The Mighty Logo

Twitter Users Share the 'Red Flags' They Overlooked in Past Toxic Relationships

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Most of us have been in a “bad” relationship or two in our lives. But how do you know when a bad relationship becomes toxic? Essentially, the definition of a toxic relationship is any relationship that is damaging to you psychologically, physically, spiritually or emotionally.

Because understanding what makes a relationship harmful can be confusing, Twitter user Halima started a thread on Monday where people could share the toxic signs they wish they had seen sooner in their past relationships. She tweeted:

Hi loves, let’s start a very important thread on toxic relationships. We don’t enter relationships with a guide or ANY sense of what’s normal and what’s toxic and it’s left a lot of us lost and traumatized. ‘I should have known the relationship was toxic when….’ Add yours.

The number of tweets from people who didn’t recognize they were in a toxic relationship serves as a powerful reminder that we need to do a better job talking about the signs of toxic and abusive relationships. The unfortunate reality is that because we seldom talk about these signs, people remain in psychologically damaging relationships for longer than they should.

Find your people on The Mighty! Review the list of communities or start your own in The Mighty app.

Create Your Own Community Banner

Below, you can read what some people shared in response to Halima’s tweet. To see the full thread, head here.

Here are eight toxic “red flags” people overlooked in their past relationships:

1. Digital Abuse

Digital abuse is when a partner uses technology to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate their partner. Common examples may include pressure to send explicit videos, forcing you to disclose social media account passwords or monitoring your phone usage.

2. Your Partner Controlled Your Appearance

Another classic sign of an abusive relationship is a partner trying to control your appearance. Sometimes this can manifest in the form of keeping you from dressing “too sexy,” encouraging you to “care more about your appearance” by wearing makeup or bullying you to lose weight.

3. You Felt Unable to Voice Your Feelings

Expressing your feelings can be really hard! But if you perpetually feel unable to express your feelings to your partner due to their past rejection, invalidation or ridicule, it could be a sign that your relationship is toxic for you.

4. The Relationship Was ‘Too Fast, Too Soon’

Everyone falls in love at a different pace. Some people fall in love quickly, others take more time. While there is no “right” amount of time for developing intimacy with another person, if your partner pressures you to be at the same level they are, or get upset if the pace of your feelings don’t match theirs, it could be a sign that the relationship is in toxic territory.

5. Your Partner Decided Who You Could Hang Out With

Controlling behavior is almost always toxic. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with are tell-tale signs of emotional abuse.

6. Your Partner Never Accepted Blame

Relationships are two-way streets. If your partner insists they are “always right,” or never owns up to their mistakes, it could be time for you to move on. No one is always right all of the time.

7. Cheating

Though cheating is not always a manifestation of an abusive relationship, it can be. Sometimes a partner will cheat to intentionally hurt you or to prove they are more desired or attractive than you. These cases are examples of abusive behavior.

8. Your Partner Wasn’t Emotionally Supportive

Being an emotionally negligent partner isn’t abuse in and of itself, but if emotional distance is coupled with degrading insults and blame, it can be. A healthy relationship includes mutual respect and support.

If you recognize any of these qualities in a current or past relationship, you’re not alone. To connect with a community that cares, we encourage you to post on The Mighty with the hashtag #TraumaSurvivors. If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Header image via Twitter

Originally published: February 17, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home