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Toxic Relationships – Red Flags you should never ignore

Toxic Relationships – Red Flags you should never ignore

When we have invested our emotions and our time in a relationship, we can sometimes put up with things because we feel that the pain that relationship brings us is easier to cope with than the pain of letting go of that person you love. This is the first part of a two-part article on toxic relationships –red flags you should never ignore

The label “toxic” means something that drains life and energy. Before you know it, you are feeling weak and feeble, subject to the whim of the person to whom you’ve given your power. Signs of a toxic relationship are sometimes easy to spot – infidelity or physical violence, for example. But there can often be more subtle signs that something’s just not right between you and your partner, or between you and a close friend, a work colleague or a family member. It’s not just romantic relationships that can become toxic – no matter what form a relationship takes, it’s important to pay attention to how it really makes you feel and keeping a finger on your own emotions can help you develop insight about the people in your life, so you can choose healthier situations.

Passive Aggression

Passive aggression is the “polite” note your work colleague leaves about the one mug you left unwashed, or the report they keep “forgetting” to finish for you. It is  frustrating to its targets because it’s not as easily identifiable—or unacceptable—as, say, punching someone on the nose! Some of the most common passive aggressive behaviours to be aware of include: procrastination (continually putting things off to a later date), pretending not to see, hear, remember, or understand requests, the “silent treatment”, sulking,  withdrawal and gossiping.


Excessive jealousy in a relationship is never okay. If you don’t have trust in a relationship, it means there is nothing at all worth holding onto.


No one is perfect, and the more you get to know a person, the more apparent his or her imperfections will become. There is nothing wrong with criticism that comes from a positive place but when it’s used as a channel to express contempt for someone else, it can make the other person feel unvalued and worthless. Research shows that contempt is the most difficult trait for a relationship to recover from and can be as subtle as raising the eyes heaven-ward or other forms of non-verbal communication.

Arguing without communicating

We all know that shouting at each other is not the way to move forward and it’s natural to get upset and argue from time to time, but if there’s no exchange of communication and neither party conveys how he or she feels, nothing will be solved. If this happens repeatedly, the relationship becomes toxic.

Negative energy

You know the sense of always walking on eggshells when you’re in someone’s company? Feeling uncomfortable or tense around someone is just your body reacting to the negative energy surrounding the two of you. Negativity can drain you mentally, physically and emotionally. You may feel it in your body – a tightness or butterflies in your stomach perhaps – before you are consciously aware of it.

Avoiding each other

Sometimes we get to the stage that we can’t bring ourselves to be around someone. If that’s the case in a dating relationship, then it’s time to call it a day. If it’s a work colleague or family member, this isnot an option but we must find alternative ways of “being” in their company that does not exact such a toll on us.

You only think about making him or her happy

Happiness is a two-way street.  If you are constantly trying to make the other person happy, but you’re not getting anything in return, then something is deeply wrong.

My next blog will look more at Toxic Relationships –  Red Flags you should never ignore

NB: If you’re in a physically abusive relationship, get help today. Don’t wait.
Need some advice and support?

If you are experiencing difficulties in a relationship whether with a partner, a friend, a family member or a work colleague, and would like to talk it over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.

Book a counselling session today!


See also All You Need to Know about Relationships, Stress and Relationships, How Men and Women deal with Stress differently