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Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Updated on July 1, 2017

Be Aware

The most obvious warning sign of
a Toxic Relationship is isolation.

Separating the Victim from what
had been his or her life, cutting
out friends, family, even hobbies
while squashing him or her into
a shadow of the Dominant, should
be as ignorable as a nuclear blast.

But it is often ignored because the Dominant so fills the life of the Victim that it is only in retrospect can it be perceived.

Those who experience this segregation seem to be willing to offer justifications.

It is the first step in Domestic Violence, when the husband is puts his wife in the 'pumpkin shell'; and when insecure women reduce their husbands to appendages.

How It Is Done

Bob once had a large circle of friends. He spent hours on the phone. He was always there when needed. Then he married Wilma.

Wilma had a trailer load of problems which she disguised well.

She behaved so friendly and welcoming, interested and open at first, that she deceived everyone.

When she went off into one of her violent tirades, she directed it at a political figure or policy of a government, instead of those in her ambit.

Bob's friends, experiencing one of Wilma's shriekathons gave her a wide berth; which of course included Bob.

This method of chasing Bob's friends by not attacking them but their political or social connections with this shriekathon cut Bob from his family and friends with great success.

Bob's World

Wilma always got her way, no matter how slow the progress.

She was able to turn Bob from a casual happy guy into a workadaddy.

His life consisted of looking after the kids, taking them to school, working, picking them up, carrying them home and being on call until he dropped to sleep.

Weekends and holidays were crammed with activities which kept every hour of Bob's life linked to Wilma and/or the children she rapidly produced as shackles.

If Bob wanted to visit his mother Wilma had reasons why he couldn't go. If he wanted to visit his friends, he could not, unless she approved of the mission.

This was not done directly, it was so carefully constructed.

The washing machine would overflow, or the lights would go out, or one of the children would be vomiting, just as Bob was getting ready to leave. Clearly, he couldn't.

Even phone calls were contraindicated when Wilma was around for as soon as she saw him on the phone she had many vital things to tell him. As it happened so frequently, Bob stopped answering his phone, save when he was at work, Wilma was out, or he was alone.

Subconsciously he knew how he friends saw him, so the best thing was to avoid his friends.

Within five years, Bob went from the centre of so many people's lives to an occasional acquaintance.

Subsequently, Wilma had them move many miles away so that there was no way anyone could drop in. She owned Bob as she did her shoes.


In any relationship where one party is virtually 'owned' by another, getting out as quickly as possible is survival.

The longer one waits the less one is, until one no longer exists.

In early stages, one might not want to leave the other (or be made to feel that they are leaving the other 'home alone') when they visit their friends. Feeling this way might be the input from the other.

Cancelling those boys/girls night out is always a mistake.

One person can not fill every single void in a life. One person can not be the population of your planet. There needs to be others. Other people, activities, so that one's existence isn't tied to one other person.

One might disappoint a family member because the Partner needs them.

It could be a one off, but if each time you want to see your mother or your sister and the Other either wants sex or that you do something, be warned, you will soon no longer have anyone but the Other.

Although it is pretty much a precursor to separation for one to maintain their circle to the extent pre-relationship, it is going to be almost impossible to escape when there is nowhere to escape to.

Abusers and the Insecure

When a man cuts a woman off from her family and friends, abuse follows. She has no one except him and so he can launch his emotional, intellectual, spiritual, verbal and physical abuse without witnesses.

When a woman cuts a man off from all his friends and family and locks him into her world, she gains absolute control. He no longer exists and she can pretty much rule the relationship making him almost incapable of functioning without her.

The woman who escapes the abuse usually does so with a number of scars and it will take her awhile to regain her personhood.

A man rarely escapes save by death, or if the woman drops him.
He often is almost helpless because he has so depended on his wife for everything from what he should wear to what time he is to go to bed that he can find himself on the street.

Women who need to absorb their men are insecure. They are afraid of being alone and need to bind their men to their sides.

Over time, the Dominant woman will have so destroyed the Victim man he will not be able to fill her requirements.

Some women will, at this point, launch her career. He stands in the devastation of his life, she is now off and running. He is left behind as she becomes so important, so swamped with friends and activities.

This is the point where having swallowed her husband she finds him unsatisfying and replaces him. This is where he becomes helpless. Anyone getting him after her departure gets a dependent, not a partner.


Too many times one offers excuses to explain why...why this man who was once so independent has sold himself to this woman who controls him.

Why this woman gives up this opportunity for promotion because she must arrive home at a s specific time to make her husband dinner.

To give an example, if one is a die hard Star Trek fan and the spouse wants to travel 1000 miles to a Con; well one would want to be going anyway.

Where one is not and the other wants to go, and to please the spouse one does, and has a miserable time, (and is blamed for it) taking a deeper look at the relationship is necessary.

A relationship is not an absorption or a grafting. If your relationship is, reassess and get out.


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    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 2 years ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Excellent hub.. I agree with all your points. Controlling partners are nightmares come true. voted up!

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 5 years ago

      As soon as one appreciates that the population of their world is now limited to the spouse it is clear that something is wrong with the relationship.

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      It's interesting how abusers are so good at hiding that fact that you begin to think such behavior is normal...

    • HattieMattieMae profile image

      HattieMattieMae 5 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      Very nice...guess they need to learn to set boundaries and live healthier lives. Not to mention communicate! :)