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Are You in a Toxic Relationship? Know the Signs

Updated on February 24, 2009

Most relationships start out with the belief that this will be an intimate connection with a special person in your life. Some of us get lucky and get our wish. Most relationships fizzle out and end without much ado. However, there are those relationships that don't end, but are far from an enhancement to your happiness and your life.

The incident with the popular singers Rihanna and Chris Brown has put the issue of violent relationships in the public eye front and center. Even someone with seemingly perfect lives can get caught up in toxic relationships.

You may be in one of these toxic relationships and not realize it. Sometimes a person becomes so accustomed to the abuse in a toxic relationship that they become numb to its effects. Of course, if a partner physically abuses you the relationship is definitely toxic. But a relationship doesn't have to result in physical abuse to be considered a toxic relationship. Here are some of the signs of a toxic relationship.

Control Issues in a Toxic Relationship

If your partner is controlling, this is a very important clue. Most toxic relationships, if not all, have at least some controlling aspects. There are many ways a partner can be controlling. These may involve restricting your spending, your transportation, even access to friends and family. Your partner may let you go places, but requires a blow by blow account of every moment of your day. Maybe your partner does things to check up on you and see if you're lying. I know someone whose husband used to touch the hood of the car everyday when he came home from work to see if she had gone anywhere.

Related to the above is jealousy. Jealousy is almost always present in toxic relationships. Your partner will try to convince you that it is because he/she loves you so much. Don't believe it. Jealousy is a sign of mistrust and insecurity and nothing else. Sometimes the abusive partner will accuse the other of affairs and of being unfaithful. Often the accusing partner will actually be having affairs.

Psychological abuse often occurs in toxic relationships. This can range from name calling, humiliating you in front of friends and family, and treating you in condescending ways. This is not behavior in a loving relationship. Don't let excuses and apologies permit this type of behavior.

More Toxic Relationship Clues

As mentioned above, your partner repeatedly does things that upset you and later profusely apologizes. The apologies usually seem very sincere. Yet the behavior occurs over and over. This is a classic sign of a toxic relationship. If the apologies keep coming with the same excuses, but the behavior doesn't end, your partner doesn't intend to change.

If your partner has a short fuse or a violent temper, you probably are not in a healthy relationship. Another toxic relationship clue is if your partner always blames you for his or her actions when he is behaving inappropriately.

If your partner grew up in an abusive environment, the odds are greater that they will be involved in a toxic relationship. Abusing drugs and/or alcohol use also increases the odds for a toxic relationship.

Are You in a Toxic Relationship?

If you find these toxic relationship signs similar to your situation, leave. It is that simple. Get out. Toxic relationships usually build slowly. They can become increasingly more dangerous and violent if you stay.

If you will not do that, talk to someone. Find a friend, pastor, someone. Preferably get counseling. And if you ever feel that you are in danger, leave immediately. Don't wait to pack or try to work things out. Be sure to call police as soon as you feel threatened. Don't become a domestic violence statistic.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship Comments

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our wedding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her facebook and she changed her facebook status from married to Single...when i went to her to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..I lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life...I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job...he told me he gonna help me...i don't believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he's busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday...My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she's doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven't seen anything yet... he said i will also get my job back in 3 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too.This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for can mail him to I cant give out his number cos he told me he don't want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay and he' will replied to any emails asap..hope he helped u out too..good AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS:

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've been with my partner nearly 2 yrs and we got engaged last Xmas which was great. I realised he had a bad temper a few mths before as he went to a family wedding and after all day and night of drinking he ended up fighting with his dad and he said his sister got caught in the middle and she ended up having a punch resulting in a broken nose. Well we decided to try for a baby in sept 2011, I fell pregnant in the dec but miscarried in feb but now I'm 4mths pregnant and thinking it was a mistake because this wkend he gave his stepson who just turned 16 a very hard push towards a wall and both my son and I could see the violence in his eyes. He scares us because he has a very short fuse and sounds very threatening so I suggested anger management may help which in turn would help our relationship especially as the new baby is going to cause him to lose his temper, but he won't have any of it. So as terrible as it sounds think I am considering an abortion because I don't want to have to raise this baby alone if I kick him out of my home and struggle with money, but i really would prefer our relationship works. If i decide to go ahead with the abortion i will struggle for the rest of my life but the guilt because i really dont want it to come to it. What shall I do? Any advice would be appreciated.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      3 months ago i broke up with my boyfriend because the relationship i was having with him was truly making me feel down although i truly loved him so much! at first he used to shower me with nice compliments but sometimes he started calling me names and saying nasty stuff in such a sarcastic way and then said that he was kidding...something which i didn`t truly like!!!! he was just toxic and so jelous and possesive i am so glad in a way that i had the balls to leave him!!!!!!

    • profile image

      kikibird hinlo 

      9 years ago

      You line, "Jealousy is a sign of mistrust and insecurity and nothing else. Sometimes the abusive partner will accuse the other of affairs and of being unfaithful. Often the accusing partner will actually be having affairs." is a big wake up call for sure! I've seen this very advice in so many places that I believe it without question. I hope that someone out there will recognize this and reclaim their life - your writing could make a big difference for someone! Great hub!

    • SavvySyi profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      Toxic relationships are so upsetting especially when you know its bad but you STILL don't leave. I mean the "Baby I'm sorry" just sounds so good, and everyone wants to think people will eventually change. I had to realize that a person is NOT going to change unless they want to. Find other girl's number and text messages about meet up late at night, just isn't cool. At first the word sorry would make me feel better, but at this point its just a slap in the fast. I understand he really doesn't care at this point because he isn't going to stop doing what he is doing, but it is so hard to walk away. Plus we have a child together, so I don't want her to be completely without her father, but this I can't do any more. Its not fair to me and its not fair for her to see me sad either or us arguing. At the moment we aren't even speaking, which makes things easier and I have been feeling a lot better. I'm not as fearful as I was a first about leaving him. Now I realize that it is for the best after reading this. Thank you so much.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Am weisteger from Germany, there is a spell caster i saw his info online, his email is, i tried contacting this is the great man and he help me solve all my problem he helped me

      bring back my ex girl friend back whom i cheated on and at the same time

      he helped me got a good job he is realy a great spell caster to rely on, I believe he can help you solve any kind of problem if you can contact him. I know you would surely have doubt like i did, but as i gave in a little faith to his work, things changed for good.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Anna, I want to give testimony of how CHIFE OGWA brought back my divorce husband back to me,were married for 9 years then we break up, due to the fact that he never love me again.i have many felling for this my ex because we have gotten 2 kids together and i will want us to come back again. but all way i tried for us to come back all went in vain. i was confused and sad because i needed him back into my life, so i divided to contact CHIFE OGWA, i never believe in spell casting i just decide to make an effort and see if something can come out of it. i contacted them and they told me that they needed to cast return back of love to him, they did the spell and after 2 week my ex called that he still love me and wanted us to be together again,what surprise me most was that he was married to another woman, and after the spell casting he divorce the woman for me that same week. it was the spell i cast on him that brought him back again. we later got married again and now the kids are happy that their father is back to their mother again, i telly thank this CHIFE OGWA for bringing back my ex husband to me. i want you my fellow women who want back their divorce husband to contact CHIFE OGWA for his return, do not lose hope you can make this great step as i did then your ex husband will come back to you. and also your ex wife too okay, his email address id is, i want you to contact him and he will solve your problem for you and also he can do any kind of spell you want to cast

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I got out of a toxic relation after nine years. I had his baby, he went and had an affair. While I was at home looking after the baby, he was lying and saying he was fishing while having an affair. When I found out, I went off my brain and kicked him out and left him. Sold up and moved on. He moved in with his affair partner as I knew he would leach on her and make her pay bills and she is young and dumb and puts up with all his controlling ways. He hasn't changed a bit but he had found someone who is naïve, no confidence or self respect and I think that's easier for him. He now uses her to attack me and like a little puppy dog she does. Let's hope she wakes up to herself one day like I did. Doubt it though, at least I didn't know he was a lying cheating controlling dog. She does!!!! Told you she's dumb

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hmmmmm. Have a think about this.

      I am married to a woman who had affairs. She has managed to block them out even when I have email evidence. To her they do not exist. Think about her it never happened.

      To me they are very real.

      So when she says things like affairs are a cry for help! or says things to her boss like his wife is spoilt! How am I meant to feel? Nice and secure? I think not.

      Who is in the toxic relationship...her or me? I am only protecting my family from this happening again!

    • kikibird03 profile image


      9 years ago from Earth

      @ Stephanie, so glad you commented here because I think it tells everyone you really do know the answer - you need to get away! Certainly, do not have a baby with this guy! Are there any women's shelters in your town? Look online, maybe there are some in nearby towns. They are staffed with supportive volunteers as well as skilled counselors who can really help you get on your feet and put this all in perspective. Think about it. If you are willing to sacrifice your dignity, freedom, and happiness because you depend on the "external" the boyfriend for acceptance and the little bit of good times he is capable of giving you, what kind of life would that be for an innocent baby? It is no kind of life for you. I know, I have worn your same shoes, so I am not preaching to you dear one, I am trying to relate something that I hope will get you out of the web of illusion and into a healthy life. Much luv & best wishes!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am 18 years old and due to issues with my parents, I live with my boyfriend of nearly two years and his mother. I love my boyfriend more than anything, however it is clear to me that we have been in a toxic relationship from the start. First I thought it was because he was addicted to cannabis, but even though he has been sober for two months his behaviour just seems to be getting worse. Although he says he trusts me he is constantly accusing me of cheating on him even though I have always been 100% faithful to him. This really hurts me because I should have more reason to mistrust him since he cheated in one of his previous relationships. He tries to control my everyday activities by having tantrums if I want to see any of my friends or family. Therefore I now feel extremely isolated as I don't have any close friendships anymore. He has frequent mood strings when he cannot control his anger which usually results in him hitting me, punching or kicking holes in walls or damaging our property in any other way. Perhaps the worst of all is that lately he has been trying to convince me to have a baby, but I am too scared to even consider this because despite the fact that I am in my first year of uni, I would be too worried that he may inflict violence on the child just like he has me. He recently confirmed this fear by punching me in the stomach one day in the heat of a fight and later telling me he thought I might be pregnant (I had gained some weight). I know that he loves me more than anything, but he is causing me to become extremely depressed and suicidal at times. In some ways I want to leave him, but I cant bring myself to do it because he is all I have and I love him so much. And even if I did leave him, I cannot see a way that I can safely do so since I live with him and don’t really have anywhere else to go. I feel like I am stuck in this situation. Does anyone have any advice?

    • kikibird03 profile image


      9 years ago from Earth

      Excellent article! Why is it so hard to do the healthy thing? When you are in a toxic relationship, you know it because you are miserable, yet sometimes keep deceiving self and enduring it. Why do people feel so powerless and stuck in these situations?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      So my boyfriend and I just broke up. We have been together for a year and living together for 5 months. I moved out of his house because we were constantly fighting. It was a toxic relationship but on both our parts. We spent every moment together that we weren't working and got on each other's nerves. He was having a lot of bad luck issues going on and I actually have a lot of mental health issues. Our own problems became each others problems and then the fights would start over something dumb. Which turned into both of us name calling and then throwing things at each other. He hit me in the face with frozen chicken nuggest after I threw an ashtry at him and I called the cops only to find out that I could have been arrested. He got arrested because of an outstanding warrant that I didn't know about. I knew about the situation but didn't know he had a warrant for it. I stood by him through that and he loved me for it. Things were better for a couple of weeks but then back to the arguing and fighthing again. Mostly over our money situation. I had finally had enough and moved out. But we are talking now slowly and both want to work things out. We both identified our own problems, our problems in our relationship and know that if we jump back into it the problems will still be there. So we want to give each other space and see if we can have a healthy future together. Do you think that this is possible?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Though I agree 100% about abusive relationships, I also can sympathize with the jealous/insecure/controlling person. For me, I know in my heart I am in love with my partner, but my insecurities/jealousy is causing a strain on our relationship. It's not like I choose to feel this way! I wish I could be more secure and stable but I can't help it. It was not like this early on. So what should we do? Break up? No. You work through it.

    • profile image

      9 years ago

      Reading these comments has en powered me though i am on my own in this relationship so its stuiped to worry about being single again

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I need to get out of my relationship but i am scared

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      im in a toxic relationship :/

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Im was a victim of toxic relationship, the things is that i need not know of the sign that caused. Finnally, Im out this relationship

    • profile image

      good as gold 

      10 years ago

      I have just released myself from a toxic relationship and instantly was able to relax unfortunately i have know as usual seen what role each of us played in action and reaction i feel we both had a role to play and i may have been able to turn it around only I had worked so hard for everything that I had and he was jealous of me

      so was his girlfriend and other people that seemed to use him up and be stuck in life it seems he had judged me from the start

      yes I had trust issues I have been hurt by many people but had always learned lessons thus receiving gifts and moved on. I have learned to trust my intuition and am a very good judge of character and was slowly becoming comfortable in trusting him. When he cheated on me I forgave him but he continued to want a freindship with this women then he decieved me using a male name in his phone a little while latter he went over her place and verbally abused me and almost a year latter lied to me like he was joking using that same mens name and kept telling me what are poor women she was because she had told him a sad story of domestic violence in my opinion emotional abuse is the same and it was completely unsuitable for me to be in a threeway relationship especially where she had the heart and I had the responsibility been there done that and no there is no winners or losers freedom allows you to win but still wondering

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I am a bloke just reading all those comments and wanted to post a quick well done Sandie.. No one should deal with any form of abuse.. Hope you find the partner that truly appreciates you for who you are.

    • Angela Harris profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Harris 

      11 years ago from Around the USA

      Sandie, It takes a lot of courage to do what you have, but obviously it was the right choice. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story- maybe it will help someone else in an abusive relationship get the courage to leave. Congratulations on your new beginning and may you find the happiness you deserve.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I have just left a toxic relationship of 11 years. I had been unhappy for years but I was so worn down by his relentless name calling, put downs, sexualized language and was very tightly controlled - he called it love but it was merely domination.

      He would brainwash me with comments like "I am the best thing that ever happened to you" - "You will never leave me" - "We are a strong team". In the end I started believing this and it made it even harder to consider leaving.

      He pushed and chested me and used to aggressively yell to get his own way. He would use the most disgusting language to dominate me. I would always dissolve in tears but he felt no remorse whatsoever. He just used to say "Bloody women - no wonder I drink"

      A warning bell rang loudly when his son pushed his short term girlfriend down some stairs and she damaged her coccyx and had to be hospitalized. He said his son was justified because the girl was "in his face". That showed me that I could also be hurt and they would just make excuses and put the blame on me.

      He had an affair five years ago and he left me home while he went out with her telling me he was meeting his mate. I phoned this woman and met her cos I wanted to know how he operated. She said she had her car fixed by him and when she came to pay he asked her if she wanted to pay or go out for dinner. Always be careful of offers like this. She was a Christian and knew that I existed and she said she knew it was the wrong thing to do. He was seeing her for eight months and lied constantly to cover his tracks. He even had her number in his phone as a mans name so I wouldn't get suspicious.

      I went to Relationships Australia to see a counsellor and cried all through the appointment. I felt scared, confused and alone. The counsellor said she was alarmed about what had been happening in my life and she told me to get an Intervention Order which I did. The police served it on him yesterday and they also removed his firearms. We go to court next week as I just have an Interim Order.

      I am very scared of him wanting revenge against me but I am starting to notice a small happiness and relief coming.

      If you are in a toxic relationship seek help and get out. Just do it,

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi Steph, I know exactly what you're going through. You will think of the good times but at the end of the day --,NO ONE SHOULD EVER EVER make you feel bad -- and you recognising the toxicity in the relationship and actually end it is a sign how strong you are. It is normal you will miss him and love the times and memories that were good - but THINK OF THE BAD TIMES!!!! HE NEVER LOVED YOU - no matter what he said. My boyfriend used to say he loved me all the time, he wanted to marry me and have kids with me, but all the while he was in touch with his ex-gf and when she turned up after a year and a half of being abroad, he slept with her. I overdosed while he spent 4 days abroad with her. And on top of that, I had to have an abortion after as I was pregnant with his child and he couldn't stand up for either of us. So I hope you don't take him back, or ever go back to him. They can hurt you over and over again and will not feel any remorse for it. Good luck and things will get better.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I recently got out of a toxic relationship, my bf spoke to me bad all the time, name calling etc, hit me on occasions. but when he was being nice I loved him so much. I know he has issued growing up when his father left him so that's why he says he has anger problems. although he is so selfish and cruel and has recently accepted me ending things without even trying to sort things out, i still love him and I cant bare to be without him because when things wer good between us, they wer the best. do u think he ever actually loved me? im so confused.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Hi Angela. Yes I am. No abuse. Drinking

      alcoholic. In and out of recovery.

      He is a Christian Man. I pray, keep the faith, have hope , give up hope, i am a mess today. I cry, involved in my church, help others, write, detatch, alanon. I feel he has brought this home down. God is good and he is my provision. The sad news is I have come not to depend on my husband for a thing. He and I are not growing together. It is so sad as I know God has plans for his life yet he can not hear through drunk ears.

      I will be back to read more. Check my hubs when you can. Gods Blessings. I can encourage many, yet I am onesad woman today. This too shall pass. Sorry for pity party. Your hub caought my eye. Hugs

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Is traveling around the country with your husbands younger brother seem "Toxic". When D. Boone came back home after 4 years of Surveying and Indian fighting, his brother had married his wife. True story, I went to UK and am from Lexington.

      No Offence

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      12 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have a friend in one of those now. Though he might be getting out soon. (NO! not me)

    • advisor4qb profile image


      12 years ago from On New Footing

      just escaped mine, thanks for the block of support

    • Tamar_Georgina profile image


      12 years ago from UK

      wow.. i think im in a toxic relationship... eeek.

    • countrywomen profile image


      12 years ago from Washington, USA

      Angela- Yes there are some relationships which are "toxic" with no chance for roll back but on the whole (at least that's what I believe in) there are chances that the relationship can get back to the right track if both the partners understand the problem areas and willing to work on it. Thumbs up for a thought provoking hub.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      12 years ago from NW Indiana

      This is a hub for all to read be it male or female.Thumbs up!

    • sarahonweb profile image


      12 years ago


    • profile image


      12 years ago from Asia

      Enjoy reading your article and enligthening. For any relationship to last, I believe both parties have to work on it, and I mean hard. The sparkle that ignites the initial relationship is lost over time, and unlikely to rekindle with the flow of time. People change over time and hopefully, the changes do not divert too much. When this happens, the relationship turns toxic .


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