Relationships of any kind, be it romantic, friendship, familial, or with coworkers need to be on equal footing to succeed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the partners have to be clones of each other. The give and take in the relationship have to balance out. When it doesn’t, it becomes one-sided and turns toxic.
The delicate balance of a relationship is not so obvious or visible to the naked eye. In most relationships, it starts well but somewhere along the way, the balance slips away unnoticed even to the people involved.
Much before toxic relationship signs become evident, there are early signs that tell you that things are not moving in the right direction. If you know what to look out for, you will be able to notice these warning signs.
Maybe, just maybe, the awareness can help prevent your relationship from nosediving and going up in smoke. Or at least you can eject yourself from the malfunctioning jet before it crash-lands.
All these can make you wonder about what is a toxic relationship? How to recognize a toxic relationship? How to know if your relationship is toxic?
This article takes you through the early stages of decay in a relationship. You will find here early signs that are evident before the relationship turns completely toxic.
How can early warning signs help?
It is basic human nature to connect with people we meet and form relationships. In the initial days of the relationship, you barely know the person. As the relationship progresses, you get to know each other better.
This is how almost all relationships are formed. Though you can do nothing about this, you need to be aware that there are some pitfalls in this arrangement. Until you are neck-deep into the relationship, you never get to know the real person. A toxic person can always put up a false front in the initial days of the relationship and deceive you into entering it.
You need to be aware that the relationship with a toxic person can only be harmful and toxic to yourself. And the only way you can protect yourself is by familiarizing yourself with the early signs of such a relationship.
In the early days of the relationship, especially a romantic one, when you are heady with love and passion, you fail to see even the most obvious signs. Even if you notice them, you may choose to ignore or dismiss them because you don’t want them to be true.
By doing this, you are digging your own grave. Your silence or inaction is taken as consent by your partner to treat you in the same abusive way. If you allow this to continue, one day you will find yourself trapped in the relationship with no way out.
You can prevent any of this from happening by keeping your eyes wide open and taking action without hesitation. You need to wake up to the fact that even the best of relationships has the potential to turn toxic. And all of them begin with love, fun, and caring.
Often the abuse in a relationship is evident to outsiders but not to the abused as they are blinded by love. What starts as two people loving each other passionately, having fun together, and enjoying each other’s company can turn toxic over time without much fanfare.
Once the abusive behavior sets in fully, you turn submissive and resigned to the situation. You won’t have the courage to resist or break free.
Instead, watch out for these early warning signs and save yourself from harm’s way.
5 early signs of a toxic relationship
Before you form any wrong ideas about a toxic relationship, let’s make it clear that a relationship between two people who genuinely love each other doesn’t turn toxic. This happens only when one of them is putting up the facade of a loving partner.
So, the warning signs are aimed at spotting a toxic personality in your partner.
1. Makes decisions for you
When you are dining out, does your partner discuss the menu with you before ordering? Or do they order for you as well? When you go out together and you are asked a question, does your partner cut in and answer for you? Have you noticed your partner making decisions for you even if it concerns only you? Such as what you are eating or which outfit you are wearing.
This behavior may come disguised as an act of love and caring but it is a clear sign of controlling behavior. Or at least the beginning of it. If you tolerate it and let it be, it will escalate over time to such an extent that you will find yourself in a suffocating relationship.
2. Passes sarcastic comments
Sarcasm is described as “the caustic use of irony to mock or convey contempt”. When your partner says things that can be taken both ways, it is time for you to sit up and take notice. In the early stages, such comments will be disguised as innocent ones. Even if it makes you realize that something is up, you are quick to dismiss it as the work of a doubtful mind.
For example, when you ask your partner to help with grocery shopping or some other chores, their reply bordering on sarcasm maybe “That’s just what I wanted to do today!”. Or when you make a silly mistake, they come up with comments like “Well done! Great!”.
3. Offers compliments with hidden insults
These are really hard to decipher if you don’t know the person well. Which one of their comments are genuine and which ones insulting is not easy to identify without knowing how they think. As a result, you are often left confused and hurt, of course.
“You look great. Never knew you were so beautiful”
“You are an amazing cook. I didn’t realize you could cook like a chef.”
“The dress looks great on you. You could pass off as a model.”
These comments can be taken in both positive and negative senses. But you naturally want to believe them in a good way. If you let this slide, the insults will get more and more obvious.
4. Not interested in your family and friends
Initially, when they are forced to meet your family and friends, your partner may act politely but as time passes, they start openly showing their disinterest in them. They are neither interested to meet them or hear about them. In case they come face to face with them, they may ignore them.
Soon they will start mocking and deriding them. Your partner is interested in you alone and doesn’t want to connect with the people in your life. Neither are they interested in knowing you more through your family and friends. This is a clear sign of what is to come soon.
Your partner’s behavior won’t go unnoticed by your family and friends, even if you choose to turn a blind eye. They will slowly move away from you and keep their distance. Ultimately, you are the loser as you are losing your support system.
5. Is irritable and short-tempered
Your partner may be nice to you now. But you have noticed how they blow their fuse at others. They never seem to have the patience to listen to people or tolerate mistakes. They get unreasonably angry at small inconsequential things.
Consider that a trailer of what you are going to experience. As of now, your partner’s behavior towards you is good but it can change at any time.
Most of these behaviors are smeared with love and affection in the beginning that you are easily deceived. Slowly but surely, the sugar coating will come off. You cannot be blamed for feeling confused as these are meant to confuse you.
However, you also need to learn to distinguish between genuine mistakes and intentional abuses. It is to your advantage that you learn to identify signs of a toxic person and take adequate steps to protect yourself.