Recognizing signs of a toxic relationship

15 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

In Uncategorized by Debra Fileta

Toxic relationships are like a poison. Whether you take it in small doses, or one large dose- it will ultimately destroy you. 

Last week on the podcast, my friend Gary Thomas and I discussed when to walk away from toxic relationships. I also promised to share with you some traits of a toxic relationship, so that’s what we’ll be digging into this article. 

You would think that toxic relationships would be easy to recognize, but sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re subtle – which is even more dangerous. 

It’s one thing to know you’re gulping down poison, it’s another thing to take it in small sips without even realizing what you’re doing  — until it’s too late. And oftentimes, that subtlety is what makes toxic relationships a little harder to recognize. 

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

The main thing to remember about toxic relationships is that they’re relationships that leave you feeling drained and damaged mentally and emotionally.

They chip away at your self-esteem and rob you of your security. 

You might be in toxic relationship after toxic relationship because you don’t know how to recognize them. Or maybe, because of your past experiences, you’re so comfortable with toxic that you don’t even realize there’s another way to do relationships. 

But whether or not you’re currently involved in one, it’s important to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship. Here are some things to be on the lookout for: 

  • You’re constantly being blamed for what you did wrong, what you didn’t do enough of, or simply who you are. 
  • You feel like you’re the recipient of constant criticism about what you’re wearing, what you’ve said, how you act, etc. 
  • Your significant other/friend often gets jealous and possessive of you. 
  • You feel like you’re being controlled by the other person rather than given the freedom to make decisions, interactions, and actions for yourself. 
  • You feel like you walk away from the relationships feeling emotionally drained and empty more often than not. 
  • Conflict is a regular part of the relationship but the conflict never gets resolved or moves into healing/change. 
  • Your significant other/friend never takes responsibility for her role in the conflict/problem and you always feel like you’re the one in the wrong. 
  • You feel like you’re being stonewalled — not heard or not allowed to express your emotions or needs. 
  • You can’t trust your significant other/friend because their actions are consistently hurtful. 
  • You find yourself making excuses and giving the benefit of the doubt again and again yet nothing seems to change. 
  • You have a hard time bringing up your concerns or needs out of fear that you won’t be heard or that your partner will get angry or upset. 
  • You find yourself as the main one giving/initiating/working in the relationship and receiving very little in return. 
  • Your family and other friends have expressed concern over the health of your relationship. 
  • You have a hard time setting boundaries and continue to turn a blind eye to the negativity by engaging in the relationship again and again.
  • You feel worse about yourself as the relationship goes on. 

Toxic relationships can bring you down in a way that not many other things can, because relationships are such an integral part of our life as human beings. It’s important to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship so you can begin distancing yourself from them long before you get attached. 

If you feel stuck in a toxic relationship, listen to this episode of the podcast on When To Walk Away from Toxic Relationships, and start taking steps to distance yourself from relationships that hurt you, and move yourself closer to relationships that encourage you. 

Take responsibility for your life by taking responsibility for your relationships. 

For more on this topic read: 12 Signs Your Relationship Is Not Good Enough


Get busy learning what you need to know about healthy singleness, dating, and marriage. Check out Love In Every Season: The Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship, Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me or True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life.

Love In Every SeasonChoosing MarriageChristian Dating Book

(Debra’s New Book: Love In Every Season Coming January 2020, Pre-Order Today!)

And Check out Debra’s Love + Relationships Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!

DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates, and Love In Every Season. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog,, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter or book a session with her today!