No relationship is perfect, but if you find yourself looking for signs your marriage is toxic, that may be a cue to listen to your intuition. Of course that's easier said than done. The Huffington Post reported that getting stuck in a toxic marriage is an all too common phenomenon. But what is a toxic marriage anyway?
Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith told Psychology Today that a toxic relationship is something that takes a while to rear its ugly head. People who exhibit toxic behavior like constant putdowns, sarcasm, dishonesty, and name-calling might hide this type of stuff at first. Over time you notice they never follow through on what they say they will do, are always trying to "keep you in your place," and can be overtly mean and abusive. Goldsmith said it can be alienating to realize that someone you once loved has turned into a person you can't stand. This person drags you down, noted the aforementioned in The Huffington Post.
This person also could be you. What if your spouse has brought out toxic behavior in you? Psychologist and author Dr. Steven Stosny told Psychology Today in another article that certain people can trigger stressful emotional reactiveness in you based on the fight or flight paradigm. This is not the type of person you want to be married to. In other words, if you're married to someone who brings out the worst in you, then there's definitely some toxicity in the house. The following are other signs that might signal you're in a toxic marriage.
1. Your Spouse Belittles You
In another article for Psychology Today, Stosny claimed that belittling behavior is a sign of toxic emotional abuse. It's not normal for your spouse to make you feel less than your worth. And it's not OK for a spouse to belittle you in order to make themselves feel better.
2. Your Spouse Gaslights You
3. Your Spouse Controls You
Meghan Hunter, relationship expert and author of Bait & Switch: Saving Your Relationship After Incredible Romance Turns Into Exhausting Chaos, told Redbook that, if you feel like you can't talk to friends or family, or that you must report everything you to to your spouse, then you have a toxic marriage.
4. Your Spouse Calls All The Shots In The Household
The Huffington Post reported that a relationship has gone toxic if one partner calls all the shots in the household. A marriage is based on a series of negotiations, with spouses making decisions together all the time. If you don't have a say in anything from finances and healthcare, or if you find yourself putting your needs second, all the time, you should consider the relationship more closely.
5. Your Spouse Expects Perfection From You
Clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Heitler told Psychology Today that when a spouse expects perfection out of you, they essentially want you to do things their way. This is toxic behavior and could be a sign that your marriage has taken a toxic turn.
6. Your Spouse Blames You For Everything
Psychologist Dr. Neil Farber, author of The Blame Game: The Complete Guide To Blaming told Psychology Today that when a spouse blames you for everything it's like taking a "verbal beating." Blaming, he continued is a toxic non-productive form of communication, especially in a romantic relationship. It can also initiate a cycle of blaming, guilt, and self-loathing.
7. Your Spouse Never Apologies
According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder manifests when people act conceited and pretentious, arrogant, and never take any responsibility for negative actions. Although they exaggerate their talents and achievements, and they can't seem to do anything wrong, you are bearing the brunt of your arguments. This is totally toxic.
8. Your Spouse Exhausts You
According to the aforementioned article in The Huffington Post, if your spouse sucks you of energy because he or she exhibits any (or many) of the above behaviors, take that as a sign that your relationship is in need of repair. I'm not just talking about being tired of your spouse's annoying habits, I talking about emotional depletion.
9. You Pick Fights With Your Spouse
Couples bicker. It's a fact of relationships. But according to SheKnows, if you're constantly picking fights with your spouse, it's a sign something is dreadfully wrong. Living your life on a constant time-out is no way to have a marriage, right?
10. You Fight Dirty
There are rules to fighting fair in a healthy marriage, noted XO Jane. If, however, you hit below the belt in an argument, sometimes neither you nor your spouse can "un-hear" terrible accusations, and your marriage can suffer as a result. If you're swearing, insulting each other's parents, bringing up divorce, and constantly labeling your spouse, then you're fighting dirty. And that's toxic.
11. You Have Lost Your Sense Of Boundaries
According to PsychCentral, boundaries are one of the fundamentals of marriage. If you don't set clear boundaries you and your spouse can meld into "one being," which is not at all healthy for you nor your marriage.
12. You Have Lost Your Sense Of Self
Piggybacking on the above point, if you feel like your relationship has no sense of clear boundaries, or if you feel like you're beginning to lose yourself to your marriage, that's a sign of toxicity. However, according to Thought Catalog, that doesn't mean all hope is lost for the relationship. There are several active things you can do to reclaim your sense of self in a marriage, and heal from toxic tendencies.
13. You Do Any Of The Above To Your Spouse
According to The Fix, you have to be responsible for yourself, and no one else, not even your spouse. So, if you think you might have a toxic marriage, you should look at your own behavior for signs of toxicity in addition to looking at how your spouse behaves.