We spoke to relationship coach Paula Quinsee and asked her to outline some of the most common signs of a toxic relationship.
Quinsee says that constantly feeling anxious about anything that pertains to your partner could be a sign that your relationship has a high level of toxicity.
“If you are feeling anxious at any stage about your partner – being around your partner, being alone with your partner, your partner’s reactions to certain situations or the way that your partner is going to treat you in the future – then the relationship might be toxic,” she says.
She explains that if you feel that your needs are never met, unlike your partner’s, this could also be a red flag.
“Another indicator is if you feel that your needs are not being met. It’s always about your partner, what your partner wants to do and what your partner thinks and says. Your needs are not taken into account,” she explains.
Always on the receiving end of criticism
If your partner always has something negative to say about you, either to you or other parties, this could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
“Another sign of a toxic relationship is realising that you are always being shamed, belittled, criticised and made to feel small. This could be about the way you look, the way you speak and the things that you do; anything that works to break down your self-confidence, self-worth, self-value and self-belief,” she says.
She says that if your partner is overly possessive of you, you should be wary.
“Watch out for forms of control. For example, if your partner manages the finances in the household and you have to account for every single cent you spend, this is not healthy,” she says.
“Beware control and manipulation through elements such as finances or having to constantly account for your whereabouts. These are signs of toxicity.”
What to do after you’ve identified these signs in your relationship
Quinsee says that the couple should be able to have a conversation to bring up grievances and try to find a way forward.
“Make your partner aware of their behaviour and how it’s making you feel. If you feel that this is a conversation you are too nervous to have with your partner alone, you should consider enlisting the help of a professional,” Quinsee says.
“This could either be a marriage counsellor, a relationship coach or a trusted person who could play the role of mediator.”