The romantic relationship is part of an irremediable vulnerability: in a couple, we agree to open ourselves to the other in a privileged way and to give ourselves up in complete intimacy.

Sometimes, this vulnerability and this intimacy make the couple the space conducive to the development of a psychologically destructive relationship, that is to say a relationship in which a toxic love gradually develops.

Recognizing a toxic love is not always easy, because we tend to focus on the positive points of the couple: the love, the good times, the memories, the comfort, the habit, the children. In this article, we'll help you identify potential relationship toxicity, and give you some tips on how to deal with it.



A toxic relationship is a relationship that is not equal. The relationship between the two partners is often based on a dominance of one vis-à-vis the other, and a dependence on one of the two partners. Often, one partner tends to lead the relationship, to pull the reins, while the other is rather in a passivity which obliges him to submit to the relationship.

However, the toxicity remains to be qualified. We have all been "toxic" in our relationship with our partner: a bad reaction, a lack of empathy, a misunderstanding. These are the vagaries of a relationship, and it is normal for the couple to encounter difficulties at times. It is enough to communicate then to understand each other better, to explain, to reason with each other and to restore a balance in the couple after a difficult moment.

It is important to understand that just because there is a conflict in the couple and one or the other takes over does not mean that the relationship is toxic. The toxicity turns out to be real when these incompatibilities and this suffering last over time and the dominance relationship is recurrent or even daily.

Red flags, these signs that allow you to recognize a toxic relationship

Red flags, these signs that allow you to recognize a toxic relationship

The red flags , literally "red flags" for the less English-speaking among us, are elements that will determine whether the relationship is toxic or not. These are phenomena, events or feelings that are found in the relationship when it is no longer equal between the two partners.

The toxic relationship leads you into a situation of dependence

While a healthy relationship leaves you the freedom to position yourself emotionally in respect of your needs and your autonomy, the toxic relationship asks you and requires you to mobilize different modes of functioning and often in relation to the narcissistic need for the other . The situation of emotional and moral dependence is one of the first signals that allow us to recognize a toxic relationship. We can consider that a healthy love becomes a toxic love when the lack of consideration and respect, possessiveness, domination and manipulation intervene and are accomplished in a certain psychological violence . This instability is also found in the sexual and intimate relationships of the couple: your needs take second place, and the sexual fantasies of the toxic partner are valued. From its start, toxic love feeds your flaws in terms of trust, recognition and esteem that you could expect from the outside and from your partner. The judgment of the other , and more broadly love, has developed all its power in its power to carry you as well as to pull you down. However, it is difficult to realize this and to realize it: in its beginnings, you could have the impression of being at the center of the life of the other, while this other takes a considerable place in your daily life. and in your mind, to the point of gradually modifying your habits and your desires which will no longer be directed by you but by her or him. Gradually, the influence that your spouse has also affects the vision that you have of your family, of those around you: he/she criticizes you for being naive, for allowing yourself to be manipulated and for not having that the people you date are not good for you, until he convinces you that he is the only one who can give you what you need and make you happy. This is called emotional dependency . You are thus convinced that you need this exclusivity and this fusion with your partner to be well in your relationship. Thus, the isolation progresses little by little until you no longer have a life apart from that with your partner, and your whole life revolves around your couple. This is also reflected in your sexual relations which can often remain the only connection that the partner offers. This so isolated connection then seems multiplied because it is the only time when your partner offers you a moment together, where the healthy relationship offers much more connections and sharing than a pleasant sexual relationship.

The toxic relationship prevents you from being yourself, you no longer recognize yourself

A relationship must above all be nourishing and fulfilling for the two partners who love each other for who they are and who offer themselves to each other in all authenticity. The toxic relationship can bring you another unpleasant feeling: that of not being able to be yourself , of not being able to express yourself freely and spontaneously and of always being in control of your words and your way of being. The toxic partner tends to reassure you that you correspond in all respects to his ideal, to finally reproach you for your way of being and sow some seeds in your mind to force you to constantly question yourself until doubt your personality and lose your self-esteem. You constantly have the impression of having to adapt in your words or in your behavior so as not to offend him. His goal is to take advantage of you to take advantage of you in order to feed his narcissistic needs. In this sense, its fulfillment depends only on your subjugation . Do you feel recognized for who you are in your relationship? Do you feel valued in your personality, in your qualities? If the partner tends to make fun of some of your behaviors or ridicule your way of being, then you are probably living in a toxic relationship. The weight of daily reproaches and systematic devaluation can lead to marital harassment . Know that whatever your resources, no one can withstand attacks of this type in the long term. If you can't feel like yourself without being judged by your spouse, the best advice we can give you is to take the necessary step back and give yourself the means to put yourself safe from the influence of your toxic partner. For this, do not hesitate to talk about it and to be accompanied by psychologists or therapists .

The toxic relationship drains you emotionally

By struggling to preserve your personal environment and constantly investing yourself in trying to make the relationship more harmonious and less livable, you experience emotional exhaustion . The toxic relationship is often characterized by ineffective or difficult to obtain communication . The toxic partner is not listening and is not able to exchange on healthy bases with a view to improving the relational situation. Whatever the subject of your conversation and despite the rather calm beginnings of your discussions, these always end in tension or an argument , even if you make an effort to offer a quality of listening to your partner. These repeated experiences of failure and futile efforts can cause deep discouragement and lead to significant emotional fatigue . Experiencing toxic love is harmful to the body and mind, as this relationship increases stress and anxiety .

Become aware and dare to get out of the toxic relationship

Many people living in a toxic relationship have a hard time getting out of it. Often, it is because they fail to identify this toxicity and realize the suffering that is inflicted on them, blinded by the love they have for their partner and prisoner of their addiction.

The difficulty is to recognize that this relationship is toxic and bad in the first place, and then to have the perspective and the discernment to want it to stop and end it. There is no fatality: the only way to regain your resources is to emancipate yourself from this toxic love . It is a process that requires a little time to become aware, to affirm one's inner resolution and to reinforce one's resources, essential to pass the course of separation.

If you have questions about the toxic nature of a relationship in which a close person is involved, do not hesitate to discuss it with them and try to assess their situation according to the stated red flags. If you think someone close to you is affected, try to stay present and gently educate them about the need to protect themselves.

Different stages may be necessary, and the support of a therapist is essential in the event that certain relationships may be the source of micro-traumas or deep traumas without the person being aware of it. Do not hesitate to seek all the support you need and surround yourself to move forward more serenely.

Although it can be destructive, the toxic relationship is not inevitable.

Everyone deserves a healthy, fulfilling and respectful relationship. It is essential not to let yourself be weakened by a romantic relationship that leaves aside benevolence and self-esteem.