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Toxic relationships are tremendously damaging, both emotionally and psychologically. Each and every one of these behaviors should serve as a warning to pay attention to the rest of what is going on in your relationship.

  1. You are the problem. In this case, the toxic person is unable or unwilling to own any part of the programs he or she may have created. Toxic people are so outwardly focused that they are unable to see that they own any parent of the problem.
  2. Controlling behavior or extreme jealousy. If your partner wants to run every moment of your life or is extremely jealous of anyone or anything else that takes your time or interest, beware! This person wants to own you and absorb you.
  3. No boundaries. Having no boundaries and ignoring any boundaries you try to set is another sign of a toxic person. The desire is to completely destroy the lines between the two of you that you will no longer exist as a separate entity. People who lack boundaries believe they have the right to do anything they wish because you are indistinguishable from them.
  4. Violence. There is no excuse, explanation, rationalization, clarification, or justification for interpersonal violence of any kind.
  5. Conning or criminal behavior. If you are in a relationship with someone who is engaging in criminal behavior, you could come under suspicion even if you are not involved.
  6. Addictions. If a person is unable to break an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the person’s relationship is with the drug, not you, but you will pay for it if you stick around. If the addicted person wants the relationship with you bad enough, he or she will be willing to get clean and stay that way.
  7. Cheating/affairs and/or unusual sexual practices. People who demand acceptance of unusual sexual behaviors, including affairs, as a prerequisite to being in a relationship are a bad bet unless you subscribe to exactly the same set of rules. If you tell your partner you are not comfortable trying something and he or she persists, be warned that this behavior is possibility toxic.

(Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about the remaining signs) 

Excerpted from Emotional Unavailability by Bryn C. Collins, MA, LP.

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