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How to Spot The Signs of A Toxic Relationship

The line between healthy and unhealthy relationships can be quickly crossed and it may be difficult to identify, even with signs that might seem obvious to others.  

What is a Toxic Relationship? 

Lillian Glass, a California-based communication and psychology expert 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’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.” 

While every relationship goes through its ups and downs, a toxic relationship is consistently unpleasant and extremely draining for the people in it.  

A healthy relationship involves mutual care, respect, and compassion; an interest in our partner’s welfare and growth; and an ability to share control and decision-making. So in short, a healthy relationship involves a shared desire for each other’s happiness.  

If you don’t believe that your relationship shares those characteristics of a healthy relationship, you may be experiencing a toxic one.  Here’s how to recognise the signs of a toxic or abusive relationship: 

What Are The Signs of A Toxic Relationship? 

1. Lack of Support 

Healthy relationships are based on a mutual desire of wanting to see the other succeeding in all areas of life. So one of the most significant benefits of being in a relationship is enjoying the support of your partner.  

Your partner should cheer you up when you are down, listen to your problems and provide physical as well as emotional comfort. 

But when things turn toxic, every achievement becomes a competition.  

Healthy relationships allow for growth and support. If your partner is constantly putting you down and not wanting the best for you, then your relationship has turned toxic.  

If this has gone long enough and no change has happened, this situation may make you think you are not worthy of such support and care. 

Do you feel supported?


Read now: How to Heal After an Unexpected Breakup 

2. Hostile Communication 

Hostile communication can cause tension and create further distrust between partners. Instead of kindness and mutual respect, most of your conversations are filled with sarcasm or criticism and fuelled by contempt. 

According to Kamil Lewis, a sex and relationship therapist, forms of hostile communication include

  • Yelling 
  • Name-calling or other hurtful phrases  
  • Throwing and breaking things 
  • Using your body for physical intimidation or force 

And more subtle signs of hostile communication include

  • The silent treatment 
  • Using ‘you-statements’ or blaming statements 
  • Constantly interrupting 
  • Listening to respond instead of listening to hear and understand your partner  

3. They Strip Away Your Self Esteem 

Toxic partners like picking at you, so if you hear criticising statements regularly, that’s a problem. 

Criticising statements you may hear are: 

  • Why are you wearing so much makeup? 
  • I don’t like that dress 
  • I don’t like it like that 
  • I don’t like you wearing anything revealing 
  • I think you should lose weight 

These kinds of comments strip away your self-esteem and can make you feel worthless. After a while, you start to feel bad about yourself and begin to doubt your judgement. 

Do you feel constantly drained? 

4. There’s A Clear Power Imbalance 

Ideally, relationships should be a union between equals. This doesn’t mean that every aspect of a relationship should have the perfect balance of power dynamics but overall, it should balance out.  

A power imbalance in your relationship can cause serious damage. Try asking yourself who has more power in your relationship and if there is too clear-cut of an answer then this suggests a problem.  

5. Controlling Behaviour 

Signs of controlling behaviour include: 

  • Asking to know your location all the time 
  • Becoming annoyed or irritated when you don’t immediately answer texts or text you again and again until you do 
  • Choosing who you hang out with. 

These behaviours might stem from a lack of trust, but they can also suggest a need for control – both of which can contribute to a relationship’s toxicity. 

Read now: How to Spot Signs of Being Gaslit 

6. Dishonesty 

Every lie between partners undercuts a little bit of the relationship. 

Dishonest relationship signs to look out for: 

  • You turn off all message notifications on your phone 
  • You hide receipts 
  • You lie about plans with friends 
  • You’re always a little paranoid 

7. You’re Making Excuses for Their Behaviour 

If you’re always trying to rationalise your partner’s actions – it could be their emotional unavailability, lack of empathy, habit of being obnoxious to your friends, or lack of support – then there’s a problem. 

There’s never an excuse for abusive behaviour. And although change is possible, you can’t make your partner change. They have to choose that route. 

Signs you’re making excuses for their behaviour: 

  • You forgive them without ever receiving an apology 
  • You downplay to others what happened 
  • You avoid certain topics or activities from past experience that can often trigger destructive behaviours.  
Love shouldn’t be your sole reason for staying.


8. You’re Not Practicing Self-Care 

Self-care is vital for every relationship to keep toxicity out. Always remember to remind yourself that you are worthy of love and that you deserve a healthy relationship. 

Help yourself by choosing to practice self-care every day. Here’s how: 

  • Get plenty of rest 
  • Eat nutritious food 
  • Take a hot bath 
  • Practice self-compassion  

If you don’t love yourself, how can you love someone else? 

Read now: How to Become More Comfortable in Your Own Skin 

9. Your Friends and Family Are Concerned 

Your friends and family are the closest people to you, they often see things about yourself that you haven’t noticed yet. 

Look out for them saying stuff like: 

What is he talking to you like this? 

Why is he doing that? 

What they’re saying can end up coming across as negative or controlling but remember they’re coming from a protective place and only want the best for you.  

Try asking them a simple question: Why do you feel that way? Maybe their answer will help you see things through a new lens. 

The longer you stay in a toxic relationship, the harder it can be to remove yourself from it. So try and spot the signs as quickly as you can. Everyone is deserving of a loving partner who treats them well, including you!  

For further advice from our professional lifestyle coaches, contact us at Ceed today!    

How to Heal After an Unexpected Breakup

Going through a breakup is painful, but one you didn’t see coming can be particularly hard to wrap your head around. It comes with the anger at your partner for jumping ship without warning, or at yourself for not noticing the signs.  

How you heal from a breakup is a personal experience, as everyone recovers differently.  So, although there’s no ‘right’ way to heal after a break up, below are some steps you can take to care for yourself during this difficult time. 

Be compassionate towards yourself while you heal from a breakup.

Don’t look for closure 

When your breakup seems to come out of the nowhere it can be incredibly destabilising. It reveals that your partner wasn’t communicating and being honest like you thought and it can feel as if the breakup up just doesn’t make sense.  

It’s common to want answers, but often with unexpected breakups you’ll receive vague unsatisfying explanations and a sudden no contact policy. This sudden one-eighty of your relationship can leave you reeling and in shock.  

When someone ends a relationship with you abruptly and without warning, it’s not a reflection of you or your worthiness to be loved. They do this because of their own issues and their inability to communicate. Focusing on this can help you to move on when you feel you need answers.  

You didn’t deserve to be broken up with this way, your ex simply didn’t have the tools or emotional maturity to handle the breakup properly. You’re unlikely to get closure from any explanation they could provide, so instead seek closure by healing and allowing yourself to move on.  

Let yourself be sad 

When you’re in pain it’s natural to seek a remedy, to try to find the answer to “how long will I feel this way?” but it’s important not to rush anything. Let yourself heal and be kind to yourself. It’s okay to wrap up in your duvet, put on a movie and eat a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s. After all, the clichés exist for a reason, and ice cream is the ultimate comfort food.   

If you’re not ready to let yourself be sad, that’s also okay. Leaning into your friends and filling up your social calendar is a good way to distract yourself from thinking about your ex and the whirlwind of emotions they bring.  

It’s good to reach out to your support network and remind yourself you’re not alone, but you also can’t distract yourself forever. Eventually you’ll need to let yourself feel and to sit with the pain of your breakup, but it’s okay to only do so once you feel ready. 

Feeling sad is an important stage of healing.

Going through a breakup is a form of grief and as frustrating as it can be to hear, there isn’t an easy fix – you simply need to give yourself time. Allow yourself time to heal and try not to compare yourself to the healing journey of others. Every breakup is different and everyone’s recovery will look different.  It could take you weeks, months or years and that’s okay.  

Don’t wallow 

While allowing yourself to be sad is important, make sure not to let yourself wallow. If a period of sadness comes, ride the wave and let yourself feel your emotions, but don’t go looking for things that may trigger you.  

As tempting as it might be, don’t look through old photos or stalk them on Instagram. If there’s a TV series you were in the middle of watching together or a café that was your go to spot, it’s best to avoid these while the breakup is fresh. By triggering yourself in this way you’ll only prolong the healing process.  

The best way to start moving on from your ex is by removing their presence from your life. Mute them on socials, put all their things away in a memory box and most importantly don’t reach out to them.  

Trust in love again  

Unexpected breakups are particularly hard because they demolish your sense of trust. Romantic relationships are deep vulnerable connections and it takes trust to be physically and emotionally intimate with someone.  

So when your partner blindsides you with a breakup it’s easy to lose trust in the belief that romantic bonds can be safe. It’s also very easy to lose trust in yourself when you question if you ever really knew your partner like you thought you did. 

Unexpected breakups are unfair, don’t let it affect your future relationships.

This breakdown of trust can cause you to approach new relationships with caution and wariness. Chelsea Lee Trescott, Relationship coach and host of Thank You Heartbreak, recommends writing down a list of all the ways your ex-partner blindsided you.  

Just the act of putting thought to paper can help release your emotions and start the healing process. Write under each point what you fear this means for your future relationships.  

For example, if your ex was behaving normally and lovingly up until the day they broke up with you, you could write that you worry you won’t be able to trust that someone means what they say. Write next to each of these points that you won’t blindside someone in the same way. So, you promise not to spare someone how you truly feel about them because being honest avoids confusion and breaking their trust.  

This is an important exercise that can help you to recover from the impact of your unexpected breakup and to move on once you’re ready. 

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For further guidance from our expert lifestyle coaches contact us here. 

How to Become More Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Everyone has days where they feel insecure in their own skin, battling with their flaws and imperfections. There will always be days where you battle with your self-esteem, no matter how confident you are – and that’s okay. Everyone deserves to feel good in the skin they’re in. 

A lot of people will give advice and say… 

“Just love yourself and love your body.” 

But if it was REALLY that easy, then we’d all be fully embracing our bodies at any size and not spending BILLIONS on diet and beauty products. 

Maybe it’s time to just try to be okay with yourself. The society we live in makes us all feel pressure to succeed and be the best of the best. But in reality, just being okay is OKAY. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself is… 

FIRST, focus on accepting yourself 

THEN, jump into being more confident and loving yourself. 

Self-acceptance must come before self-love.

Taking charge of your own thoughts, especially your feelings about yourself, is one of the hardest things to do when you don’t feel confident.

Even though it can be hard to truly embrace yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, there’s a way to overcome your negative thoughts and learn to accept yourself for who you truly are.  

“The moment will arrive when you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are – bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling – when you don’t feel the need to apologise for anything or to deny anything. To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength.”  

  Charles B. Handy 

Here are some helpful tips you can use to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin: 

1. Stop Seeking Validation from Other People 

The love you can give yourself is the most important kind!

Stop valuing the opinions of others more than your own. Seeking validation from other people is a dangerous spiral. You never seem to have enough, whether you’re hoping for hundreds of likes on Instagram or a simple pat on the back from your parents.  

Seeking validation from others can give quick boost of confidence. However, this feeling isn’t lasting. It’s totally fine to look for other’s approval on occasion. But there comes a point where it become a habit.  

To obtain truly lasting self-worth, you need to take an important step back and recognise that you do not need someone else’s approval to feel good about yourself.  

2. Accept Your Weaknesses 

Let’s be honest with ourselves, there are many things in life that we aren’t good at doing… 

…And that’s okay!

One of the beauties of life is that nobody is perfect. To truly be comfortable in your own skin, you need to be self-aware. You can’t turn a weakness into a strength if you’re too busy denying the weakness exists. Here’s an exercise for you: 

“I am terrible at…. (State your weakness) …and I’m okay with that.” 

You don’t need to be perfect to feel self-love.

3. Prioritise Yourself 

Taking care of yourself is vital when it comes to feeling more comfortable in your body. When you prioritise yourself and your own needs, you become more in-tune with them and who you are.  

You can prioritise yourself in a number of ways including: 

Those who don’t take the proper time for themselves are often harder on themselves in all regards. 

4. Practice Healthy Social Media Habits 

This involves trying not to compare yourself to everyone else. This can be difficult but there is a way to help: ensure your feed is filled with diverse individuals. There are many influencers out there showing the “real” side of social media. Including lumps, bumps, body hair etc.  

There’s nothing wrong with following fitness models, but if you find yourself comparing your body to theirs, maybe it’s time to focus on other things. The accounts you follow should inspire you, not make you feel any less about yourself. 

Get the best out of social media instead of the worst!

Read Now: Doomscrolling: Navigating Mental Health and Social Media 

5. Celebrate Every Milestone 

Every year we have spent living with our friends and family is truly a gift. We deserve to celebrate every birthday, every anniversary, every job promotion.  

When you celebrate a milestone, it is a genuine reason to provide yourself with appreciation and recognition – two things that will motivate people at every point in their life.  

Learn to celebrate your story. Every person’s story is unique. Some stories have more highlights, others more lowlights. And that’s okay. Anything you have achieved, big or small, should be celebrated. 

6. Live Unapologetically 

There’s a weird sense of freedom you feel from living unapologetically.  Don’t apologise for who you are and how you feel. Don’t hold back your authentic self and don’t be afraid to tell others how you truly feel. Hiding your emotions won’t benefit anyone.  

Here are some ways to live unapologetically:  

  • Be your authentic self 
  • Use your voice 
  • Don’t ask for permission 
  • Never be afraid to say no.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself!

7. Create a Life You Love Living 

It’s an unfortunate truth that many of us don’t feel like we’re living a life we love. However, to make the most of your life, you have to create a life YOU love. 

Creating a life you love is really about aligning your life with your own core values. Those are the things that are most important to you personally. To do so you must defeat those self-imposed limits you have on yourself.  

Nothing worthwhile is ever really easy. But good things are worth the effort. We owe it to ourselves to step past our self-limiting beliefs and take those steps to build the lives we love and be comfortable in our own skin. 

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For further advice from our professional life coaches, contact us at Ceed today!  

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