One of the most difficult things people go through in all types of relationships -personal, romantic, professional- is recognizing when the relationship is doing more harm than good. Toxic relationships often cause the victims of it to feel anxiety around their partner, depression, guilt for things they're not at fault for, self-doubt, and low self-esteem. It's important to recognize when you've become trapped in a toxic relationship and even more important to know how to escape them.

Ways to recognize a toxic relationship

1. You are constantly in dread/fear of seeing the other person

The people in your life shouldn't cause you grief and stress, and being around them should be a leisurely activity, not a challenge and strain on your overall well-being.

2. "Gaslighting"

Gaslighting is a term which simply means “does something wrong - denies it - claims you are insane for saying they did something wrong.” Often times this is used to win an argument. Watch out for this, as it’s usually linked to compulsive lying.

3. They are selfish

Relationships are a two way street. If the other person is constantly taking - either physically or emotionally or mentally- and never giving, they are using your for their own benefit and therefore have no positive influence in your life.

4. They refuse to say "I'm sorry" or "I was wrong"

A person who is too self-involved to admit that sometimes they're wrong should have no place in your life. People like often create a hostile environment in which their peers feel unnecessary guilt or anxiety for things they didn’t do wrong. If this person is constantly blaming you or holding you accountable for their mistakes, it’s time to cut the cord.

5. They are constantly putting you down

You should surround yourself with people who lift you up, support your dreams, ambitions, and your future, and if there is a person in your life who constantly tells you that you are “not good enough” or that your dreams are unattainable for a person like yourself, you do not need to have them as a part of your circle. The people you associate with should be there because they aid in the bettering and growth of your life.

Ways to escape a toxic relationship

1. Let the person know that they hurt you

You have to let the other person know what they’re doing or saying is hurting you. It’s easy to get upset and decide to ghost someone out of spite, but you have to let the other person know what they did was wrong and upset you. Start off with either “I feel… “ “I didn’t like it when you did/said…” “It upsets me when you…” to let the other person know.

2. Cut ties

As difficult as this step may sound, sometimes the best option is to break all communication with the toxic people in your life. That means ending Snapstreaks, deleting them as Facebook friends, unfollowing as Instagram/Twitter mutuals, or even deleting their phone number. Once you have no way or means of contact with this person, you’ll be able to focus on more positive things in your life.

3. Surround yourself with positivity

You know that one friend who’s really into facemasks and baking shows? Or the one who always swipes up when you post selfies saying “SLAY” “QUEEN” “BEAUTIFUL!!” Keep these friends close. The ones that never have anything negative to say about you or the people around them. Surround yourself with positive people for a more positive experience in life!

4. Know your value

You are worth so much more than you bargain yourself for. Remind yourself of that everyday. Leave sticky notes on your makeup about how undeniably beautiful you are. Post on instagram that you #loveyourself! Every second that you spend reminding yourself how unique, beautiful, and special you are, the more likely you are to believe it. And by knowing your worth, you’ll know that you deserve so much better than how these toxic friends are treating you.

5. Stand your ground

This is possibly the hardest- but most important part- of leaving a toxic relationship. You have to stay gone. If suddenly you start feeling guilty for leaving them behind- turn your phone off, shut off your computer, do whatever you can to stop yourself from contacting them again, because once you do, you’ll be sucked back into that horrible, toxic relationship. So if you ever feel the need to contact a toxic person, remind yourself that you are so much better than that, and that you deserve better than them.