Have you ever wondered if you are in toxic relationship?
Your relationship might seem perfect on the outside but if there are behaviours that often happen when you’re alone, you might wonder if what you’re experiencing is real.
Reading this blog will help you understand some of the ways your relationship can be toxic.
These days the term narcissist is being used flippantly when a relationship doesn’t work out.
While relationships can be challenging, being in a relationship that is toxic is not the same as having different relationship needs.
Toxic relationships impact your confidence, self esteem, self worth and other relationships.
While a narcissist can only formally be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, often people with narcissistic tendencies slip under the radar.
It’s important to note, you cannot diagnose someone as a narcissist without an assessment from a clinician.
What you can do, is certainly identify whether a relationship is toxic.
Here are some typical signs you can expect:
Walking on Eggshells
It’s difficult to speak up in your relationship if you’re unhappy, or if you disagree with something.
Just expressing your opinion can turn into an argument.
Rather than being able to be open and speak freely, you often feel as though you’re walking on eggshells. You’re constantly trying to read the mood of your spouse because you don’t want to ignite their rage or cause upset.
So you carefully pick your battles because their reaction is often out of proportion to the situation. In order to keep the peace, you silence yourself and learn that it feels safer not to say anything at all.
It’s Always your Fault
When you have a disagreement, somehow it’s always your fault.
Your spouse never takes accountability for anything that they ever do.
Often, they make it seem like you are the villain and they are an angel.
They have a way of twisting every situation where they are completely innocent and only react to what you’ve done.
They never apologise and you often find you’re the one who apologises, even when you’ve done nothing wrong.
They say you’re Crazy
When you’re in a toxic relationship, they use gaslighting as a form of emotional manipulation.
Gaslighting is more than just the act of lying. What it also does is discredits what you know to be true.
It questions your reality to make you seem irrational or that you have an anger problem.
This form of manipulation is used to deflect from the original situation. It can cause you to feel confusion and to doubt your perception.
When your spouse lies and then tells you it’s all in your head, they are intentionally trying to control you and the narrative, rather than facing up to the truth.
This can look more subtle and can be difficult to spot.
While you may not feel controlled in obvious ways, like you’re free to come and go and have control of your own money, you can find that your spouse is controlling in other less obvious ways.
For example, using emotional blackmail to guilt you into being physically intimate.
When they change their behaviour towards you to get you to change your behaviour just so they can get what they want, this is coercive control.
It can look like ignoring you for days, or weeks. Calling you names and telling you that you are worthless or nothing without them.
They use your Past against you
It’s normal to open up in your relationships about your insecurities and past experiences that have impacted you. In a toxic relationship, that vulnerability that you shared is later used to punish you and make you feel bad about yourself.
To prove a point, they will use that information against you just so they can ‘win’ an argument. It means that you never truly feel safe enough to open up about how you really feel because you know it will be used negatively against you in the future.
The truth is, if you’re wondering if your relationship is toxic, it probably is.
Trying to work out if your partner is narcissistic is a huge sign that there are real issues in the relationship.
You don’t need a diagnosis or confirmation from outside sources to know that someone’s behaviour is problematic and makes you feel unsafe.
I’m Lizandra, an online therapist based in St Albans that helps women to break the cycle of unhealthy relationships and have relationships where they feel safe, loved and cared for.