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15 Types of Toxic Relationships, What Causes Them & How to Get Out

If you are curious about the types of toxic relationships, then that probably means you are in one. Here’s everything you need to know and what to do.

types of toxic relationships

Toxic relationships are all around us, and there are many different types.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you feel more stressed and tired rather than happy and glowing? You may unknowingly be trapped in a relationship that’s leaving you drained and angry.

Toxic relationships come in many hues. Sometimes, we date toxic people. And at other times, we have friends and even family who are toxic for our lives.

[Read: 48 strong warning signs of toxic people and the best ways to deal with them]

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is any relationship you have that is detrimental to your life and existence.

When you enter a toxic relationship with a person who’s not an ideal match for you, you may actually end up losing yourself and becoming a person you wouldn’t be too happy to be.

Some people that we date fill our lives with happiness. But toxic people just drain the happiness out of our lives.

What you need to understand though, is that lovers with toxic personalities may not necessarily be bad people. But when they impose their negative way of life on you, it could affect the way you look at your own life and destroy you from the inside.

The bad part about toxic relationships is that you can’t really recognize them at first. But as time goes by, something about them starts to change and everything they do may start to frustrate you. [Read: How does a toxic relationship feel? 16 signs to recognize it and get out]

Of course, you won’t be able to blame them because they’d still appear to be the same person you fell in love with.

So what’s changed then?

The types of toxic relationships you could find yourself in

Toxic relationships are created in two circumstances, when you enter a relationship with someone who’s completely incompatible with your way of life, or when you enter a relationship with someone who’s just a really bad person.

There are many kinds of toxic lovers, but they all find their way into one of these types of toxic relationships.

So if you ever feel like you’re trapped in a bad relationship with one of these types of partners, look for the exit door, because no matter how much you think you can change the relationship for the better, you just can’t. Well, unless your lover makes a conscious effort to become a more accommodating person. [Read: How to let go of a relationship – 17 things you need to do to walk away unhurt]

1. Controlling relationships

Does your partner want to have a say in everything you do? Or do they like to know everything you’re doing, even if it means interrupting you aggressively to find out what you’re doing right that instant?

If you’re in a relationship where your partner behaves like the approver where everything you do has to pass through their scrutiny whether you want their approval or not, you’re definitely in the middle of a toxic romance. [Read: 23 subtle signs that reveal a controlling partner]

2. Jealous partners

Is your partner overly jealous when it comes to you spending time with your friends? Or do they constantly feel like you’re sharing certain sexual chemistry with someone even if you have a happy laugh while chatting over the phone?

A bit of jealousy can be cute. But when it affects your life negatively or restricts you from your independence, it’s definitely not good for you. [Read: How to make your jealous partner not-so-jealous and feel more loved]

3. Bitchy lovers

Does your lover sit down with you and constantly nag about their bad days or whine about their problems until you feel like crawling under the couch or running away from them?

Partners who find happiness only while complaining about their life can turn you into a negative person too. [Read: What is an energy vampire? 19 signs to spot them in your life ASAP]

4. A negative thinking partner

A negative thinking partner is one of the worst of the lot. Does your partner think life is extremely unfair to them? Or do they only see the negative side to everything in their life?

These kinds of partners will suck the happiness out of your life even before you realize it. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life? 20 signs and tips to cope]

5. Puts you down all the time

This is the “I told you so” kind of partner. Instead of helping you out, they always look for a way to make you feel like a dumb, spoilt child.

Perhaps, they have issues in life or they just love feeling powerful by putting you down all the time.

6. Cheating partner

Have you caught your partner cheating on you once? And then again? Some partners just can’t stay committed to one relationship, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

If a partner doesn’t respect you or think you’re important enough, they’re bound to cheat on you constantly. [Read: 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship that reveal a lack of love]

7. Lying lover

Some lovers just can’t help but lie all the time. You may know they’re lying, but you can’t prove it, can you?

When you’re in a toxic relationship like this, you’d end up feeling more insecure and frustrated, and may even feel paranoid about the whole relationship, while your partner laughs and lies away all the time. [Read: Gaslighting – What it is, how it works and 22 signs to spot it ASAP]

8. Abusive partner

An abusive partner doesn’t always have to abuse you physically. At times, even vocal abuses can have the same impact.

If your partner raises a hand at you or threatens you with abuses for any reason, don’t put up with it. The more you stay in a toxic relationship like that, the more you’d make your partner feel dominant over you.

9. The blaming lover

Are you in a relationship with someone who constantly takes their frustrations out on you or blames you for their mistakes? You may think they’re acting childish, but your partner may genuinely think it’s your fault and may even get increasingly frustrated with you. 

The next time you get blamed for something you haven’t done, stand your ground. Or you’ll end up in a messy relationship where both of you hate each other. [Read: Top 20 reasons for divorce that most couples overlook]

10. An extremely insecure partner

When you’re in a relationship with someone and are forced to spend most of your day away from them, a little bit of insecurity is inevitable, especially if you’re meeting good-looking members of the opposite sex all the time.

But if your partner is extremely insecure and constantly needs tons of reassurance and proof of love from you, perhaps it’s time to have that talk. Or you’ll end up getting frustrated with your partner all the time. [Read: Why am I so insecure? 29 reasons and ways to feel secure from within]

11. A demanding partner

Demanding partners expect the best from you, yet they never return the favor. They constantly try to boss around you or tell you how lucky their friends are for having such understanding partners.

Being in a relationship like this will make you feel helpless and depressed because no matter what you do, you’ll never be good enough.

12. Over the top perfectionists

Perfectionists are great people to be in a relationship with. But if you’re dating someone who’s obsessive about the way they want things in their life, it’ll always leave you frustrated. And obsessive people with a perfectionist streak in them will always find faults with you. Can you really live with someone like that? [Read: 15 posh signs you’re dating a high maintenance woman most men can’t handle]

13. Narcissistic partners

Narcissistic partners are shallow and extreme users. Your partner may be in a relationship with you, but they still treat you like an accessory.

They feel embarrassed when you haven’t dressed your best when you step out together, and the whole world revolves around them, no matter what you do or say. Unless you like being treated like a toy, this relationship will definitely not help with your self-esteem. [Read: 20 signs of a narcissistic relationship that’ll destroy you slowly]

14. The competitive lover

Everything is a competition for these types of lovers. They may say they love you and they may even care about you. But they will never allow you to beat them at anything, be it a game or when it comes to earning more money. 

They’re sore losers and always want to be pampered. And most of all, they love seeing you fall in life so they can magnanimously help you back on your feet. [Read: 21 secret signs of a bad relationship that signal a bad future ahead]

15. The manipulative partner

Does your partner constantly play with words or try to trick you into believing something by manipulating you?

If you’re dating someone who tries to lie or manipulate you into getting things done their way all the time, perhaps it’s time you let them know you’re not that dumb to fall for such childish tricks. [Read: 15 signs of manipulation in a relationship you should never ignore]

What causes toxic behavior?

Now that you know the types of toxic relationships, you’re probably wondering what causes people to act like this? We have your answers right here.

1. It’s in their nature

Some people just have some negative personality traits that are inborn. These bad traits include things like narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

Narcissism is a condition when people have a grandiose sense of self-importance. They also have fantasies of unlimited power and success and don’t care who they hurt to get it. Their needs are the only thing they think or care about.  

Machiavellianism is a personality trait that uses cunningness, the ability to manipulate, and a powerful drive to gain power. [Read: How do narcissists control you so subtly? And why you allow them]

Psychopathy is a neuropsychiatric disorder in which the person has deficient emotional responses, a lack of empathy, and can’t control their behavior. This usually results in antisocial and criminal behavior.

All three of these together can form what’s called the Dark Triad.

So, these negative personality traits are at least partially genetic, and they are passed on from parent to child. 

2. Environmental factors

While our genes can help determine whether we have toxic behaviors or not, so can someone’s environment.

For example, if someone was overprotected, pampered, or praised excessively in childhood by their parents, they are more likely to be narcissistic and have feelings of entitlement. [Read: Why do people fall for narcissists when they know they shouldn’t?]

On the flip side, some people with toxic traits might have gotten that way because of some trauma in their past, a dysfunctional family life, or even substance abuse. Even if someone hasn’t been able to properly process stress or grief can sometimes transform into toxic behaviors toward other people.

3. Mental health problems

Not everyone who exhibits toxic behaviors have mental health conditions. But there are some people who do. For instance, personality disorder, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) can cause toxic behavior too.

If someone has sudden bursts of anger, a great need for praise, irritability, or grandiose feelings, this could indicate a mental health condition. [Read: 34 big relationship red flags most people ignore early on]

Why does toxic behavior continue?

You might think that other people would have called out the toxic behavior in a person which would cause them to stop acting that way. Well, that’s not always the case.

Believe it or not, many times this behavior continues because the person actually gets rewarded for it. For example, if a person is cruel, self-centered, and manipulative, they might still gain a lot of professional success and become very wealthy. These things are the “rewards” for toxic behavior.

As strange as it sounds, sometimes people with these toxic traits do get positive reinforcement, and so that just convinces them to continue the bad behaviors into their romantic relationships as well. [Read: Manipulative behavior – why it is toxic and signs you shouldn’t ignore]

What to do if you find yourself in a toxic relationship

After reading this feature, you might have concluded that you are, indeed, in one of the types of toxic relationships. Now that you know, what should you do?

First, how you approach it depends on how long you have been in the relationship. If you’re newly dating this person, then it’s advisable to end it immediately. The longer you stay in it, the more it will continue.

If you are married or living together and have been together for a long time, then it will be more difficult to get out of the relationship. You need to determine whether or not you think it can be fixed or not. Even if you want to fix it, maybe your partner doesn’t want to – or doesn’t even admit that their behavior is toxic.

If both people want to save the relationship, then they should seek professional help. It’s practically impossible for a couple to rebuild their relationship without the assistance of a trained person. That is probably the only way you can try to turn the partnership into a healthy one. So, it is highly recommended to take this route.

[Read: What is a toxic relationship? 16 signs to recognize it and get out]

It’s not easy to recognize the types of toxic relationships because there’s a bit of that toxic side in all our love lives. But if it ever crosses the thin line, either talk about it or get out of it!

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Natalia Avdeeva
Natalia Avdeeva sometimes feels like she’s an 80-year-old woman trapped in a 29-year-old body. She loves buying makeup and ends up not wearing them most of th...
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