Unhealthy or toxic relationships suck the very life out of you. They slowly drain you of happiness and cause you to lose hope for life. The longer you stay in one, the farther you lose sight of your purpose and before too long, you lose the zest for life. Knowing this, why do people still stay entangled in such damaging relationships? Even when they are living the horrors, they still find it difficult to identify the relationship as a toxic one. They call it ‘love’. Therefore, it is always easier for an outsider to point out the harmful things in a relationship than for the persons involved.
Because emotions can make a mish-mash of reality, here are 8 red flags of unhealthy or toxic relationships. As you go through this list, take an introspective look at your current relationship, and confirm its status.
1. You’re forced to give up interests and hobbies.
There’s no reason why you should quit doing the things you love, just because someone made an entry into your life. If your new-found love stops you from enjoying your relaxing me-time and hobbies, something is not right. Provided that none of those things you love doing are harmful to you or others, there’s no reason why they should stop you from being involved in them. And if they insist that you totally stop engaging your hobbies without making any sensible excuse for why, this is a glaring red sign. Relationships demand sacrifices but carefully look at what you’re sacrificing and be sure it’s worth it.
2. You’re constantly fed lies.
They tell you the first lie and claim they did so to protect your emotions. And before you know it, it becomes a regular occurrence. They lie about the littlest things and offer flimsy excuses when you discover the truth.
If they cannot honestly open up to you, it’s a sign they don’t trust you and every worthwhile relationship is founded on trust. Repeatedly lying to you is also a sign that they do not respect you. If they did, they will consider how that act will make you feel.
3. You’re isolated from friends and family.
You’ve known your family members all your life and all of a sudden, they want you to stop visiting them. They make you miss family time and outings, and create dramas when you argue it. Not only do they stop you from enjoying the comfort of family time, they equally cut you off from the love of friends that have stood as a support to you throughout the years. In the initial stages, it might seem adorable that they want to spend lots of time with you. But that together time should not infringe upon the time you spend building other healthy relationships. The world does not revolve around both of you, so there is no reason for you to limit your connection. Trying to cut you off from others is an indication that they are controlling.
4. You’re abused—verbally, physically, emotionally, or mentally.
If during arguments, they hurl curses at you and throw things in your direction, don’t go making excuses for them. Someone who claims to love you and care about you would be interested in your total well-being. If you then find yourself in a relationship with anyone who raises their hands to beat you, uses their words to guilt-trip you and tears you down with caustic comments… that should send an alarm. Your relationships should be building you up and not tearing you down. Don’t ignore the signs and say that they will change.
5. They are addicts.
Any addict is a slave to that which they are drawn to. And they can do any and everything to satisfy the craving when it comes. This places your life at risk as they can do anything under the influence of that desire. And it is so impossible to have a productive conversation with an inebriated person.
6. They completely depend on you for their financial upkeep.
You are not a bank—and even if you were, they didn’t make any deposits— but they are always making demands on you. It’s a different matter when they ask you for money once in a while because they don’t have, than when they completely rely on you to foot every one of their bills. Unless there’s a health challenge or any other factor that prevents them from working to make their money, they should go out and earn money for their basic upkeep. If they prefer to keep coming back to you for money, this could be a prelude to the fact that they’re only in your life because of what they gain from you. A relationship is healthier when both parties contribute to its upkeep without anyone feeling entitled to the wealth of the other.
7. They only need you for sex.
If you spend all your time together in each other’s arms and then when you’re apart the only thing that occupies your conversations is more sex talks. You could be in a relationship where you’re used for sex. Such a relationship is not interested in your overall development as there are so many productive things you and your partner could accomplish together.
8. They ridicule your efforts.
If your partner ridicules your efforts at achieving goals and never supports your hustle, that is a big red flag. Relationships are like partnership deals and if that is so, your new-found love is your partner, and that leaves them with the task of being a support. In cases where your goals are not achievable, they should lovingly correct you and not say or do things that aim at making you foolish.
When any relationship threatens your growth and progress, you know it. Even if your mind is yet to accept it, deep down in your heart, there’ll be that inward knowing and the accompanying chills. If after reading through this post you discover that you’ve been stuck in an unhealthy relationship, love yourself enough to take a walk.