong

    Wow, i’m in that kind of relationship. I can’t find the way out. But it is true that intuition told me to leave as soon as possible but my logic mind said he can handle it. Day by day it just get worse. After reading your article, I had the courage to cut the pattern now. Thank you so much for your sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/Charlihustle7 Charlihustle

    The funny thing about this article is that my partner favorited a link to it on twitter as some sort of attempt at a subtweet – but when I read this, it seems more of a list of complaints that I have. Thank you honey! :)

  • s.s.

    The 5 signs in this article perfectly describe my relationship with my mother. I am now in my 50′s and still cannot break free from its emotional strangle-hold. To those who think it will stop on its own, be aware & take action to remove yourself.

  • Rob

    Well i just quit a relatively short, 7 month relationship due to feeling used and thinking it was toxic. I am a 46 year old male and she was 34. I must admit I am not sure if i am the toxic one or if she is.

    We met in April, I had just come out of a
    pointless shortish relationship that I probably shouldnt have
    entertained in the first place but hey..

    So my ex pursues me and I
    tell her that I want to take things slow but she persists with very
    early stages of love and infatuation, I love you, youre so special
    etc…So eventually I let my guard down, open up my heart and start
    loving her back…

    I have a good job and can stand on my own two
    feet…she has had a very troubled upbringing with next to no
    relationship with her mother, hadnt seen her mother for 16 years and speaks maybe once a month and similar with her father..very sad

    Six
    weeks into the relationship she asks to borrow some money as she isnt
    working much if at all, has debts, bla bla…i lend her some money, not
    the amount that she asked for but what i could give her…she promises
    to pay me back, that was at the end of May…

    I and as the
    boyfriend and with the financial ability, pay for everything. Lunch and
    dinners out, her cosmetics, her english classes and books, perfumes…I
    cook if we are eating at mine and of course buy her flowers and other
    presents after all she is my princess…

    Throughout the
    relationship all she could give me were very passionate words of love,
    which I accepted as what she could give me and to be honest I loved
    it…

    She never cooked for me once or offered to maybe pick up
    something that may be was needed or even bought me/us a cheap 3 euro bottle
    of wine….

    We had issues not many but a couple and when we did
    she would stop talking to me and not respond to my approaches, whether i
    was right or wrong…I of course would always reach out and apologize even if I didnt think I was wrong

    Three weeks ago, I went out with a female
    friend of mine and didnt tell her. There was nothing in it we just went out
    for a drink…The next morning my ex came over launched into a tirade
    of abuse in Spanish and left….I apologized to her face and also in a
    text but no answer…Two days later she texts me to say that she is no
    longer angry and wants to make up…two days later we meet up to sort
    things out and on the same day she tells me that she needs 250
    euros…which that day i was unable to give her…she got angry and I
    also felt, was this the reason she wanted to make up with me and was in
    a hurry to do so….

    Anyway two days later she asked me again to which i said, i still cant but next week no problem, she was still angry/annoyed….

    The
    following day i invited her over for dinner, which i had gone out and
    bought especially and prepared that afternoon…she finally calls up at
    10:00 that night to say that she was having a drink with her brother and
    i should come and meet up…ok…in the end that special meal was eaten
    at 1:00 in the morning, i thought that along with her anger for not
    getting the money showed a lack of respect. Also that night and not for
    the first time, i went to be affectionate to her, stroke her arm, leg
    and she told me to “leave me alone”….not in a horrible way but even
    so, i would never say that to her or deny her a kiss….she has done
    that before…anyway the night was ok, we slept together etc..

    The
    next morning she got up to go to work and when she came back, she said
    she was gonna go home…i got pissed off as we hadnt really spent too
    much time together and i thought we would spend the day with
    each other…

    So with this, her annoyance from when she didnt get
    the money and the fact that those loving words and texts, were becoming
    few and far between and the way she handled issues, like the silent
    treatment I decided to end it. I felt she was not in love with me,
    showed me little respect and the only thing that she was able to give,
    her words of love, were drying up…Also if she couldnt look after
    herself, how could she ever look after me, if needed, or have children
    or be a home maker….i love cooking, i clean, i work…i do lots but i
    need a PARTNER…i would like a child but not as my partner….

    I
    told her there and then and also told her that the money that I had
    lent her in May was a present and she didnt have to pay me back…well
    she lost it with me and abused me for 20 minutes in Spanish…I have
    never heard so many variations of the word “Puta”!!!! I tried to join in
    the conversation but not for the first time it was a diatribe….so i
    stood there smiling and then ushered her out the door….

    One
    week later I sent her a text saying sorry, I am someone who doesnt
    really stay angry for long unless its something really bad, lifes too
    short…and that I wanted to repair things, the same as her text to me a few
    weeks before…..

    Her answer was basically accepting my apology but its over, have a good life….not even an apology for the abuse she gave me…

    So three weeks on, i am beating myself up in my mind, thinking is it me? am i toxic? or was i being used…I thought to myself today that I dont have one token of love from her that i can look back at….i am not being materialistic but theres not one thing i can look back on as a reminder…..

  • Guest

    My boyfriend is “lost”. He’s in the marines, we’re in a long distance relationship and things have been on and off. In the past, he’s lied to spare my feelings, which in turn made him unhappy. I’ve told him several times to just be OPEN with me, but he still feels that emotionally hurting me is worse than being honest. This is a big problem as communication is (basically) our only lifeline. When he was home on leave, he slept with his ex (we were on a “break” but he was still telling me that he loves me and only me) and began talking to his other marine buddies about how awesome it will be to see the beautiful women (his fb was open). I know he’s a good man, I’ve grown up with him. We don’t have any children, we were talking about getting engaged to the point where he bought me a 2K engagement ring as a promise ring.

    It’s just hard to keep my head up when all I try to do is help him see the good in the world and yet he still seems to think his unhappiness is because of us. I feel inadequate, yet he tells me I’ve done nothing wrong- he just feels inadequate himself. We’ve been dating for two years now, almost three. He flip flops his mind on if we’re “going to make it” and it’s driving me insane. For example, today around 10am he said we were definitely going to make it. Around 10pm, he was unsure about how he was feeling. My friend said he wasn’t in “a relationship mood” tonight but how does he turn it on and off so quickly?

    I guess my main question is this: how do you know when enough is enough? I feel like my heart is constantly breaking, but I keep holding on because I have so much faith in him.

    Please help.

  • Ponyo

    I think you should leave, it will only get worse.

  • eteindien

    I have been in several toxic relationships. The first lasted 3 years. It completely changed me for the worst, I was unable to recognize myself, completely lost myself and sense of purpose. It was my first love, so I did not know what was right or what was wrong in a relationship, I just continued because I loved the person and believed in working things out than just leaving. But I realized, and a bit too late, that the relationship wasn’t bringing any value to me, it wasn’t making me grow as a person. It was affecting my health detrimentally and I was devaluing myself by being the one to make compromises and putting my needs aside, and he was manipulating me in a way that made me seem like the bad guy all the time. It wasn’t healthy. I had to leave after my realization and my intuition that was eating me inside out. It took me two years to forgive and let go of the person. The other relationships I was in moved too fast and the people disrespected me and tried to lower me, but I was able to recognize it right away and left. Maybe I did not have enough love for them to stay. After these relationships and weird dates, I was so lost and felt so hurt and broken, although still hopeful. The person in the last relationship I had seemed initially everything I was looking for. He showed me he cared truly, was worried about me genuinely, wanted me to grow as a person and gave me all the freedom to expand, and seemed compassionate and patient. He promised to never hurt me. And this kind of promise lasted two months. After two months, I started to feel insecure because it seemed that I made him a priority in my life, while for him I was an option. He would do things that would hurt me, although he did not intentionally do them, but he did not realize that these things, you don’t just do them. He was emotionally “dumb” because he came from a broken home where love was nonexistent, hence I was very patient and compassionate, trying to explain things to him, trying to lead the way. After a while he would do things that any normal guy would do for his woman although still struggling. However, he would have outbursts where he would start to disrespect me and lower me for being fragile and wanting his embrace and understanding (I also had my challenges, it was hard for me to communicate openly…I took a lot of courage to start talking, but he would lose his patience easily). Those moments killed me. And I lacked attention from his side as it was constantly me wanting to see each other, invest into the relationship. He said he wasn’t much of a planner, he never learned how to plan these things. Anyways, it seemed that in most cases I was trying to compromise, put my needs aside, find the “right” moment to talk to him about a problem, then burst out myself because it was hard to just wait for the “right” moment, and invest into the relationship more than he ever did. I loved him deeply though with all his flaws and qualities and how he improved and how he loved me on the “best” days although my intuition kept telling me that it isn’t right, something isn’t right here. It became clear to me when after 5 months of having awful pains in my pelvic area, we had a fight. I found out I had endomometriosis and was devastated. The next day, he was all lovey dovey with me and then just burst that he doesn’t understand my physiology, that he is going through hardships too because of my condition, and basically blaming it all on me and not wanting to talk to me about it calmly and just hug me. I understand it is hard for the man as well, but he never experienced the awful pains I still endure almost everyday (only during my menstruation I feel somewhat well). It was a deal breaker for me. I cried that he was so awful to me the night before and he just yelled back that I was awful for not giving him sleep and he just went back to sleep. And I started to pack my bags and left. He never reacted. Never contacted me afterwards. It hurts so much, because I loved him. It hurts so much that he doesn’t care about me or my wellbeing, that his pride and anger goes above everything else. I feel lost, lonely, scared, confused, angry, upset. But I do not regret my decision, because I noticed that I was closing my eyes on a lot of things, putting a lot of my needs aside, and not evolving as I wanted to. And my insecurities were formed not only because I was insecure at the time, but because there were reasons for me to feel that way. I hated that side of me. I know I will eventually forgive and let go. Next time, I will be wiser and get to know the person better before committing all of me to him. Remember that it is wonderful to love someone and to nurture him, but love is an exchange of energy and you also deserve to be loved and cared for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/balboanadia Nadia Gerassimenko

    Dear author,

    It is silly to say he loves you but sleeps with his ex even if you were on a break. It is silly to buy a promise ring when he can ask you to marry him as if he is so scared. And he is scared. He is scared to love. It goes way deeper than that, he has some unresolved issues that seem to have traumatized him for behaving this way. He is unhappy, but you are not responsible for his happiness, he is. And you should not act as his saviour either, I have been that road before and I have lost myself by trying to save others and settling for less than what I deserve and lowered my values. Do not do that to yourself, love yourself, respect yourself before anyone else. He is not ready. Love should not be like that and you deserve to be loved truly. Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/balboanadia Nadia Gerassimenko

    Dear, you are a true prince and a real lady will see that, have patience. Meanwhile, you need time to heal your wounds and let go.

    I can say with certainty that you are a victim of a toxic relationship. Your only fault lies in being so loving, thoughtful, patient, compassionate with her. Maybe you thought things would improve over time. Maybe you even justified her behaviour due to her unfortunate past, the lack of bond she has with her family. But there comes a time when one must learn to get out of samsara and let love in. She is still stuck there even though the universe keeps bringing her gifts that she should learn to appreciate but instead resents. It is not her fault for her traumatic childhood, but it is her fault for staying there and closing her heart even further. She needs to save herself by herself not by you or anyone else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/balboanadia Nadia Gerassimenko

    Why should you change? What does not satisfy her? In what ways does she walk all over you?

  • Veronica.

    Well done for leaving this relationship. I am in the process of doing this myself. My partner was using drugs and this changed him into someone i didnt like anymore. I am hurting as i love this guy, but there is no future in it.

    I am strong enough to get out now before things get worse.

    We can survive this as we can now be ourselves and take care of our own needs. Respect to you! :-

  • Anne

    I live with a difficult man — extremely intelligent, argumentative, and dominant with touches of obsessive / compulsive thrown into the mix. Being gentle and easy going by nature, I realized not too long ago that I have been giving pieces of myself away for quite a while now. Its a toxic relationship for sure made more difficult by the fact that he doesn’t work regularly and so, leaves the debt for me to pay off. Though he did something which for me was unforgivable, he refused to move out. And so, I am in the weird position of having left him and still living with him every day. I am counting the minutes until I can get out.

  • Cristina

    Toxic relantionship is with myself!!! I am going to change that rigth now!!!

  • Em

    I don’t know if I’m in a toxic relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years and I’ve seen him angry, sad, upset and happy. I know a lot about him and what he does. I haven’t been able to tell anyone what exactly happens on the inside, instead for some friend of ours who happened to kiss me.

    My boyfriend is amazing and sweet, usually. But he can snap at me, call me names and put me down and at the moment this happens quite frequently. He has forced himself upon me four times and I’ve given him many chances and many opportunities to make it up to me. He’s punched me only recently in the belly about three times. He says I annoy him.

    I do, partly, think it’s my fault. I smack him a little and when he says really nasty things, I will slap him across the face. We play fight, well, used to. Only playful banter, kick, bite and all that. It was fun and we both were laughing. But then of course, we’d stop as one of us had hurt each other. But mind you, we haven’t played fight since last, mid-year.

    I can be tough on him and put him down, but I always say sorry and try to make up as quick as possible. He tries, but not hard enough. I realise we probably have an abnormal relationship, but I’m used to it – I’m okay with it.

    But not at the moment. I’m sick of it. I can’t do it anymore and it’s tiring me out! I don’t know what to do.

  • River

    I recently had a ‘friend’ of many years leave my life and that may not be a bad thing to me especially after reading this. I had known this friend for 13 years and we often proudly referred to each other as ‘brothers’ yet for me the past 3 years of our friendship have more often than not left me very sad,anxious and quite confused. It really seemed to me that over time it had gotten to where I could do little that was good enough in my friends eyes. I was cut down quite often in private and in front of others . He seemed to focus primarily on my faults , rarely on my strengths anymore. I felt as if I were walking on eggshells in his presence most the time these past couple of years. I mean we used to be so close , he seemed to hold me in very high esteem and of late I mostly got ridicule and harsh criticism. I took the blame for most of the problems because for a time my thinking was “What am I doing to cause this person whom has been like brother to me for years to behave this way?” I have battled with my intuition and reasoning mind over this for sure but now that I have read this article It is very clear to me now that for whatever reason my ‘Old Friend’ / ‘Brother’ was taking his negativity out on me . I have tried time and again to reason with him and about 80+% of the time he blames the problems in our relationship on me. It has been very tough for me , including letting go of someone who has been so close to me but it really came down to accepting the sad n painful truth that this person isn’t interested/able to be strive for a 2 sided healthier style of relating to people . I wish it were different but I am very grateful for this article. It is helping me have greater clarity .

  • Lee

    This sounds like my ex. I was always belittled, called a moron, a idiot, a son of a bitch, etc by this woman that I love and consider amazing still. She kept saying that I was toxic to her. We were in a long distance relationship and I barely had money due to paying off debts and she’d threaten to break up with me on christmas eve if I didn’t came.

    I came on January to be by her side at that time where I constantly told her I love her and that she’s amazing the way she is. I kept her in bed and fed her when she was sick in bed, carried her to my car after shopping when her feet was sore from walking. We held hands many times and I always told her that she’s beautiful and amazing and I kept trying to ask her to compliment me and those around her and appreciate life here on earth and not hate people for no reason.

    She is a pagan and I believe her friends are aswell. I tell her my goals and she crushes it or focuses on one mistake I made and intensifies it with her anger on me and it made me cry many, many, many, many, many times to which I threatened her myself later on saying I will leave and she laughed when I just couldn’t do it.

    I never had her pay while I was there, and she even seemed to expected that of me, and tho it was amazing, she left me saying that I am toxic after all the effort I tried, all the love and care I gave, she just got “bored” and left, to which I’m sure she was just BORED and also not sure of herself and who she was so she branded me toxic instead. She is pagan, I am christian at a church where 10,000 people goes to. I was compared to that of westborough tho I didn’t even take her to church on sunday when we were together nor did I try to force her to become a christian.

    I really tried with her, and I’m afraid that she will hurt herself being the way she is, so even though she left me, I can’t leave her and I’m going to college to get doctorate’s degree and do my best to protect her and just love her no matter where she’s at. I see that people here give up and walk away from toxic people but I just can’t do it. It is sad that this person I love don’t know that she can really read this and agree that she treated me exactly like this, and will even say that’s me but I know that this defines her, and I think it was because she don’t have nice upbringing.

    I am sad for her when I think about her, I pray for her, and I continue to love her and wait for her no matter what she’s doing, it’s the best I can do and best a man can do. I can’t move on knowing she’ll be a danger living like this unless she proves to me that she is safe and that I can leave if leaving is what she wants

  • GreenLady

    I’m in a Toxic relationship and have been for 2 years, although we were very happy for 1 year. We both make each other feel terrible… I’m so confused, I can see those traits in myself (the 5 signs) …I do stop him being himself and put him down all the time…but the thing is if he was being himself he would wake up at the last minute, rush to work, come back play video games for 8 hours and then go straight to bed or just stay up playing video games the entire night….He would smoke, drink excessively and most likely still be on heavy drugs…I put him down because he refuses to keep any promises he makes, he never helps out around the house, he admitted that he doesn’t mind living in filth and doesn’t see why he should help cleantidy. When we argue he reacts like a child…even runs away sometimes and threatens to hurt himself, throws strops, refuses to get out of bed or eat until I apologies. He has such a terrible temper (he’s 27)… Before he met me he was bordering anorexic because he just couldn’t even be bothered to feed himself because he was either always drunk, high or playing video games…he failed uni twice because he just couldn’t stop playing games and get the work done. We argue constantly, make each other miserable..I want a simple, calm life and he wants the life of a young teenager,.. yet every time we go to break up he becomes suicidal, tells me how much he loves me and couldn’t live without me etc. He gave me the option last night, he told me to just walk away if I wanted too and he wouldn’t fight it any more..but I can’t bring myself to do it…even though we are so depressed together…I just can’t walk away.. We are in a contract together for the flat so we would still have to live together for 6 months, and even afterwards we wouldn’t have nowhere to go…neither of us really has any friends.. and we can’t move back with our parents, and we can’t afford a place of our own. He is all I have…My brother died a few months ago, my father is ill and doesn’t have long left…My mum is also ill and I know when something happens to my dad she will turn to alcoholism…and I’ll have no one…The thought is terrifying… i’m so lost…I can’t imagine life without him but also can’t imagine staying with him :(

  • Jamie

    I am now starting on my journey of leaving my boyfriend. With my tax return, I am getting out. It’s going to be really hard, but I know this has to end. It’s hurting my son. It’s killing me.

  • Frida

    Bit late in replying to this post, had couple of toxic relationships with friends and a boyfriend. With friends it was easy to stop that kind of relationships since i’m lucky have wonderful friends who gave me good examples of what I should get out & feel about myself. With my ex, it’s still day-to-day challenge, after 15 years of that kind of relationship ( almost half of my life) I don’t know what happiness is and i’m very confused. I wish I could had seen this before and no one would experience this.

  • Loulou

    My partner has expressed a lot of these problems, but I always thought she was the toxic one. What a mess. We have broken up now but I am having a lot of trouble letting go and still looking for answers. Both being women it’s emotionally charged a lot more of the time.
    Thank you for your article.

  • Sarah

    I left a toxic relationship, a marriage i made too quickly. We had a daughter together that’s the only reason i stayed for 2 years. Every afternoon when he came home from work i dreaded it, m anxiety rose – what would he pick on this time? What would i have done wrong now? And in the end my family thought i was so selfish for leaving, especially when i started seeing someone new. No one knew what he was really like becUse on the oitside he was so friendly, so nice to everyone. But he judged me so harshly while on the other hand he’d tell me how much he loved me so much. He didn’t. Every thing he did was for himself, a control freak. I had no role, at home with my child and he didn’t even trust me to cook a meal. All meals had to be from his country. 2 years later and i realised i had almost forgotten what it was like to eat m owm culture’s food. Even when we were alone together, hugging on the lounge, i felt numb. I couldn’t be happy with smeone who was so demoralising and negative. Every takeaway we bought, he wrote an official complaint about it, every shop we went into, he thought the people were rude to him. But at a famil gathering e was sweet and nice to everyone. I couldnt understand him. Im so glad now, to be with a new partner. It has been difficult, starting again, but i love this man who never makes waves. It’s so nice!

  • Cath40t

    I’ve been with my husband for 20 years. I’ve known for a long time it’s not right. I want to start on my own. We have 18 and 15 year old “children”…one suffers from a severe eating disorder………she has her own flat now but would like to live at home but can’t because she can’t stand to be around her dad………the other politely tolerates him to avoid conflict. On top of this we run a business together (my business idea and practical skills, his business management skills)..it’s a fecking nightmare. Constant battle. HIm trying to control every area of our lives, belittleing, condacending, insulting and verbally abusive. I’m not perfect and can be obstructive but I am struggling to get the energy and mental clarity to leave and be able to support myself and my son(who will NOT want to live with his dad)………

  • lost

    my boyfriend just brought me a knife and told me one of us has to die… he broke my phone so I cant call for help.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi lost,

    I have your email address and IP address from the email notification I received. I am going to call 911 and give that information to the police! I’m sure they will be able to track you!

    Lori

  • Monika

    My relationship displays all 5 of these. I’ve been with him for over 2 years. We’ve had good times and that’s what I hold onto. It’s gotten really bad now. There isn’t one person who knows me that wants me to be with him. It’s the most toxic relationship and yet I always find a way to miss him and forgive him

  • Toby

    I’m 18 and my girlfriend is 21 – We have a lot of issues but she refuses to accept that any of them are her doing. She cannot wait to criticise me, and whenever I want to speak my mind or beg her to be committed (like maybe come out of a facebook relationship with the guy she cheated on me with) she just says I go on and that is why she is the way she is. It is an endless cycle. I forget who I once was and I still can’t believe she thinks it is okay to be in a FB relationship with some other guy just because she doesn’t see him…

  • Zasha

    I am in a toxic friendship with a mysogenistic gay man. I am recovering from his latest blast of insults and realize I need to get out. I cant comment on the specifics of the situation but let me explain that he puts me down, makes fun of me in a joking way, and yesterday said im “too old” for a certain career field which requires physical training at a young age. I know my age, but physically I am in top form. No injuries and unusual flexibility which is a must. the problem is I must take class with him and secretly resent it. Basically its a podunk town which caters to cliquey people. I know I should leave, or talk to someone about my problems, but I know tattling will make enemies. Just to vent, hes a drug user, and does self destructive behaviors common to gay men who arent comfortable with themselves. I know I shouldnt take it personally, but hes popular with lots of people and it seems like I am the only one experiencing this nasty side. Another gay man listened and told me if I leave to expect some kind of fallout such as gossip but to respect myself and leave. The situation is more complex than this, but I should not have ever allowed this person into my life and I utterly regret it.

  • Lotus

    It is often difficult to know if you are in a toxic relationship. I had been in a relationship with my ex-partner for two years and he was always so sweet, wonderful, and loving. Nevertheless, he also had internal anxiety and panics that caused him to constantly need to control me. For instance, he would tell me what clothes to wear, what tv shows to watch, and what vacations he wanted to take. He was also very fearful of me leaving him (which made me fearful he would leave as well). When I did not get along with his best friend (“like a sister to him”) he would close off and become cold and irritable. Unfortunately, his behavior caused me to run the extra mile to be nice, to such an extent that I started to sacrifice my own self-respect in order to make her (and consequently him) happy. Over the course of a year, I would repeatedly be put into a position to be viscerally hurt when I was less of a priority. Ultimately, it is the intuition that one must follow, which is why I appreciate this article. I knew that this situation was one where I was sacrificing myself. When I drew a line in the sand and said I can not do this anymore, he broke up with me like he was dropping a hot potato — just reconfirming that it was all about him. Ironically, he could read the five traits above and make an argument that he was in the toxic relationship. I think that is because it is true on one hand and he needs to be a victim on the other. Finally, I take away the appreciation of what I learned from this experience and know in my heart that when I stopped acting like a victim and started taking accountability for myself into consideration (i.e. “I deserve to be happy too.”) that is the moment I became free.
    Good luck!

  • TRY2B+

    My son (13) and I live with my boyfriend and his daughter (9). We moved in together almost 4 years ago. and its been a struggle ever since. When my BF and I are without children we are amazingly happy. We dont argue or point fingers. When the kids are with us or shall I say when my son is with us, its a constant battle. My son in my BF eyes cant do anything right, he thinks he is lying to him when he asks a question and its to the point of my son wanting to be at his fathers more. When i confront my BF about all of this, he says im crazy. i tell him he needs to stop being jealous of my son. He tells me that I always put my son first and that my son is my main priority. he says I let my son “run” me etc etc etc. My son is a great kid, he is rambunctious, good student, plays all sports, but can have an attitude at times.
    I feel like I am walking on egg shells when he is home, I feel like I need to make sure that everything is in its place and I have gotten to the point of doing my sons chores if he forgets before he goes to practice.
    I feel as if I am drowning and theirs no one to save me.
    I try to make my BF happy by doing everything I can think of, down to the color of my hair, or the color of my nails just for him.
    I ask him when we fight why are we even together when i obviously cant make you happy? He wont answer me. He will ignore me and not talk to me for days.
    When he is really mad at me, he will nit pick everything regarding my son..if his chores arent done on time, his grades, his room, if he left something out of place etc etc.
    He will not discuss anything until he is ready, than he wont discuss he will just act as if nothing has happened. I am walking on pins and needles trying to make him happy. I keep telling him we have a communication problem, that we need to learn to talk to each other and not at each other. I asked him to go to counseling and he refuses. he says its a waste of time, he went with his ex and it didnt help.
    I want out, not just for my sake but for my sons. I have no family, and I have no friends, I have been alienated and didnt even realise that I lost touch with all of them years ago.
    I cant afford to move out on my own and I fill like moving in with him many years ago was the biggest mistake I ever made.
    I am lost and I have no faith and no hope anymore. I just get through the days knowing tomorrow is another day and I will see what it brings.

  • Sunflower68

    Dear Try2Be+, Blended families can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. Being in a toxic relationship with someone who will not accept your child makes you feel like you are losing your mind because you can never seem to understand why someone who is supposed to love you can’t make the effort to love your baby too. I know, because that’s exactly my life right now. I can’t offer advice but I can tell you I personally understand your pain. I am in the midst of planning my exit. Because living with someone who doesn’t value you, trying to make them happy day in and day out but never succeeding, knowing deep down that neither or your son will ever be good enough or simply loved and accepted for the amazing people you are, it makes you die a little each day. And you deserve more. So does your precious son. Perhaps you could start putting a little money away to get your own place. Sometimes just making a plan can give you strength. I wish you the best. Try to love yourself more than you love him.

  • R

    I met a guy at work who I allowed to spin me and sweep me off my feet. I fell hook, line and sinker. In hindsight there were so many red flags: convicted felon, living at his mother’s while freshly out of prison and on probabtion for starters. Anger issues, insecure accusations about me flirting with other guys only turned out later to be projections of his character. At one point I even found him active on a dating website while WE were still dating. We broke up at least 5 times and I have finally had it. I feel so duped by his smooth talk, style and sometimes boyish nature not to mention the way he told me over and over he wanted to be a better man and he was trying so hard. According to him I was the greatest girl he had ever met, I confused him I was so honest and real he got a little scared at times and that’s why he did the things he did, acted the way he acted.

  • Ana

    Thank you for the posts. I can relate to many comments here. I met my first partner when I was in my 20s and somehow his emotional distance was a sign for me that it would not be a healthy relationship and I would become stuck in a sense. He was content to not think more broadly and whenever I suggested doing anything slightly different he had a way of making me feel guilty. I knew I had to end it but due to his insistence we went on until I had to really separate myself from feeling any guilt. Then I met a man who I believed would be my husband and the only person I can truly say that I loved with all my heart since my mom. I had unconditional love for him and his daughters. I gave my time, energy and finances into the relationship as if I owed it from some debt I had made. Then it got to a point where I realized that I was not living my goals. I was actually becoming what he wanted, a house wife and yet that never was my goal. I was hooked though as he could make me laugh, made me feel needed and at times he could be extremely considerate in giving me space. I thought this was a type of relationship where I would become a stronger woman. I would be like my grandmothers, be married for life and be the head of the home. Yet I lost my sense of self. Everything was him, I had to care for him and be what he needed. He could be verbally abusive and on several occasions he was threatening physical violence. It was on only two occasions that out of anger he got physically violent with me.

    Yet I stayed out of obligation. i left him several times and each time I felt light and free yet guilty for feeling that. To this day I’m petrified my freedom and peace will be taken from me. I don’t go out much and am a writer, so to not be controlled enables me to feel relaxed.

    At the end of the day no matter how guilty I feel, no matter how much I want to be the strong loving and accepting woman that he claims he wants, I need to take care and love myself. I also deserve care and making me laugh or making sure I have just enough to be what he needs is not what a life should be about. I do feel an attraction to him, yet that seems to be fading as I begin to accept that I have a right to grow and spiritually evolve.

    Life can be cruel and I trusted him, he can also be highly philosophical. I often thought that by being with him I was with a teacher and if I was wise I would put up with all the negative stuff and somehow gain inner knowledge. Living to try please someone else and be what they want is not living.

  • Cyndi

    I ended a very toxic relationship where everything was always about him and his constant drama…. I’ve left him 7 times now and each Time I felt a huge weight lifted and never cried once…this must be a sign….. Be yourself follow your instincts and believe in yourself always

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  • april

    What if you are a young adult and you have been feeling this way since childhood about your family. Also what if you are not old enough to just get up and leave. What can one do?

  • Mari

    It’s just the beginning of what feels like a long endured battle. I feel like my boyfriend only cares about himself and somehow he’s taking control if the relationship. He makes it difficult to express how I feel because I get “too emotional”. He’s taken away my strength to stand up for myself which is not like me at all. I really believe I’m in a toxic relationship and I am ready to pack my things and use this as a learning experience. This article was very helpful.

  • Aboubakar S Bakayoko

    I also believe i’m in a toxic relationship,I have this friend who i met nearly a year ago.since then,i thought we were close friends, she would open up to me about whatever issues or problems she had,I too,did the same,we had a connection ,a connection in which we cud tell each other anything and everything which i think formed our friendship.Over the next few months,i developed feelings for her,when she offered to give me my first true kiss,my feelings has intensified.i was hooked to her like a drug,we hung out,called,text-ed each other almost everyday,as it turned out,she never had romantic feelings for me,but i keep forcing my emotions on her,to the point that she got irritated told me straight up that she doesn’t like me in that way.

    It took me some time to come to grips with my emotions,in that time,everything i did regarding her was perhaps due to my feelings more than my friendship,we argued alot then,and i would go off on her when i feel like she not taking my feelings into consideration,instead choosing to ignore me and act more aggressive towards me.

    there were times where we seemed to have settled things,however,problems still arised between us,and people who im close to started to notice that i was too into my friend,to the point that it dictated my actions,and allow her to have her way with me,like i gave her too much power over me.
    lately,she has been very insensitive towards me,ignoring and disregarding my struggles while i help her with hers,getting a attitude when i don’t respond to her.Also,she would as of recently give me dirty looks whenever i hang with her and other friends,getting the vibe that she don’t want me there. Annoyed,i decided to confront her and ask her why she was being so mean to me,i was assuming that i made her mad or she was embarrassed by me,when i texted her one night to talk about this,a random number called my phone,when i picked up,it turns out it was one of her friends,who in her defense,decided to call me and tell her to leave her alone and not talk to her at all.
    At that point,i was pissed,she had no problem confronting me herself,and the fact she got someone else involved in all this was in my opinion very wrong of her,who i thought was a friend i confided too was someone who probably didn’t respect or care for me enough to at least speak for herself,i hung up the phone and told her she was never a good friend,i was hurt,and the sad thing is,i still want to be friends with her,cuz i know there is some good in her…….

  • laura

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  • crooked eye

    I hate whoever wrote this damnit

  • helpless

    I have been with my now fiance for 8 years. I’m not bashing him whatsoever, but simply explaining how our relationship is and I’m in need of advice.

    I met him when I was 16 and instantly I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. He joined the service shortly after and we were apart for 3 years. He came home for leave and broke up with me. After returning over seas he begged me to take him back, which I did. Then he came home for good and leftthe service. He immediately got a job and of course he wasn’t the same person (but who would be after seeing and going through the things that he did?). We broke up for a few months but then got back together and have been together ever since.

    We have two children together. One which is old enough to see my tears and see how I hurt every day. I don’t want my child to have to see me like this, but sometimes I just cannot pull it together enough to do the things I need to do.

    Our relationship is odd. We never see eachother because of our work shifts. We both work full time to support our family. We maybe see each other for a couple of hours every week, which has taken a huge toll on our relationship. Every couple of months I get depressed and tell him how I feel, and I get the same response every time. “Then just go if you’re so miserable.”. That was never the response I was looking for. I wanted him to fight for me and want to want me. I guess it isn’t in him to want to love me. This has been going on for years, but for some reason I stay. I don’t know if it is because I want this to work our so bad or if it is because I don’t want to hurt my children by having a broken up family. It just isn’t in me anymore to try.

    He got into some trouble a few months ago which is causing him to have his license revoked. We don’t have family (really it has just been us). I feel obligated to take care of him, which all of my friends have told me its not my problem so why should I worry? Iguess they don’t see it from my eyes. He’s all I’ve had since I was 16. I’m 25 now. Through all the hurt and all the problems we have had, I’m still around. Not happy, but drained emotionally because he’s not giving me the attention nor affection I need.

    I’m ready to walk away, but I’m scared. I also would feel guilty for leaving him when he needs me. I just don’t feel loved anymore and I have told him this multiple times, but nothing has changed. Please give me advice and help me. I don’t know what to do anymore. I want to be happy for my kids, but I haven’t been for a long time and they see it.

  • Catherine Olsen

    Just reading this comment. I can so relate to this. I truly loved this person and as you have done all my plans and goals centered around that. I too am now on my healing journey. This has been a very difficult lesson for me. I hope I can grow and learn from it.

  • Me

    what if you’re the reason for the toxic relationship and want to change?

  • Katelyn

    Our dads sound a like, I currently am in a household where there is no positive re enforcement only negative. My past 20 something years here have been nothing but hell. I can’t voice an opinion about something that happened today in my life, news, etc without being told my opinion doesn’t matter in this house and to shut up. I’m almost finished with school and can’t wait find a new sense of freedom in an apartment or house! I’m so envious of my friends parents who are always so positive towards them and are willing to listen or agree to disagree.

  • K8E_420

    Ya know what’s toxic? People suggesting divorce in the first line of their reply. People saying leave for the child. You’ve heard his side only. You can’t make that assumption. They’ve only been together 3 years – TOTAL. Maybe she is abusive because she herself was abused. Now, I understand the stigmas.. and I realize a lot of people would tell women to leave the same type of situation. But, love conquers all – if it tries. Both need to try. Have you told her you’re considering leaving? That could jar her awake.. get her attention – somehow – whatever it takes. Why? So that if you do leave, you can walk away with a clear head, knowing you did everything. If you don’t, you’ll always wonder if there was more you could have done. Just do it right.. that’s all I’m saying. For yourself if not for her, or anything else.

  • SG

    This is my first time commenting on any blog that triggered a rush of thoughts and feelings. For some context to this complicated web, I’ve been in a 4 year relationship…two months into dating, she was diagnosed with cancer. Three years later, heavy chemo, 2 evictions, a court battle with work, and many intimate changes in our relationship has made me question. Is my relationship now toxic?

    Many times I’ve negotiated my feelings, ideas, and concerns about our current relationship. However, I recently began suppressing to express these concerns because it triggered emotional impact to my partner. I can’t tell you the tremendous guilt and frustration it is, living with someone under such a tragic cycle of grief from a cancer survivor. It’s been 3 years of remission, but many times my partner can’t seem to move on, and I’m unconditionally supportive; therefore, neglecting my needs. Now I feel exacting like this article, so obviously it resonates. Now I find myself contemplating leaving and being on my own again…and frustrated because I blame Cancer.

    I’m confused and don’t know what to do. We’ve talked about therapy, but she doesn’t follow up with action. I do feel like I’m still care-taking and living more as a nurse then a fiancee. Any suggestions??? Talked about marriage this year and I’m freaking out, even though I know it’s perceived fear, and everything will be fine!

  • Mar

    Seems like this thread is kind of old, but I’m going to give it a shot.
    I am in a 2 year toxic relationship with someone I do love, but often guilts me and makes me feel bad about myself. I have an 11 year old, and a 14 year old and my partner lives with us. We had a fairy tale beginning after I went through a very painful divorce. He is generally a good person. My problem is I don’t know when to draw the line, when to give up, when to let things go. We argue constantly, he is very critical of how I do many things, including communicate with him. He is emotionally and physically very needy.
    I am not trusting my gut, which is saying go. What if leaving is a mistake? It is gut wrenching every day. My foot is halfway out the door, so of course things are strained and have little chance of getting better? Any words of wisdom?

  • Ella Riella Cox

    This is great! I just want to add that both people involved in the conflict can exhibit these toxic behaviors, even if they don’t realize it. Everybody wants to be the innocent hero of their own tale, but the reality is it takes two to tango, and if the relationship is toxic odds are you just as much to blame as your friend/partner.

  • Anonymous

    Wow I feel every single one of these. It’s too bad there’s no way out for me.

  • Elix

    What if the toxic relationship is with yourself, and you are the toxic person?

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Nice point, Ella. More often than not, we’re doing to the other what we don’t want done to us.

  • Lorry

    I just left a toxic relationship. The guy was seriously mixed up. He had another girlfriend. I was just the ‘other woman’ and he said that things ‘just happened’ when he was with me. I almost always made plans to see him and when he did make plans with me, he would always add, ‘if you are up for it’ and he would say things like, ‘it’s up to you’. He never took initiative. He said he had feeling for me, but I don’t believe it. He NEVER told me he loved me. He would just say it in a round about sort of way. I kept telling him I loved him though. Also, he would constantly vent to me about his problems and then occasionally ask how I was just to be polite. I told him that was asking too much of me but he just blew it off and he NEVER apologized for that! I had to tell him that he was driving me away! Did he care? No. He blew me off because of work. We ALWAYS talked by facebook or texting! We even fought that way. I also found that he’s haunted by ghosts from his past with his relationships and he thinks women are going to give up on him and then he’s mean to them and he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong and then they don’t want to be with him! When I was being supportive of him, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall! He would blow off my advice without a second thought which prompted me to say that I can’t help him if he doesn’t want it and he was asking too much of me. It’s because of him that I got addicted to facebook, became clingy, needy, and started nagging him (I was simply reacting to him. I’m not naturally like that). I told him he needs to grow up and get his career sorted. I’ve had similar life problems too, but I’ve got beyond them and I’m very proud of myself. I felt dragged down again trying to help him. To me, being pessimistic and running at the first sign of adversity is not being sensible in a bad situation, it’s being a loser! The good thing was that we did keep communication channels open. I was able to voice my views.

  • key

    Hello I was in a 4yr toxic relationship..I feel like someone died close to me inside.he me feel like I was nothng inside…I didn’t do anything to harm him or hurt him so y do I feel so bad

  • key

    Thts how I feel I’m trying to get more and more closer to god becuz he always was here with me…..hwevr it seem like god is not listening. To me I feel he. Is

  • sam

    i would suggest for this man to set up a non violent confrontation. tell her that there are problems. bring it into the conscious mind be civil and explain your side short and sweet without getting lost in the details. plain and simple. make it clear that if she doesn’t adapt…. if she doesn’t change then everything will end. i’m always surprised how much gets lost in translation over time… without speaking out its like shaking up a cocaine bottle and watching the whole thing explode.expecting a different outcome.

  • Susan Hill

    I jjust went througn all five with a guy that I thought I loved. It was more like a brain wash obsession. Even after I finally detached from him and went another direction I kept feeling like he was in my head and I could not get him out. I ended up contacting him again thinking it was all my fault it did not work. After one hour with him one evening recently,.. I knew rapidly what time it was..! Thank you for that article.. and I hope anyone reading it will not wait, but remove themselves as fast as possible.. You are so right, , every minute with him did damage to my spirit, . No joke.

  • Geffrey

    My name is Geffrey i want to say thanks to Prophet.Galala from what he has done for me you are a man of your word me and my lover are happy together again…..contact Prophet.Galala on his email vie spiritualspelcaster@gmail.com.

  • Geffrey

    My name is Geffrey i want to say thanks to Prophet.Galala from what he has done for me you are a man of your word me and my lover are happy together again…..contact Prophet.Galala on his email vie spiritualspelcaster@gmail.com.

  • angela

    i was and at times still am half of what you are calling toxic in our relationship, there are two of us. I have reproached with physical psychological violence on several occasions saying terrible things using filthy language in the past due to frustration, confusion, misunderstandings, which led me into depressions and guilt for the following days, after which I would come back to myself and our relationship would seem to be healthy happy and sharing. I know my emotions sky rocket a week before menstruation and as we are a lesbian couple the emotions are doubled. she has always said she forgives. something clicked every time it happened and I knew deeply that this was not who I wanted to be, and the last time I confronted her with violence I raised my hands to her and something just would not allow me to touch her I physically could not move, and that’s where I made tracks to start on the road to healing. we are still journeying together although we don’t share the same bed anymore, she still supports me financially, and every month I must cope with pms. I don’t use pms as an excuse, if I have not been keeping a record of the monthly cycle then bang the emotions are overwhelming. I have never used a chemical treatment only used soothing teas (which act instantly) I have also learned sound healing and positive affirmations even story telling for healing. I know I was wrong I have held on to guilt and it is a very heavy burden, a burden which is actually more healthy to drop. still every month we have our issues, but never again with physical violence. I mentioned earlier in the post that I am only half of the toxic in our relationship as she also has her toxic attributes. something inside tells me to keep on going with this relationship and something also tells me to leave it……..

  • amybeth

    Do not walk away from that of which you love .. you can never teach your child to forgive and love unconditonally , Unless you love that way.. you and though You may not have a lot in commen.. you can build a beautiful bridge between the two worlds.. you just cant teach love by leaving..
    Watch the movie WHAT DREAMS MAY COME..
    The love it represents the power of that love and overcome .conquer any deamons.. dont teach your baby to give up.. dont you give.. we all have battles… maybe she really needs you there to help her fight. . In sickness and health… wishin you love and happiness for her and you to have and share with your baby too

  • kholynn82

    What if I’m the one who caused my bf to feel all these? I’m deeply sorry and realized too late that I have to face my deepest issues.

  • Crystalclearimperfection

    Huh…. So today I see that my wife was reading this site on the shared computer (makes me defiantly know I’m the “toxic” partner)…
    :(

    I’m no fool, I see we both have been loosing interest in one another, not talking as much NO physical contact etc…. (She says she’s just always tired or headaches)… Yup… Heard that b4… :-/

    I’ve been figuring she has a boyfriend in most honesty…. :(
    And event considered looking myself…. But seeing this today just hurt my feelings more than anything else……

    Way to go whoever made this site!!! You deserve a award or something! (Yeppie),,,, Peoplie’s spouses can’t talk to their significant others face to face???? But they can dump there problems to a bunch of nobodies on the random Internet????? Wow,,,,, way to go social media!!! And even though its shared computer…… GOD forbid I ask her about her post!!!!!!! She’ll freak about me ” snooping”. Hell….. At least I care enough to want to fix it, and even feel bad about it,,,,,,,

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    My name is Lori, and I created this site. I am so sorry to hear about what’s been going on in your marriage. I can only imagine how painful it’s been to see the distance growing between you. I’m sure this is an obvious question, but have you asked her directly about this?

    You are in my thoughts.

    Lori

  • Yvette Bowlin

    Hi HJ! Yes, there is sometimes a stigma attached to doing what you need to do to stay emotionally healthy. Sounds like you did the best you could with the options you had, and that’s all anyone can ask for. Wishing you continued happiness!
    -Yvette

  • Jose

    Oh Yvette, thank you so much for this post. My toxic relationship was with a friend. Someone I used to hang out with and who I treated like a brother. It happens that one day I fell into deep depression and, desperate to find someone who could help me, I found the door closed and realised that my best friend was avoiding me. No need to say that things got worse as in my depressed state and low self-esteem I was constantly trying to understand why someone would abandon a friend who needed help. I felt better after a while, recovered from depression, stopped talking to that person but I still feel a bit bad whenever I remember how close we used to be.

  • Yvette Bowlin

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Jose. I know how it feels to look for a friend and feel like no one’s there. I’m glad you’re recovered from depression and hopefully are finding new ways to keep your spirits up? Who knows, maybe you two can rekindle your bond when the time is right?

    -Yvette

  • nikita

    I am facing this xact problem since 5 years i really need to move on but then its completely impossible from my side to end it…i ve tried all possible things to make the relationship work this long but now i feel lost and dont know whom should i seek help..please suggest

  • Chicana Queen

    Please please please sum advise. I feel I am in a toxic relationship but dont have the courage to walk away I feel as if my wings have been broken.
    I do n do I try to make him happy but constantly overlooks anything positive in me n seeks all negativem.I cam truly say there is a thin line between love n hate,I do all I can to see him happy and his selfishness pushes me to a dangerous point I feel so angry and feel so stupid for allowing myself to stay in this .
    We have seperated many times and its always.the same I end up looking for him and him with that smurk as if saying I knew u would be back tells me its going to be different if u want me back and begins with his demands and I fold and agree to everything then I hate him for it but just try to seek that approval from him but never get it when I say to him i cant do this anymore he says why do u look for me then and I say bpecause I thought things would maybe be different and he starts to pack n sayz are u sure this is what u want I question myself is this what I want I say no but I cant take u hurting my feelings anymore then when he is 90% packed and said so many hurtful things u have kids that arent mine..ur going to go to the bar and be a b**** find another man and im like wth he then says im not going to go I love u grabs me holds me says hug me im sorry it wont happen again and in a few days it happens again. Why cant I walk away and stay away? Please sum advice !!

  • SadSackx

    I am shouted and and belittled every day for not doing anything right. The bins too full, your not looking after the dogs properly, im useless, stupid, a cunt, a bitch. He says everyone thinks im lovely but they dont know the real me. I cant have a proper conversation as im scared of saying something he doesnt agree with and ill get screamed at. Im ashamed. Im currently off work with stress but i actually think im stressed and depressed because of him, not work. Work is my sanctuary but he callls atleast 10 times a day. I went oustside in the garden with my pjs on without a bra and he said im trying to flaunt my body to other men. He has to judge each outfit i wear, im not allowed to wear it if its too short or im showing any cleavage. Im finding it hard to communicate with people lately and i dont find anything funny anymore. I cry most days on the floor of my bedroom, i dont kow why but i feel safer there. Am i over reacting like he says i am

  • Nrlthrhh

    I do have something to share. I’ll be nice if any kind souls would talk to me and help me clear my mind. I’ve been dating this man for 2 years now.
    What if the one that’s causing the relationship to turn toxic is me and not my partner, does that mean I’m unhappy too? I made him feel that nothing he did is right nor what he said. In my thoughts, I just want him to understand me. What a lady said is not exactly what she meant. I’ve tried to be in the 1% of women category when the woman doesn’t say what she doesn’t mean, or throw tantrums when he doesn’t hug her or hold her hand, or when he doesn’t buy her flowers even though she has mentioned so many times that it’ll be nice to receive a flower or two. Sometimes I hate myself for being the woman in the relationship. I don’t want to do what I’ve said, but that just seems how women will react and it sucks.
    Recently, we had a disagreement. And instead of talking it through, he shuts the down and ignored my calls. But he texted me and said, “I hate us fighting. I don’t like that. And I want things to calm down first and talk in person.” I understand that he is tired and he wants to sleep, but I’m mentioned so many times that he can’t just do that because it’ll make the matter worst. Different relationships have different ways to resolve disagreements. I mean shouldn’t he at least try the way it works for our relationship and instead of comparing how other relationships solve their disputes?
    If someone is drowning, you don’t wait for the next day or went home to change your clothes before jumping in to save the person. You dropped everything and jumped right in.
    P.S.: I love you him I do. At least I think I still do.
    Someone please help me see clearly. )’:

  • Smurfette

    My husband has a toxic relationship with his parents. Recently we just had our third child. And they criticized me for not answering the phone…my husband got very upset. Also my daughter has a peanut allergy…they had nuts out. So my husband sent both his parents a direct email about not having peanuts out when we come over. His mother apologized, his father bit back denied the peanuts being there, and criticized me not picking up the phone. he snapped back at my husband. Who responded back by protecting me saying that she has only been out of the hospital two weeks…. and because he was upset he sent a bit of a harsh email just to his father. Hubby was hurt. Then his father told him to stop corresponding with him and got very offended by the email. He , the father, said something’s rude in the email. So my husband said fine done. All communication is cut between our families. They haven’t spoken since. Been 2 days. I think…his mom is upset,… And I have no idea what his dad thinks. I don’t think he can stay mad at him…. But my husband is furious. He says its all history…he loves his parents, but he cannot stay in this relationship where he feels so criticized. Always compared and put down. He says that his parents bring out the worst in him….. I do agree his father has a hold on him that is unhealthy…but I don’t think he can dismiss his parents like that and be happy…he thinks he can be……I told him this but he gets really upset. I myself and emotionally and physically spent with a newborn…andt this stress on top of it. He just snapped at me tonight for no reason….and I think this will happen more. He keeps telling me thus is yrs coming. He always had problems with his dad. His father is a very emotionally charged person, he had calmed down quite a bit….but hubby says he is trying to have peace of mind. And for that he needs to cut them out of his life. I don’t know what to do am caught in the middle.he tells me to stay out of it,,,,,but I don’t know what to do….do I let him cut them out? They compare him to a son who uses them and they don’t see it. Lots more…

  • Miss Lei

    Thank you for your article. I am 6 months pregnant woth my first child and have been in a very toxic on amd off relationship with the father for two years now. There’s not enough energy to relive my story and tell it here but I will state my story in the present. My ex is a tormented soul whom suppresses his consciousness with alcohol and drugs and one moment is evil and degrading and judgemental and verbally and emotionally abusive then the next minute is sweet and kind and affectionate. He sais when the baby is here he will man up and take care and provide and put the partying on hold while I have already sacrificed and also delightfully chosen to be as emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy as possible. I dont like myself around him, i feel insecure amd critical, angry and resentful. He has stated countless times how much he hates me and that i am pregnant with his child yet tells me he wants to helpme and provide out of fear of me pursuing child support. I have compassion and feel sorry his life story hurts him so deeply but he chooses to continue living his way of drugs and alcohol and socializing while for me…well my baby is my savior. For her I am going to have to put aside my ego, let go of my part time job and move back in with my parents. I feel unhappy about feeling like a failure, for lowering my standards to settle for an addict, yet my child needs a strong foundation and my family will help me build that for her. Im sad because I keep thinking what if I stay..maybe he’ll change, but I dont have time or patience to wait to find out. My faith and hope for the future fuels me more…to rebuild, to clear the emotional baggage to allow new opportunities for a healthier and happier life. I deserve it and so does my baby girl.

  • writer7

    The exact Same article was written by someone else on psychology today past August.

  • sadmommy

    Hi Ive sumbled on to this page without warning and its sad to say that this is the only place right now were i can leave my thoughts ive been in a 5 ear realtionship with my soon to be ex we have a one year old baby together we fight all the time and the baby crys not good at all i guess my thought was that i had to stay for my son but now im thinking that he should have to see this everyday today was the first day that i got the strength to leave for anhour to gather my thoughts i cant stand the he always names calls trys to belittle me and make me somad i start yelling he says he cant stand me and if i havent seen it for the past 5 years im trying to leave smart with somewere to go with my son were he will be comfortable but its hard tobe under the same roof with him any ideas tips till i feel stable enogh to leave …thank you for reading …god bless u

  • john
  • Nuria

    Sorry this is an abusive relationship that also affects a minor. It is not anyone’s job to sacrifice their lives to heal another person. I did what you suggested it exposed me and my children to 10 more years to a DAMAGING SITUATION. The harm to children cannot be undone. I wish you could see the before and after. One healthy parent is better being and the other the abuser. Exposing a child to this sets them up to be victims or victimizers. 3 years is enough!!!! I wish I could show you the aftermath, I really do

  • Kitty smalz

    Can I tell you something. I would love a man like you, because I am going through the exact same thing. And I have never seen a man as open and honest as you. I am so proud of you that you are so loving and spiritual and you are a earth angel who doesn’t deserve to be in such a position. If you were my husband I would love you to no end. If you have discussed this with her and have done all you can (as in giving 100%) then it is time you leave. I did this with my child’s father and it was one of the hardest things I have to do. But you must understand you are putting your child in a worst position if you stay because they can sense the energy and believe it or not they do know what’s going on and they will imitate it when they get older. Think about it, would you rather have you child raised like you or her?

  • JULIA

    wow didn’t expect all 5 points to hit it on the mark w/ my current situation in my marriage of almost a year, been together over 3 yrs now…… a part of me feels like a failure, because I can honestly say I tried my best to make this work, but it wasn’t good enough, and it’s compromising my morals and self-respect….yet deep down my gut was telling me something wasn’t right all along and just couldn’t pinpoint why…. I wish I trusted it sooner….if anything, I’ve learned so much and all the hardships I’m currently going through are overall making me a better stronger person…. what I’ve learned the most, that applies not only to him, but myself and anyone, is that you can’t make anyone change for the better unless they truly want to themselves.

  • Broken Soul

    Yes I am in a toxic one and it is hard to let go,The relationship started with him cheating on me with a married woman,kept lying about it ,till I found out ,then continued to lie about small things ,in the meanwhile he accused me with many men with no whatso ever proof ,I never created doubts ,I am always sad and doubtful ,he tries to ridicule me and contradict me all the time ,he creates drama and creates suspicions all the time and I know I should leave but feel I am cursed to stay

  • Guest

    I feel this way all the time now. With everybody in my family. I actually cried and am still crying after reading this.

  • sosad1

    What do you do when u have messed up so bad and involved three kids now knowing it wasn’t a good idea but you have nowhere to go at all and are an at home mom with no friends or family and your mother is abusiveand tthat’s why I left with him because anything was better than my mother. I am so depressed and tired. I do what I need to for my kids and I just want to die most of the time. I have no one as I moved away from everyone I did know and just seem to keep finding toxic people. I am not ugly or stupid at all and have a good personality but why am I so sensitive and sad all the time?

  • RoseWolf

    I have been with my partner for over 6 years. We have 4 children (2 of which are mine from a previous relationship. 2 of which are ours together) we fight constantly. He is so aggressive and angry not just to me. But to my children and our friends as well. We have lost many friends due to his nature. I used to be so calm chilled and laid back. But now I feel always on eggshells. He has never been violent towards me. Although I feel he can maybe get a little rough on the children. I have tried to get out a few times. But he always threatens suicide and refuses to leave or let go. Unfortunately due to my nature I am so scared to hurt him. He was great at the start. But has been getting steadily worse. He promises to change. However although I see some Improvement he is still very angry. I just don’t know how to escape without causing him too much pain. Xxxx

  • KK

    It’s a year old post, I hope you have found the peace. I have read all the replies and wonder how many of us is having a unhealthy relationship. I myself didn’t end up on this blog for nothing, I am also having a toxic relationship and my situation is some what famaliar with yours, only difference is that I have been in a relationship for 10 years. After reading all the comments I am still baffled what to do? It’s is not easy to let go the relationship even the unhealthy ones. In my case I’ve tried all the remedies in the book but no result and now after 10 years I gave up. I am very much agreed some of the comments posted here but the most important thing a person needs is a ” COURAGE”. In my case I lost my courage to make a right decision on right time but my prayers goes to all those people who are suffering from unhealthy relationships that may God help you and give you the strength to make a right decision.

  • Bear

    When someone is passive aggressive with me, or mocks me, or is downright disrespectful – I don’t take it personally anymore. I realise, they are going through something, they need space, they need something other than the friendship I can offer, and they are focussing on the flaws they see in me – because it helps them to avoid those very same flaws that are present in themselves.
    Sometimes we cannot understand why other people are the way they are – but we should try to understand, and if it does impact on the ourselves in a negative way, the simplest way to deal with it- is to walk away. It does not mean that you do not care for that person, but it sends a clear message to them, that they own their own behaviour. If there is someone in your life that does you harm, or wishes you harm, don’t blame them, take responsibility, do not keep placing yourself in that position, take care of yourself!

  • Vanessa

    He is obviously writing in because he has tried EVERYTHING. Being a spiritual individual myself, and giving my relationship all I had…patience, hope, love, everything!…I have found that the OTHER person has to want to change.. YOU can’t make anyone change, especially if she doesn’t see that her actions are negative & hurtful. I am sure that you have even tried different things to change yourself, in an attempt to somehow conform to your wife’s behavior. Maybe you’ve even found yourself tip toeing around certain issues, and walking on egg shells, lest she find any little thing to get upset over. This is not right. And in actuality, its a form of mental and emotional abuse. The other individual will eventually make your life harder than necessary, and it will take a toll. Be strong Roh, and do not be afraid. If you REALLY feel like giving it another try, like you haven’t tried everything in your power, then do it, but sometimes its just better to walk away before it gets worse for both you and your child. A relationship should be equal. And from you have written here, it seems like you are doing all the work. I’m sure you are emotionally drained. Could you imagine doing all that work, and even more, for the rest of your life?

  • Jon O’Brien

    Good read…

  • Jennifer

    Come on, you surely haven`t lost what it takes if you are writing this.

    regards
    Jennifer

  • bob

    Sometimes it’s just a bad fit. “Toxic” people are just people that don’t, won’t or can’t care about you, but that doesn’t make them bad people; it makes them a bit dishonest. I have been a toxic friend many times without realizing it.

    Typically I am “toxic” to people who approach me for friendship and whom I do
    not have a genuine interest in, but am too polite to just ignore or flat-out
    turn down. My initial plan is just to be acquaintances or casual superficial friends, but it’s clear they have other expectations and want us to have a real connection. I am as nice to them as I can tolerate for the moment, but as the
    friendship progresses I get more resentful of their demands on my time and
    energy, especially because I’m not interested enough in them to expend my
    energy in this manner. On top of that the people who I am “toxic” to
    are almost always people who are fundamentally different from me, who have
    different personalities and communication styles and I can’t help but be
    critical of these differences. They end up annoying me and my negative feelings towards them bubble over, which is when the putdowns and snide remarks start. Eventually there is a big fight and we never speak again.

    I am a naturally blunt and aggressive person, and due to this I always get painted as the “bad guy” or the “toxic friend” in the relationship which is very
    hurtful to me because I am not a bad person and I should not be shamed
    for being bold. These labels deny the responsibility of the other person (who is typically more underhanded and manipulative) in the relationship, and knowing how it feels to be considered “the one causing all the problems” makes me want to stand up for all the people that are being labeled “toxic” in these comments. It takes two to make a toxic relationship. Everyone is to blame.

    I have hurt and been hurt by many an ex-friend because I didn’t know how to tell them in a nice way that I’m just not that into them. If that makes me “toxic” then ok, but I resent the label “toxic friend” because to me if feels like a very harsh, self-absorbed and one-sided judgment on a person’s character. It also denies the agency of the other person, who knowingly chose to engage with someone they knew was not a good fit for them. If you got to know the “toxic” person’s side, maybe you would see that you just bring out the worst in them. Which means you are also toxic to them.

  • Flowerchild

    Hi, I have been married for 12 years with someone from a European country. We barely got enough time to get to know each other when I had to leave for work in school in India. In order to avoid confusion or doubts I took him to my mother’s home so he could see where I come from. We met again after being away from each other for 10 months and because of some cultural constraints I suggested to him that we marry because it’s really difficult to live together in India as a couple without being married, especially if your partner is a foreigner and a male. So for legal reasons we got married. Of course, I loved him and changed myself so drastically that my relationship with my family started to weaken. Each time my family and I took pity on him. We thought because he comes from a different culture he needs more time, but actually I have started to see that this person is very arrogant. He only relates with people who think like him intelligent. Even a 5-year-old child is ‘Okay and acceptable’ for him only if the child does exactly what he thinks a child should do or behave. In order to make this man’s life easier I have left jobs I liked three times. Of course, there was the issue of finances and being a software developer he earns a lot more than I did so I let him have it his way. Each time we make a move to another country or place I have to search and if I am lucky enough, take up a new job. Each time I have to start from scratch because when we move to another country or place we do not know anyone. I have to make an effort to make friends with people and introduce them to him because he won’t take the initiative. The story goes on and on. Because of our son, I am staying with this man. Of course, I love him, but I do not know how can I make him see how insensitive he has been. I feel at times he is at his best behaviour around our son because he wants him to like him, and I am the impatient and angry mother who gives my child a tough time. Our son goes to a boarding school which also allows day pupils. So for now he is a day pupil. Sometimes I think I should seriously talk to the school openly and tell them that they are my only hope. Because it is a democratic school and children govern the school the policies and environment is just and understanding. My biggest fear is will I forever to parted from my son if I leave for my country ? Of course he could come and visit me, but I cannot finance his schooling and so naturally his father will have more rights over him. Will this separation traumatize him and cripple him for life ? I feel helpless most of the time regarding my relationship with this man and feel I have tried everything and am at the end of my tether. Every time I have to make an effort to patch things. I have also considered the fact the it may be difficult for him to vent his emotions, but I really cannot bear this any longer. What shall I do ?

  • Taylor

    This sounds exactly like my situation. My partner and I got pregnant very early into the relationship. We are both now experiencing who each other “really” is and “making it work.” He is a tremendous , hands on, loving father. He has come from a prime example of a toxic relationship. His father was physically verbally and mentally abusive all throughout his childhood and to this day spits nothing but negativity. His mother, an angel whom I adore (I lost my own mother at the age of 6) has stayed with this man for 28 years! I see the effects of that relationship on my husband and I hold on to resentment towards his father. I feel my husband has so much love, compassion, and a huge heart to give, but it is blocked from all of the abuse. He is now clinically depressed and I think borderline OCD. My main concern with not leaving is our beautiful 1 and a half year old son. I relate to the constant feelings of anxiousness and depression. I find myself hiding behind the computer or phone because I am tired of walking on eggshells for him. He drains me. My fear tells me to stay because our son needs a father, my husband needs me, and things will get better eventually. I am so lost and confused. I at times feel like I am the toxic one in the relationship.

  • Taylor

    Now reading this post back, I realize once again, it’s all about him. I feel almost guilty like I am the answer to his happiness. It’s at the price of my own though. I really don’t know what is right. I just know I am not myself and haven’t been in a while.

  • Taylor

    You are beautiful, and you already know what you should do, since you are on this post right? Meditate pray do what you have to do to quiet his judgements and listen to your inner voice. Think of your best friend or sister coming to you and pouring her heart out to you with this same information. What advice would you give her? You’re worth it and you deserve to laugh again :)

  • Taylor

    At first I felt bad reading his post, then his toxicity just poured out all over the page. Hmm…

  • Tee

    Thank you Yvette for the article. I didnt realise I have been holding on a toxic relationship after I have spacing out from an old friend recently. After I read your article that reaffirm my realisation. The energy I spent to maintain that friendship has been drained my energy out of me. I felt angry and invisible to myself. My relationship with my family and other friends suffered and they draft away from me as time goes on. I was not aware at that time I was negative and emotionally unavailable. After less frequent contact with that person, my awareness grew healthier and I am reaching out to others who have been there for me all along.

  • paula

    My boyfriend havee been togather 4 about 7 months the person he was with cheated and moved his friend in. Thay have 3 kids togather. I don’t understand why now I’m. The vilin when I try to talk to him he says I’m arguing with him he. Screams at the top of his voice he can talk to other women I can’t talk to any one he say I like my sisters man 4 that matter any man Please! Help paula

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  • KC

    My boyfriend is extremely nice and friendly to everyone he meets. He’s “that nice guy” but no one ever sees his true colors. I am a sensitive person. Maybe that’s a bad thing to be, and I wish I want like that because whenever I feel frustrated or furious I just feel so mad that I can’t hold it and unfortunately cry. My boyfriend always tells me I act like a 5 year old because of this. I’ve tried to stop crying when he’s yelling at me or when something is wrong but I feel so defeated and disappointed not only in the situation but myself. I don’t know what to do. I feel so stupid. I don’t know if he’s right, I feel so lost.

  • fedup

    What if the abuse you’re describing is coming from your parents?
    My Mother is a master at using guilt and manipulation to break me down emotionally to get me to do as she wants. She’s always plays the victim buy using some illness and it’s always
    exaggerated. I’m 44 and not once I mean not once has there been a phone conversation (even during a visit) has there ever been a conversation
    that didn’t revolve around her being sick with something. The thing is that it’s been from everything from making a hospital stay into something so serious when it really wasn’t. Just to use as a form of guilt to get me to be submissive. I rebel and don’t fall for it as an adult because I’ve been there way too many times.
    And like you said above in your blog its always about them, I had a hip replacement did my parents come to see me while in hospital? No, does my Mother call me on my birthday or send a card? No. And I’m not exaggerating here when I say that I have never been given a birthday present from my Mother, nor Christmas present. However my Mother expects the opposite from me. My niece (my sister’s daughter) asked me once why her grandmother never gave her a birthday present or Christmas present. I didn’t have an answer for her what could I have said?
    My parents do treat my two younger sisters totally different than they do me, could it be because my sisters submit to my parents I don’t know.
    Thanks for listening.

  • WhoKnows

    I guess it depends on how you love. If your able to walk away, then that’s definitely the best thing to do and in the best interest of the child. Having said that, if your not able to walk away, then you should work on doing whatever it takes to make your ‘wife’ a better person. Stand beside her and show her ‘unconditional love’ something she has never seen. Give her a reason to change. She obviously doesn’t know what that feels like, show her.

  • GSystems

    This is a five-month old comment, and it’s likely that your own viewpoint has changed, so keep in mind that I’ve kept that in mind.
    There’s no way that you can somehow expect a man to hang around in an abusive relationship (like I did…which only lead to more judicial interaction because of power-hungry women with weak minds…who abuse the system set up for them to abuse like little sadistic sheep) when you clearly would ask a woman to leave. This idea of “it takes both” normally is code-word for “the man should work harder…and excuse his woman who is both mentally incapable of handling her own affairs, but more than capable to have custody of children…hmmm…

    I’m proud of this gentleman for knowing when to say when. Interestingly, I am at a similar point in my four year relationship. I tell you: The older I get, the more I see the vanity of the whole “intimate relationship” nonsense…

  • Rogan

    My gf is pregnant we argue all the time over stupid things , we see alot of things very different, and she makes me feel terrible,when i don’t agree with her she calls me childish.
    What should i do

  • Daniel

    I am the toxic one that has been slowly poisoning my relationship of 5 and a half years… How do I stop my negativeness!!! I want to be a better person and help my relationship …

  • Karmaisanswer

    Zasha , I know you think others have not been abused by your “friend”but I can assure you you are not the only one! Emotional vampires like him operate best in the dark…. You can get your strength back by shining a light directly on his insults and negativity just by repeating back to him what he says to you in the form of a question and simply say friends don’t talk to friends that way then don’t continue to look at your self through his eyes as a reflection of your self! Then move on . Make effort not to sit with him if he comes to sit by you smile then excuse yourself to ladies room , when you come back sit else wear … He will be kissing you ass to find out what gives….but don’t give in ….if he asks why you are snubbing him tell the truth ,say to him he says mean things and you are not willing to accept his behavior no one can fault you and if he starts roomers remember true friends won’t listen or care what he has to say and the others you don’t need any how

  • Fed up

    I am in a toxic relationship with my grown daughter. She is all about her all the time. She constantly expects me to jump and run no matter what plans I have made for my life. But, if I need her, she will refuse to help me at all.
    Here is one example. I fell down a flight of stairs a couple of months ago. I could barely walk. I asked her to pick up a sandwich on her way home and bring it to where I was and I would give her the money for it when she got there. I was starving had not ate in a couple days because I could not walk much less stand to make me some food. She refused to do it of course it was too much of a bother for her to drive 5 minutes out of her way to help me. I dealt with it of course. I crawled out to the car and drove myself to a fast food rest. and bought me a sandwich.
    I am in college and must do volunteer work that is mandatory to my degree. So I set it up to be done over thanksgiving break. So that it did not interfere with the week of finals. So knowing this, she makes an appointment to get all her teeth pulled. So that I am stuck taking care of her the entire week. Of course she did not ask if I had plans because she did not care.
    She is constantly crying because she says that her childhood was so terrible and I am a worthless mother. Well, I am to the point that I’m tired of all the extra stress she causes me. She makes me feel like I let her down when I do everything for her. She appreciates nothing I do for her and says that it is my job because I am her mother. I am anxious all the time and can’t stand it. She keeps me depressed and it has gotten so bad that I feel my only recourse is to just walk out of my life and start over in another state.
    How wrong is it for me to finally force her to start being a grown up and just not talk to her anymore? To show her what not having a mother around all the time to pick up the pieces for her is like. Both my children seem to think that I am their slave and I should drop everything for them but when I need something they can’t be bothered to help when I need them. They are both grown. The oldest is really bad about it though and I am to the point that in order to get out of the depressed state that I must just walk away and start over.
    I buy food for her, I listen to her rant all of the time, I take care of her when she is sick, I do everything I can do for her and nothing is ever good enough. She is almost 30 years old and still expecting my life to surround her. It is affecting my health, my schooling, my life and there is only one thing I can see to make it bearable for me anymore. To walk away and let her live with her own consequences. She keeps me in tears all of the time because she is always screaming at me how bad her childhood was. Well she had a roof over her head clothes on her back food in the fridge and money in her pocket. Yeah I worked a lot but I was a single parent of two children and had to make a living as a waitress.
    She was constantly lying about where she was and stealing from me and being disrespectful. The older she gets the worse she gets. She does not steal from me anymore but she is very disrespectful and expects me to take care of her constantly. No matter if I have no food for myself she expects me to give her my money to get her food. I can’t keep living like this and I feel horrible about wanting to leave but I don’t see any other way to keep my own sanity. Am I being selfish? Probably.

  • johnanthny

    Last sentenced – loved it..

  • drvn13

    hello
    i ve been through such a relationship a month back . it was supposed to be with a girl i was going to get married to . a month after the relationship started she just started blasting me,avoiding me,avoiding family encounters even refused to meet me on my birthday. i was trying so hard to please her or not to displease her ,but i didnt give up. she was never happy with whatever i did and always kept on blaming me for one or the other thing. after a month i am feeling so better .

  • Cool Sun

    This site attracts people who are probly more spiritually compatible, should have singles section,

  • Lady Soul

    Very well spoken….written…and conveyed….Also….let me say….very well received…..I left an abusive childhood….to marry…and start a family with an abusive man that ultimately ran me over with a maxi van….we were married for 10 years…with 2 AMAZING children….breaking free of that toxic pool….I found myself involved with a fella that was equally damaging….he just packaged it differently….so I donated 10 years to his cause as well….(haha) we had a child 5 years….when I came to my senses…:-) my daughter had gone off to college…and embark on her new world….so knowing that the disrespect…unhealthy mess I was living…was NEVER going to impact my sons in a positi e way….I packed up our lives….filled up the explorer…and left my home of 22 yrse in Alaska

  • kimmy

    I have been with my husband for nearly 20 years, married 15 of them. We have 2 children youngest being 17 yrs.my husband comes from an abusive upbringing by an alcoholic father and a subservant mother that to this day is still belittled on a daily basis.My husband is a hard worker and has strived to make a life better than his fathers to prove his worth is abundant – I have always treated my husband good praised him and did all the things and gave him all the love I felt he missed out on being raised in that atmosphere.over the years – we purchased property – started a business together in the field he was working – I did EVERYTHING ELSE -in our lives children ,home ,holidays its easier to say the only thing he had to worry about over the years was WORK.
    I helped with properties helped with the business I have always pitched in wherever I could and frankly if me and the children wernt helping him work over the years we would havebarly seen him.I have always put my
    everything into my marriage and family figuring as a team someday this will pay off , all throughout these years my husband was mostly always angry aggressive yelling very negative he belittles what I have done for this family acts as though where we are is all because of him alone-i always have to argue my worth and what I have done and for the most part I feel like its because he has NO idea he has really never given any of us credit for anything, and when hes outragous the best he can say is I cant say im sorry more than I have but the fact is he doesnt apoligize at all and I really feel he is – selfish belittling demeaning ,ungreatful mostly so absorbed in his lone wolf mentality he sees nothing else -this has forever caused me much grief n heartache and caused me to what I feel constantly fight him to treat us GOOD like he loves us !!! He feels by him working to pay the bills and comes home at night that is love and if I want anything else that im ungreatful. Needless to say over these years of UNSELFISHLY doing everything for this family before during and after having both of my hips replaced 12 years ago with barely any help and never complaining – I am now 44 years old – because of his its all about me and none of ur business and demeaning to me attitude I stopped helping with the business and I started to have a life. NOT that its any different because if I ask anything about OUR BUSINESS that I helped start and worked for 8years in or OUR apts rent IM GREEDY – I have done nothing when he admits I have done something the word ONLY is always attached to whatever it is , I know where all his ignorance comes from because his father to this day feels he was father of the year since 69 and thats who taught him how to b a man ,I have surrounded myself with insperation to go on because other than the way he is I do like my life and try to keep love for him in my heart ,BUT that is not easy when everytime I have a question or a feeling I am demeaned and treated as an ingreat – I would like to go to councelling but of course he feels we dont need it because theres nothing wrong with HIS RELATIONSHIP I m the only one with a problem – he makes me cry more than smile.I feel lost in my own life and unsure besides leaving him which I really dont want to because I do love him and we have built a nice life together BUT I also feel I will never get over his selfrightiosness it crushes me everytime

  • lost love

    Hi this article sums up my relationship of three years just today he told me he is unable to talk to me because of who I am. I have to change my personality around his friend and family he judges the way I dress,talk,walk,my activities,who’s around me and my family. He treats me like I’m a slave and stupid putting my down constantly even though I’m pretty smart.I look out for him when he cheats or blows me off for his friends I always do everything for him and so does my mom. He is rude to everyone and didn’t care if I cry he doesn’t like texting me when I am at his house i have no voice I am invisible I’m never touched from hug to kiss or anything if I try to do it I’m seen as doing to much

  • ohhmMama

    Oh my goodness. I saw myself in nearly every part of this reading! I just got out of a 2 year relationship that sucked every bit of life out of me. I constantly made excuses for the lying and cheating thinking that we truly loved each other and could work through it. I reached a point of horrible depression and felt as though I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I ended it just a week ago. It’s a slow climb but I finally feel like I am headed in the right direction again. I know that it won’t be a fast or essy journey but I am excited to start growing again!

  • lawless

    My whole life has been one long string of abusive or codependant relationships with women far less than worthy of my company.im in therapy now,have two children with two different women that id rather eat glass than talk to and at 35 I find myself frequently just wanting to unplug my life as I know it,disconnect from society,get an acre of land with a solar and microhydro electric power plant on it,do some gardening,web surf and have anal sex with a big breasted asian silicone doll all day.is this normal for a man my age?

  • Brett

    Wow ! I read this and was blown away as it was spot on. How quickly a loving relationship can turn toxic! I broke up after reading this and my life turned around so quickly. I felt full of me and confident once more. My concern is not that I was in a toxic relationship but my pattern to create it!
    What I’ve taken away from this experience is to take responsibility of myself so that I won’t allow myself to be lost again. Life is short and we all desire to be uplifted by our own unique self xx

  • Hope S. Maynard

    I was looking on the website for scars that are left behind after having an emotionally abusive relationship. I came across your article. I didn’t know that my relationship that is now really over was toxic. As I read the five signs of a toxic relationship. I rated 4 out of 5. Its unbelievable to me that even though my ex always let me know at every turn that there was something wrong with every part of me from hair to clothes and that she preferred dating a certain type of woman and I wasn’t it. I still continued to allow myself to continue with this “relationship” knowing that I wasn’t receiving all the love that I should have, and that I wasn’t receiving the respect that I deserved, but I still wanted to be with this person. I still couldn’t imagine my day without having some contact. We could argue one day and talk the next. Even now as I’m writing this, she is on my mind.
    We had stopped seeing each other, and used “friendship” as a way to still see each other which worked out for her because she was looking for someone who fit what she was looking for, and was still able to keep me in her life, and around her. If I tried to see someone, it was a problem. There was jealousy from someone who didn’t really want me. I could never understand that. She didn’t want me, but didn’t want anyone else to have me. She knew that I loved her. Unconditionally. Loved her more than I loved myself. That was the problem. I began to lose myself. Even though the “we” is over, I still think of her. We haven’t spoken in almost 2 weeks. I miss her, but I know that this situation wasn’t healthy for me.
    I felt unattractive in regards to how she saw me as a woman. We didn’t have a physical relationship. I had never been with anyone who treated me that way, but still I hoped that she would change, and there were times when we really got along well, but those incidents of disrespect and feeling unloved by the one person that I wanted, was too much.
    I know I deserve better. At almost 47, I’m too damn old to allow someone to control me, but I have those scars. Those feelings of being inadequate. I wanted to please someone who only cared about themselves. No matter what I would never be enough, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

  • Elaine

    It is always reassuring to read articles and comments like these and realize that I have not gone insane in the process of being in a toxic relationship. I can often think of many reasons to blame myself for making the wrong decisions and for feeling like I pursued a relationship with the person in some way. Reading these 5 signs helps me remember there was more than one person involved and my reactions and behaviors were often in response to feeling out of control and trying to understand why I felt that way. When romantic feelings for someone are involved it can be so complicated and feel. I know for myself I have a tendency to blame myself, so when someone else started doing it, it took me a while to realize that my intuition and gut feelings were telling me something. This person tried to make me feel guilty about their financial situation, and at the time I didn’t see it, so I lent him money. Despite all the promises to pay me back, I have not seen a cent and the times I brought it up, he turned the conversation on me and told me I offended him by brining up such a delicate subject….WHAT?!?! Yes, he was good at making me feel crazy. We have mutual friends and everyone thinks he is such a sweet caring person. Little do they know he talks about them behind their backs. I feel sick thinking how skillful this man is at using people and getting them to do favors for him. I did end the relationship and he emails from time to time saying he thinks about me and wishes me well. I don’t respond and set up and autoresponse saying I am not responding to his messages. Hope this article gives others the reassurance it gave me.

  • Just Saying

    This is stupid. It is too general. It can be a description of a point in everybody’s relationship. This article was well intentioned but is not good for making life altering decisions by. I do not agree with the whole “if you are experiencing one of these things” bit at all. The bold points before the actual list are far more helpful. Be careful people….

  • zom

    Sounds like someone’s a little butthurt about their own experiences, and therefore, taking it out on an entire group of individuals who’s only shared trait is that they all have breasts and vaginas and societal stereotypes forced upon them from a young age. Just like what happens to men! Well, my oh my isn’t that strange? But surely it’s totally coincidental.

    What you’re saying has nothing to do with what Roh is saying, and sounds more like you’re simply taking out your own frustration. You are not giving any sound advice based upon anything but your own insecurities and hatred. You’d sound far more trust-worthy if your entire spiel wasn’t based upon the fact that you hate all women.

  • zom

    I definitely agree with whoever’s been saying that, for both your and your child’s sake, you should probably get out of there. Unless, of course, you believe that she would resort to abusing the kid, in which case you must decide whether you want to try to get custody over the child, stay and take the abuse to protect your kid and support them, or do your best to remain in contact with your child and support them from afar. I’m assuming from your post that you would be entirely unwilling to completely lose contact with your kid, but if that is an option you’d want to take, then that’s still definitely your decision. In times like these, it’s most important to follow your gut. If you feel like you want out, you should find a way to do so.

    I wish you all the best.

  • blondie

    I fear leaving a toxic relationship of 31 years, and I am almost 60 years old. I never knew what a ‘good’ relationship was, always thought it was normal to be ridiculed, put down or deceived by a man. Until now. I have met someone from my past and am in love. I realize the happiness I haven’t had in so many years and want to live the rest of my life happy. I figure I don’t have much time left on earth, so I want the rest to be lived full of happiness. I fear leaving my husband because I worry how he will get a long without me. How sad is that? Worried about him and not myself. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why I am having such a difficult time leaving him. It makes me disappointed in myself. I know what is right for me, yet I have difficulty going after it. I guess it’s the guilt part of it all. I need help!

  • Monique

    I am sitting here…In tears. The First Step Is Admission! !! I am so tired of living like this. I have stayed for numerous reasons, or so I have told myself. However today is the day I start moving towards healing myself. This marriage is taking its toll on my physical and spiritual being. The doctor says I am severely dehydrated and on the verge of hospitalization. Who is this????

    Today is the day… of the rest of my life. I am not sure how but I know that my husband does everything in the 5 questions you asked. I cannot and will not live like this anymore. The manipulation ends today. The verbal abuse ends today. I will protect me and my children today! !!

    Please share your ideas on how to move out…how to take the steps. I have tried talking to him. He isn’t willing to change. …it’s time to move on.

  • Monique

    I agree with you on that., Nuria I knew my marriage was wrong from the beginning and instead I have stayed for 14 years now. Unhappy, unhealthy and lonely….he does what he wants when he wants disrespecting me and my children in our home as well as in front of others. I even planned my own suicide a few years ago. For me I will agree that o wish I would have gotten out a long time ago because the repercussions on the children are now being seen….my eldest son has the same disrespectful ways. So sad….

  • REal girl

    I am in a toxic relationship, I moved from New York to Cali after my mother passed away to be with this guy we went to high school together and I have a son. The next week I moved in with the guy I went thru his phone and seen that he was texting this girl he use to deal with saying that he missed her. From there I couldn’t trust him because I just moved my son and I all the way from my confront zone and you texting your ex. i felt betrayed. Its going on 5 yrs since Ive been down here and looking thru his phone time after time I always find things with different girl. his ex sending him her butt pictures and he’s in New York chilling with girls he use to deal with. I had to put up with this for 5 yrs and I do want to leave but I am scared of being on my own he doesn’t do anything for me but pay the rent and besides that no thing at all. I don’t feel like I am in a relationship at all I feel like I am a room mate and this year I think it is time for me to move on. I can’t put up with this anymore. Since being here I have gained some weight and I am so insure about myself and he doesn’t make it better. He doesn’t motivate me or anything. He doesn’t even play with my son he has never been to none of his basketball games he plays with my dog more than he plays with my son. I don’t regret coming down here because I learned to like it but I regret being with him for so long. This year I think I am going to really move I’m not going to have anymore car payments and I just need to start my life over and fresh.

  • nora

    Thank you so much for this article. After catching up with an old friend, I was so confused about why I felt so bad about myself. Unfortunately some people are so fixed about who you USED to be to the person who you are NOW even if it makes you better.

  • champagne

    I’ve been married for under a year but together for 3 years, my husband totally drains me emotionally. I find it difficult to describe. I’m not an angel, and swearing and bad language has never bothered me, however, my husband is constantly swearing about absolutely everything. At first I tried to just ignore it but it’s happening way to often. He doesn’t actually swear at me (he knows I’d have something to say about that) but he’ll wake up in the morning and the first words would be “for f**k sake” it puts me in a bad mood immediately. Then if he happens to drop me to work he’s swearing at everyone on the road and he uses the most disgusting language of all. He’s always nit picking as well, never happy with anything I do, always got to find a way of criticising it. As soon as he starts to behave like this I can feel the frown forming on my head despite telling myself not to allow his behaviour to bother me.
    The other day he told me that he feels useless, I know it’s because he isn’t bringing any money into the home at the moment, but I will support anything he does. He is starting up his business at the moment and it’s not making anything. Now it’s got to a point where I’m putting my money into his dream and he just doesn’t seem to have any drive. I would never throw any of this in his face because I do love him.
    He doesn’t like to listen if I try to speak to him about it and acts like there is nothing wrong.

  • mermaid

    interesting timing. I guess you could say i’ve been in a toxic relationship for a while. the first year was great, the second two, something changed in him. i’ve experienced many of the things above, but it’s confusing because he mingles it with messages of having my best intrest at heart, always being there for me, loving me more than anyone. and he is actually kind and helpful and encouraging at times. His mean/toxic streak though… much as I love him, it’s not something i can live with “till death do us part” so tomorrow, i’m breaking off our engagement. I’m trying really hard not to back out, because I know this is what I should do, even though it hurts.

  • Wondering

    My sister hits four out of five on this list. I finally told her today how I feel after living the past 15 plus years feeling this way about our relationship. When I told her my feelings she responded with indifference and lack of understanding, which is how I knew I was making the right decision. Even though she’s family (and we have a small one) I need to do what’s best for me and not keep letting her be a toxic part of my life. She’s family and it makes me feel guilty to not try anything and everything to have a good relationship with her, but I know I HAVE tried everything and it has gone nowhere and by this time I think the truth is on the wall: she will never change or desire to make our relationship a positive one.