Sometimes the problem is staring back at you in the mirror.
You have a major superiority complex
Contemptuous people destroy relationships because they see their partner as inferior. Rolling your eyes, curling your lip in disgust, or using a sarcastic tone with your partner are just a few telltale signs of a toxic relationship. “Contempt is degrading,” says Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, developer of A Psychological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT). “It says, ‘You’re an idiot.’” In fact, University of Michigan researchers surveyed 373 newlywed couples and found that couples who screamed at one another, showed contempt, or withdrew themselves from conflict within the first year of marriage were more likely to divorce.
You’re a master manipulator
It’s no secret that compulsively lying to your partner is detrimental to the success of your relationship, but gaslighting takes it to a whole other level of destruction. Gaslighting is when you accuse your loved one of being crazy or paranoid to keep them off your trail of lies in a toxic relationship. “It’s a triple threat when you withhold information, lie about it, then gaslight your partner and make them think it’s them,” says Dr. Tatkin. “They’re damaging the relationship irreparably.” See if you can trust your partner using these telltale signs.
You’re a Debbie Downer
People who are insecure tend to sabotage a perfectly healthy relationship by overanalyzing every kiss and word or harbor irrational fears that their partner wants to break up. Studies suggest that individuals with low self-esteem may be more likely to expect rejection from their partner and avoid behaviors that risk rejection, like telling their partner how they truly feel, than individuals with high self-esteem. If you show these signs of a toxic relationship, it may be best to take a break from the relationship to work on yourself, unless your partner is willing to help you work through your self-doubts. “The key to change this is to surround yourself with positive people who care for you and value you,” says Sadie Leder-Elder, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at High Point University in North Carolina. “Spend your time with friends and family and not new relationships.” Do something that makes you feel good about yourself like a new exercise class or volunteering at your local animal shelter. Check out these science-approved tricks for building confidence.
You’re always threatening to break up
No one likes to waste their time and energy arguing, but you can’t draw the break-up card every time things get tough. Threats of taking a break or ending the relationship aren’t going to solve anything and are signs of a toxic relationship. “People use threats as a way to get their partner in line,” says Dr. Tatkin. “People should never threaten the relationship unless they intend to get out. It’s only valid if you mean it and do it, otherwise it just damages the safety and security of the relationship.” Instead of using threats to get your way, walk away to cool down and think rationally before you start spouting off erratic thoughts that you may regret later. These are toxic signs you’re in a bad relationship.