3 Scary Signs You're In A Toxic Relationship And Need To Get Out

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toxic relationships

Most people have a sense of what toxic relationships feel like. But it can be hard to recognize those signs when they first appear in your own life. 

Yes, you feel the physical connection and the chemistry, and your relationship feels good. But usually there is something in you says: "There should be more."

Sincere and real relationships, the kind that last and truly inspire joy, are about more than just physical attraction and chemistry.

They involve good communication, commitment to the relationship, developing common goals, and the ability to come to a mutual consensus. Even with a lot of chemistry, if these other four attributes are lacking, you will begin to experience relationship dissatisfaction as time passes.

That dissatisfaction will turn into relationship conflict and power struggles, creating a toxic relationship that ends with your own unhappiness.

If your heart and gut tell you, “This is not how relationships should be” or “This doesn’t feel safe and loving”, you have a sign from your body and higher self that you are not in a loving, healthy relationship.

It’s important to trust these warnings from your gut and/or your heart —  much more than trusting your head/logic or your sexual desires, which can direct us into toxic relationships.

Your logic and sexual desire are often related to your ego, whereas your gut and heart are more related to your higher and wiser spiritual self.


The following are 3 important warning signs that often arise within people who are in toxic relationships:

1. You often try to please your partner in order to get love.

Do you notice yourself going out of your way to get your partners attention, acceptance, and approval? This is a common way people learn to receive love. We learn in childhood to please others in order to earn these types of "rewards".

As a result, you become the “pleaser” to get the love you desire. Holding the core belief, “If I do this for you, you will love me.”

This core belief will lead you to do for others at the expense of yourself.

In the long run, your distorted core belief leads to distortions with relationship boundaries, which points to your own insecurities, low self-esteem, and fear of losing the relationship.

If this feels familiar, you're not alone.

Playing the pleaser role is very common. However, it’s very exhausting —  physically and emotionally. Furthermore, it’s a sure way for your partner to have control and power over you in the relationship.

It’s also a sure way for you to lose yourself in the relationship because you soon realize you often can’t do enough for your partner and can’t please him/her.

Not only is pleasing someone physically and emotionally draining, it builds resentment inside you. 

To cope, you either keep your emotions in check to prevent conflict or you suddenly lash out verbally and/or physically at your partner or others, causing conflict anyway  especially inner conflict.

To compensate, you are the one taking responsibility for (owning) most, if not all of the relationship problems. This only reinforces your self-created core negative belief about yourself.

Tragically, guilt or shame may than consume you, filling you with regret over what an unloving person you feel you are now. End result? You apologize for the conflict, even though it's not all your doing.

This also lets your partner off the hook in looking at themselves and their part in the relationship conflict and drama.


2. You feel alone in the relationship.

Have you been in, or are you currently in a relationship, yet often find yourself feeling alone? This is often a sign that you don’t feel included in the relationship.

Your partner is doing their thing, like working long hours or getting involved in recreational and/or social activities, and they are choosing to do these things without you, maybe even to avoid you.

Love means including, so if you are experiencing more exclusion than inclusion from your partner, they are not really loving you.

Yes, it’s healthy to have some interests and activities without our partners. However, if this exclusion is more the rule than an exception, this should be a red flag of a toxic relationship.


3. You lose yourself.

Being the pleaser with a partner who’s selfish and excluding will likely cause you to lose yourself in the relationship.

Consciously or unconsciously, you begin to sacrifice your own freedom and self-worth in order to keep the relationship intact.

This is almost a form of “selling your soul” or “prostituting” yourself for the sake of being in a relationship.

It’s a sign that you care more about being in a so-called relationship with someone outside of yourself, than being in a healthy relationship with the person inside of you.

A loving relationship should offer you the opportunity and freedom to be yourself, not lose yourself in the relationship.

If you notice any of the above signs happening in your relationship, you are likely in a toxic relationship.

However, it’s not about changing your partner. Your partner is loving you the best way they know how. Until they have a desire to change how they know love, they will love and interact with you the way they do now.

Your role is to love yourself enough to seek help and resources so you can learn how to cope with a difficult relationship. Additionally, consider the merits of not being with someone who is causing you more heartache than joy.


On the spiritual level, our experiences and relationships are our teachers.

All of our experiences, what we would deem good, bad, or painful, show us by our own choices and actions how much we love or don’t love ourselves.

It’s not so much whether someone outside of us is loving to us or not. Within those difficult situations or unloving acts by others, what really matters is the love and care we offer to ourselves.

Are any of the above signs happening in your relationship? If so, and if your partner is unwilling to address these with you. Out of love, can you create healthy ways to cope with this? Perhaps find the courage to move on from the relationship?

These signs of toxic relationships are your teachers, and they offer you an opportunity to love yourself enough to reconcile (or simply end) what might not be healthy for you.


Are you struggling with a difficult partner relationship and self-love?  Help is just a phone call or email away. Please contact David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC, if you would like assistance with your relationship issues. David offers life transition counseling and coaching through his practice, Transition Pathways. Helping people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential.  Visit his website at David is also the author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey, available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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