When you have engaged in a close relationship with someone, you want to believe the relationship has the best to offer and usually they can flourish if we meet someone of a like mind. But of course, as we all know, some relationships should come with a warning label attached.
All of us as individuals have our own uniquely personal issues and hurdles to overcome. It’s one thing to have a set of problems but it’s entirely another thing to have a pattern of deeply compounded problems that can make a relationship a nightmare of toxic proportions!
I’m going to share five simple and subtle signs to look out for when you might be engaging in a toxic relationship or dynamic with someone. These are so subtle that sometimes they go unnoticed or are simply subconsciously unaware to you. Do any of these look familiar?
One of the major signs that can go undetected in a toxic dynamic that most people tend to overlook, especially at the beginning of a relationship, is the amount of energy we might be pouring into the other person and the relationship.
While a new relationship unfolds we might spend a lot of time trying to get along with a person or getting to know them. This is a good place. However, there is a difference between that and becoming exhausted. This happens when you can’t keep up with that person’s needs, wants, or whims. Which often seem to be constantly shifting.
What might look like we’re trying to get to know a person and their “quirks” or habits, engaging with a person that might not be as healthy for you. Thus it will create a huge drop in your own energy levels when you engage with them. Think about your post interaction feelings: Are leaving you feeling exhausted and running around with too many questions in your mind after it’s over? Feel like you were engaged in a mental mind game? This could be worth looking into.
Quick to Blame Past Relationships/Friendships/Connections
The person stuck in their destructive behavior or repeating patterns that are detrimental for a relationship will have an incredible knack for calling out those people that came before you. They may engage you in conversation about people in their past and point out how this person or that person has done them wrong.
Was it all their ex’s fault? Are they still bringing their past words into the present? Have they admitted any fault on their part on why things didn’t work out? You will notice there will be no room for balance between whether or not they may have played a part in the demise of their previous relationships, friendships, or connections. They were the ones that walked away with all the pain and hurt, not the other person. They almost always view themselves as the “victim“. Watch out for this! It’s a big one.
Comparison to Past Friends or Relationships
This one is pretty easy to spot but if you’re a person that has attracted bad relationship dynamics to yourself before, you might miss this repeatedly. A toxic individual will generally build you up to smooth over the tight places–think hiding their flaws. Or not giving you a whole picture of themselves–in the early stages of your relationship. This is a trap! In order to do this, they will butter you up by complimenting and comparing you to a past relationship or friendship. They will share how much “happier” they are now they have you instead.
You will find the comparisons might even get amped up at in the beginning simply as an effort to gain your trust. This is all so you start to feel at ease about them. Later down the road, you will find this to reveal itself as not being true.
Early Warning Signs from Trusted Friends or Family
If you have a family member or friend you genuinely trust and your relationship is healthy and they seem to be warning you, it will come in statements such as:
“I don’t know if I like this person.”
“Are you sure about this guy/girl?”
“I’m not seeing you much since you met them. Are you sure you’re alright?“
How much do you know about this person?
Of course, not all of these statements could refer directly to someone being toxic but it’s all about the context hidden within. If this person really knows you and is looking out for your highest wellbeing (with no ulterior motives), listen closely. They will ask you questions pointing back to your new state of being that they notice. Pay attention and don’t be afraid to express your doubts if you have them.
Playing the Constant Victim and Distorting Reality
The biggest sign to watch out for in the beginning stages of an unhealthy dynamic is a person that just seems to want to be saved either by you or everyone else. There is no pleasing the person in a perpetual state of victimhood. Don’t play that game, you will lose!
You can tell this type of person right as they don’t shy away from asking for help–in massive droves. They usually have a list of people that they wished they could get the attention of, that would help them but those people are nowhere to be seen. This is where you will step in to fill the gap for the latest person that ran for the hills.
Did I hear what I thought?
There will also be a hint of distortion around your interactions which make you question yourself, your conviction, and the conversations you have with this person. You will think that maybe you’re the one being unreasonable. This creates a brain fog and you’re too busy looking for clues when the truth is right in front of you, it’s just being distorted.
Have you found your own relationship, friendship, or connection having any of these problems? If so, it might be time to take a step back, double-check. Make sure you’re not giving over your time and energy to someone whose toxicity is preventing them to avoid their own personal healing or growing process. In the end what you allow, is what will continue.