Reddit user BlackenSphinx asked: 'What did your partner say or do that made you realize that they were a toxic person?'
Content Warning: Toxic Behavior
As much as we might like to hope otherwise, not all relationships are meant to work out.
Not only are some couples not meant to be, but sometimes there are super valid reasons for a relationship to end beyond simply not being compatible, like toxic behaviors.
But a significant other being toxic will not be obvious upon first meeting them or going on a first date with them. Otherwise, we never would have dated them in the first place.
Redditor BlackenSphinx asked:
"What did your partner say or do that made you realize that they were a toxic person?"
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"When they kept apologizing for the same thing, then doing it anyway, never changing for the past 10 years."
"My wife got a quote from a teacher that we've tried to instill in our kids:"
"'Saying sorry means not doing it again.'"
"Obviously, accidents aren't included, but yeah when you hurt someone and apologize, don't do that thing again."
A New Kind of Arranged Marriage
"Lots of things, but I think probably the worst and most impactful was when she peed on a stick for her friend while she was pregnant."
"Her friend then convinced her boyfriend to marry her. They were divorced several years later, after what I can only assume was an absolutely awful marriage."
"'Nobody as good looking as me will ever love your personality.'"
"Ugh, that's the kind of s**t I'd think about and let eat me away for YEARS."
In Sickness and In Health
"I was at a party with my ex-wife and someone brought out a newspaper with headlines about a local official being in an accident and being paralyzed."
"My ex-wife, without hesitation, said, 'If that happened to my husband, I would be out of here.'"
"My biggest motivator of leaving an ex was that I couldn’t see him taking care of me if something were to happen to me."
Children Come First
"This one is minor, but I had an ex who wanted to buy her daughter some new shoes. We were at an outlet mall and they had a BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) sale."
"She found a cute pair for herself but was having trouble finding a pair for her daughter."
"I love being helpful and found a pair that fit her daughter's personality to a T."
"But she wouldn't buy them because they were $5 more expensive than the pair she was getting for herself."
"Both were combined under $50, and she wasn't hurting for cash. She just refused to spend more on her daughter than on herself out of principle."
"This one reallyyyyy irritates me. She sounds like the kind of 'parent' who wouldn't give up a meal to make sure their baby ate if it came down to it."
"As someone who has to make that decision nearly every day... my baby eats, even if I don't. Always."
The Silent Treatment
"We weren't living together, but he randomly cut me off for like a full week. He wouldn't answer my texts or anything. We were long-distance (different colleges halfway across the country) so I couldn't, like, go check on him."
"Anyway, he finally comes back and tells me it was a punishment for not being interesting enough. He liked me because I was an intellectual who would have Deep Conversations (tm) with him and I'd been talking too much about things he didn't find interesting."
"I dumped him shortly after and he acted like it came out of nowhere."
"He criticized everybody. He was mean about his family, his friends, and his colleagues. It seemed very small at first, I knew he was depressed and so was naturally more cynical and had a low view of himself, but he'd laugh and joke with friends on the phone or in person for hours and then the minute they were gone... Awful."
"I rationalized it for too long and then realized it would be the same about me. Then convinced myself it wouldn't be because he always hyped me up... Until I heard it."
"He played the victim so, so well. Scary, really."
Ableism at Its Finest
"I had an ex say. 'What could you possibly be depressed about?'"
"I was an id**t and stayed with her for three more years after that."
Not Over Their Ex
"He slept with his ex frequently for six months... in the house that I bought us... in my childhood bed that I took with me from home... all whilst I was at work."
"He was changing over phones from an old school brick type to an iPhone. He went out to work and his old phone kept buzzing. I saw a very familiar name pop up…"
"He told me that she was crazy and they weren’t in contact as she was obsessed with him (Red flag, I know). There are some things I read that I wish I could erase from my memory."
"When everything was out in the open, she began bullying me online about it."
"We were engaged. as well. Lucky I found out before we got married!"
Different Definitions of "Cheating"
"She cheated on me with a Yankees player because I 'cheated on her first.'"
"How did I cheat? By going to her favorite burger spot without her while she was having sushi with her girlfriends."
"I found out she cheated with three other guys too."
"Somehow the most venom in this story came from 'a Yankee player,' lol (laughing out loud)."
"I'm guessing he's either a Mets or Red Sox fan."
Gone with the Rose-Colored Glasses
"It wasn't so much what he was saying but the action he did about it."
"He used to tell me all the time that I should get contact lenses because he wanted to see what I looked like without glasses."
"I need glasses full time to see because I have an extremely bad prescription and astigmatism. They're both very high and it's impossible to see without glasses. If I take my glasses off, I can't even find them so I have to make sure I know exactly where I set them."
"One day out of town for a large event we had been planning to attend for over a year, he hid my glasses and acted like he couldn't find them."
"I had NEVER had glasses just disappear. It might take me a while to find them, but if I have someone else around me, it's usually somewhere obvious."
"I figured, 'Oh, that's okay, I have prescription sunglasses on me, as well; I'll just wear sunglasses for the event.' I asked him to pull them out of my bag as they were in a zip glass case, I know for a fact they are in there because I switched them out after arriving at the hotel."
"He pulled out the case and tried to tell me they weren't in there and that I must have dropped them somewhere."
"I begged him to help me search the hotel, I called downstairs, I had staff members helping me search, and I was in the lobby on my hands and knees feeling around trying to find them."
"He was busy getting ready upstairs and told me to just go to the event without them; I'll be fine."
"I absolutely refuse to leave without my glasses. I told him to go have a good time but I'm not leaving the hotel room and going into a crowded strange place in a strange city being unable to see."
"Well suddenly, right before we're about to leave, he pretended he found my glasses and they were just sitting on the bathroom counter the whole time. As if I didn't search every single inch and feel around every inch of that vanity."
"After some crying, he admitted that he hid both of my glasses because he just wanted me to see that it's not so bad and that if I just go without them for a little while my eyes will adjust and I'll be able to see fine."
Silence to the Extreme
"I had a girlfriend who got mad at me, and I had no idea why. For three days, she would call, say nothing, and if I hung up, she would call back."
"I turned off my phone, and she'd call my parents or show up at my house (in high school still living with my parents). This went on for three days. I basically didn't sleep."
"I was a senior and still in school, and she had graduated the year before. On the third night, she yelled at me for keeping her up, and it was the end of the fight."
"The next day, I asked what I did. She said nothing she was just angry and wanted to fight."
"It took me going to college and her finding some other poor sap to torture to finally get away from her. I was young and naive, and now know I should have involved a court order and police."
"It was h**l. But from it, I ended up with my now wife, and without that h**l, I would not be where I am today, which is something I would never change."
The Most Controlling of the Controlling
"She yelled at me for wanting to talk to my family after she and my dad had a minor argument. She also blocked my old friends, family, and coworkers in my phone while I slept."
"Throw the whole girl away."
"I did that a month ago, and this has been the best month I've had in three years."
These accounts were terribly eye-opening, and they're a great reminder that a toxic relationship may not be identifiable until it's made glaringly obvious to us.
Fortunately, all of these Redditors were talking about exes, which means that they were able to move beyond these tough situations.
Listen to the red flags!
Love is too often blind. The blind is only for justice. We have to adhere to warnings and truths when it comes to love and relationships. Love is hard work and most of the time it's rarely ever a fairytale. Too often we're so blinded by our feelings that we miss the red flags about when the relationship we're in is not meant to be. When you get that gut feeling that something is not right, follow it. You should not be made to feel bad when love is suppose to uplift.Redditor u/Glorii3 wanted everyone to be very clear about when it's time to run. Love shouldn't be that difficult or painful. They asked.... What are early signs of a toxic relationship?
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Nothing is ever their fault and always yours.
This reminds me of my ex. After I found out she cheated on me, she tried to explain to me, how it was my fault, because my family didn't like her that much (because my family had kind of figured out that she was abusive). Needless to say that was the last straw that finally made me dump her and cut all contact.
When they do something that makes you uncomfortable, and they get mad at you for expressing your discomfort.
"You shouldn't feel so bad about it." Like wow I'm sorry I'm not just the amount of hurt you think I should be in response to the hurtful thing you did.
When you don't feel like you can actually speak about your problems since they will take it personally or won't bother listening.
Once I was having a moment of insecurity in a relationship, and I told my then boyfriend that I didn't want to talk about it because it was irrational and unfair. He insisted I tell him, and when I did, he lost it on me and said I should have lied to him instead. He held onto that for the rest of our (nearly two year long) relationship. Learn from my mistake. Don't be in a relationship like that.
When every argument is your fault and you have to be the one to apologize every time.
Same here. My PTSD enabled my ex to use my constant feeling of guilt to consistently make me the butthole, slowly breaking me down. My current partner is still helping me to break that habit.
All taking and no giving.
Subtly insulting you for their own pleasure.
Money problems and/or addiction.
The subtle insults! Gentle teasing now and then is fine when it's mutual. But when the jokes are always at one party's expense- especially in front of other people, designed to belittle them- that's a red flag.
I am working on repairing the psychological damage from years of having to jump through hoops to prove that it's not selfish/unreasonable/crappy of me to disagree with partners or have my own needs. Turns out always having to beg to have your feelings acknowledged (not even respected, just acknowledged) messes you up a bit. The whole time I thought it was MY fault that I wasn't communicating properly or using the right words to explain my point of view, but in reality it was narcissism and selfishness on the other side, and nothing I could've done would have changed that.
An inability to take responsibility for their own actions, especially if you find yourself apologizing to them for being bothered by something they did.
But how to tell that? They will take an over active interest in your reactions to things.
They won't take no for an answer. It might be in a cute way at first, but, it still is not taking no for an answer. Insisting you go along with something (no matter how harmless it might seem), or insisting you will enjoy something.
Pretty soon, if you let that slide, they will be controlling various things.
Where you can go, who you can talk to or see, who you can look at, even. Maybe not saying it outright, "don't go there, stay home; why are you looking at them," but acting out if you do things like that and they don't like it. Having a temper tantrum if you aren't exactly the way they think you should be, and of course the trick is, there is no pleasing them. They area always upset about something you did.
It isn't only about jealousy but also friendships, family too.
And then if you give in to that, there will be a new level. Bit like a video game, only not leveling up; leveling down, into hell.
So once they get you to focus solely on them, now you are boring, or you did this wrong, did that wrong, if you say anything you talk too much, if you don't you don't talk enough, or you laugh too much, or your cooking is bad...you name it, it's wrong. Pretty soon you forget who you are and what makes you happy. Worse, you forget that it matters if you are happy.
Abuser will often pour it on too thick with romance and compliments in the beginning. That is another way to control you and it won't last. No one can keep that up.
If someone 'sweeps you off your feet' remember what comes next is a fall.
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When they seem to argue with you a lot, and make petty things into a huge dispute. It's stuff like this that makes you realize how much of a toxic relationship your in.
Also when the only time they seem like there not arguing is when they need/want something from you.
Just for discussion's sake: I am friends with a couple who are absolutely attached at the hip. They work together, live together, visit friends together... literally everything. I think it's weird, and probably not healthy but they seem to like it... is that still toxic? Again, this is just for the sake of discussion, I'm not really sure what I think aside from it being odd (and I little annoying because I haven't seen my friend without their s/o in years).
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I'm in my early 30's but from my experience, when you don't let your partner have their own independent life outside of the relationship- it's a red flag.
Trying to control you.
Giving you silent treatment.
Trying to alienate you from your friends.
Making you choose between them and your family/career/passion
Trying to police your social media.
Pressuring you into sexual activities.
I Feel It....
This is profoundly what I felt early on in my last relationship. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach, that something was simply... off. I brought up this feeling to him numerous times throughout our 6 year relationship and he countered it by saying things like " everyone feels like this in a relationship, you just have to work to get past it." I was a coward and a fool for agreeing with him each time. Not surprisingly, our relationship was garbage. It turned me into a mean, spiteful person towards him. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Never ignore that feeling.
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When you realize that you are spending all your time dealing with their issues, and never yours.
Lovebombing is a classic emotional abuse tactic and the abuser often goes hard into it early in the relationship, to get you hooked. Let's say you've been seeing someone for 3 weeks and they surprise you with tickets to an exotic vacation. Or an expensive gift. They'll also usually profess their affection for you often and kind of exaggerated. Lots of "no one else has ever made me feel like this" kinda stuff.
That way you get attached quickly and form positive perceptions of this person, so that when the abuse starts you A: don't leave because you know they're "good" underneath it and B: they can weaponize it against you as a guilt trip.
That's not to say every fast paced relationship is emotionally abusive, mind you. Every relationship works at its own speed and some are faster than others. But it's a reason to be cautious. Especially if it's an early relationship for you: abusers tend to favor inexperienced targets. Don't be afraid to say you're not ready for something, or that it's happening too fast for you to keep up with. In healthy relationships the other person will understand.
Convo to start
When you have to psyche yourself up to before you see them. When you have to map out regular conversations beforehand in your head to prevent an explosion.
When you have to constantly and carefully police your words and actions to avoid setting them off. Whether it's an "anger thing" or a "drama thing," whether it's over jealousy/suspicion or neediness or them being critical or whatever, if you have to constantly walk on eggshells because it will make your life stupidly difficult if you accidentally say or do something "wrong" that triggers them to respond irrationally, you know you have a problem.
I think this is a good thing to pay attention to because it's nonspecific to the type of problem. It applies equally to physical, emotional, and psychological abuse and to those who are just energy-sucking due to their own personal issues which may not be abusive at all.
If, according to them, everyone they've ever dated before you mistreated them/is crazy/is to blame for their trust issues/etc, and you're the "first person who has ever treated me well", be VERY careful. It absolutely could be true, but often people who are incapable of taking responsibility for their behavior create narratives like this around their past conflicts, and it can be very easy to get sucked in (the ego validation alone can be pretty seductive).
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When they're emotional when you do leisurely things that don't involve them. Sir, this is a relationship, I need some space dammit!!!
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