6 signs that your relationship is bringing the worst in you

Relationships have this incredible ability to uplift and inspire us, to help us become the absolute best versions of ourselves. But sometimes, they can veer off course and drown us in a torrent of negativity instead.

If you suspect your relationship is toxic and bringing up the worst in you, read on to learn about the six signs that might prove you right. 

1) You doubt yourself

The first red flag to notice when your relationship turns sour is a distortion in your image of yourself.

No matter how resilient you are, the amount of emotional manipulation, criticism, and negativity a toxic relationship drowns you in is enough to shake your core beliefs.

Losing confidence in yourself because of unhealthy patterns can be likened to cognitive dissonance, where conflicting thoughts and feelings create psychological discomfort. 

Say you’ve always been confident in your work, and now, you’re doubting your skills and questioning your abilities after constant put-downs from your partner. 

That’s the thing about toxic relationships – they can mess with your perception of yourself and make you doubt what you once firmly knew about your character. 

So, when you start feeling like your self-assuredness is slipping away, it’s a clear sign that the relationship is taking a toll on your self-esteem.

2) You become unfamiliar

Often, you might not even realize the shifts happening within you because you are too involved in the relationship struggles you’re dealing with.

But here’s the thing: your behavior reflects the state of your relationship, and guess who will notice?

Yep, your close circle – your pals, your confidants, the people who know you well.

Just like they can sense when you’re all giddy and smitten, they’re good at picking up when you are not yourself.

When you are in an unhealthy relationship, they will notice that:   

  • You start to isolate by skipping or canceling plans
  • You emotionally withdraw and become less communicative
  • You become defensive when they show concern about your relationship
  • You’ve lost interest in hobbies and interests 

So, if your close friends come to you worried about your well-being, listen to what they have to say. They might be seeing the red flags before you do.

3) You overreact

If you suddenly find yourself getting all worked up over things that used to roll right off your back, that might be a sign that your emotional radar is on the fritz.

I know the feeling.

I’ve been through my share of those not-so-rosy relationships. And let me tell you, when you’re caught in that spin cycle of mind games, stress and anxiety set up camp in your life. 

You become a bundle of nerves, trying to predict the next move with defenses held up high. 

I used to give myself a hard time whenever I got triggered. I mean, there I was, feeling like a waterfall was about to happen over a simple argument.

I thought I was being weak. Turns out, that over-the-top reaction was my body’s way of saying, “Hold up, something’s not right here.”

So, if you’re on this emotional rollercoaster that is taking its toll on your nervous system, the nature of your relationship is something to look further into and address. 

4) You are drained

Being reactive and on the edge all day will put you in constant fatigue. 

Think about it. It’s like running an emotional marathon without ever getting a chance to catch your breath. 

When you’re constantly dealing with conflicts, treading carefully to avoid setting off a storm and feeling cut off from the people who used to support you, it’s no wonder your body decides to wave the white flag.

Anyone’s energy would start to fizzle out when dealing with all that tension and uncertainty. As a result:

  • You start underperforming at work
  • You stop taking care of yourself
  • You struggle to have a good night’s sleep

You see, many people in toxic relationships share the same signs of burnout, and it’s not a surprise, given the emotional hurdles they have to navigate continuously.

5) You pick up a bad habit or two

By now, you’re so caught up in the emotional intensity and exhaustion that you start forgetting what’s good and healthy for you. 

Dealing with an unhealthy relationship’s mental and emotional weight can throw you off track.

Even worse, you might develop self-destructive patterns to cope with the stress.

When you’re tangled up in an unhappy relationship, you might discover that you’re more likely to:

  • Overeat
  • Abuse substances
  • Neglect self-care
  • Engage in excessive spending
  • Turn to technology to numb feelings

These bad habits sneak in as a response to the emotional strain and complicate things even further. So, recognizing them is a step toward breaking the cycle and finding healthier ways to cope.

6) You feel lonely

In a healthy relationship, you’re supposed to feel like someone’s listening, understanding, and appreciating you. It’s like having this emotional safety net that catches you when you stumble.

But life suddenly feels like a void when stuck in a toxic setup.

It could be because every conversation spirals into an argument, or perhaps your partner withholds that affection that used to flow freely. 

Losing your partner’s understanding and support during a relationship is painful. You will find yourself with gnawing emptiness even when in a room full of people.

Remember, acknowledging that you feel lonely is your way of honoring your emotional needs and recognizing that you deserve a connection that lifts you instead of leaving you stranded.

Next steps?

If any of these signs resonate with you, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a starting point – a chance to pause and reevaluate your path. 

Whether that means addressing the issues with your partner, seeking professional help, or even deciding to walk a different path, remember you’re in control of your journey.

Your well-being and happiness matter, and you deserve to be in a relationship that adds joy and positivity to your life.




Picture of Lily Gareth

Lily Gareth

Beirut-based writer with a flair for all that is artistic. Follow her on Instagram: @raysofdisarrays

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