It can be hard to know if your girlfriend is toxic. Sometimes the signs are unclear, especially if she is an expert manipulator.
But there’s a reason you’ve landed on this article. Maybe you’ve got a gut feeling that your relationship isn’t healthy and that your girlfriend is the reason why.
Don’t worry, I’ve been in your situation and I’ve got your back.
Here are 15 no-bullshit signs your girlfriend is toxic (and what to do about it).
1) She’s abusive
Abuse, physical abuse, is the most obvious sign of a toxic girlfriend.
But it can be the hardest to break free from.
Don’t be fooled by mainstream opinions that only men are abusers.
Women absolutely can be and some, unfortunately, are.
If your girlfriend has ever:
- Physically harmed you
- Threatened to physically harm you
- Physically restrained you
This is abuse!
It doesn’t matter that she may not be as physically strong as you are (an argument some abusive women use), there’s simply no excuse for it.
Get out ASAP.
Confide in someone you trust for support, NEVER be ashamed to report abuse just because you’re a man, and cut her out completely.
2) She’s controlling
Do you find yourself asking for permission to do things?
Does your girlfriend get mad if you do something without her consent?
This control can extend to:
- Who you’re “allowed” to be friends with
- Where you go
- What you do
- What you can and can’t say
All of the above are major signs of a toxic girlfriend.
The truth is:
Yes, in a healthy relationship, you might run things past your girlfriend just to keep her in the loop. It’s called being considerate.
But as an adult, you should never have to ask for permission. You shouldn’t feel afraid to do what you want.
Her controlling behavior is aimed at keeping you under her influence. But it also limits your contact with others and the control you have over things like your finances.
Given time, this can be detrimental to your mental health. Ultimately, you end up being reliant on her.
If you’re still unsure of whether she’s controlling or not, this “Coercive control checklist” by NetDoctor will give you more information.
3) She doesn’t support you
You want to do something; maybe apply for a job or pick up marathon running.
Whatever it is, your girl always has something negative to say. She may do this discreetly or outwardly, but either way, you never seem to get the support you’d like or need.
So, why doesn’t she support you?
As is the case with most toxic people, she probably feels threatened by you taking on new opportunities.
The truth is, most abusers are incredibly insecure. She may not seem this way, but if she actively discourages you from doing things that are good for your life, it’s likely down to her own low self-esteem.
But either way, it’s still toxic!
4) She has toxic communication styles
What are toxic communication styles?
- She’s quick to get defensive; you feel like you can’t pull her up on anything
- She constantly criticizes you; you feel yourself questioning your own decisions
- She responds with contempt; you feel like your opinions are worthless or ridiculous
- Stonewalling; you feel like conversations get nowhere because she instantly shuts down
- She gaslights you; you feel confused and start to distrust yourself
A few other toxic communication styles also include constantly blaming you, or jumping to conclusions without giving you the chance to explain yourself.
Now, most of us in relationships will experience some of the above, from time to time. I know I’ve definitely been sarcastic in the past to my girlfriend, especially during an argument.
But that’s the difference:
If it happens on the odd occasion, it’s usually not something to worry about.
But if you notice your girlfriend exhibits any of the above and CONSTANTLY behaves that way, I’m sorry to say, but she sounds very toxic.
5) You feel like you walk on eggshells around her
So, leading on from the last point, if your girlfriend has a toxic communication style, you probably feel like you have to tread lightly around her.
I understand how you feel. I’ve been in a toxic relationship before, and it got to the point where I would be scared to bring up certain topics.
This isn’t what a healthy relationship should be like. You should be able to talk openly and anything and everything with your girl, and feel secure in doing so!
Here’s a tip:
In my current relationship, I noticed my girl was showing a few toxic traits. The truth is, we all have them to varying degrees.
I didn’t want to just give up on her, so I reached out to a coach at Relationship Hero.
My girlfriend and I both attended the sessions, which really changed our relationship. We addressed some issues, such as her snappiness (which caused me to walk on eggshells for a very long time).
I also learned how to approach her in non-confrontational ways, and our communication has definitely improved now.
I think if you’re willing to give her a second chance (with the promise of improvement) speaking to a coach is the way to go.
6) She’s dishonest
Lying, even small white lies that seem harmless on the surface is another sign of a toxic girlfriend.
Here’s the thing – the foundation of any healthy relationship is trust.
But every time she lies to you, she breaks down that foundation. She robs you of your right to the truth.
And even worse?
It shows a complete lack of respect.
She may lie as a form of control, especially if her lies influence the decisions you make.
If this is the case in your relationship, you’ll probably feel pretty insecure around her. You’ll doubt the credibility of what she says or does, and rightly so!
7) She prevents you from doing things you enjoy
Alongside her lies, a toxic girlfriend will also manipulate situations to stop you from doing what you want and what you enjoy.
Here’s a typical scenario:
You’re getting ready to go out and meet your friends.
You’ve given her plenty of notice, and all seemed fine. Until the moment you’re about to get your shoes on and step out the front door.
All of a sudden, your girl decides that very moment to pick a fight. Maybe she gets upset over something you said earlier. Or suddenly, she’s feeling down about work and wants you to stay and comfort her.
Whichever way this scenario plays out, please know that she’s manipulating you into doing what she wants!
A loving girlfriend who has your best interests at heart will understand that you need time alone to spend with friends. That this is healthy for both of you.
A toxic girlfriend will do everything in her power to stop you!
8) She’s always the victim
Does it feel like you are always in the wrong?
My ex was extremely toxic, and it felt like she could never take the blame or apologize when she messed up. It was hurtful but also drove me crazy. It made me feel like I was the toxic one!
But the truth is, people play the victim for two reasons:
- To avoid owning up to their own mistakes
- To gain sympathy and attention
Not only is this another form of manipulation, but it’s also incredibly damaging to your relationship.
Both of you will make mistakes, as we all do when in love. But refusing to take responsibility and always blaming you is sadly another sign that she’s toxic.
And a word of warning – it’s hard to build a relationship with someone who refuses to be self-aware and responsible. Not to mention unfair on you!
9) She belittles you
Another sign your girlfriend is toxic is if she constantly belittles you.
So what does belittling look like? According to Bustle, belittling comes in the form of:
- Questioning your choices
- Correcting the things you say or do
- Teasing you (in an unpleasant, cruel way)
- Disregarding what you say or do
- Talking over you
Do any of these look familiar to you?
If so, you don’t only have a toxic girlfriend, you have a very insecure girlfriend.
People who belittle do so to feel better about themselves by putting others down.
It’s a form of bullying and something you shouldn’t put up with!
10) She makes everything about herself
This point ties in with the victim blaming I spoke about in point 8.
If your girlfriend can’t stand NOT being the center of attention, something isn’t right here.
Even if you receive some good news, i.e, a promotion at work, she’ll somehow turn it back to something she recently excelled at.
So, why does she do this?
Well, she could be a narcissist with an inflated sense of ego.
Or, she might just be a very selfish person who only thinks of herself.
In either case, this behavior can leave you feeling pushed to the sidelines.
11) Your friends and family aren’t keen on her
Now, this is one of the signs I wished I had paid attention to.
My family and friends didn’t like my ex one bit.
They were always polite to her, but they made it clear they didn’t like the way she treated me.
My ex would accuse them of ganging up on her or judging her without knowing her well enough.
And I believed her. Until we broke up, that is.
That’s when I realized my family and friends had seen how toxic she really was. You see, from an outside perspective, it’s much easier to see these things.
So, the moral of the story?
Your loved ones want the best for you. If they’re united in their dislike for your girlfriend, there’s gotta be a reason why!
That leads me to my next point…
12) You find yourself making excuses for her behavior
Do you find yourself making excuses for how your girlfriend acts?
“Oh, she’s just having a rough week at work. She’s not normally like this.”
“She didn’t mean it that way, that’s just how she speaks when she’s emotional.”
Look, no one is saying your girlfriend can’t have a bad day and get a bit snappy.
But if you’re constantly having to excuse her behavior, you’ve got to ask yourself…why?
The people around you aren’t blind. They can see what’s happening.
All you’re doing is living in denial. If her behavior means you have to constantly cover her back, it’s a pretty big sign she’s toxic.
13) She’s jealous (and not in a normal sense)
Feeling jealous when in a relationship is pretty normal. It’s something most of us feel, but we try not to let it interfere with our relationship, especially if we trust the other person.
But what happens when this jealousy starts to take over?
As VeryWellMind explains:
“A little jealousy can be reassuring in a relationship and may even be programmed into us. However, a lot of jealousy is overwhelming and scary, especially because it can lead to dangerous behaviors like stalking, digital dating violence, and physical abuse.”
You may find your girlfriend gets mad at you for things that aren’t even your fault, i.e., another woman checking you out!
Or, she’ll discourage you from looking your best when you go out without her.
In some cases, she might even start going through your phone or laptop, monitoring everyone you speak to.
And in extreme cases, she may even react violently.
There’s a word for this behavior, and I think you’ve already guessed it…
14) She disrespects you
To be completely honest – most of the signs I’ve listed all stem from a place of disrespect.
But other signs that you’ve got a toxic girlfriend on your hands is if she outrightly disrespects you, especially in front of others.
She might make jokes at your expense, or tell you to shut up when she doesn’t like what you’re saying.
She may even brazenly talk over you in conversation.
This shows a complete disregard for your feelings.
15) You constantly feel drained by her
Finally, the ultimate sign your girlfriend is toxic is if you feel completely exhausted by her presence in your life.
You don’t look forward to going out with her anymore.
You don’t want to share your opinion or feelings with her.
You’re tired of being put down.
You’re sick of the drama.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Take a few minutes to sit with your feelings. Think about your girlfriend. What emotions come up?
Are these the emotions you hoped to have in a relationship?
Does she make you feel good about yourself?
Or do you only associate negative emotions with her?
If the answer is yes…you’ve got to face the truth. Even your body knows it. Now it’s time for your heart to catch up and make some serious decisions!
So, your girlfriend is toxic. What can you do about it?
First of all, I completely understand the predicament you’re in right now. You probably love this girl. You don’t want to believe she’s toxic, but all the signs are there.
I can imagine right now you’ve got a sinking feeling in your stomach…I know that feeling all too well!
So, here’s what you need to do before making any rash decisions:
- Take yourself out for a walk or somewhere peaceful where you can reflect on what you’ve just read and how much of it describes your situation
- Get some space from your girlfriend. Let her know you need a few days to clear your head and switch off your phone if needs be
- Confide in a good friend or family member. Don’t go through this process alone. You WILL need the support of others.
The purpose of doing the above?
It’s for you to get clarity on your situation!
It’s also important for your mental health – you need to take yourself out of the toxic situation and give yourself a chance to think about what you really want from your life.
You’ve got a choice to make
Stay with her and suffer in silence?
I don’t recommend this at all. You deserve better.
If you don’t see the possibility of change, then this is your best option. Stop thinking about “what could be” and focus on your reality right now.
Your girlfriend is toxic and therefore you’re in a toxic relationship!
But there is a third option…
See if she’s able to work on her toxic traits.
I personally believe that most people can change. I know I myself have been pretty toxic in previous relationships, but when I began looking into self-development, I started unpicking why I acted the way I did.
I also learned how to be a better partner, more selfless, supportive, and caring.
I still remember what sparked that change:
This free video on Love and Intimacy. I’d recommend you both watch this video, whether you stay together or not.
For you; it’ll open your eyes to some of the toxic habits going on, and how to start putting yourself first again.
For your girlfriend; it might be the wake-up call she needs to realize where she’s going wrong and how to rectify her actions.
Whichever decision you make, just know that settling for a toxic girlfriend isn’t the right thing to do. You need to respect yourself, and be with someone who has love and respect for you too!