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Mental Health

Mar 29 2023

10 Signs You’re The Toxic Partner

10 signs you're the toxic partner

Relationships start magically — rosy, with sparks and butterflies, and they make us very happy. 

But sometimes, the roses become ridden with thorns. Disagreements arise, and you just can’t seem to figure your partner out. Occasionally, you can straighten the rough edges out, but sometimes, they have recurring, toxic patterns that come to stay.

Toxic behavior in a relationship can range from passive aggression to giving the silent treatment to full-blown abuse. And when a relationship becomes toxic, it can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, sometimes, you may not realize that you’ve been the toxic one all along.

I know, it’s not always easy to acknowledge our negative behaviors, but if you value and want to improve your relationship, it’s necessary to recognize toxic behavior and avoid damaging your relationship any further.

In this article, I’ll walk you through ten signs you’re the toxic partner, along with practical steps to help you address and work through your issues.

By recognizing and working on these behaviors, you’ll be able to develop a healthier relationship with your partner, rooted in trust, mutual respect, and understanding.

What Does It Mean To Be Toxic?

Being a toxic partner means that you’re engaging in toxic behavior — actions that are harmful to your partner and your relationship. 

Toxic behavior can include:

  • Manipulating your partner’s feelings or actions
  • Giving your lover the silent treatment as a means of control or punishment 
  • Withholding affection as a form of punishment
  • Engaging in physical abuse
  • Controlling your partner’s actions, finances, or social life
  • Disrespecting your significant other in public or around friends/family
  • Using guilt or threats to get your way
  • Being extremely critical of your partner’s appearance
  • Belittling your partner’s achievements 
  • Disregarding your SO’s goals or ambitions
  • Using your partner’s vulnerabilities against them
  • Cheating or infidelity 
  • Deliberately withholding information as a means of control 
  • Expecting your lover to always meet your needs without compromise
  • Being overly possessive or jealous
  • Refusing to work through issues or seek outside help
  • Treating your partner like a possession rather than as an equal
  • Refusing to apologize even when you’re wrong

Couple having dispute. Annoyed beautiful dark-skinned female sitting at kitchen table, ignoring screams and insults from her mad furious husband who is shouting at her, holding finger at his temple

  • Blaming your partner for everything that goes wrong
  • Refusing to take responsibility for your actions
  • Ignoring your partner’s needs or feelings
  • Refusing to communicate or shutting down conversations
  • Creating constant drama or turmoil in your relationship
  • Disrespecting your partner’s boundaries
  • Being overly judgmental of your partner’s actions 
  • Treating your partner as inferior in any way (e.g. education, income level, etc.)
  • Ignoring or dismissing your partner’s feelings of anxiety or depression
  • Refusing to support your partner’s mental/physical health or self-improvement
  • Refusing to listen to your partner or validate their experiences
  • Gaslighting your partner to assert control
  • Refusing to compromise or meet your partner halfway in disagreements
  • Dismissing your partner’s cultural or personal background
  • Expecting your partner to change to meet your standards or preferences
  • Holding onto grudges and refusing to forgive 
  • Being passive-aggressive and using indirect means to express your feelings or needs
  • Using derogatory language to make yourself feel superior

Toxic behavior can cause significant damage to your partner’s mental and emotional well-being, and it can eventually tear your relationship apart.

Hence, it’s important to recognize these behaviors and work towards addressing them in a healthy manner. In the end, communication, trust, and mutual respect are key to building a strong and healthy relationship.

10 Signs You’re The Toxic Partner In Your Relationship

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes, and sometimes, we can be so deep in our ways that we end up becoming toxic partners without even knowing it. So, it’s vital to know the signs you’re the toxic partner  to ensure you’re not hurting your significant other or making their life miserable.

Here are 10 signs you’re the toxic partner in your relationship:

You dominate all your conversations

Do you find yourself always talking over your partner, interrupting them, or not letting them get a word in? If so, you might be dominating conversations and not giving your partner a chance to express themselves.

Dominating conversations means putting your needs and opinions ahead of your partner’s, and making it impossible for them to feel valued or heard. This behavior often stems from a need to control a conversation or to prove your own superiority.

If you find yourself dominating conversations, try to practice active listening by paying attention to what your partner is saying, taking turns speaking, and giving them the space to share their ideas and emotions.

Depressed black man and his wife.

You dismiss your partner’s feelings and opinions

When your partner tries to express their emotions or give their opinion, do you brush them off, trivialize what they’re saying or ignore their feelings? This will make your partner feel unheard and unimportant.

Dismissing your partner’s feelings and opinions can also lead to feelings of resentment and a lack of emotional connection between the two of you. 

By listening and validating your partner’s feelings, you demonstrate that you value and respect them. Make an effort to take your partner’s opinions and feelings into consideration when making important decisions.

You blame your SO for everything

When things go wrong in your relationship, are you quick to pass blame and point fingers instead of taking responsibility for your actions? 

Blaming your partner for everything can create a toxic and unhealthy environment where both of you are always on the defensive. Instead of blaming your partner, try to take responsibility for your own actions and focus on finding a solution together.

You use your partner’s insecurities against them

Do you use your partner’s weaknesses to manipulate them to your advantage? Using your partner’s insecurities as a means of control or manipulation is a destructive behavior that can cause deep emotional pain and damage the trust between you.

Your partner should be able to trust you and feel safe around you, not be scared that you’ll use their vulnerabilities against them. Instead of trying to manipulate your significant other, work together to find healthy ways of supporting each other.

Angry beautiful Afro-American girl feeling mad at her unfaithful husband, ignoring his excuses, not believing in lies. Young couple going through hard times in their relationships

You’re extremely jealous and possessive

Constantly checking up on your partner, isolating them from others, or not trusting them is a sign of toxic behavior. This lack of trust will damage your relationship and make your partner feel suffocated.

Moreso, being jealous and possessive can come across as controlling and suffocating, making your sweetheart feel trapped and stifled. Instead, focus on building mutual trust and finding ways to strengthen your connection. Practicing openness and transparency can also go a long way in building trust.

You always refuse to compromise or negotiate

Do you always need to have things your way? Refusing to compromise or negotiate can breed resentment in your partner’s heart, leading them to feel unheard and their needs unmet. It can also create a power imbalance in your relationship, making it difficult for both of you to feel heard and valued.

Instead of trying to have your way at all times, work together towards finding common ground and crafting solutions that work for both of you. This can help to build mutual trust and help you support each other in ways that matter.

You’re constantly criticizing your partner

Criticizing your partner for every little thing will make them feel small, hurt, and unwanted, and create a toxic environment in which neither of you is happy.

Instead of always focusing on the negative, try to find ways to support your partner and express gratitude for the things that they do well. 

You keep score of all the favors you do for your partner

Do you expect immediate reciprocation from your partner every time, keeping score of all the favors you do for them? Keeping score of your SO’s actions can make them feel unappreciated, undervalued, and resentful. 

Instead, try to focus on giving freely without expecting anything in return. When you both focus on giving to each other, your relationship will become more balanced, healthy, and mutually supportive.

You don’t prioritize your partner’s needs

Neglecting your lover’s needs for yours can create a sense of resentment and further fuel the power imbalance in the relationship. Instead, try to prioritize your partner’s needs and make time to connect with them on a deeper, more emotional level.

You never apologize or take responsibility

Refusing to take responsibility for your actions or to apologize when you’ve done something wrong can create a foundation of distrust in the relationship.

By acknowledging your mistakes and making an effort to do better, you demonstrate that you value your partner and the relationship, and this can help to (re)build trust and emotional connection.

Bottom Line

If you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself, it’s important to acknowledge them and work to change. And don’t hesitate to seek help from a therapist or counselor if you’re struggling to overcome these negative behaviors. You deserve a healthy, happy, and fulfilling relationship.


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