Even though the words “abusive” and “toxic” are sometimes used interchangeably, they shouldn’t be. So says therapist and intimacy coach Lori Beth Bisbey. "Toxic relationships can be toxic on both sides with both people not having the skills to support each other,” says Bisbey. “[That can be] triggering off the worst qualities in each other.”
She also explains that “not all toxic behavior is abusive, and most abuse can’t be chalked up to a toxic dynamic.” So how do you know if your relationship is a toxic one? Here are four signs to consider:
- You use the silent treatment when you don’t get what you want.
- Your partner makes belittling “jokes” about you.
- Disagreements often turn into heated debates or screaming matches.
- You test your partner’s boundaries.