Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Different Sources Of Toxic Dynamics In Relationships

Toxic dynamics in relationships can come from different sources. Some situations are truly toxic, and others are the result of misunderstandings. So that you don’t end your relationship because of a misunderstanding, read this article.

Man and woman in toxic relationship

Also, a good recommendation is to discuss your relationship with a professional who can objectively determine if the relationship is toxic.

11 Hidden and Subtle Toxic Behaviors in Relationships

Lack of Empathy

If a person towards you isn’t concerned about how you feel, doesn’t ask, and isn’t interested, they ignore you when you’re feeling down or even ridicule and mock you. It means you are in an unhealthy relationship. However, there are two other variants.

  1. They may come from a family that wasn’t emotionally supportive. So your partner doesn’t have the habit of emotionally supporting you but will solve some of your other problems. This can change up to a certain percentage, and the partner can learn how you like to be supported.
  2. Maybe you interpret something as a lack of empathy, and your partner is trying to protect you from yourself. Example: You’re hypochondriacal. Or you think everyone is attacking and hating you. Maybe your partner doesn’t want to empathize with you or feed something that will lead you in the wrong direction.
  3. A lack of empathy can easily be a defense mechanism. The less I can relate to other people’s problems, the less they will hurt me. Besides, I protect myself that way.

General recommendation to check where this is coming from:

Try talking to your partner about something that is bothering you.

  • If a partner is silent, tries to listen and understand you, but does not show empathy, it is possible that he or she belongs to the first group (they come from a family where this was not practiced).
  • If they ignore you or put you down, roll their eyes on you and say you’re weak and always whining; they come from a group that really lacks empathy.

How to protect yourself from toxicity in relationships

Black couple in toxic relationship


Establishing control can be a sign of great aggression and dominance over the other person.

1. It is usually associated with narcissistic personalities and serves to make the person have you absolutely at their disposal or to soothe their enormous insecurities. These insecurities obviously come from a poor self-image and the background idea that she or he can easily be abandoned.

  • Special attention should be paid to subtle control, where the partner doesn’t demand anything from you but shows displeasure and pressures you quietly (after you do or don’t do something, the partner stays silent, gets angry, criticizes you to make you feel uncomfortable, etc.).

2. However, if you’re doing something bad for yourself, like overspending money, it can not be said that the partner’s attempt to control you comes from bad motives.

Black woman in toxic relationship

Of course, no one should be under anyone’s control. But if you are married to your partner and you are harming them, your relationship, or yourself (and your partner loves you), it is possible that they are trying to rationalize you with control.

How To Heal From the Toxicity In Relationship

Emotional Unavailability

1. Emotional unavailability can be seen as aggression towards a person. A partner can emit aggression towards you and try to punish you so they don’t let you get close to them.

The reasons for this may lie in the fact that

  • Your partner believes that you have made a mistake in some way.
  • Partner is aggressive by nature and uses emotional unavailability only as a tool for expressing aggression.

2. But another possibility is the inability to connect. Many people can’t connect on a deeper level with others because:

  • They didn’t have that habit from childhood.
  • Or they’re traumatized by such connections. Consider that for someone, emotional connections could be where they experienced past injuries.

3. There’s also a chance that some of your actions hurt your partner, and this is their quiet way of punishing you.

In that case, we can’t say it’s toxic behavior but rather their defense mechanism, showing bitterness and resentment.

Is my relationship worth fighting for?

Lack of Support

Your partner may show little interest or support in your goals, dreams, or challenges, leaving you feeling unsupported or invalidated.

1. Not supporting others’ dreams is a common dynamic among immature people. People fear supporting others because they might surpass them.

Changes can radically change the dynamics between partners, and the partner who was more important, more successful, stronger, etc. in a relationship can suddenly become less important.

  • Also, there is that one competitive trait between people that is part of human nature. The one who is in a better place will always do better. So once upon a time, when everything depended on where we were, it was important that others did not beat us. This competitive trait of ours does not spare or privilege partners.

2. Another dynamic is interesting: people don’t like things to change. When one partner wants to make progress, the other can start to feel threatened. Either from the changes or from that partner. So the least she or he can do is not support her or his partner’s dreams.

This is about the fact that a person cannot predict the future with these changes and then tries to prevent them.

Man and woman are fighting

3. However, if your partner doesn’t support something that’s bad for you, you must consider if it’s a toxic person or someone who is a true friend to you.

For example, your idea to quit your job, sell your property, and travel the world for a year might concern your partner, who may not support it. In that case, this isn’t toxicity; it’s caring for you.

Conditional Love

Love and affection usually come with conditions.

But we can draw a line between a person wanting something in return for what they did for you and whether a person wants something in return for loving you.

Let’s talk a little bit about that.

1. People get into relationships because they want to get something out of them. Some want to belong to someone, some want security, to improve their financial situation, to have children, etc. People are in relationships for selfish reasons and to get something out of them. This could also be called conditional love.

If you’re not giving the person something they want out of a relationship, they probably won’t be satisfied with the relationship.

Woman in toxic relationship

2. Of course, there are different types of blackmail, like: I will leave you if you don’t do _____ for me. This kind of blackmail can fall under the category of emotional manipulation.

This is a characteristic of narcissistic personalities. You can tell if you have a narcissistic personality next to you by the fact that such people always get back ten times more for everything they give.
Also, they remember very well what they gave you or what you asked of them and they charge you for it sooner or later.

3. Another variant of conditional love is the expectation of receiving something in return for what we have done for our partner. Like, “I do a lot for you, so you should do something for me.” If that reciprocity doesn’t exist, one partner feels taken advantage of. This is a typical tit for tat dynamic that is natural and healthy.

Interesting fact:

If you expect unconditional love from your partner, it may mean that you want to live in a parent-child dynamic. It is the only place where both people voluntarily agree that one only gives and the other only takes. In my career, I have had many clients who were on one side or the other.
Of course, unconditional love is very pleasant for one party, but it is not natural or sustainable on the long run.

What is the best way to gain self-confidence?

Toxic couple

Constant Criticism or Negativity

Constant criticism and blame are usually traits of toxic individuals. The goal behind it is to destroy self-confidence and create a bad self-image.

Narcissistic personalities achieve several of their goals in this way:

  • They keep the person in a bad state so that they can control them
  • They maintain a good self-image (you are worse than me)
  • They make sure that the person does not leave them because he is now in a bad state thanks to their criticism, etc.

2. Another variant is that it is your partner’s nature. He or she comes from a family where such dynamics were cultivated, and he or she has a habit of criticizing (much like a father or mother). This habit can be changed with will and patience, because it is a habit.

3. And the third option is, that your partner criticizes you for doing something that is not good for you. For instance, if you gamble or are lazy and your partner criticizes you, it cannot be said that your partner is toxic.

Of course, this is not an ideal performance, but maybe your partner does not know how else to prevent you from enjoying something that is not good for you.

Man and woman in toxic relationship

Whatever the reasons behind constant criticism, it is possible that you are not good partners for each other. Or you need to learn how to communicate from scratch. Because, as a rule, constant criticism does not achieve anything. If you want change, there are much better ways to achieve it.

Why We Are In Love With Someone – Psychological Explanation

Isolation tactics

1. If your partner isolates you from people who have a neutral or positive influence on you, it’s undoubtedly a toxic dynamic in the relationship.

This is clearly an attempt to weaken your social bonds in order to remain oriented and dependent on your partner.

2. However, the situation is somewhat different if they want to isolate you from people with a negative impact. It is possible that, for some psychological and emotional reasons, you cannot see the person in front of you rationally, so your partner tries to help and protect you.

  • The way to determine which of these two things is, is to try to objectively see from whom that partner is distancing you. does that person really have anything to complain about

Even then, it’s not a healthy relationship if they pressure you to isolate yourself.

Adults have the right to spend time with whomever they want. Other people do not have the right to decide who it is wise for them to spend time with. The situation changes somewhat if joint children or finances are at risk, but even then, the other party must consider leaving the relationship, not banning and isolating the partner.

Toxic relationship

Boundary Violations

Disregarding boundaries can also come from two sources:

  1. The person has no respect for you because he or she doesn’t have (or doesn’t want to have) a good opinion of you.
  2. The person comes from a family where boundaries were not respected and where things were done “that way”.

The first is practically unchangeable. The person has to maintain a bad opinion of you for some reason, whether it’s because they feel inferior or superior to you.

And the second is changeable if the person wants a relationship with you. It will be unusual for her, but they can follow your rules.

3. But suppose you’re doing something that isn’t agreed upon between you and your partner, like maintaining a relationship with someone else (Oh yes. For many people, this is also understood by freedom) or excessively spending money from the joint account. In that case, that can’t exactly be called a boundary violation.

Before you say your partner violates your boundaries, clearly define them. And be reasonable about them. Whatever your boundaries are, they are legitimate and justified if they matter to you.

Couple in toxic relationship

Why Break Up Is So Hard To Bear: Real Reasons

Unequal Power Dynamics

Here, we’re referring to dominance over you.

1. If you endure such dominance, your partner likely has a narcissistic personality.

Narcissists and sadists enjoy taking all or most of the power away from their partners. For them, it is a pleasure or the only dynamic they recognize.

It is difficult to leave this kind of relationship because the other person is used to not having any kind of power. She or he literally feels powerless and helpless to do anything. This dynamic is practiced for years until the weaker partner leaves all the decision-making power in the hands of the dominant partner.

2. However, you may be in a relationship with someone more powerful than you. Not because they’re selfish but because they’re genuinely powerful, and you don’t know how to handle it. There’s a power imbalance in that case, and you must find a way to function in that relationship.


We must learn to accept different levels of power and find a way to stop seeing them as threats.

Let’s say there is a housewife and a Nobel laureate in the house. The difference is obvious, but everyone can choose a place in life where they will be powerful. He is in science, and she is in creating a warm home.

If this bothers you and you can’t find a middle ground, the recommendation is to leave the relationship.

Dismissal of Your Feelings

1. If you feel that this stems from toxicity, from a narcissistic individual, or from someone who generally lacks compassion and empathy, you’re likely in a toxic relationship. This is clearly another form of manipulation.

If your feelings are devalued or you are labeled as confused, crazy, and unable to recognize what you are feeling, it will be very easy for them to control you.

2. Of course, there’s also a chance you’re dealing with someone who struggles to express their feelings, and the whole emotional aspect isn’t familiar to them.

Perhaps emotions weren’t expressed in their family and weren’t considered necessary. As a result, they don’t feel the need to address your feelings because such a relationship is unknown to that person.

Again, the first variant is immutable because it has a purpose: to weaken and control you in that way. The second variant is somewhat variable. A person can learn to listen to you and try to understand you.

Couple in toxic relationship

So this is the answer to the question, Is your relationship toxic.

The same behaviors can come from different sources, so it is necessary to carefully assess where your partner’s behavior is coming from. Because one source is such that the relationship needs to be broken, and the other is fixable, or at least not toxic to you.

As you saw in the text, I mentioned several times that we often (or always) interpret other people’s behavior through our own eyes. Therefore, a lot depends on what filters someone’s behavior passes through in us. If our filters are that someone constantly attacks us and wants to hurt us, we will always see that we are in a toxic relationship. If our filters are different, we won’t be so threatened.

I recommend consulting with a professional and presenting every aspect of your relationship to them. Be honest, open, and careful in explaining. Also, be open to hearing what the professional says and advises you.
Love you. Dee

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