10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship

It’s a pretty safe bet that we don’t usually intend to enter into an unhealthy or dysfunctional relationship, whether that is romantic or platonic. Yet, most of us have, at one time or another, discovered we are surrounded by toxic people and those closest to us are sucking the life right out of us. To the unaware, it’s easy to miss the warning signs of a toxic relationship until it’s too late to just simply walk away from the situation.

Early warning signs of a toxic relationshipA toxic relationship typically starts out as a common friendship where both parties feel safe, comfortable, and interested in getting to know each other at a deeper level. Depending on the level of intimacy and the length of time the relationship has lasted, signs of toxicity can show up almost immediately or slowly reveal themselves over the course of several years. 

10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship

You know your relationship is toxic when you:

  1. Feel worse after spending time with this person.
  2. Walk on eggshells so as not to anger or offend.
  3. Look for excuses to be busy so you don’t have to spend time together.
  4. Argue about petty things on a regular basis.
  5. Believe that you need this person and that their presence in your life is more valuable than being peaceful and happy.
  6. Experience highs and lows that rival a roller coaster.
  7. Avoid spending time around your other family and friends so they won’t know what is really going on with you.
  8. Complain about the friendship/relationship, yet don’t take action to change the situation.
  9. Make poor choices under the influence of this friend.
  10. Spend more time repairing the relationship or making amends from the most recent blow-up than you do actually enjoying each other’s company.

Additional signs:

  • Holidays and special occasions spent together tend to end up in some kind of emotional disaster
  • Everything is always your fault and you can’t seem to win no matter what you do
  • Your self image and feelings of self worth has been flushed down the toilet 
  • You feel smothered, suffocated – like you aren’t “allowed” to grow or change

Still looking for evidence and warning signs of a toxic relationship? Here are 30 more signs compiled by Adalia.

If you notice these signs at play in your life, and you suspect you are in a toxic relationship, you have two choices: you can either remove yourself from the situation or you can get to work to establish a new dynamic. If you decide to continue your relationship, even though you recognize it is toxic for you, your ultimate goal is to reclaim your power.

A word to the wise, sticking it out rarely works out the way you are hoping it will. Chances are the other person is not going to be easily influenced to change their own patterns and behaviors just because you’ve identified that your relationship is toxic and unhealthy. You must manage your own expectations so that you don’t inadvertently add more fuel to the potential volatile inferno between the two of you.

warning signs of a toxic relationshipTips for improving your situation

– Set new boundaries by not being so available all the time.
– Stand up for yourself if you feel dismissed or criticized.
– Make your own wants and needs a priority before meeting the demands of this friend.
– Give yourself time and space to renew your ability to think and feel clearly without the influence of toxicity around you.
– Learn how to take responsibility for your own reactions.
– Express how the dysfunction makes you feel to the other person – this is not for them, it’s for YOU.

One of the most important steps to take in recovering from a toxic relationship is to forgive yourself for allowing this to happen.

Human nature may cause you to be overly critical and harsh because you “should have known better”. Take stock in the lessons you’ve just learned – you are now aware of the warning signs of a toxic relationship and you’ll be able to easily spot the red flags if they ever pop again in the future. You’ll also understand how important it is to take action early on to remove yourself from the situation.

If you find yourself in a toxic relationship and you need some assistance in working your way out of it – get help. Some support and guidance will help your resolve take you farther away from the situation and much faster.

If you or someone you love is struggling to leave a toxic relationship, you may want to download my free guide to making life changes that last. The technique will help you set yourself up for success. Get it here: Escape the Self-Improvement Merry-Go-Round

With mucho a latte of love and respect,

Your Transformation Tour Guide

p.s. Check out this slideshow I made from the outline of this post. It might be useful to share with friends/family who need help recognizing the early signs of a toxic relationship.


Follow Janet Louise Stephenson:

As a Transformation Tour Guide, I am uniquely gifted to look you in the soul, pinpoint exactly where and why you are struggling right now, and create a personalized plan to move forward. I guide you out of doubt, despair, darkness and confusion... into courage, clarity, and passion... bringing you inner peace, confidence, and purposeful direction via alignment with your inner guidance system.