7 signs you're in a toxic relationship

By: Jen Kirsch

© Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©


7 signs you're in a toxic relationship

By: Jen Kirsch
When we see friends in toxic relationships it's hard to understand why they stay in such obviously unhealthy situations. However, it's important to note that many people are blind to the reality of their situations or holding onto the hope that their partner will eventually change.

Julie Hanks, a licensed psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker and the executive director of Wasatch Family Therapy, explains that people often have trouble getting out of toxic relationships because negative relationship patterns feel familiar to them.

"We are wired from birth to create intense emotional bonds with others," Hanks explains. "If our first family relationships were unhealthy, then toxic relationships may seem normal."

Hanks shares seven signs you might be involved with someone who isn't good for you.

1. You feel drained instead of invigorated
Think about how your relationship makes you feel. The person you're with should have a positive impact on your mood.

"Love relationships should feel energizing and invigorating," says Hanks. "If you find yourself feeling drained after interacting with your partner, feel like avoiding spending time with him or feel like you have to walk on eggshells, that may be a warning sign he's not right for you."

2. Your self-worth takes a dive
Healthy relationships should spur us on to be our best selves, not cause us to fade into the background.

"Healthy love relationships bolster confidence and ideally give us courage to try new things and expand ourselves in other areas of life," says Hanks. "If you're finding that your self-confidence is fading, and you're feeling insecure or starting to question your worth, your capability, your attractiveness or your decisions, it's time to re-evaluate your relationship," she advises.

3. He's always negative
It's one thing to have on off day, but if your partner is constantly complaining about every little thing and always sees the negative in situations, Hanks suggests taking a step back and asking yourself whether this is something you want to deal with in the long term. If you think your partner may be suffering from depression and he is willing to get help, you may decide you can work though the negative spell together.

"If he's unwilling to get help you need to decide if you want to link yourself with his negativity for the long haul," says Hanks.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover four more signs you're in a toxic relationship on page 2.
4. He's jealous of your other relationships
No one who has your best interests at heart would want you to push your loved ones away.

"A healthy person will encourage you to expand your relationships with family and friends, not to shrink or eliminate them altogether," says Hanks. "If you feel like you need to cut off important relationships in order to keep your partner from feeling jealous or angry, that is a sign of a toxic pattern that needs to be addressed," she warns.

5. His moods are unpredictable and extreme
Though a hot and cold personality may keep you on your toes, never knowing what kind of mood your partner is going to be in when he walks through the door is not a good sign. This flip-flopping can go from loving and caring to anger and rage in an instant, says Hanks.

"While it's normal to have shifts in mood, dramatic and extreme shifts are signs of bigger problems," she explains.

6. He wants to control your money and time
A healthy partnership means the person you're with supports your autonomy and decision-making. While he might not always agree with how you spend your time and money, he's willing to share concerns and preferences, says Hanks.

"If your partner is insisting on calling the shots when it comes to your resources – money and time – that's a big red flag that should not be ignored."

7. Your gut tells you something isn't quite right
For better or for worse, we all have a sixth sense or a gut feeling that creeps in when something doesn't feel right. This feeling is your body's way of telling you something might be wrong, says Hanks. Listen to your sixth sense, no matter how well things might be currently going, she advises, and look closely at what could be causing these feelings.

There are several consequences of not attending to relationship red flags: "You waste your precious time and emotional energy, you may suffer needless emotional drama or injury, you may bring a child into an unhealthy situation or the toxic relationship may escalate into an abusive one," notes Hanks.

If one or more of these signs ring true for you, rethink your relationship and find a healthy way out.

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7 signs you're in a toxic relationship