Marriage is hard; it’s a phrase you’ve probably heard over and over again. While marriage does take work, and all marriages go through difficult times, there’s a point where you may feel intuitively that something is not quite right in your marriage. At that point, it’s time to take a look at the signs of a toxic marriage.
The word toxic is defined by “acting as or having the effect of a poison; poisonous.” It’s a dramatic work to describe your spouse, for sure. But if your spouse and marriage start affecting your well-being and your life in general, that’s a sure sign of a toxic marriage.
Here are 5 signs of a toxic marriage to watch out for:
Your spouse abuses you (emotionally, physically, verbally). Any type of abuse, whether it’s emotional, physical, or verbal is wrong and should not be tolerated. It should go without saying that if you are being abused in any way, you are in a toxic marriage. The best thing to do is to seek help immediately. Some people think emotional or verbal abuse is not as bad as physical abuse, but regardless of what type of abuse it is, it should not be taken lightly!
Your spouse is controlling or manipulating. If your spouse tells you what you can or cannot do, then you’re being controlled. Control can also be in the form of your spouse checking your text messages or e-mails…anything that’s supposed to be private. A spouse can manipulate you by playing mind games, embarrassing you in front of others, and may even try to use your weaknesses against you. Whatever tactic is taken, it’s a sign you’re in a toxic marriage.
Your spouse is gaslighting. Gaslighting is manipulation’s second cousin, if someone is gaslighting you they’re saying or doing things that make you feel as though you must be crazy. If your partner isn’t telling the whole truth or leaves out details to make you doubt your own sanity, he or she is gaslighting you. This is a form of emotional abuse as well.
You feel like you’re always walking on eggshells. Sure there may be some things you don’t particularly want to tell your spouse from time to time, but you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. You shouldn’t feel as though you can’t do or say something around them. That feeling like you’re walking on eggshells can give you anxiety and is a sign your marriage is unhealthy.
You feel as though you can’t share your feelings. When you’re in a healthy marriage you should feel as though you can share any feelings you have, whether they’re happy, sad, or angry. Feeling as though you need to hide your feelings for whatever reason is a sign you are in a toxic marriage. If you can’t be yourself around your partner and feel accepted then perhaps it’s a sign that something isn’t right.
If you are in a toxic marriage, the first step is to actually admit it. It may sound strange but a lot of people are in denial about the status of their “perfect” union. Once you admit and accept the situation, psychologists advise the next step is to believe that you need to be treated better. Building self-esteem could mean seeing a counselor to help you realize your self-worth. Other experts advise confronting the toxic behavior. You need to let your spouse know that what they’re doing is wrong. Since you can’t change a person, he or she needs to decide if they want to change. If your partner is open to change, counseling may be the route to take. If your partner believes nothing is wrong and is unwilling to change, it might be time to consider other options.
As was mentioned above, if you are being physically, emotionally, or mentally abused, please seek help to leave the relationship immediately for your own safety.
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions at https://williamstrachanfamilylaw.com/