According to Psychology Today, a toxic relationship is one that is characterized by behaviors that are emotionally and physically damaging to one or both parties involved. Such relationships can cause immense stress, anxiety, and mental health issues, as well as physical pain and even physical harm.

Toxic relationships can happen between friends, family, lovers, or colleagues. Toxic relationships, if not curtailed, could lead to domestic violence. In 2019, National Domestic Violence Hotline received over 300,000 calls for help and support related to domestic violence, and in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, calls increased by over 9%. Additionally, the World Health Organization reports that around 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, usually by an intimate partner.

Thus in this report, we discuss ten signs to know you are in a toxic relationship and how to get out of it.

  1. Constant criticism and belittling of one’s character, feelings, or behavior are signs of a toxic relationship. A partner who constantly puts you down, suggests that you are weak or not capable, or criticizes everything you do is not healthy. It can lead to a loss of self-esteem and cause one to lose confidence in oneself. It is good to talk to the partner about how their behavior is affecting you and ask for a change. However, if they are unwilling to change, it is best to walk away.
  2. Isolation from friends and family is another sign of a toxic relationship. A controlling partner may cut off communication with loved ones or prevent one from associating with them. They may create scenarios or make false allegations leading to a rift between the individual and their family and friends. It is essential to keep in touch with loved ones outside the relationship and seek their support and guidance.
  3. Lack of empathy is a significant sign of a toxic relationship. Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings and emotions. A partner who does not show an understanding of one’s emotions or belittles them is unhealthy. Criticizing one’s feelings, offering cold comfort, or disregarding them altogether can lead to feelings of loneliness, detachment and low self-esteem.
  4. Controlling behavior is a huge red flag in identifying toxic relationships. A toxic partner will often control the actions and decisions of their significant other. They could make significant decisions for the other person such as financial matters without seeking consultation, mandate dressing and grooming standards, and decide for the partner about things even as little as ordering at a restaurant. This is an indication of low regard respect for the person and lack of confidence in the individual’s abilities.
  5. Secretive behavior, especially concerning the other’s personal interests and significant life matters, is toxic behavior. A partner should be willing and able to share their thoughts, feelings, and information about their life. A lack of transparency about behavior, rather than inexperience, can be disastrous in a relationship. It can leave the other individual unsure and fearful of the future, leading to a loss of trust.
  6. Constant negativity and drama are also signs of toxic relationships. Negative energy can take a significant toll on one’s emotional and physical health. A partner who constantly involves the other in drama or who is always in conflict with others is an indication of emotional instability. It is essential to set boundaries and refuse to be sucked into the cycle of drama.
  7. Lack of mutual respect and support is a significant sign of a toxic relationship. Respect and support are what make a good relationship. When one partner is unsupportive or disrespectful, the relationship becomes toxic. It is essential to communicate and express one’s needs and expectations of the relationship and demand the same respect, love and care from the other person.
  8. Incompatible values and beliefs can lead to a toxic relationship. Opposing religious beliefs, different expectations of life, and different views and goals can lead to conflict, which can make a relationship toxic. While some differences are healthy and can enhance growth and intimacy, others can cause harm and should not be ignored.
  9. A lack of personal space and time with friends and hobbies is another sign of a toxic relationship. Everyone needs their own private space and time to pursue their interests and hobbies. A partner that constantly encroaches on personal time and space or makes negative remarks about the other’s interests is not healthy. It can lead to feelings of resentment and suffocation.
  10. Abusive behavior is the most significant sign of a toxic relationship. Verbal, emotional, psychological, or physical abuse can cause untold harm to an individual. Such behavior should not be condoned, and individuals should seek help and support from friends, family, or professionals.

Getting out of a toxic relationship can require strong will and determination. It is essential to seek professional help or confide in trusted friends or family. Putting a distance between the toxic partner and oneself and re-establishing a supportive network of people can help in healing and moving forward.

In conclusion, recognizing toxic relationships is critical in maintaining one’s self-respect and dignity. Remaining in unhealthy relationships can cause untold harm to oneself and affect one’s emotional and physical well-being. It is essential to set boundaries, seek professional help, and establish supportive relationships, to ensure that we are safe and healthy.


Banschick, M. (2019). How to Recognize and Move On From Toxic Relationships. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

Women’s Aid. (2021). Signs of an abusive relationship. Retrieved from

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