How to Identify a Toxic Love Relationship

How to identify a toxic love relationship


Q: Hi Athena,

I have been with a guy for almost 8 years and it hasn’t been an all joyful relationship. Over the past year he changed on me. He became harsh, disrespectful and rude which brought me to tears all the time. He blames his actions on me saying that it is because I have not been there for him emotionally and physically whilst I have been busy following my career (which I thought he supported me with –since he would say so). I now feel lonely and hurt most of the time in this relationship but afraid to walk away as I’ve been with him for so long and he knows me better than anyone. I’m afraid that I’ll never find someone as fitting as him. I don’t know if I should take the blame for his sudden change in behavior. I just don’t know if love is enough in this case. He is forcing me to have a child so that we can save the relationship (something I am not ready for as a 25 year old woman who has dreams and ambitions). Threatening to leave me if I don’t do as he says. I find myself crying every night telling myself that it’s not worth it. I’ll find myself calling him to which he ends up blocking my calls and the unblocking me when he has something to say. I want to leave this relationship so badly but it is so hard! Please help me- Phathudi.


A: Hi Phathudi,

I can hear that this is painful for you and I want to start off by saying that you have the internal resources to deal with this.

The sum of a relationship is created by the actions of both partners.

Taking responsibility for and owning your part in the relationship is different to taking responsibility for the entire relationship.

When you say that your partner blames you for his emotional response, I instinctively want to question why that is, and tell you that he too needs to take responsibility for his actions towards you.


How to identify a toxic love relationship & stop self-sabotaging by Athena Laz

How to identify a toxic relationshipAthena Laz's Tweet That

There are a few red flags here that indicate that you are in a potentially emotionally abusive relationship. They are:

*Being forced to have a baby when you are not ready.

*Harsh, rude and disrespectful behaviour as a means of communicating unhappiness in the relationship.

*Threats to leave the relationship as a means of control.

*Controlling behaviour through blocking and unblocking your calls.

*Feeling isolated and lonely.

It’s hard recognizing that you are in a toxic relationship and fear of leaving it can keep you unnecessarily unhappy and emotionally isolated. In the video below (with Leisa Briggs) you can see how to identify a toxic relationship and how to exit a toxic relationship, if need be.



The fear of not finding someone else who will understands you as well, speaks to a fear of change.How to attract real love in your life - a video interview with Terri Cole & Athena Laz

What if you met someone who loves and adores you and treats you with respect?

So often with fear we think of the worst case scenario- like, die alone spinster- but the truth is that we can always start again and the process can be enjoyable.

[You can also watch my video interview with licensed psychotherapist Terri Cole on how to attract Real Love in your life.]

I also know that working with our fears can be a difficult process, so the best option here is to work with a therapist who can further facilitate this for you.

Please feel free to contact a  Licensed Psychologist .

Take Care,

Athena Laz is the founder of, where she uses her skill as a licensed psychologist, self-help author & columnist to help others find their inner power.


P.S. This Q&A was originally featured in my column for Cosmopolitan Magazine. If you have a question for me you can e-mail or tweet me using #AskAthena.

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