Life is too short to waste it on toxic relationships. If a relationship takes away your self-value, dignity and happiness, of what importance is it? Love is about companionship, trust, contentment and being there for each other, through thick and thin.

Most people fail to know when a relationship is toxic because they do not know what to look for. They hop from one bad relationship to another. They get to a point where manipulation and ill-treatment appear normal to them. When presented with a healthy relationship, they self-sabotage.

Dysfunctional relationships rarely start in chaos. It’s always laughter and romance until it isn’t. Silent treatments replace long, in-depth conversations. Shouting and fighting replaces the warm, romantic gestures. Guilt-tripping replaces compromise and understanding.

Being in these situations causes psychological harm and destroys your self-esteem. To protect yourself, know when a relationship starts to get sour and love yourself enough to bring it to a stop.

What are the Key Pointers of a Toxic Relationship?

A rotten relationship does not just mean physical abuse; it’s in the mental torture as well.

Unresolved Issues

Every time there is a problem, there are screams and throwing of hands but nothing is resolved. These issues come up again and again in fights. There’s no communication between the two of you. The unresolved issues feed bitterness and cause frustrations. Love and affection are lost. Any attempt to build trust and communication is stonewalled.

The reason for this may be pride that makes either partner fail to acknowledge their mistakes. It can also be caused by the lack of desire to work on the relationship and keep it alive.

The Blame Game

With a toxic partner, the blame is always on you. They blame you for things that got nothing to do with you. For instance, if they fought with a friend, it’s your fault that you don’t give them enough love and it makes them irritable.

They twist situations and lie to blame you for everything that goes wrong. At some point, you start believing it’s your fault. You lose confidence in yourself. You find yourself apologizing repetitively even when deep down you know you are not to blame.


You are never relaxed. Your partner overreacts even at the slightest things. An innocent smile to your neighbor is interpreted as an intention to cheat. You are always unsure when doing things because you are scared it may cause a rift in the relationship.

They are always in a different mood every day, one day they are romantic and sweet the next its all chaos. You never know what to expect, always treading on eggshells. Such is no life. Relationships and love are to be enjoyed.


Do you always end up doing things you do not want to do? Your partner takes advantage of your weaknesses and insecurities to manipulate you. You are a puppet in his hands. They use the silent treatment when things do not go their way or deception to get things done.

In extreme cases, manipulative partners gaslight. They deny saying certain things and twist situations to make it appear like you are losing your mind. You feel like you are incapable of making rational decisions. This keeps you under your partner’s thumb as you rely on their advice to make any major decisions.

Lack of Intimacy

Emotional and emotional intimacy is at the core of every relationship. It binds lovers together. If any of these is missing, the relationship is bound to fail. A toxic partner dishes them out as a reward for doing as they want. They only get intimate when you please their every want. They offer affection only when they feel you deserve it. Lack of warmth in the relationship causes frustrations.

Lack of intimacy may not always be from a manipulative partner. It may be from a lack of communication. If you feel that you are not getting as much intimacy as you need, tell your partner. Seek professional help and work things out.

Constant Criticism

If your partner is always throwing shade at you, something is wrong. He may hide it behind ‘constructive criticisms’ that are meant to bring you down. They make you lose your self-esteem and thus keep you under their control.

A good partner supports you and makes you feel good about yourself. He supports your dreams and goes the extra mile to help you achieve them. If for instance you tell him of your new business idea and says, “Honey I think you are too old for that,” there is a problem.

Empty Promises

Your partner has a habit you detest and which harms your relationship such as white lies. You express your displeasure with this habit, and he promises to change. Weeks, months and even years pass, but he makes no effort to improve.

This implies he has no desire to be better for you. He does not respect your feelings. He probably makes the promises to get over with the discussion. A future with such a partner is sure to be full of frustrations. No one is perfect, but if you make no effort to change, it becomes intolerable.

Can a Toxic Relationship be Saved?

They say if you love something, you ought to fight for it.

However, fighting for your relationship and trying to change your partner does not always yield results. It may lead to more resentment and toxicity as your partner feels that you are trying to control them. In such an irredeemable case, the best option would be to leave and never look back.

Where necessary, seek professional help. It can help improve your self-esteem and prevent you from getting into another unhealthy relationship.

Final Thoughts

No relationship is perfect; however, some are beyond simple imperfection. They are detrimental to your physical and mental health. They can cause depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, diseases caused by stress such as ulcers and heart disease.

If you always have fights with your partner where you never really resolve the underlying issues, there is dysfunction. The pain gets carried forward, and nothing good can come out of such a relationship.

Toxic partners blame you for everything that goes wrong. You can never relax because you are always too scared of starting another fight. They toy with your weaknesses and insecurities to get their way, even when it means holding out on intimacy. They make every effort to step on your dreams and bring you down. When you air your issues, they make promises that they never fulfil.

Know when your relationship isn’t good enough and take a step to change the situation.

You deserve a healthy love.


  • Elizabeth Macharia

    Freelance writer, blogger

    Elizabeth is a freelance writer and blogger. She holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology. Elizabeth has a deep passion for helping people transform their lives and does this by guiding them towards self improvement and living a fulfilled life. She guides people towards nourishing their spiritual, psychological and physical health.