10 Toxic Relationships


toxic relationshipIn my last article I talked about toxic relationships, and some of the signs that could indicate you’re in one of these types of relationships.

Maybe you read it and alarms bells started ringing? Maybe it confirmed for you that what you’re feeling is a warning sign of a troubled relationship? Sometimes though, even with the feeling that things aren’t right, we keep trying to believe that it’s not that bad. Our gauge on what’s healthy and what’s not can get a little out of whack when we fall in love and we can end up making excuses for and justifying behaviours that we shouldn’t be accepting at all. We let our expectations drop because we want to be loved and it hurts to let go of the hope of getting that love.

And the thing is, no one’s perfect. We all have our quirks and bad habits. None of us is the best partner, all of the time. There are a lot of great relationships where one or the other partner exhibits some of the toxic behaviours listed below, some of the time. It’s important to be honest about what’s happening in your relationships though, and if these behaviours are the norm, rather than the exception, you need to decide whether it’s possible for things to change, or if it’s time to move on.

10 Relationships That Are Toxic


In this toxic relationship you’ll be expected to do as you’re told by your partner, and conform to how they want you to be, or deal with the fall out. They’ll have expectations of you that they want met in order to feel in control and better about themselves. If you try to assert yourself and do things your way instead they’ll often respond with anger and it can feel like everything you do makes them mad. If not anger, they may go for passive aggressive behaviours instead like sulking or exaggerated agreement to emotionally manipulate you into doing things their way.


A jealous partner can make your life hell, checking your phone, asking where you’ve been, and with whom, every time you leave the house and, if they’re particularly jealous, following you to make sure you go where you say you’re going. Anyone you look at or speak to will be a threat to them. No matter how much you try to convince them you’re not doing anything wrong they won’t believe you. They might say they do just to keep the peace, but with every step you take, they’ll be watching you (hey, Sting ;)).


Being around someone who is constantly negative about everything is draining, and toxic. Everyone and everything will be wrong and they’ll always be the victim. It will be difficult for you to stay positive when around this negativity all the time and it can seem easier to connect with your partner if you join the ‘glass half empty’ club too. The problem is, as well as their negative habit rubbing off on you, you’ll probably also end up a target of their criticism as no one and nothing is good enough to earn their praise.


I hope this one is pretty obvious but I want to state it clearly anyway. If your partner is abusing you in any way, physically, sexually, mentally or emotionally, then your relationship is absolutely toxic and you need to find support and make your exit as soon as you can. There is never a good reason to stay in this kind of relationship while this kind of behaviour continues.


While I’ve written in the past that it’s possible to recover your relationship from cheating, a serial cheater is another situation altogether and if you’re in love with one, their behaviour is definitely toxic to your relationship. The disrespect shown to you when a partner continually strays will destroy your self esteem and should not be tolerated. Serial cheating is always more about the insecurities of the person cheating, and not about the value of the person being cheated on but it can also be a form of control, keeping you guessing and always trying to be ‘enough’ for your partner to stop.


A needy partner is hard work. They’ll lean on you heavily to meet their needs and require constant reassurance and attention. Unfortunately, even when you tell them what they want to hear, it’ll never be enough. They’ll always need more. And there will be few occasions where you’ll gain the same kind of support. If you try to tell your partner how you’re feeling they’ll become upset and begin turning the situation back around to themselves, making you feel bad for hurting their feelings.


It’s all about them when you have a selfish partner. Everything they do needs to serve them in some way. Your feelings, thoughts and opinions are much less important than your partners and it’s not often that you feel appreciated or valued. A selfish partner will do what they like. Turn up late, run by their own agenda and wonder why you’re making a big deal when you complain.


An addict is a toxic partner indeed. Trust me, I’ve been in love with an addict and it’s right up there with the one of the worst relationships you can be in. Being in love with an addict is totally one sided because nothing comes close to being as important as an addict’s vice. They’ll do, say and be anything to get their fix, regardless of the impact on you.


This partner has no issue with ridiculing and belittling you. They’ll make all your thoughts and opinions seem ridiculous, and call you names or make jokes about what you do, or who you are. They’ll do it in the privacy of your home, and they’ll do it in front of others. In fact an audience will often egg them on more. You’ll feel like the butt of their ‘jokes’ but if you express your upset you’ll be further ridiculed for being too dramatic, sensitive or uptight.


A relationship built on lies is toxic from the start. Whether the lies are big or small, if either partner is lying then trust and honesty will always be absent from the relationship, making it toxic. It can feel like lying is a way to prevent arguments or to stop feelings from being hurt, but the reality is that a lie will always do a lot more damage than the truth, no matter how much it might hurt to hear it at first. And most lies are a lot more selfish than we care to admit, protecting ourselves rather than the other person.

Although these relationships are all at different levels of being unhealthy I don’t prescribe to the view that all of them are hopeless and you should leave instantly, rather than try to work things out. (If you’re in a relationship with any kind of abuse I certainly do encourage you to leave and seek help, immediately).

Even toxic relationships can become healthy but only with a lot of hard work and commitment from the people involved.

It may take you walking away at first, and gaining some space and perspective to see what needs changing and then, if you and your partner are both dedicated to each other and the relationship, you can begin to undo the toxic behaviours and create new, healthier ways of living and loving each other.

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About rachaellay


  1. cham'mono

    August 10, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Dear Rachael,
    Your posts have been helpful to me improving my understanding of my feeling within my marriage and the experience on leaving to create some space between me and my husband. I felt he did not want me inside his bubble and so I shifted I suppose in a passive aggressive way. I recognize this to have been lack of self esteem and feeling that I was not valuable to him. However I strongly believe that creating some space was absolutely the right move to have made.
    The basis for the toxicity in my marriage was selfishness. In my view the selfishness of my husband in every aspect of our daily lives including emotional deprivation, inconsiderate work, family or leisure schedules. The agenda followed was that which is self-gratified inclusive of the infidelity that occurred in amongst this.
    We have managed to get talking about all these things, and from the revelations we want to try a life that invokes consideration for the other person in everything we do.
    I want to say that your posts have contributed to the catharsis I have gone through and although afraid to jump in with both feet to grow my marriage again, I believe again how I am a very valued and important individual in the cosmic order.

  2. John

    August 12, 2014 at 2:15 am

    This one is about a spouse who has checked out emotionally. The game she plays is cheating (I’ve told her
    I knew) denial of course. No sex for me. Didn’t expect anything different. I try to do the love thing,which I have done for the last 6mnths. It drains me emotionally.I’m getting tired of this. The cheating doesn’t end. I
    Love this person so much, but it’s getting really hard to live with her and know what she is doing to me. This
    Person doesn’t care how bad she hurts me. ( looks like the more the better). I know all this is a result of past
    Hurts from me and I am deeply saddened for this. I just cann’t believe what she is doing. I’m really trying to
    Love her deep in my soul ( which has always been there). Help me out here Rachel, it’s getting tough. Thanks

    • Steve

      September 12, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      I am disable and stay home all day my is the bread winner and works hard. She has gotten cosmetic surgery on her face and recently gotten her eyebrows done. In the past a younger male coworker would always call early in the morning and text her during the work week and weekend and call her. I confronted her and she told me it was him and she said she put it to a stop. Then I saw a doodled with her male boss name with hearts around it she was just doodling and does now why she did that and she was at work at the time. I was dealing with one of her male coworker doing a little business with him and she told me she did not want nothing to do what we doing. So when I would go to her work to do business with her coworker I would not tell her. And one of her other coworkers saw me and told her I was at her work . She held it in for a month and just recently told me I did not deny it and she was upset with for not be truthful. A few days later I asked her what her coworker last name was that I saw the doodled and she accused me of saying that she was having an affair.

  3. Roxie

    August 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I read the toxic article, and I think I’m the one who is toxic. I’m jealous, I only feel that way because of past relationship, in way to protect myself from further damage. I don’t want to be that way, sometimes I’m needy, but know I shouldn’t be. I don’t want to be the problem, I want to be the solution. Sometimes I think I need psychological help, because I get these feelings of insecurity only occasionally. I’m on anti depressant, but it wasn’t until my spouse said I should be. I don’t want to be a toxic relationship for my spouse, or he to me. Help me

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