How to know if you’re in a toxic relationship

There are many relationships whether with family, friends or spouses that can leave you dispirited and exhausted by the constant clash of egos and personalities.

If you find yourself is such a bind, it is important that you make the conscious effort to break away from that toxic relationship.

It is sometimes hard to realise when you’re in a toxic relationship, simply because the signs are intangible. But toxic relationships make you forget who you are and what is best for your own mental and physical survival.

The list below gives some indication of the more common signs of a toxic relationship.

When the other becomes too critical

The closer some people get to you, the clearer your imperfections become to them. While it is commendable to take criticism constructively and use it to better yourself, if the criticism is dished out too frequently and makes you or others feel hurt or humiliated, you should consider ending that relationship as soon as you can.

When arguments replace communication

There are times when a conflict reaches boiling point and an argument erupts. It’s only natural. However, if you notice that arguments occur more and more frequently until the stage that normal conversations cease to exist, it’s a clear sign that there’s a serious problem with the relationship.

When you lose your sense of self

Only accept the change a relationship brings if it makes you a better version of yourself. On the other hand, if you feel you have lost your sense of self and cannot recognise the person you have become, the relationship you are in is an unhealthy one.

When it comes down to ‘all take, no give’

Any relationship in which you experience withdrawals of energy without any sense of fulfilment in return, will leave you in a negative state of mind. There are many relationships where one party unconsciously takes the other for granted, and shows no sign of gratitude for the other’s effort. If you feel you are being used, get out of that relationship.

When there’s a lack of trust

Long-term relationships are built on trust, faithfulness and the ability to rely on one another in times of need – just like a car relies on petrol to run. You should therefore not remain in a relationship where there is a breakdown of trust as it can go nowhere.

When there’s a lack of autonomy

Anyone in a relationship with another should have the right to say “no” and be respected for it. If your partner keeps playing the dominant role, forcing you to accept everything he or she wants, it’s a sign you may be in a toxic relationship that leaves no room for your wants and needs.

Solutions for those in toxic relationships

  • Trust in yourself
  • Talk to your partner about the shortcomings of the relationship
  • Warm up the relationship if possible
  • Identify the perks of staying together
  • Surround yourself with positive friends
  • Take some rest to gather your thoughts and clear your mind
  • Take up a new interest to give your life more meaning

This article first appeared in and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.