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No one’s relationship is perfect—that’s just a fact of life. But if you find yourself feeling drained, unhappy, or worn out after seeing your partner, you might be in a relationship with a toxic person. In this article, we’ll list some of the most common signs that someone is toxic to be around so you can protect your own well-being and peace of mind.

Method 1
Method 1 of 12:
They judge everyone (including you).

  1. 1
    You’ll probably hear a lot of criticism from a toxic person. If you’re dating a toxic person, they’ll have no trouble telling you all about the terrible things you’ve done (or haven’t done). In fact, a lot of toxic people aren’t afraid to lie—if it means they can judge you even more, they’ll do it.[1]
    • Keep an ear out for phrases like, “You always…” and, “You never…” Sweeping statements like these are often overgeneralizations, and it probably means that the person you’re dating is exaggerating to make your actions seem worse.

Method 2
Method 2 of 12:
They never apologize.

  1. 1
    Toxic people will never admit that they did something wrong. If the person you’re dating never says “I’m sorry,” that’s a bad sign. It means that they don’t see anything wrong with their actions, even when you call them out directly.[2]
    • They might even try to spin it around and blame you. For instance, if you said something like, “Why didn’t you call me last night? I was worried sick,” they might say, “Well, you never answer your phone anyway. It’s your fault I didn’t call.”
    • Similarly, you might feel like your partner never listens to you or your needs. This is another sign of toxic behavior, and a big relationship red flag.

Method 3
Method 3 of 12:
They manipulate people.

  1. 1
    You might see them using their friends and family to get what they want. For instance, they might make friends with someone just to get their networking connections so they can get a better job. Chances are, if the person you’re dating constantly manipulates other people, they’re probably manipulating you, too.[3]
    • You might also see your date using their emotions to get out of something. Maybe whenever you get mad at them, they start crying (in a very dramatic way) so you feel bad for them.
    • Or, if you call out something they did wrong, they’ll act really sad and say things like, “You probably hate me, don’t you?”

Method 4
Method 4 of 12:
They are jealous of your friends and family.

  1. 1
    Toxic people are often jealous of your outside relationships. Even if they know that you aren’t romantically involved with anyone else, they might get mad if you decide to hang out with friends or spend a night with your family. This is because they want you all to themselves, and it’s a big sign that they are a toxic person.[4]
    • They might also try to guilt you into staying home with them instead of going out with your friends. You could hear things like, “But I’ll miss you so much!” or, “I thought you liked hanging out with me?”

Method 5
Method 5 of 12:
They try to control you.

  1. 1
    You might start to feel like you have no control over your life anymore. It might start out innocently: they “suggest” the job you should apply for or which outfit you should wear. However, it will slowly turn more and more nefarious—you might find yourself asking their permission before you do things, just so they don’t get mad.[5]
    • Controlling behavior can be a sign that your partner is abusive. If you feel like your partner is controlling your life, get help right away.[6]

Method 6
Method 6 of 12:
They complain about everything.

  1. 1
    Even if everyone had a great time, a toxic person will still find a way to complain. Maybe you went out to have a beautiful picnic with them, but the weather was a little cloudy, so they talk badly about it. Or, maybe you both went out with a group of people and had fun, but when you come home, your partner complains that your friends are annoying. Toxic people do this because they want attention, and being negative is the only way they know how to get it.[7]
    • After spending time with your family, your partner might complain about how often you see them or how much of your time they take up.

Method 7
Method 7 of 12:
They blame you for anything that goes wrong.

  1. 1
    Toxic people will criticize you for things out of your control. Traffic, the weather, someone else being late—these are all things a toxic person might blame you for, even though there’s no way you could have influenced them. It’s because they are looking for ways to get angry at you and start a fight, and they’ll use anything around them to do it.[8]
    • They might even blame you for things that they did. For instance, if they forgot to buy milk at the store, your partner might say, “Well, you didn’t remind me.”
    • Or, if your partner was late to work, they might say, “You didn’t wake me up on time.”

Method 8
Method 8 of 12:
They are passive-aggressive.

  1. 1
    They will say things that sound nice, but are actually mean. You might hear a lot of backhanded compliments from a toxic person when you two are dating. A mentally healthy person will address their issues head-on, but a toxic person will let out their aggression by using sarcasm or giving you the silent treatment. And, if you call them out on it, they’ll probably pretend they have no idea what you’re talking about.[9]
    • For instance, if you put on a new outfit, they might say, “Wow, that looks really nice. That was so in style 5 years ago.”
    • If you ask them what’s wrong, they’ll probably just say, “I’m fine.”

Method 9
Method 9 of 12:
They constantly play the victim.

  1. 1
    Anything that goes wrong in a toxic person’s life is someone else’s fault. Even if they are the only person to blame, a toxic person will find a way to shift it onto someone else. Pay close attention when they tell you stories about their day: do they ever admit fault, or is everyone around them terrible?[10]
    • A classic example of this is someone calling all of their exes “crazy.” If everyone that they have dated in the past is crazy, they’re probably shifting a lot of the blame onto their past partners (and not taking any responsibility for their own part).
    • You might also hear about their terrible friends or how everyone in their life lets them down.

Method 10
Method 10 of 12:
They talk down to you.

  1. 1
    They might treat you like you’re a child who doesn’t know anything. In healthy relationships, partners should always treat each other like equals no matter what. If your partner belittles you or talks to you disrespectfully, it could be a sign that they are a toxic person.[11]
    • For instance, after you finish talking, a toxic person might say, “So, you do know how to speak coherently. Good job!”
    • Or, they might tell you to “Calm down,” or, “Take it easy,” whenever you get slightly emotional.

Method 11
Method 11 of 12:
They make you feel bad about yourself.

  1. 1
    Healthy relationships should make you feel better, not worse. If you find that you’re walking on eggshells just waiting for your partner to criticize you again, that’s a red flag. Toxic people will often tear you down instead of building you up, which is a telltale sign that this is not a good partnership.[12]
    • Your partner might say things like, “You’re so stupid,” or, “Do you ever use that brain of yours?”
    • Toxic people will also often take things out on you. If your partner comes home angry, they might yell or scream at you, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Method 12
Method 12 of 12:
You feel unhappy or upset most of the time.

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      • If you are in an abusive relationship, call the U.S. Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.[14]
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      About This Article

      Hannah Madden
      Co-authored by:
      wikiHow Staff Writer
      This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden. Hannah Madden is a writer, editor, and artist currently living in Portland, Oregon. In 2018, she graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. Hannah enjoys writing articles about conservation, sustainability, and eco-friendly products. When she isn’t writing, you can find Hannah working on hand embroidery projects and listening to music.
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      Co-authors: 3
      Updated: January 7, 2022
      Views: 221
      Categories: Relationship Issues
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