Toxic Relationships Pt.1: Recognizing the Signs

Welcome back to Comeback Class. If you are going through a breakup, you are having a hard time, maybe you just don’t know where to start in terms of feeling better or how to move on, I want you to go to There I have an absolutely free resource for you, which will teach you the seven things that you can do starting right now, so that you can start to feel better. So go ahead and get that if you haven’t already. It’s This week is going to be part one of a two part series where we are talking about toxic relationships. Now this is something that I get asked about quite a bit, and unfortunately I think it’s something that is a lot more common than we realize. But the problem is a lot of people aren’t even able to recognize when they’re in a toxic relationship, let alone know how to get out of it.

So for part one, we’re going to be talking about ways to recognize a toxic relationship if you feel that you may be in one. And then next week in part two, we’re going to talk about ways to end that relationship and to move on from it. Now, relationships can be defined in a lot of different ways, so I wanna be very specific about what a toxic relationship actually looks like. And it generally includes a lot of unhealthy dynamics. So we’re talking about manipulation, control, sometimes verbal or physical abuse, gaslighting, or just a lack of emotional support. Toxic relationships can also involve one person being overly possessive or jealous over the other. They may not respect the other person’s boundaries or try to control their behavior or their thoughts or their emotions. And then what happens to the person on the receiving end is that they start to take on feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, depression, and low self esteem.

And it’s not always the case that one person is quote unquote toxic and the other one is healthy. Sometimes it’s a combination of both people exhibiting toxic behaviors and they kind of just feed off each other regardless of whether it’s one person contributing to the toxicity of the relationship, or it is both partners, it is likely very obvious to those outside of the relationship that it is unhealthy and that these two people probably should not be together. If you think that you may be in a toxic relationship or someone has brought to your attention that they feel like you may be in a toxic relationship, I want to give you a list of examples of things that occur in a relationship that is toxic so that you can recognize if you are in fact in one. And I wanna just start right off the bat by saying that if you recognize these examples as your relationship or what your relationship looks like and you start to feel shame and embarrassment, I want you to stop and understand that these situations can happen to anyone.

This has happened to me, and I specifically remember afterward thinking to myself, how did I get in that situation? I am way too smart for this. I’m way too good of a person for this. I don’t know how I ever got myself in this situation and I felt really bad about it for a long time. But the thing is, like I said, they, it can happen to anyone. And it’s not like when you start the beginning of a relationship that you can immediately tell, oh, this person’s gonna be toxic. Well, some people you can, but let’s, let’s just say that in this situation you couldn’t, you know, people are always putting their best foot forward in the beginning of a relationship, and then these unhealthy and toxic patterns start to reveal themselves over time. So it’s not something that people are showing you right away.

So remember to have self-compassion and do not blame yourself for ending up in this situation. Like I said, it happens to a lot of us. But the important thing, the essential thing that you need to learn how to do is identify it and then figure out how to get out of it so that you are not wasting your precious time in a relationship that is making you miserable. So number one is that you feel consistently unhappy or unsatisfied in the relationship. Now, unfortunately, this happens in a lot of relationships, but people just do not want to acknowledge it. But you know how you feel on the inside. You know, if you are unhappy in your relationship, the whole point of being in a relationship is that it enhances your life and it makes it better. So if it is making you unhappy on a regular basis, then it’s clearly not a relationship that you should be in.

But again, we have to be willing to admit this to ourselves and to be able to say, you know, I deserve to be happy and this is not making me happy, so I need to make a change. Now, you may have moments here and there because not all relationships are 100% great, 100% of the time. You know you are gonna have those ups and downs, but the downs should be relatively few and far between. So if there is a lot of downs and not a lot of ups, then there is something wrong there. Number two is that your partner is emotionally unavailable or dismissive of your feelings. So when we’re in a relationship with someone, we are, we have chosen this person to be by our side, to be our shoulder to cry on and to give us support when we need it. And if that person is not doing these for you, then they are not really fulfilling their role as your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, what have you.

This should be the person that you feel like you can go to at the end of a really hard day and talk to them about it. And if you can’t do that, if this person is dismissive of your feelings and saying, oh, what’s the big deal? You know, you’re fine, get over it, and, and they’re just not acknowledging your feelings, that that gets hurtful. And that is truly not what a good partner does. A good partner will want to be there and support you and really cares about your emotional wellbeing. Number three is that your partner is controlling or possessive of you. Now, if this is the first time that you have experienced this, someone being controlling or possessive over you, it can feel, feel very, very scary. I remember when I was in a toxic relationship and this person would want me to be constantly available via text, phone, even if I was working, no matter what I was doing, I needed to be available and he would not want me to hang out with my friends most of the time, or even my family.

It was very, very weird. So that is a huge red flag that your relationship is toxic when, when this person is that possessive over you, that they don’t even want you to spend time with friends and family. Number four, and this is the biggest red flag of them all, and that is, if your partner is verbally or physically abusive to you, there is no situation and in no relationship where there is an excuse to be abusive to the other person, if this person is abusing you and in any way trying to justify their actions, they are wrong. 100% wrong. And you need to do whatever you need to do to protect your safety. So I beg of you, if you are in this situation, get help from someone that you trust and get out. Number five is that you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner.

And if this is something that you’re experiencing, it can feel like you are in a constant state of anxiety because you are always worried that you’re going to upset this person or make them mad, and it puts you in a constant state of fear, which is not something that you should be in. It is not something that you should be dealing with when you’re in a relationship. You should not be afraid of the person that you’re with or afraid of how they are going to react. Number six is that your partner blames you for their problems or shortcomings. They will insist that whatever is going wrong in their life is a result of their relationship with you, or it’s because of something that you are doing. Now, this is a blatant form of manipulation because this can make a person feel really bad and make them feel like maybe, maybe I am.

The reason that they’re having all these problems, and this is what I will say, is that, yes, relationships sometimes will cause issues in someone’s life, but individually we are all responsible for ourselves. Another person’s happiness and fulfillment in their own life is their responsibility, not yours. Just as your happiness and your fulfillment in life is your responsibility and not anyone else’s. If someone is doing this to you, it shows that they have a severe lack of self-awareness and lack of accountability, which are not good qualities when it comes to being in a relationship. Number seven is that your partner is overly jealous or accuses you of unfaithfulness or cheating. Now, there is nothing that is more annoying than someone who is constantly accusing you of doing something like cheating when you are not only not doing it, but you are giving them zero indication that you are doing it.

They have zero reason to believe that you are being unfaithful to them, yet they are constantly asking you if you’re cheating, insinuating that you’re cheating. And I wouldn’t say this is true a hundred percent of the time, but a lot of times when someone is doing this and making these baseless claims, it is because they’re projecting and that they have something that they are trying to hide. But instead, they are trying to make it seem like you are the bad person. Which again, this is another form of manipulation. Number eight is that your partners tries to control your behavior, thoughts, and emotions. And another term that you will hear in reference to this kind of behavior is called gaslighting. Gaslighting is a little bit more of an advanced type of psychological manipulation where the person will instill self-doubt into you and purposely try to confuse you.

For example, let’s say that you were hanging out in a group of people and your partner said something or made fun of you at your expense, and then later you say to your significant other, you know, it really bothered me when you said that and you know, made a joke of me and I really didn’t appreciate it. Now, someone who’s trying to gaslight you will say, what are you talking about? I, I wasn’t making fun of you. You’re you’re being ridiculous. That’s so irrational. That’s, that’s not even what happened. You really need to stop being so sensitive and just lighten up a little bit. And then what happens is you start to think, oh, maybe I am a little bit sensitive. Yeah, I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal. And the reality is, is that your thoughts and feelings about the situation are a hundred percent valid.

And all you were doing was verbalizing those feelings and letting them know like, Hey, you kind of hurt my feelings. And the fact that they can not even acknowledge that, number one. And then number two, they try to turn it on you and make it sound like it’s a fault of yours. That is unhealthy, that is what I would consider toxic, and that is not a characteristic of a healthy relationship. Number nine is that your partner makes you feel guilty or ashamed. Now, let’s say that you made plans to go out one night with some friends and this is something that you had planned a while ago and you were very excited about and you had already established with your significant other that you were going to go ahead and participate in these plans.

Now this person might say things like, oh sure, yeah, go have fun. I’ll just stay here and I guess I’ll find something to do. You know, I really thought that we would be able to spend some time together, but obviously it seems like you’re busy, so blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. These are the kind of things that this person will come out with when it’s time for you to focus your attention on anything other than them, they will make you feel guilty and they will make you feel bad about not giving them the attention that they want. Now, obviously, when you’re in a relationship, you should be making an effort to spend quality time with that person. Otherwise, why are you even in a relationship? However, that person should not be consuming all of your time almost to the point where you don’t do anything else or hang out with anyone else because all everything that you do involves them.

Number 10 goes along with this, and that is that your partner tries to isolate you from friends and family. And this is something we kind of already touched on when we were talking about controlling behaviors and being possessive, but this is a little bit more specific in the fact that not only does this person not want you to go out and be out and about in public, but they don’t want you to spend time with the people that you are closest to other than them. Oftentimes, I’ve found that this is because that person is in fear of these others influence on you, meaning that if someone that you are close with, like a friend or a family member suggests to you that maybe your relationship is not the healthiest, or maybe they just flat out let you know that they don’t like this person that you’re with, that person is likely aware of their behavior and how they act and they probably see, or they probably know how others view them.

So they don’t want you being influenced by those people. Again, another form of manipulation, this is like manipulation all around and the controlling behaviors, the possessive behaviors, the making you feel guilty, all of that is going to keep you isolated. And oftentimes the people that are closest to you can tell when you are just busy all the time or maybe you’re in love and you just wanna spend all your time with this person versus when you are purposely being isolated from them. So now that we have gone through all of these ways that you can recognize a toxic relationship, I wanna run through them again quickly, but I also want to give you an example of how these things would be in a healthy relationship. Okay? So number one, you feel consistently unhappy or unsatisfied in the relationship in a happy relationship while you’re going to feel happy , and you’re going to feel satisfied in the relationship.

Number two, your partner is emotionally unavailable or dismissive of your feelings. Again, in a healthy relationship, your partner is going to be emotionally available and receptive to your feelings. Number three, your partner is controlling or possessive over you. In a healthy relationship, your partner will understand that you need to have some sort of independence and allow you to do that. Number four, your partner is verbally or physically abusive. Now, like we said, there is absolutely no excuse for this whatsoever. People in healthy relationships do not abuse each other. Number five, you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner. In a healthy relationship, you will be able to be honest with your partner and have healthy, constructive conversations. You should be able to feel like you can talk to them. Number six, your partner blames you for their problems or shortcomings In a healthy relationship, your partner is going to have accountability and self awareness and understand the things that are their own doing versus versus issues that may be caused by the relationship.

Number seven, your partner is overly jealous or accuses you of unfaithfulness in a healthy relationship. There is, there may be a little bit of healthy jealousy, meaning they don’t want anyone else to have you. That’s that’s fine, but they should not be preventing you from doing things or going out or preventing you from talking to people simply because they’re jealous and they wanna control you. Number eight, your partner tries to control your behavior, thoughts, and emotions. And this is when we talked about gaslighting. Your partner in a healthy relationship will be mature and understand that you have your own thoughts and emotions and that you are in control of those. Number nine, your partner makes you feel guilty or ashamed. A good partner will not make you feel guilty or ashamed of the things that you do or the person that you are. They will be understanding and they will encourage you to do the things that are meaningful and important to you.

And number 10, your partner tries to isolate you from friends and family. In a healthy relationship. Your partner will want to spend time with you and your friends and family, and they will also encourage you to spend time with those people without them. If you listen to this and realize that maybe this is the relationship that you’re in, that maybe you are in a toxic relationship and you also know that it’s something that you need to end next week, in part two, we are going to be talking about how to end a toxic relationship because it could be a little bit harder than just your standard breakup. So be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you can get notified when that episode is out so that you can listen to it. Now, I’m super excited because for the very first time, I am going to be reading a question that was submitted by a listener and giving my response.

This person writes, what should you do when you left a toxic relationship six months ago? And your social life is non-existent. Tips on building self-esteem to return to the dating scene when you don’t trust to know when it’s time to get back into dating. Or if I’m healed enough to manage triggers like inconsistency, I feel I’m ready, but I fear my need to avoid men like my ex. I may be a runner because I have zero tolerance for liars. What are your thoughts? So there’s a few different questions here. So I’m gonna try to break this down. In terms of getting your social life back after ending a toxic relationship, I think at first you may just want to spend time with friends that you maybe neglected a little bit. I shouldn’t say neglected, maybe that you didn’t spend as much time with while you were in the relationship.

I think there are probably some people out there that would really love to be a part of your life again and to see you. So think about who those people might be and then it might be time to reach out to them for rebuilding self-esteem. I recommend that you check out episode three of this podcast called Rebuilding Self-Esteem After Heartbreak. I think that will be really helpful for you. Managing triggers like inconsistency and avoiding men like my ex, because I have zero tolerance for liars. So all this is, or all that’s needed here really is to establish boundaries.

First of all, you’re not gonna know if somebody is a liar until the first time that you find out that they lied. So you have to tell yourself if that’s something that you come across, that you find out that someone is lying to you, or if you start dating someone and they are very inconsistent, you have to say to yourself, okay, that is one of my boundaries. I’m not going to tolerate this and I’m going to move on. It’s really that simple. You just do not have to entertain what you don’t want to accept. You are completely in control of your dating life and the people that you let into your life and let into your space. So just have those boundaries established and when you start dating, just make sure you follow them and live by them. If you have a question that you would like answered on the show, send me an email, it’s, and I will be selecting more questions to answer on future episodes. So figure out what you wanna ask, send it to, and I will see you all next week.

Are you ready and determined to make this next season of your Your life the best season of your life? I believe that any person who is willing to invest in their personal growth has the ability to accomplish anything, and I wanna give you the tools to make that happen. That’s why I created Heartbreak Hero. It’s my premier program designed to help high value people just like you heal from their breakup, discover who they truly are and find their ideal partner. Visit the heartbreak to sign up now and get ready to make your comeback.

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ICU nurse by day,
breakup coach by night.

After dealing with a devastating heartbreak that turned my world upside down, I made a conscious decision to pursue the life of my dreams and never settle. 

Now, I teach other women how to do the same.



"Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”
- Dalai Lama 


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