7 Signs Of A Toxic Relationship That Are Hard To Spot, But Even Harder To Ignore Once You Do

Photo: unsplash / Michelle Sharp
The signs of a toxic relationship aren't always clear to you, even though others may see it. But if these signs sound familiar, it's time for you to rethink.
Love, Heartbreak

Domestic violence in relationships manifests in different types of abuse — physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and mental abuse.

How do you know when you're in an emotionally abusive relationship? Most likely, you don't even recognize the signs.

All you know is that something feels terribly wrong. Unfortunately, you may now know exactly to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship.

RELATED: If You Constantly Feel Any Of These 5 Things, You're In A Toxic Relationship

Over time, as abuse and toxic love get worse and worse, you become more confused, hurt, and unhappy as the relationship you're in moves further and further away from your hopes and dreams.

You may not know quite how it happened or what you can do to turn things around, but you're very aware that the relationship has become quite different from the one you thought you'd signed up for.

Your partner, too, has become less and less like the man you first fell in love with.

Physically, he probably looks much the same, except when his face is contorted by fury. Emotionally, this person is unrecognizable.

He's gone from loving you to treating you as his enemy.

If you've ever looked at your relationship — and your partner — in disbelief and wondered what on earth happened, that's already a strong indication that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.

There are 7 tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship that play out in your inner world and it's time to break free.

1. You just don't understand

It's almost like you've fetched up in a parallel universe whose rules you don't know and have no means of learning. You're constantly trying to make sense of things that make no sense, at all, to you.

That, alone, should be proof that the situation is terribly wrong. Or, more correctly, terribly skewed, against you.

2. You don't know this person

He is not the man you thought you were having a relationship with. But you'd do better trusting his behavior than your hopes to reveal the truth of the situation to you.

This is Life telling you, "The honeymoon is over, baby! He's thoroughly nasty and if you stick around you're just going to have to suck it up."

Whatever your fantasy, this is the reality.

3. You're mostly fearful

This is not just a key sign of an abusive relationship, it's something that will, likely, remain with you long after he's gone from your life.

An emotionally abusive partner — consciously or unconsciously — establishes a reign of terror over your life.

You're meant to feel frightened of bad things happening out of the blue — the technical term is he has you 'walking on eggshells'.

Keeping you terrified is his best way of maintaining absolute power over you. That's his agenda.

RELATED: 5 Signs You're In A Toxic Relationship (And How To Get Out)

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4. You give up on yourself

This is not a normal response to difficulties, but it is a normal response to the kind of constant brainwashing and emotional torture he puts you through.

Giving up on yourself is just your mind's way of telling you, "I can't take any more."

It's a sign that you need to get out, not give up. Since he's the one who makes you feel so bad, when you get him out of your system you can expect to start feeling a whole lot better.

5. You are a constant downer

I've yet to hear an emotionally abused woman tell me about the things she's got going for her. Instead, I hear a litany of faults, weaknesses, and failures — all of which Mr. Nasty has fed her over time.

There is nothing about you that deserves the shockingly harsh way you judge yourself.

If you think about yourself in more damning terms than you would think about your child, that's conclusive proof that your emotionally abusive partner has smashed your self-belief.

You don't have to have that downer on yourself. That downer is the biggest thing getting in the way of you having a life worth living. The good news is that self-belief can always be rebuilt.

6. You tell yourself your partner is wonderful

This makes no sense at all. If he was half-way wonderful, you wouldn’t be feeling like the way you are right now.

Wonderful people don't hurt and humiliate the living daylights out of their partner.

You tell yourself (and, maybe the world, too) how good he is and your heart sinks. Being with someone who is truly wonderful lifts your heart.

7. You feel burdened

You feel like Sisyphus, forever laboring to push a heavy boulder up a mountainside, only to have it roll back down, so you have to start again.

If you feel constantly drained, and stretched to the limit by your efforts to hold the relationship together, then Mr. Nasty's strategy is working nicely.

There is only room for one person's happiness in an emotionally abusive relationship and it's not you.

Domestic abuse is apparent in most toxic and unhealthy relationships.

These signs are not meant to make you feel worse than you feel already. Rather, they are intended to help you understand why you cannot make your relationship any better than it is.

Quite simply, you have not failed — your partner has failed to buy into a healthy relationship. These signs are your wake-up call. You deserve a far better life than you have now.

You just have to choose between having a life and having a toxic relationship. You can't have both.

RELATED: 9 Signs You're Definitely In A Soul-Sucking, Toxic Relationship

Dr. Annie Kaszina is an author, counselor/therapist, and coach, specializing in helping women move on from despair so they can rebuild their life, their happiness, and their self-worth. Even if your partner's behavior has left you feeling like giving up on yourself, there is always help available to you.

This article was originally published at Recover From Emotional Abuse . Reprinted with permission from the author.