As the word implies, toxic relationships are unhealthy, harmful, and potentially life-threatening. That is, between two or more people.

According to Dr Lilian Glass, the author of the 1995 book “Toxic People”, defines a toxic relationship as “any relationship between people who don’t support each other, where there’s conflict, and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there are disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness”.

Even though all toxic relationships are not abusive, a toxic relationship is a toxic environment that impacts your ability to live a healthy and productive life.


This is a display of extreme sensitivity to criticism or opinions. One who is defensive has the tendency to react aggressively and feel high about himself or herself disregarding the opinions and feelings of the other party. A partner who is defensive is not far from being manipulative and controlling. There are chances of tension, fighting, contention, lack of trust, lack of communication, resentment and loneliness in the relationship.


This is a sign that can deteriorate relationships making them very unhealthy to manage and can turn into inevitable dysfunctional. If your spouse is addicted to a controlled substance or has a behavioural addiction such as pornography or gambling, it can affect plans such as the family budget. These can create a toxic pattern in your relationship, which can increase trust issues, cause ignorance and neglect of responsibility cause total unhappiness in the relationship.


It is impossible for a healthy relationship where selfishness is a norm to thrive. When a partner tries to impose his or her decision and is in the best interest of himself or herself is an act of selfishness, The aftermath can affect your relationship with other people around you. You will unconsciously start feeling your opinion does not count, upset, and low self-esteem begins to grow.


It’s important to recognise signs in a relationship, so you know whether to fix it or leave. This is one of the signs that generate a toxic relationship of any kind. It is a lack of respect, taken in different forms but centres around a situation whereby the other party’s feelings have been impolitely disregarded.

Disrespect is a gradual, unhealthy behaviour that develops into resentment. When it occurs regularly, it creates room for insecurity, complex mental and emotional instability and the feeling of being devalued by the other partner. When one feels superior to the other, disregarding the opinions of the other partner is a sign of disrespect.

The boundaries of trust and honesty are gradually broken when disrespect finds its way into any relationship. It can lead to divorce or termination of that relationship.



According to Miller, “Sometimes our mental health symptoms can make us feel lethargic, impact our inability to express empathy, or cause feelings of anxiety and isolation”. This can cause a level of upset to the person who has to deal with such a partner. It can also lead to disruption in communication. It can even affect the articulation of the affected partner and can be overwhelming for the other.



First, there is no relationship without communication. Lack of communication is the absence of a relationship or a gradual process of a deteriorated relationship. This is one essential key to a successful relationship of any kind; the moment there is a gap in communication in the relationship, the relationship becomes unsafe for the partner affected, or you start to grow apart with no interest in the relationship.

In a relationship without communication, you soon become a stranger, and little things can cause arguments, misunderstanding set in and fear of the next reaction of any party involved. In a relationship where there is a lack of communication, it can make you feel incompatible with your partner; you can become emotionally distant too. You most times result in wrong assumptions.

Lack of communication aggravates conflict, creates loneliness, difficulty setting and reaching goals and negative thoughts against your partner.



This is one behavioural sign of a toxic relationship. When one of the partners is having an affair with another opposite sex, either sexually or emotionally, against the relationship agreement, it can affect the quality of the relationship negatively, which can be long-term and devastating.


  1. ANGER

Nagging and fighting are attributes generated from anger, one of the warning signs in a relationship. Think about it; if someone is angry and shouting at you, how likely are you to listen carefully and look for a solution?

Most times, the reaction to anger is usually anger itself or fear. It is very dangerous to the emotional and mental health of any individual.



This toxic sign often goes unnoticed but can lead to an unforeseen mishap. A relationship with a display of jealousy is not safe. It can lead to hatred, distrust and being overly protected by the other. Also, jealousy can be viewed from the angle of achievement or career success. When one of the partners is more successful than the other, and the other is not able to manage his or her feelings well, it can turn to jealousy, and the outcome is not going to be a good one.


This cannot be overruled in every relationship but arguing on one matter repeatedly. Losing your temper or saying unpleasant or painful things is bound to make you feel it is not worth it. However, how the argument is managed determines the outcome of the impact on the relationship.


These are some of the warning signs of a toxic relationship. It is good it is avoided than affected. Also, individuals in a relationship should be more open and learn to understand each other to avoid habits and behavioural constraint that turns disastrous. It is advisable to carefully checkmate a prospective partner’s behaviour before you leap into a relationship with him or her and check their relationship with other people.



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