Bachelors Degree in Organizational Behavioral Psychology with a background in Autism, Mental Health, Business Psychology. Sales Management
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Selens Gomez~Lose You To Love Me
Identifying a Toxic Relationship
Toxic relationships are not necessarily easily identified. As someone in an unhealthy relationship, you may wonder if its you, or if its your partner. This isn't a cut and dry...black or white...topic. Often it may be confusing and make you feel that you are making more of something than you should. Maybe you feel like they are right, and that you are the issue and not understand why you can't fix it.
There isn't a manual written to help you identify when one behavior is normal or toxic. We can't know another person's true motivations or intentions. Only so much is unbiased when you ask for another opinion. However, there are signs to watch for and be concerned over.
Signs Of Toxic Relationships
No relationship is perfect. Toxic relationships can be difficult to identify at times. Other times, there are clear behaviors that cross that line. What behaviors are that obvious? Why are other ones hard to decipher? Are there common red flags?
"If they make you feel like no matter what you’re doing, it always seems to be the wrong thing...that's a red flag."
Jane Greer, PhD, a marriage and family therapist argued that you should be concerned the minute your partner makes you feel you're not good enough.
"If they make you feel like no matter what you’re doing, it always seems to be the wrong thing, and that no matter how hard you try, it’s never going to be enough to please your partner—those are red flags."
As there are obvious red flag behaviors to identify, there are also more covert ones. Behaviors not so easily identified to be aware of. There are quite a few, however, to keep vigilance of. If identified, these should be addressed and not ignored.
Does your partner shut down when you try to talk about whats bothering you? Shutting you down to some psychologists, is called stonewalling.
Stonewalling occurs when you bring up a topic bothering you. For instance, bringing up how they never want to answer why they still won't see a therapist, and change the subject onto you. They stonewall when they aren't listening. They say they don't want to talk about it...literally every single time you try to discuss it. It could be they become unresponsive. Even walk away ignoring you.
Obvious Red Flag Behaviors of a Toxic Relationship
If you have any of the following behaviors from your partner, consider as a red flag. These shouldn't be ignored. They shouldn't be behaviors you feel you are imagining. If you identify any of them, you should read further.
- Your S.O. always finds something wrong with you.
- We all need a person to help us be a better version of ourselves.
- This may mean our partner has to be brutally honest with us. However, this should never be the norm. When the person is always finding something wrong with you, no matter what the situation is, that's a problem. If they are never supportive of hobbies, passions you have, talents you possess etc. And its always negatively directed towards you as a person, thats not healthy. Its outright toxic.
- If this happens, its imperative to have a solid and healthy support network to talk to. Asking their opinions is valuable to understand the toxic versus healthy behaviors. If your partners honest and not being toxic, that support network will only validate the issue. Often though, they validate the unhealthy behavior and its ignored. The toxic partner will attack the views of that network and in the mind of the person its centered around, will become conflicted on who has the best interest of them and it normally is the toxic partner who they trust.
Did You Realize When You Had No More Self~Esteem?
They strip away your self esteem.
- They pick at you frequently
- There is a difference from casual teasing and non~stop picking at you. Common statements may be, "I can't be seen with you looking like that."..."I thought you were going to stay home and cook and not go out, I don't want to go out.)"..."Why you wearing makeup?"...
- These kind of comments, at first, don't seem anything but innocent. When they continue, throughout your relationship, it diminishes your self esteem. Don't let them tell you that it doesn't either. Its DESIGNED to break away at your self~esteem.
- At first you want to make them happy. Than, when it doesn't, you question yourself. May doubt your judgment. You constantly ask yourself what you can do to be better so the relationship is better.
It's done in a way you may be oblivious to it. Guarantee your supportive network of friends and family aren't. They see it long before you do and when they confront you? You are justifying. You are saying its not your partner. You are explaining yourself as its your fault. Odds are they aren't buying it. You are getting upset and the rift is already forming.
If this sounds familiar, please keep reading. If you are feeling that its not you, but you are worried for someone else? Keep reading. If you are the one that does this to someone and see it by reading this? Keep reading. Toxic relationships are commonly realized when you are too far into the behavior pattern of the toxic party and you have no one to reach out to. In your mind that is. Fact is, that you have more power than you think.
If you are doubting yourself? You are always yelled at or you did something wrong? You aren't. You see yourself as the toxic one? Congrats you realized it so read more so you change.
Relationships Are A Balance of Power: Aren't They?
There's a clear imbalance of power.
- I'm sure that this in its basic interpretation can be understood debate. There are those that believe they should be subservient to men. Those that believe they are equals. In public the man is in charge but in private the women runs the family. This is seen across religion and cultures and time periods.
- When is it toxic?
- Toxicity comes when the expectation in the beginning was one way and later its opposite and in a negative way. If you got into a marriage where you agreed that its an equal partnership, but now all of the power is in his hands? That suggests a problem. Its normal if the husband is more in control, as the wife needs more support. Than later the wife takes that role because the husband's struggling and the power balance shifts. However, if you look and see that it starts 50/50 and slowly throughout time the power ended up all in the partners hand? That is not something to ignore.
- Later in this article, the power balance shifts and ways to take power back. Ways to evaluate if its toxic... if its situations...how to discuss it...will be discussed. Power and control can be good tools to make a relationship work. Other times it may be used as a controlling and abusive behavior. How to identify it will be woven into this discussion. Though it can be viewed on many ways and truly beneficial if anyone reading will comment and engage the broader aspects.
"They only control things because they love me!"
They’re controlling and excessively jealous.
Have you ever been concerned that a friend or family members significant other was controlling them in an unhealthy way? So concerned that you bring it up and only for them to cut you off? and say..
They love me and don't want me hurt.
Maybe they get defensive. Say you don't understand. Maybe you don't...but if you see control and are concerned than you should talk to them. When they get defensive, does that confirm you are right? Should you ignore it further?
Fact is there is never a moment that's okay to fully control another person if you live in the United States. Our culture dictates that. Our religions dictate that. If you are being fully controlled that isn't love. Its not healthy. And how do you know if its happening?
Jealousy often is the breeding ground for gaining that control. There is healthy jealousy and unhealthy jealousy. Often if control has become a factor, its stemming from jealousy issues of unhealthy manifesting situations. Every healthy relationship has the togetherness but also independent aspects of those involved.
- “A partner who insists on being hyper-close and doings everything together—or doesn't allow you to be by yourself and is constantly monitoring or questioning your whereabouts and intentions—is indicative of a toxic to keep relationship,” says Lewandowski.
This leads to constantly affirming the partners expectation and in the end neglecting your own self-care. If anyone has impacted you to that extent that even if you try...you can't practice self-care, its toxic. Self-care is actually a psychologically healthy tool that assists in creating a way to keep toxicity out. They will prevent you from practicing self-care in order to keep your healthy strategies at bay. To cease any way you established to prevent yourself from falling prey to others that would be unhealthy.
There are many overt ways control can manifest. From being toxic to even abusive.
- Checks up on you: we all like when someone checks up on us. We are programmed to see that as someone cares about our well being. Its controlling...toxic...abusive if checking up on you is constantly with no merit. You start to fear they will. You are afraid to tell them what you are doing. They do it so much it becomes intrusive.
- Accusing you of talking to people: you are accused of talking to anyone that they deem you shouldn't be. When it's without cause, when there's no proof, when you are maybe closing late so you aren't answering them and they text you non stop you are talking to a person you aren't allowed to.
- Intentionally making it uncomfortable for friends-family: they aren't getting what they want...maybe your friend is over you haven't seem in awhile and you aren't paying attention to your partner. So they make it intentionally uncomfortable. Controlling the situation in hopes they leave.
- punishing you thru making you feel bad: When you are punished, maybe because you don't want to...or cant...go see them on a holiday. Fourth of July. You work so much and the days off you have you say you will cover other stores over an hour away. You truly don't commit to going to see them because you are exhausted and you don't want to commit and than not go. They'd be furious. And you explain why you can't go. So they turn it on you making you feel intentionally awful to get you to go anyway.
- Report actions-conversations: They actually act interested and that they care, but they demand during the conversation the detailed conversations. Who what why. Where you were. Why you went. Who was there. Almost making you feel like you did as a teenager if you broke curfew. The things they demand to know are not in rational dialog, appropriate or make sense.
- Clothes worn: Dictating your clothes. Ever. Id
If the behavior is designed to manipulate or control another to get a desired result, than its toxic. When it's affecting another and changing or directing them to someone aren't? Its abusive. Intentional or not its abusive. When you -o so for your own purposes. Wants, needs, desires, and when you ignore the other person's, its toxic. When you use these behaviors to gain from controlling someone else, and it affects their chosen behaviors or actions from freedom of their own...its at best toxic.
Jealous Passive-aggressive Behavior:
We are all human and there isn't anything wrong with jealousy feelings. It means we are afraid to lose someone. When is it healthy or normal jealous feelings and when is it toxic or abusive?
If you tell your spouse you are jealous and transparent as to why, and you go to your therapist and you confide the same thing you acknowledged and try to work through it, that's healthy. When he is jealous and is blaming you for his jealousy, that's not healthy and its toxic that can be abusive. Its obvious when he's checked your phone and blatantly said something. But what does it mean when they are passively aggressive jealous?
"Fine I will just stay home."
It flies under the radar. Its to make you feel bad AND saying its your fault and trying to control through manipulation, the outcome.
They will NEVER change...You give them TOO MANY chances
You keep waiting/hoping for them to change.
A lot of the bad behaviors that make relationships toxic would be deal breakers for a healthy, functional relationship. No one understands your reasons to stay. They can't wrap their reality around yours. You have waited a time for them to change, that time frame seems way too long to those that don't "get it."
For a relationship to be toxic, Lewandowski says, not only does it require toxic behavior from one partner but also “a willingness to stay perhaps predicated on the false hope of potential partner change” from the other partner. In other words, you stick around in hopes that your person will quit whatever behavior is making things tough.
You do all the changing, but in reality? What exactly did they change? When is it enough to say its over?
The person feels guilty if they leave. They feel like they didn't give them a chance to change. The guilt is laid on by the toxic person who refuses to change. They don't plan on it. They know they can wear you down and you will stay and they don't need to do anything. Fact is, you don't think they will change maybe. You know they are trying to guilt you yet those people stay too.
You put faith in a change that deep down you know won't come. You hoe it will. Because if it did than they did love you right? If they changed than you invested in a person others didn't believe in... you are a better person right?
You honestly just don't want to face the fact that it's happening to you.
Who Takes Responsibility? Accountability?
Your S.O. never takes responsibility.
“Healthy people can take feedback and course-correct,” says Rebecca Hendrix, LMFT, a psychotherapist in New York. “A toxic partner might blame you for the fact that they hurt your feelings.” (Something that may qualify as a specific type of emotional abuse, called gaslighting.)
Are you fueling your toxic partner by turning it all back on them?
When we take accountability, or ownership of our faults, mistakes, behaviors...we grow and evolve as human beings. If one person never takes ownership that relationship is lopsided. One side of the bat gets weighed down, meeting water in to capsize... but the person truly at fault us the one that didn't help stabilize that boat with equal ownership.
By not growing and evolving by taking accountability, they repeat the same behaviors and patterns. Even if you constantly changed and grew and tried it won't matter because they are stuck in the past and in their cycle of behavior they chose not to break from. This leaves them.constantly defensive. There is no room to grow that relationship so it becomes stagnant to the other person. The one that has tried to grow and change and make the relationship healthy.
They’re always blaming other people for their problems.
You are at fault. The ex is qt fault. Its your fault they can't pay their bills. Its their jobs fault they got fired. Its the polices fault for the DWI.
Literally they can never take true accountability for literally anything. Even if the plain reality of truth is that facts prove otherwise, they won't even process there us other evidence. They sound like they truly believe it and expect you to as well.
Family and Friends are Concerned
Its common that those that love us will be protective. Its when they continue to have concerns. Some things that they might v?"erbalize to you when concerns surface in the beginning are:
"Whys he talking to you like that?"
"Why is he doing that?"
Keep in mind that the ones who care about us are coming from a protective place. Its common to have a great person in your life and at first friends or family will still ask questions. Its when those concerns don't stop and they morph into other kinds of questions.
It is smart to always filter out what's being said and who's saying it. Though you shouldn't ignore it. You should ask why they say that or feel that way and listen to their reasons. Having the ability to not he defensive and listen to that concern, may keep you from making a mistake. Keep you from getting hurt. Or give you a chance to tell them why this isn't like that.
Happier When They Aren't There
You often feel worse when you’re with them.
When a relationship makes you happy and fulfills your needs, you WANT to be with them. You will not want to be with them every waking moment, but you will more often than usually you would. ." You dont NEED to be with them or talk to them every second, you juttntion. est look forward to when you do.
This is opposite when they are toxic.
You might start to miss them and want to see them but as soon as you do you feel insecure and maybe depressed or "down." Its not the happy and looking forward to feeling as those who have a healthy relationship experience. They won't give you their full attention. They may beg you to come and when you do sit on their phone the whole night. There conversations they make sound are these great ones yet in reality it's full of put downs.
You end up worse feeling around them and no longer have that excitement. Maybe even becomes dread.
Neglect: Often during this kind of relationship you have a time you are actually neglected. They start intentionally ignoring you. Deprive you of attention they know would hurt you. They do this to control you as well. And typically its going to cause lasting psychological harm. No matter what you say or do. No matter how hard you try. They won't stop ignoring you. In fact the harder you try, the louder you cry, the more you try to understand what you did and fix it? They neglect you even more.
You don't feel good around them but by the time the resort to this, you have no one else around you. So they are creating this environment that when they do decide to show you attention, or buy you good shampoo...you are excited.
Gaslighting: With no one around now, with always feeling horrible about your worth because of the neglect, gas-lighting may surface. Its when they use manipulation...intentionally....to have you question validity if your own thoughts. They will question validity of actual events, conversations, and even your memory. This makes you actually feel like you are going crazy.
Lack Of Boundaries: we all need boundaries in every aspect of life. They won't have ANY boundaries and you can't either. Don't bother trying to set them, they will seem like they will do what they can to tear them down just because you tried to put them behind a boundary.
we all need boundaries to keep a healthy balance. This includes relationships. When they don't have any respect for boundaries they may call you or text you constantly when you aren't together. If you don't answer, or you take too long too answer, they will get angry. Truth is no matter why they behave that way, you should never be sorry that you aren't 100% available to your partner.
Withholding Affection: when they withhold it as punishment or to control you its not okay. Than if you for any reason don't give them the affection they want, they cause a ruckus. Yet they don't care they did it six months to you. Intentionally. And you aren't because you keep saying the relationship is not healthy and you want to get help. You aren't feeling close to give affection. Yet, you are gaslighted to feel that you are hurting him.
Blame Game: You already aren't happy around them and all these other behaviors are manifesting so you truly want them to seek help. You can't do it anymore but want the to have another chance before you leave for good. So you try talking about it all and its now the blame game. You should know better by now, they never take accountability. Even when they busted your head open. So why now would it be different?
Infedelity: He's doing it in ways that he can justify. Its not cheating if its naked pics from a girl that he won't admit he was online cheating with because it wasn't sex. Justifies when he screwed ap girl next to you when you were passed out or when he left you in another state at his friends you never met, to go to a chicks house to fuck all night. Yet its you he constantly claims was unfaithful.
"I just feel DRAINED..."
Relationship basically just sucks any energy out of you.
When it's at its worst it commonly may start to manifest physically. You are tired constantly. Its imperative we listen to our bodies. How our physical selves are responding to the relationship.
Along with feeling drained is the Negativity the person also feels is an abyss with no light anywhere to get out. It feels that the toxic person is trying to grab you and forcefully drag you into their cave of doom. They don't have anyone else, so they see you as the close one to them so they expect you to be engulfed in the negative universe they created.
When you refuse to be drug back to their negative life. When you even encourage them to see it more positive the way you do, they find ap way to make it your fault.
Constructive Criticism...Or Is It?
Your partner is always offering "constructive criticism"…even when you don’t ask.
Its actually controlling behavior.
Extreme Criticism feels like you are constantly under critical eyes that want to find anything to point out. It will be about your acting them. Ones choices, appearance, or any little thing you might bring to their attention involving the relationship. It may lead to humiliation tactic
Humiliation: Just as extreme criticism is intended to bring you down, so is humiliation tactics. Criticism is often between you both, humiliation tactics will be used mostly around others. Its meant to make you more reliant on your partner. Less likely you'd leave them. A common first sign this tactics being used is if you feel they are embarrassing you around others that matter to you. An example of this is if you struggled with your mental health during the relationship and you did to a level you never have, and he's calling you crazy and making jokes or poking fun at these stories of you in front of others that are embarrassing and he's creating this atmosphere that your being laughed at.
Common types of manipulation used by Narcissist's, commonly used in toxic relationships:
Little Comments: negative and off handed comments. Typically in the beginning because its laying their framework. Often not seen pas a red flag or a warning sign, they appear trivial. You might even feel petty for addressing them and potentially causing arguments that were unnecessary. Comments like these are some examples.
- You don't really mean that...
- You can't be serious about...
- Its not your fault you don't understand...
"Just Joking:" Its never funny or normal to say something hurtful than say I'm joking. Fact is they intentionally said it to hurt you, they aren't sorry, and its not funny.
"Its Your Problem" Projection of their issues onto their partner.
- You don't care about me, its all about you
- You have to always be in control
- You are paranoid
- You font value the relationship
You can be in just a toxic relationship based on maybe your personality or that toxicity is abuse. A common theme that you find in both scenarios is character assassination. You can do this without actual ill intentions. Thing we need to remember is that its not what our intention may be, but how the person we say it to is wired to react to what we say. To internalize it in a hurtful way. If we say it not intending be hurtful, yet know they are wired to internalize what we say and it hurts them. That either way? Its wrong.
Over time the more a person does this the more damage is done. Subtly assassinating their character is toxic. It is abusive if we continue doing it knowing the damage. Worse, using that damage to obtain something like control over them.
Do They Bring Out Your Best Version Of Yourself?
They don’t bring out the best in you.
They might bring out the worst in you.
If they bring out the opposite version of who your best is, that's toxic. If you are positive, controlling, and spontaneous and you find yourself negative, passive and only do what is specifically supposed to be done? Than thats a big red flag.
Bright Positive Future Vibes....Fake News
You don’t have a positive feeling about the future.
They are hot and cold.
Ultimatums are common. You can't feel good about the future of you both when you are constantly told its them or me. Its this or that.
On top of all the rest, he's laid hands on you. He justifies it, made you believe it was your mental health, blames you for tickets, charges and jail time. Yet you are still there and of course dont have ap great feeling about the future. You never have you just now voice it.
Are you in a Toxic Relationship
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Does he genuinely apologize when wrong?
- Do you see a positive future with him?
- Has he ever belittled you?
- Do you bring out the best in the other]?
- Are you afraid to talk to certain people?
- Do your support network like himp?
- Do you feel your needs dont matter?
Narcissism and Toxic Relationship
We touched on healthy relationships keep a balance of love and support for the other. It goes to the person in that relationship that needs it. We know it as "give and take." One moment one person may need the undivided support but when the time comes and their partner needs it, they return it.
In a toxic relationship it is not balanced and is at the desires and needs of the toxic partner.
When a narcissist is involved, the demand a never ending supply of support. They give nothing to their partner.
Everything in the narcissist's life is given a value. They go after accumulating all the value themselves, as much as they can. Its only about them getting it all to be fulfilled. Nothing is ever about their significant other.
Narcissism Supply: simply this is what the narcissist demands from their partner. It may even be satisfied through bartering or manipulation to obtain the expected supply. Basically they will obtain it in whatever means necessary. There are some common ways they do this.
- See without personal or emotional intimacy
- Controlling every aspect of environment, including spouse.
- Limitless attention
- Feeling of power
They don't genuinely care about the welfare of their partner. Especially in areas like their mental or emotional health. In fact, they often can't get these demands from their partner and often seek it elsewhere.
In the beginning, this kind of individual may seem ideal. They make you feel like their focus and make you believe that you are everything they ever could want. Whatever you like, they seem to. Once they have you, they start to manipulate you and create that supply they demand from you.
The signs of narcissistic supply are similar to those of any toxic person in a relationship. However, the do differ.
- Demands to do what they want with no regard for what you want, let alone care if you have an opinion.
- Expect constabt praise and attention. They do so for anything thats good. However, they never take blame for anything negative. This includes what's going on in the relationship, but also in everywhere outside it. Work, kids, police, pedestrians. Literalky everyone else is at fault.
- You are to accept they make the decisions and you follow. There isn't any exceptions.
- You are required to give up everything for them to achieve their goals.
- Constant ghosting and gaslighting. The difference between them and a normal toxic partner is obvious. The extent their gaslighting goes literally drives their partner insane.
- They will ignore you for no reason.
In toxic relationships there is hope that both parties, if try therapy, can become better. Either together or with someone else. Narcissistic ones don't even comprehend the hurt and damage they caused. They can't become better.
Leaving a toxic relationship is hard enough. Once you take away the narcissist's supply source, its like preparing for world War 3. Being told by their supply source, for instance their wife, no? There is nothing they will not do to get it back.
They target confident and independent women because it makes them feel worthy, they like a challenge, they may lack kindness and empathy but they are attracted to it. They feel safe with that type of women. Weirdly, they want to be like you.
When you leave a toxic relationship you already did what you needed to do so you can be on a healthier path. Leaving may not be so easy. The typical comments is "why don't they just leave." Reality is that leaving isn't that easy. You dont just get to leave, and the person who's tormented you, abused you etc. let's you just leave. Leaving abuse and leaving a narcissist is almost worse than when you stayed sometimes.
Leaving a narcissist, they will still try to get to you. To get your attention its a random text, call, or email. Don't respond. Thats exactly what they are waiting to see if you will. It won't be an apology. Oy won't say they miss you. It will be random. Its the hook. Waiting to see if you catch the bait.
Everyone they tell will have you as the bad guy. They will actually call you crazy and psycho. It will all be portrayed as you are all at fault. You will be bad mouthed. Playing the victim. Those worse ones, they will go after ruining your reputation. They don't care what they may do to your reputation. If it affects things like your career. They will do it because you left them. It will be publicly stated how you really never mattered to them.
They will have you watched.