Based on inputs from divorce attorneys, the top signs of a toxic marriage are:
- Your spouse lies or becomes unpredictable.
- You feel emotionally drained and depressed.
- You rationalize the cracks in your marriage, but your friends can see through you.
- You no longer rely on your spouse for emotional support.
- You feel controlled and manipulated.
- Communication breaks down in the marriage.
A toxic marriage can adversely impact your emotional, sexual, and physical health. If you allow the problems to persist, they can snowball into something uglier and trigger a divorce. The toxicity can be caused by a variety of factors such as domestic violence, substance abuse, infidelity, emotional/financial blackmail, emotional neglect, and other overt or covert marital misconduct.
Though you may realize you are in a toxic marriage, you may be unwilling to do anything about it because, perhaps for you, marriage is for keeps. However, if the problem has assumed frightening proportions, and you value your mental and physical health, then you should talk about it with a therapist or divorce attorney and consider taking the recommended action.
Here are the signs of a toxic marriage – in the form of a checklist:
An Unpredictable and/or Lying Spouse
- Your spouse does not behave as he used to and his “changed” behavior causes negative vibes.
- You just aren’t sure of what is coming next.
- His/her behavior is erratic and confusing.
- You have caught your spouse lying about money or other important matters.
- After confronting your spouse, he/she keeps asking for one more chance but doesn’t reform.
Depression and/or Mental Trauma
- Your marriage and tensions with your spouse cause you mental agony – almost every day.
- Your depression or mental trauma impacts your relationship with your friends and family.
- You are generally uneasy most of the time you are with your spouse.
- You feel emotionally drained because your spouse denies what you consider facts.
- Your once-transparent spouse becomes completely opaque.
- You don’t feel relaxed when your spouse is around you.
- You are always on the defensive with your spouse.
- You don’t feel safe and secure when your spouse is around.
- You are happy when you are away from home and your spouse.
- You desperately want to exit the marriage.
- You start doubting your capabilities because your mental anchor has been depreciated or destabilized.
Rationalizing your Spouse’s Faults
- You lie about your marriage to your family and friends by justifying your spouse’s marital misconduct.
- You know that your friends and family know that you are lying – but you continue doing it anyway because you need to prove that everything is hunky-dory in your marriage.
- You react negatively when someone tells you that things don’t seem to be going well in your marriage.
- You rationalize your spouse’s bad behavior because you want to hide the cracks in your marriage.
- You justify the problems in your marriage, and that somehow fortifies your spouse’s toxicity.
Lack of Emotional Support
- You cannot depend on your spouse for emotional support (and you have experienced it many times in the past).
- You instinctively start relying on your friends and family – or even children – for emotional support. Usually, spouses have each other’s back. But when things are such that your first reaction is to call on others for support, then that is a sign you have given up on your spouse because you may be in a toxic marriage.
Feeling Controlled and Manipulated
- You feel that you are not in control of your marriage.
- You feel overpowered by the control exercised by your spouse.
- Your acts are directed or controlled by your spouse.
- Your spouse bullies you into doing things you don’t want to do, or prevents you from doing what you want to do.
- Your spouse plays mind games with you and always tries to justify his actions or line of thought.
- Your spouse seems distant and aloof most of the time when he is with you.
- Your spouse is dismissive or indifferent to your problems.
- Your spouse disrespects you by not paying attention to what you are saying.
- Your spouse makes significant decisions without even informing you.
- Your spouse takes you for granted.
- You two have frequent fights.
These are some of the signs of a toxic marriage. No matter how toxic you feel your marriage is, you should dig deeper before concluding that it has reached a point of no return. Even a toxic marriage can be healed if both spouses have the will and perseverance to remedy it.