We're still in the first half of the year, so I hope that it's not too late to discuss one of my resolutions. I resolved to avoid toxic relationships that weren't healthy for me. In order to avoid being a part of such relationships, I felt the best course of action for me was to reflect on my past relationships that weren't too good for me and see the things that I ignored and pushed aside that truly were not good for me.
In looking at one relationship, in particular, I found plenty of signs of toxicity. Looking back two or so years after it ended, I wish I would've seen these signs before but was too blinded by caring for this person to see them. This eventually came back around to bite me later, so in hopes that I can save someone out there from staying in or taking back what is truly a toxic relationship, here are ten signs of a relationship that may be toxic for you and your future.
1. Your loved ones speak out against them
Your family and friends care about you a lot, and when there's something wrong with your relationship, they will almost definitely vocalize this. There have been cases of general dislike or just prejudice, but most close loved ones truly have what is best for you in mind. When we're in a relationship of any kind, we can often push aside what may seem so obvious to others, so listen to what they have to say and genuinely think about it outside of your blind care.
2. You feel like you can't be your whole self around them without losing them
When we first enter any kind of relationships, we can be tentative to be who we really are or share certain things about ourselves, but eventually, we can open up and be comfortable with that person to share those kinds of things. However, if that comfort never really comes where you can be honest about who you are or about your past, especially based by some kind of pressure or notion of the other person, it is not a good relationship to be in. No friendship or relationship is worth losing who you truly are.
3. They're the best thing to ever happen to you, and they use it against you
Many people fear being alone, and to have someone who seems to want to be around you can feel like the greatest thing to ever happen to you. We hear the term, "the best thing to ever happen to me" a lot, whether it be in wedding speeches or cute Instagram posts for a best friend's birthday. But when that person is using their role as that term for a person as a means to take advantage of them, there's a clear sign of toxicity within the relationship.
4. They boss you around and pressure you, and you let them
When they want their way, they get it and you've become used to having to relent to how they want things or they'll make you miserable. It can feel like your word or opinion doesn't matter to them to the point where you don't even want to express it. They'll tell you what to do and never take no for an answer, and if you try to say no the pressure or guilt they'll pile on will be overwhelming and exhausting to deal with.
5. They don't seem to care about your comfort or happiness, just their own
Some people are very concerned with their own comfort, and I don't want to say that is wrong or bad. However, when you care deeply someone, you never want them to be in a situation where they don't feel comfortable or happy. If this does happen by chance, someone who truly values you will be apologetic, try to reassure you, and find a way to avoid this kind of discomfort from ever happening again. If they don't see the problem with your discomfort because of how happy or comfortable a situation was for them, then they're not worth your time or effort.
6. They don't see or understand how their actions may hurt or affect you
Often times, it can be hard to admit the pain we have caused others, but we can still come to understand it and maybe eventually, apologize. However, when someone who truly is no good for you does something that hurts you, they don't seem to understand how what they did hurt you, however small or large it may have been. They may say you're overreacting or simply still not get it when you explain it to them. Consider what you would and would not understand if the roles were reversed, and see if you can still see yourself not understanding the way they may not be.
7. You're the only one really putting in effort
When it comes to being there for big events or even small things like dates or hangouts, it feels like you're the only one planning anything between you two. On top of that, you seem to be the only one trying generally, making yourself available to talk if they're having a hard time, but finding yourself alone when you're in their position. You may buy gifts or make cute playlists for the person, small things that show you care, but get pretty much nothing in return.
8. They don't seem to have a problem lying to you or with hiding big things that affect you directly
Possibly one of the most glaring signs that someone is no good for you is how easy it is to lie to you about things. White lies are an entirely different category, meaning something along the lines of not letting you onto a surprise they may have in store. But if they lie about something major and you find out through some other source, and they don't have any true justification for why they kept it from you, there's a problem. It should never be easy to lie to someone you care about when regarding things that may affect them directly in a big way. They may say they were trying to protect your feelings, but if it may be that they were just trying to really protect themselves. So, take a step back and evaluate the truth behind the lie and how they covered it up.
9. They never seem to say "sorry"
Going off of sign number six is that their lack of understanding bleeds into a refusal to apologize. For some people, apologizing or admitting they were wrong is hard, and I understand that. But, when the person you care about finds the notion of apologizing ridiculous, especially for something large scale or impactful, there is clearly an issue. We're not all open books, and some people are too stubborn to not see our parts in conflicts or issues with others. However, a relationship you truly value should always mean more than your pride, and when they can't give that up, maybe it's time to let them go.
10. They deflect the blame onto you for everything, no exceptions
This again goes into this idea of apologizing and not understanding their own part in a conflict or argument. Often times, I've noticed that one excuse people using for not apologizing, or use as some kind of pseudo-apology is, "Well I wouldn't have ____ if you wouldn't have ____." Again, this may be an issue of pride that some people struggle with, but when this is their only way of "apologizing," it's time to let go. No one should feel like the whole conflict and where it escalated to was their fault, and to deflect the blame on someone time and time again instead of growing up and working on a solution is a clear sign of someone who is no good for you.
My personal experience with toxic relationships is very limited. I would say I've only truly had one relationship I would label bad for me both at the time and after. However, my experience within that relationship taught me a lot about myself and the kind of toxicity can bring into the lives of others. I don't want to end this article with the notion that everyone who has one or two of these traits are completely toxic because there are some people who truly struggle with their pride, self-awareness, or need for control in a relationship setting, but who are trying their hardest every day to work on these aspects of themselves.
I think the most important thing I can leave you with is the best way I've found to avoid falling into the trap of a toxic relationship of any kind, or to power through and end one. Maintain your self-awareness, love and acknowledge yourself, and remember you are not defined by anyone else. I am content with who I am, strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between, and I hope you'll take on my resolution (despite it being March) and work to love yourself and never let any relationship or person change who you are.