If you were to look up the definition of “toxic” in the dictionary, you would find a simple yet perfect one word response. Poisonous. Sure, we know of toxic things which can hurt us, but these are tangible items that our brains automatically perceive as dangerous and this prevents us from inflicting bodily harm to ourselves.

The issue is, how do you know when you’ve tangled yourself into the dangerous web of a toxic relationship? And better yet, how do you get out of it once you’re trapped in it? Here we will help you to better recognize the signs of toxic relationships, why they’re bad for your mental health, and how to find a way out of them or avoid them from happening to you.

Signs of Toxic Relationships

Both males and females are guilty of establishing poor relationship habits. And while it’s normal for any relationship to have its ups and downs, it’s not normal for you to get into a relationship that you secretly hate and wish you’d never gotten into in the first place. There are some key signs and red flags you need to watch for in terms of toxic relationships so that you can avoid them from happening to you.

Narcissistic behavior is typically a telltale sign of bad things to come, such as gaslighting, for example. When you are in the midst of a toxic relationship, you often do not want to believe it yourself and avoid the truth from being seen. You put your blinders on to the world around you, drowning out the noise of your friends and their advice which you refuse to ignore. Your rose-colored glasses are always on, changing the way that you see your significant other. You brag to your friends how amazing they are, boasting about the little things and swearing up and down that they treat you like a king or a queen.

But the truth is, when someone does treat you well, you don’t have to boast about it. And if someone says that they love you, they don’t make you jump through hoops to hear kind words or make you feel appreciated. They don’t feel the need to operate under ulterior motives or hide behind hidden agendas. And most of all, they never, ever intentionally make you feel bad about yourself—especially to make themselves look or feel better. Healthy relationships are built on mutual understanding of respect, love and kindness toward each other. Not lies, deceit and abuse. Remember, toxic equates to poison, and never forget that. And a toxic relationship isn’t always defined by bruises or cheating. It can be much worse even if it is simply mental abuse.

Why Toxic Relationships Are Toxic to Your Health

When you are living in a toxic relationship, this directly affects your self-esteem. You might fool others, but you are not fooling yourself. Inside you are crumbling, fearful, and with each day that passes, you begin to surrender more and more of yourself to this person that truly doesn’t deserve you.

According to PsychologyToday.com, for those in toxic relationships, it’s proven that they will ultimately start to feel worse about themselves than they did before they started the relationship. The person suffering will become less confident, see fewer things they like about themselves and are at high risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, or even both.

Know this: people who thrive off toxic relationships are the perpetrators. These are not people who are the voice of reason or care about your feelings. They are not open to communication, stonewalling you at any chance they get and shooting down your ideas. Run, don’t walk, away from people who make you think that a toxic relationship is not toxic. Always trust your gut on this one, for it knows what your brain hasn’t figured out yet!

How To Ditch Those Toxic Relationships, Pronto!

Remind yourself that you are strong, you are special, you are loved, and that anyone who doesn’t see that or make you feel that way does not deserve to be in your life. The problem is, toxic relationships do not just form in the romantic sense. There are certainly times in life when you will experience toxic friendships, or even animosity towards members of your own family.

While blood is thicker than water, you must ditch those toxic friendships immediately. People often do not change and you should never have to change who you are to be liked or to make others happy. You are uniquely you, and you should gravitate towards others who appreciate you and all your little idiosyncrasies and believe in you. And if there are people in your life who don’t reflect with what we just said, cut.the.cord. Because at the end of the day, they don’t deserve you, and they are only holding you back from discovering your talents and reaching your full potential.

To be a good friend or a good partner, you will want to see someone succeed and you will never be envious of them. By avoiding toxic relationships you do justice for yourself by preventing another person to break your heart, and worse, your spirit. But remember this, even if someone has broken you down, you can always pick up the pieces and put yourself back together again. And best of all, you’ll be stronger, happier, and wiser because of it.

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