8 Signs Of A Toxic Relationship


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This is a very difficult topic to discuss – because you’ve got to be sensitive to people’s feelings, but at the same time, give them a dose of reality.

It’s both disappointing and unfortunate to see how many abusive relationships are happening on a daily basis, and thought to be normal.

It’s important to note that you don’t need physical violence in order to have an abusive relationship. And don’t forget, both men and women can be guilty of this.

If you are made to feel any of the following ways or recognize any of the following things, then you truly need to take a step back, put your emotions aside, and ask yourself what your partner is truly bringing to your life.

– You always feel guilty, but don’t know why.

Is your partner always making you feel as though you did something wrong, but you genuinely can’t understand why? There are people who literally seek out and find issues, and when they can’t find one – they create them. This is not the type of person who will change out of the blue and you need to get away from them.

– They’re obsessively jealous.

It’s okay to be ‘kinda sorta’ jealous. Jealous in a way that says “I care about you” – but jealous in the way that says “I don’t want you talking to any other guy/girl, definitely not hanging out with them, and in fact, take their contact information out of your phone” is a red flag of someone who is illogically jealous and will slowly whittle your social life down to nothing – unless it includes them. Run.

– You’re paranoid about leaving your phone around.

If you are genuinely doing nothing wrong but are still worried about your partner snooping through your phone and asking you about what they find – you are not in the wrong, they have crossed the line and invaded your privacy.

– It’s always your fault.

Nobody is perfect. If you’re in a relationship with multiple conflicts and you find that they arise 100% of the time because of something you’ve been accused of doing (that you really didn’t do) then you need to walk (run) away, because it won’t stop.

– You’re always the one going back.

The frequent pattern of breaking up and getting back together is, by itself, a huge red flag for an unhealthy relationship. However, when you find yourself to always be the one running back to the person to apologize, even when you weren’t at fault – you absolutely need to take a breather and use your mind.

– You’re never good enough.

Are you discouraged from following your goals or dreams? Even if it’s indirect, do you feel like you’ve actually lost self-confidence because of your relationship? A healthy couple will support and encourage each other. Build each other up. Cheer each other on as they follow their dreams. Not the other way around.

– You no longer do what you love.

Do you have passions and hobbies that your partner doesn’t approve of because of who’s around you or where you go? If what you’re doing is inherently innocent, they should have no issue with it. Every relationship requires compromise, but if you give up doing everything and essentially become a willing prisoner in an effort to avoid a fight, this is not normal.

– You never know when they’re going to explode.

Are you always walking on eggshells because you don’t know when your partner’s next insecurity will arise in the form of an accusation? This is no way to live. You deserve better.

That is not what a healthy relationship looks like.

There are obviously thousands of more signs that can be seen as red flags to a negative relationship – but I find that some of these above are ones that typically pass off as “normal” and people don’t realize that they are being mentally or emotionally abused.

Please, please, please – have the respect for yourself to walk away from a situation like this. It may be hard and you may be afraid to confront your partner about your feelings (another red flag) but you will thank yourself in the long run.

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  1. maria5125 on August 8, 2013 at 10:31 am

    How I wish I could have made the 20-year old me listen to these advice… It would have made the 38-year old me’s life much easier. Hindsight is 20/20.

    • James Michael Sama on August 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

      I agree – sometimes experience has to be the best teacher and many people have to learn for themselves regardless of what they hear or see. But, as long as it doesn’t reoccur, that’s what counts!

  2. crissybwell on August 8, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Very good and important advice to get out there.

    • James Michael Sama on August 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Thanks Crissy! I appreciate you reblogging as well. 🙂

      • crissybwell on August 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

        You are very welcome, I have been there before so this is very close to my heart. I definitely want to share any information like this I can.

  3. crissybwell on August 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Reblogged this on Follow My Heart and commented:
    Relationships are hard enough with abuse being involved. We all need to love ourselves and recognize that abuse is not love! We all deserve better than to be treated this way and there is always help to get out of such relationships. RAINN.org is a great site that has information and even an online hotline, if you think you maybe in abusive situation and you want to get out. Love isn’t perfect, but being abused is never the answer. Spread love! I felt the need to share, for those who may need to re-examine their own relationships.

  4. basaltbob on August 9, 2013 at 11:59 am

    “My wife’s jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was.”

    Rodney Dangerfield

  5. […] There are many clear signs of a toxic relationship, but none of them will matter unless you are honest enough with yourself to see them, and act on them. […]

  6. Jennifer Woods on August 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I cannot stress strongly enough how very true this all is. It’s terrible what passes for normal when all you’ve known have been damaged people and relationships. Having been in an emotionally and mentally abusive, controlling, limiting relationship for 22 years, I can tell you it never gets better. It only gets worse. The more you pander, the more you’re expected to. The more you bend and give in, the more it’s required of you. The harder you try, the less result you’ll see, because it’ll never be enough. By the time I woke up (I expect it’s because I reached an age where I no longer had time, energy, or patience for that sh*t) and left, I actually didn’t know who I was at all. I had given up so much I almost didn’t exist at all. Thank you for putting this out there. It could help someone who’s unsure of themselves, unsure if they’re actually being abused, see the truth, hopefully before a couple of decades slip by.

  7. […] have already discussed 8 signs of a toxic relationship, but what does a solid, healthy relationship look […]

  8. Berry on November 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Is there anyway that you could fix this kind of relationship?

    • morgan on May 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      I need to know this too

    • Jeremy on May 28, 2014 at 1:19 am

      The better question is: Is it worth fixing?

    • Smantha on July 2, 2014 at 4:55 am

      Doubtful, because the types of people who do this will rarely admit when they’re wrong. And it can’t be fixed if the other person won’t admit there’s a problem.

  9. thamjo on November 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    i into this kind of relationship and i am getting little bit paranoid, my mind tells me to stop already because it knows i am abused already mentally and emotionally but my other mind which is the the emotion thingy always tells that everything will be alright but i do really know based on our experienced that this wont work. I am afraid of loosing this stupid person which i know she don’t F**Kn deserved of who and what i am. I am posting this comment to seek help and i do hope my other side of my brain will agree to my other part of my brain.(sigh) why is it so hard for my other part to understand and realized the evidence the its like its inflicting self denial! BullS***T

  10. Susie on December 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Reading this brings back memories from one of my previous relationships, which had a lot of the same red flags. I remember thinking that I was walking on eggshells at the time and that I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, so I ended the relationship. Now I am in a relationship that is 100 times better, with someone who is a real keeper. Thank you so much for writing this post, these red flags should never be normal.

  11. So over it... on December 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Reading your blog has been very eye opening. You have articulated everything that I have been thinking and feeling recently. My soon to be ex husband has done some of the things on your list and he always throws the blame back on me and makes me feel like I’m being one sided about things. I admit I’m not perfect but some of the things he does are not right and he can’t see it…he can’t see that our marriage is bad. I just wish he read you’re blog, because I’m not crazy and my idea of what should be “normal” or “acceptable” isn’t unrealistic.

  12. Maria on February 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I followed this advice before my daughter could understand the side-effects and witness a toxic relationship. I even walked away from my marriage after 5 years of struggling to save it. I wanted to make things work but he wouldn’t change for me or his daughter. I was emotionally abused. This article puts into context what I have been enduring and I know I deserve better. Thank you!

  13. Bevince on February 20, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for eye opening piece, am glad I’ve read it as young person, I don’t want to regret 15 years later.

  14. […] But never, not even for a flicker of a millisecond, was this a trigger for hatred towards women or the possibility of violence. We need to instill in our youth that their value comes from within and not from whether or not those they desire approve and accept them. We need to teach our youth what healthy relationships look like and what toxic relationships look like.  […]

  15. Nikki Babie on May 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Reblogged this on THE OFFICIAL NIKKI BABIE BLOG and commented:

  16. Mena on May 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    You should really add this; you feel more alone with them than you ever felt without them…

  17. #YesAllWomen | The Good Life by MJ on May 28, 2014 at 12:42 am

    […] taking responsibility for their actions. We need to talk about building healthy relationships and recognizing relationships that are destructive. Bottom line, our silent acceptance of the way our world works is no longer okay, our silence […]

  18. Jeremy on May 28, 2014 at 1:17 am

    I’ve noticed another sign of a toxic relationship is when you are a placeholder. I had a girl break up with me, then keep going back to me up until somebody new came along. After that she wanted nothing to do with me. And being Mr. or Mrs Right Now, while temporarily great, will leave you feeling empty and worthless in the end. Sad thing is, a previous boyfriend did the exact same thing to her so I thought she would not do that to me. I don’t think it was revenge, i think he just damaged her emotionally.

  19. Chrissy A on June 30, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I am amazed, you hit every sign I experienced in my college relationship. I was with him for six years. It was the most exhausting, intense, exciting, frustrating time in my life. Between the “signs”….There was a lot of passion, and what I thought was love. I always thought if he and I could just run away and live on an island together we would be so happy. That’s because we couldn’t live like that in reality. A few more signs I would add… Looking at his (or her) family history to see signs of abuse. If your friends or parents do not like the relationship or him there is a reason. I am in a healthy, happy, stable marriage and it looks nothing like what I experienced in my twenties.

  20. Roy Locsin on June 30, 2014 at 11:41 am

    this was one list I ignored once thinking that things would change for the better when I was still in that relationship… I should have listened to my first instinct…

  21. Sabrina Maree on July 1, 2014 at 1:06 am

    I think you make good points, but you are forgetting that some people have deep set personality and mood disorders that take a certain amount of understanding (provided they even know it and disclose the diagnoses to partner). I’m one of those people. I am diagnosed BPD (borderline personality disorder), which to quickly summarize means problems with serious relationships, fear of real or perceived abandonment, and feelings of emptiness. The creater of DBT (the one type of therapy that works with borderlines) compares us to burn victims “lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement”. We can love deeply and can be wonderful partners, provided the other partner bothers to read the book “how to stop walking on eggshells” amoung others. We can’t help what we have; it usually comes from early childhood sexual abuse. I like your blog but I think this post could have been much better if you ackowleged these difficulties. Crazy people need love too 🙂

  22. Y.M.Mosley on July 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Reblogged this on M.A.R.S. and commented:
    I thought this was quite interesting. Take a look.

  23. Edward Jones on July 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Just got out a relationship with most of those red flags. I hated to leave, but im so glad i finally let it go. I hope i never fall back into one of those relationships ever. Everyone who reads this, take the advice. I really wish i would’ve read this a long time ago.

  24. Jojo on July 7, 2014 at 10:26 am

    My ex husband fit every category but that was no surprise. I knew it was a toxic relationship. What surprised me is how I have developed some of those qualities in my relationship. It’s a real eye opener. Thank you.

  25. […] my life, but the only thorn in my life is my relationship with my mother. I grew up having a very toxic relationship with my mum, a relationship that soured after her divorce from my dad while i was a child, after […]

  26. […] have discussed 8 signs of a toxic relationship, where some often-overlooked abusive tendencies came into light for many people. Tendencies that we […]

  27. Richard on August 5, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Again, so very true.

  28. Derric Skoht Bailey on August 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Hi, not new to all this been in many relationship that just didn’t pan out, abused and told what was right wha was wrong what was nrm to what was not… yeah, i have a mind of my own yes but you can’t help it when you care so much for that person .. you get wrapped up in them and everything you thought you knew is wrong … well I can tell you that is not true nor false the truth is out there.. it is up to you what you want not the other person no matter how hard how bad how much they want you. I have had to deal with losing a lot of personal strength because of time spend fighting for something that was never there in the first place.Being loved …. that’s the feeling but being able to love that is something else entirely… It’s not a feeling but an ability.

  29. Mo on August 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Authentic Love: God, Relationships, and Life and commented:
    I saw this article and I realized that things like this need to be addressed if we are going to move forward in our newness of life. James Sama states these toxic signs perfectly and I believe he has a point that should be taken. God does not desire for us to be in toxic relationships. He has no desire for us to be mentally, emotionally, or physically abused by anyone. So today, I share this article with you so that if you find yourself in one of these toxic relationships, you can find the strength to let go and heal. You deserve better! God thinks that, James thinks that and I think that and we can’t all be wrong. lol. I pray that this gives you courage! <3 Mo

  30. […] Check out the famous blog James runs at jamesmsama.com […]

  31. Jones on April 17, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    I’m going through this exact same thing now. Man it is eating me alive. She is always hiding her phone when someone calls or text. I asked to see her phone and she got SUPER defensive.

    2, 3, 4, 5, and 8!

  32. Hollyq on August 31, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Still dealing with the name calling and other verbal abuse when things don’t go his way..I end up crying and our marriage is the worse for it. Time to go or any shred of hope left?

  33. gagner iphone7 on March 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative
    and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy I found this during my hunt
    for something relating to this.

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