How to recognize a toxic relationship and when to end it?

The constant arguments, the accusations, the stuffiness. Wondering what you’re doing wrong. Admitting you’re in a toxic relationship isn’t easy, but it can leave you deeply traumatized. Come find out how to recognize a toxic relationship, if it’s still possible to save it, and how to leave when it’s time.

What is a toxic relationship?

We could replace the word toxic with unhealthy or dysfunctional. A toxic relationship carries with it a great deal of negative emotions, conflict, and destructive behavior patterns such as manipulation, humiliation, competition, and control. The negative moments outweigh the positive ones and the relationship seems to drain your energy. You cannot fully relax next to your partner. A toxic relationship can shake your self-worth and leave you deeply traumatized.

Psychologist and writer Dr. In her book Toxic People, Lillian Glass describes a toxic relationship as “any relationship in which people do not support each other, where there is conflict and one tries to undermine the other, where there is competition, where there is disrespect and a lack of cohesion.”

toxic relationship

How to recognize a toxic relationship – the main signs

When someone is toxic at work, we know it quite easily. But when it comes to a partner, love comes into play and it blurs everything.

Signs of a toxic relationship can look like this:

  • manipulation
  • control
  • distrust
  • extortion
  • humiliation
  • rivalry
  • constant blaming
  • exaggerated and insensitive criticism
  • insulting and ignoring
  • abuse of emotions and sensitivities

But you know what the problem is? That after years of being in a toxic relationship, you get used to that kind of behavior easily. You don’t really see it anymore and it becomes normal to you.

So come and take a little test to reveal a toxic relationship. Answer these 10 questions honestly:
  • Does your partner always blame you for everything and never admit their fault or share of the blame?
  • Are you feeling drained in your relationship instead of being filled and energized?
  • Does your partner criticize you often and in such a way that it hurts you?
  • Does your partner belittle your feelings and opinions? Are you afraid to express them because you fear a negative reaction?
  • Have you given up on your personal goals, hobbies or even friendships for the sake of the relationship?
  • Do you feel like your self-esteem has dropped since the beginning of the relationship?
  • Are you still a little restless in the company of your partner and unable to completely relax?
  • Does your partner take offense and does not want to talk to you calmly, honestly and without accusations? Or do they claim that you’re still the only one with the problem?
  • Does your partner vent their anger on you in any way?
  • Does your partner try to control you and tell you when and what to do or who to see?

I don’t want to leave him/her. Can a toxic relationship be saved?

Do you already know you are in a toxic relationship, but would you like to heal it? Sometimes it is possible, but the effort must be mutual. Unfortunately, you cannot really change your partner yourself. You both need to admit that you have a problem and work on the relationship together. Admit your mistakes, be really honest with yourself and ideally also get professional help. Couples therapy will give you an unbiased perspective and help you find harmony in your relationship. In Hedepy, you can choose from our therapists and join the session conveniently online.

When is it time to end a relationship?

Only open communication will tell you if the relationship can be saved or if it’s time to leave. It will be necessary to have a heart-to-heart talk.

But try not to blame your partner. Talk about your own feelings and needs. Think about what specific behavior hurts you and you don’t want to like it anymore. For example, think of specific situations that you can mention to make it clear what you mean.

And if the talk doesn’t go well despite all the effort? If your partner blames you, belittles your feelings or doesn’t even want to talk to you, then you have a clear sign. It hurts, but a toxic relationship would really destroy you mentally over time.

But please don’t let yourself be convinced that you’re just lying to yourself or that it’s your fault. This is just one of the manipulative techniques (gaslighting). Your feelings matter, whether they seem right and reasonable to someone else or not. You deserve respect and love.

toxic relationship

How to leave a relationship with a toxic person?

We would very much like to give you a universal guide on how to get out of a toxic relationship. But every relationship is different and has many variables. The truth is that leaving is often difficult, because in a toxic relationship there is usually only one party to break up.

But these are the basic steps that are good to take, no matter what happens:

  • Make a firm decision to change: Admit that your relationship isn’t working and you’ve done everything you can. You need to leave for your own good.
  • Create a support network: Tell family and close friends about your decision, seek help from a therapist. Don’t be alone.
  • Prepare a plan: You will probably need to decide on housing, shared car or childcare. Plan a solution so that nothing makes you take a step back.
  • Protect yourself against a reaction: Your partner may try to convince you, manipulate you, explode. Think about what you would do in such a situation.

Leaving a toxic relationship can be difficult and leave scars on the soul. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help so that you have real support during such a difficult time. The therapist will help you sort out your thoughts and find the strength to take an important step in life. He will be there for you to get through this rough time.

Take a 5-minute test, based on which we will recommend the three most suitable therapists to you. You can have your first online session in just a few days.

Don’t face it alone

Finally, we would like to tell you the last and most important thing. It is completely natural to experience a wave of emotions in a difficult situation. Every crisis has its beginning, but it also has its end. Yours too. Therefore, if you are at least considering it even a tiny bit, ask for the help of a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or coach. Don’t face it alone; you can find help – At, there are more than 30 therapists. You can choose someone who is best suited to your needs, and make an appointment for the next day. You can then connect with the therapist online, from the comfort of your own home.


Žaneta Krčilová, Co-founder of Hedepy

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