8 Clear Warning 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 really 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. –

In 9 months of dating neither my girlfriend nor myself have ever locked our phones or worried about leaving them around. When I text someone I don’t care if she sees the screen. 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. Michelle on July 2, 2015 at 10:15 am

    RUN!! Run far and run fast!! As soon as the first red flag pops up … lace up the running shoes and save yourself from the chaos and abuse. This isn’t the right forum to get into narcissism but life is too short not to be happy and enjoy the journey. There is no fixing those people and no loving them through it (whatever “it” is that causes them to do those things).

    Another great post, James. Thank you.

  2. Duante Amorculo (@DuanCulo) on July 2, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Agree with all points except
    “– You’re paranoid about leaving your phone around. –”
    As you yourself said, if you are genuinely doing nothing wrong, then why care if they do. I couldn’t care less if my GF wants to snoop because I know i’m doing nothing wrong. Of course, if I am, I keep my phone out of sight!!! lol (out of sight, out of mind)

    • aloramills on July 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      I understand what you’re saying, since cheating, of course, would give a good reason to be concerned about a partner looking at your phone. But, unfaithfulness is not the only reason this behavior takes place.

      I ignored the signs of a toxic relationship with a man who used violations of my privacy as a means to control me. He would get into everything, even my journals, then rake me over the coals for, what amounted to, absolutely nothing. There were no other men. The thought didn’t even occur to me. But, he was paranoid of what my friends and family thought of him, explaining that this was because he was so afraid of losing me. I realize how stupid this sounds, but back then I thought my love and acceptance would get him over this emotional hurdle. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and spent many years trapped in a marriage filled with heartbreak, isolation, pain and fear.

      James said, “If you are doing nothing wrong, and are still worried… you are not in the wrong, they have crossed the line and invaded your privacy.” He’s absolutely right. They have a serious insecurity issue that won’t just go away. Counselling could help, if they are willing, but as the situation stands, they just aren’t ready for a healthy relationship.

    • a. valverde on March 22, 2016 at 12:58 am

      Listen to one who is older and wiser. Anyone who snoops through your stuff has a problem. Believe me. I lived through a situation where a former spouse read my email because I didn’t padlock my computer. Totally misunderstood an email a friend had sent me , totally losing it in spite of the fact that we had long since amicably come to the conclusion that we were not good for each other and needed to go our separate ways. Due to his invasiveness into my email, he made some terrible comments to me which dumbfounded and frightened me as I had no idea what he was talking about, followed by him running his mouth to someone at our mutual workplace which was taken as a threat to do bodily harm to me. The result? He was pulled over later that day by the police and “baker acted” in Florida and sent to the local hospital for psychiatric observation. He was discharged within 24 hours. Subsequently, our workplace was shut down (a large large workplace at which we both held senior positions); he was not allowed on campus after that and was subsequently fired , losing a six figure salary . With the loss of his paycheck, our house was no longer affordable in a very bad housing market, we could not live together in the house and eventually it had to be surrendered to the bank. The story hit the newspapers because of the visibility of his position and he was assured of never being hired by anyone again. As my name was included in the mess, my career was seriously harmed as well. Neither of us will recover financially and the emotional scars are unbelievable. We actually have remained in contact for financial survival but we are both walking wounded at a time in our lives when life should have gotten very easy and not harder. Standard of living has been seriously reduced and obviously quality of life in every respect. The shock waves still continue, 10 years later. Snooping indicates a character issue; jealousy problems and self-esteem issues as well. If you are looking for trouble, you will surely find it, present or not. I cannot believe that a mature individual could be so stupid but he had a history of such behavior from an early age – I unfortunately did not take that seriously and did not realize how bizarre some people can be. So it doesn’t matter if you don’t care or if you are doing anything wrong. Everyone deserves respect and respect includes boundaries and privacy. Good time to learn that is now.

  3. Lisa on July 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Get up and out of there with a quickness! Life’s too precious and short to be wasting it with folks who are miserable.

  4. Lady Rhinoa on July 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    That’s true, several people in relationships that should leave long time ago. It is the fear of changes and not feeling worthy of someone better that paralyses them. It is a big topic to address and I think more people should speak about it, but not only mentioning it, but rather offering support with ideas and solutions.

  5. louisely on July 4, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Louisely's Blog.

  6. […] Originally appeared on James M. Sama’s blog. […]

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

  8. 5 Signs She Doesn't Want You to Approach Her - on July 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    […] Originally appeared on James M. Sama’s blog. […]

  9. Rose on July 12, 2015 at 4:34 am

    All the points are true but when youre in love you just cant go away … Atleast i cant

    • Michelle J on November 17, 2015 at 1:25 am

      Rose … Yes … You can do it! Just like you choose to get in … you can choose to get out.
      Get help from your police depot, Women’s Center, Homeless Shelter … Resources exist for people like you, who want a change of life.
      I pray the Lord send you help speedily, in Jesus’ name. So be it.

  10. Kate Emilie on September 27, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Reblogged this on KateEmilie….is me .

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