Toxic love, when it really comes down to it, is any love affair that makes you feel in some way bad or uncomfortable.

We could describe any love affair in which anxiety and pain are more common a feature than contentment and pleasure as toxic.

It’s common for people to blame others for being toxic individualswhen in every relationship there are two people involved in creating a toxic dynamic.

How do you know that you’re in a toxic love relationship?

You’re in a toxic love relationship when the relationship makes you feel bad more than it makes you feel good. The good moments could be exceptionally good, making toxic love relationships addictive high-low cycles.

The key though is in how much progress you can make.

It’s ordinary for a certain amount of conflict to arise in relationships: for positions to be negotiated and compromises made. If you find that your relationship never makes any progress on its negative points, then you might be in a toxic relationship.

If you find that you’re frequently entering into toxic relationships, you might need to question to what extent you need to own some of the responsibility for the toxicity in these interactions. When you do this, you’ve got a better chance of consciously aiming for a better outcome with behavioral adjustments and wiser decision making.

1. You’re a covert drama queen

Some people court drama in relationships because on some level, they enjoy the push and pull of being in a passionate but often unpleasant interaction. It keeps the heart beating. Inevitably, however, all this drama gets out of hand. In the end, it all ceases to be fun when someone genuinely gets hurt.

2. You need to be needed

Toxic love can take many forms and one of these is co-dependency. In co-dependent relationships, two people who have dependent personality features get together and indulge each other’s dependencies.

One person might need to feel needed as a caregiver and so selects a partner who has his/her own dependency issues. Neither gets better, as a result, making both feel resentful and suffocated by their own inability to cope with life.

3. You’re not discerning enough

Toxic love scenarios come about much more quickly when you’renot discerning enough to choose a partner sensibly. Take the time to talk to someone a little more deeply about who they are and what their attitudes are to various things are.

You’ll soon find out if you’re likely to have a good or a bad experience with this person. If you choose people based on superficial criteria, don’t be surprised when you get something you didn’t expect on closer acquaintance.

4. You’re projecting your fantasies onto a person

People often call out toxic love when they feel they’ve been deceived after falling in love with someone who later turned out to be toxic to them.

But if we’re often getting disappointed by the rift between our expectations and what a person turns out to be, we need to consider the possibility that we’re projecting our own fantasies onto people. By doing this, we are setting ourselves up for inevitable disappointment.

5. You’re too easily flattered

Some of the most toxic love relationships are those where one person is knowingly exploiting the other for what they can get out of them. People end up in these situations because they’re easily manipulated by people who know how to get to them. The victim in this kind of relationship is often someone who has a lot to offer, either financially or emotionally.

6. You’re not willing to face reality

Are you one of those people who, seeing all the signs from the very beginning, recklessly ignores their own better judgment and friends’ advice to run for their lives? When it all falls apart, you act surprised and kick and scream. But the truth is you knew it all along.

7. You need a crisis to transform you

At some points in our lives, it’s almost as if we sleepwalk into toxic love affairs that leave us in tatters. If you look a little closer at your motivations, you can see that there’s something about this painful process that appeals to you.

You want to learn a certain lesson or reach for something you couldn’t get to as you are now. A toxic love affair can often force us to face our limitations and motivate us to change.

8. You’re going through a transition

We’ve all been in rebound relationshipswhich bridge the gap between our leaving one relationship in the past and redefining ourselves for the future.

Relationships that come when you’re going through a transitional stage come at a time of great confusion. When you’re not clear about who you are, you can attract chaotic relationships that reflect that confusion.

Toxic love is something most of us experience at one time or another. It’s an unpleasant experience, but one which forces us to examine ourselves and our motivations more closely. If we neglect to examine these things, we are liable to end up in the same relationship again and again.

Have you ever experienced toxic love? Do you recognize your part in the dynamic?

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