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15 Signs of a Toxic Relationship that’ll Go from Bad to Worse

Toxic relationships can be hard to escape because they are hard to identify. We avoid the red flags that are clear signs of a toxic relationship.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationships are not just bad relationships. They are terrorizing and lower our self-esteem. They attack our trust and hope. They control us and manipulate us. A toxic relationship is unhealthy, disrespectful, and can often time even be dangerous. For your safety, you should know the warning signs of a toxic relationship.

Toxic relationships are not easily fixed and sorted out with gifts, talking, or even therapy. In most cases, toxic relationships end with an explosion that affects you for the rest of your life.

To keep from being swallowed up by the masked evil in a toxic relationship, spot the signs of a toxic relationship early, so you can avoid them at all costs. [Read: Doubts about your new relationship? Understand the normal and toxic signs]

Delayed signs of a toxic relationship

The thing about toxic relationships that makes them so easy to overlook is that they weren’t always so bad. Toxic relationships start out pretty well, even too good to be true.

I was in a toxic relationship for years. It went from a fairytale to a nightmare. We started as happy as you could ever want. It went downhill into dysfunction pretty quickly. But you always hold out hope that the good stuff will come back.

Because most toxic relationships gave you hope in the beginning, we stay in them by grasping that hope with everything we have. We make excuses for bad behavior, we let ourselves feel bad, we lose ourselves in the relationship all for that glimmer of hope. [Read: 13 ways toxic love can harm you permanently]

This is the main reason we ignore the signs of a toxic relationship. We convince ourselves it’s temporary. We convince ourselves things will be good again. And we even convince ourselves it is our fault, which means if we leave we failed.

There is so much manipulation and negative energy that builds up in a toxic relationship simply because we can’t admit it to ourselves. But, if we can spot the signs, we can escape with our dignity intact. [Read: These 13 traits of toxic people can hurt and emotionally damage you]

Signs of a toxic relationship

There are many signs of a toxic relationship. It is both good and bad because of additional chances to spot them, but it is likely that more of our relationship is toxic than we ever realized.

If you are in a toxic relationship or even believe a friend or family member might be, this could be hard to read and accept. But, in the long run, it is better for everyone to get out of a toxic relationship as soon as possible.

#1 You are exhausted. Having a new puppy or a newborn should leave you feeling exhausted, but being in a relationship shouldn’t. A happy and healthy relationship should not leave you feeling drained emotionally or physically.

If being with your partner leaves you feeling tired rather than energized, it is a sign of a toxic relationship. [Read: 15 ways to spot selfish people and stop them from hurting you]

#2 You feel bad more than you feel good. Toxic relationships manifest themselves in all sorts of ways, but no matter what happens, if you feel bad more often than you feel good, you are in a toxic relationship.

#3 You feel ashamed. Toxic relationships control your actions. You will find yourself doing things you never thought you would do in a million years. Those things can really make you feel bad about yourself.

When I was in a toxic relationship, I would be so ashamed of my actions that my self-esteem took a major hit. I no longer viewed myself as strong or even a good person because I let this relationship take over my actions. [Read: 10 signs your partner is only using you]

#4 There is no trust. If you do not trust your partner it is nearly impossible to come back from that and vice versa. Sure, some people are just jealous or have trust issues but that can be worked on in the right circumstances.

But, in the wrong circumstance, trust issues and jealousy can turn toxic extremely fast. If your partner feels they can decide what you wear, who you see, where you go, or who you talk to that is not sweet, protective, or caring, it is toxic and controlling. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to watch out for]

#5 You’re embarrassed to tell your friends about it. This was the sign that led me to realize I was in a toxic relationship. I went from raving to my friends about my relationship to complaining and then staying quiet or even lying.

I was embarrassed by my actions and how I let my relationship affect me and my behavior. By the last year, my friends thought my relationship was over because I never wanted to talk about it. I was mortified by my actions and what I let my ex get away with. If you feel that too, make a change, now.

#6 You’re being manipulated. This is a hard sign to spot because it is in and of itself controlling you without you knowing. When manipulated, you rarely spot it because the person manipulating you is so good at it.

If you look back at your actions and wonder why you did that or how you did it, you are being manipulated. Look at some of the things that have happened in your relationship. If a friend told you that happened in their relationship, what would you say? [Read: 15 signs of manipulation in a relationship you should never ignore]

#7 You cancel other plans for them. Sure, if your partner needs a ride to the hospital, cancel girl’s night, but apart from that, you should not feel like you need to put your partner first. You should never feel guilty for making plans with friends, family, or alone.

When I was in a toxic relationship I would ditch friends and plans I had been looking forward to, to sit and watch my ex play video games. That is not being a good girlfriend, it is being controlled by your toxic relationship. When your relationship is destroying or altering your other friendships, something is wrong.

#8 You’re always waiting. A healthy relationship has mutual respect and balance. You should both be giving and receiving. You should make time for each other. Does your partner only make time for you when it is convenient for them?

If you feel like you are always waiting for them to call, text, or see you, things are unbalanced. This is made worse when they expect you to drop everything at their command. This is not a relationship, it is romantic slavery. [Read: The consequences of making someone a priority when you’re only an option to them]

#9 You’re scared. In relationships, we all fear it ending. And that is normal. But if you are scared of your partner’s reactions to you being late, burning dinner, telling a friend about your relationship, or to anything, it is entirely toxic.

You should never feel afraid of your partner for any reason. Sure, we all get nervous, but fear and nerves are not the same. You should feel safe in a healthy relationship. If you do not feel safe with your partner mentally, emotionally, or physically: get out now.

#10 There is no respect. A relationship will never work without respect. Respect is our regard for each other’s feelings, thoughts, and humanity. Without respect, we become inhumane and toxic to each other.

If your relationship goes beyond the average argument and into territory even remotely disrespectful, it is not a relationship you want to be in. There is no excuse for your partner disrespecting you. Even during the worst of fights, respect should always have a place. [Read: 16 ways to find your respect in your relationship]

#11 You are both angry. A major sign of a toxic relationship is constant fighting. Anger is normal for relationships, but constant anger leads to rage, unhappiness, and regret.

Anger should not be the main contributor to your relationship. If it is, it is toxic for your health, both mentally and physically.

#12 You avoid them when you need them the most. Relationships are there for love and support. But if you cannot go to your partner in your time of need, then why be in a relationship?

I had a traumatic experience while with my ex. Instead of going to him for comfort, I didn’t even tell him because I was afraid he would be mad at me for it. That is NOT a relationship. It is a fear-based, toxic presence.

#13  You don’t put yourself first. No matter the relationship, always put yourself first. You need to focus on you, your mental health, your mindset, and your happiness. If you cannot do that in a relationship, you will get absorbed into that toxicity, and it will be hard to heal later.

#14 You’d rather be with them than alone. I used to tell myself that being miserable 24/7 with my ex was better than being alone. Boy, was I wrong. Being single can be the best time of your life. You learn so much about yourself and enjoy a freedom like nothing else.

A toxic relationship is never worth it for any reason. No guilt, lack of confidence, or fear of loneliness is worth staying with someone that hurts you. [Read: Signs of emotional abuse you shouldn’t overlook]

#15 You’re not you. This may seem minor compared to the other signs of a toxic relationship, but it can eat away at you until you’ve entirely lost yourself. A relationship should allow you to be comfortable with who you are.

If you are afraid your partner won’t like you for you or will judge you for being you that is not healthy. That is entirely toxic and can lead to a lot of issues that can seep into the rest of your life.

[Read: Why you should run if you see these early relationship red flags]

If these signs of a toxic relationship seem familiar to you, get out now. Do not pass go, do not collect $100, just get out. You will feel healthier and happier straight away.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...