Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Angela Vaz
The foundation of every single relationship is communication.
A lot of misunderstandings, fights, and problems can be avoided when people are honest about their expectations and feelings.
Honest communication builds trust, and trust cements the relationship making it grow stronger and more beautiful.
A relationship with communication can survive the toughest of obstacles.
However, if the communication is toxic, the relationship will erode and eventually come to an end no matter how much love you have for each other.
In this post, we will discuss the most common types of toxic communication, which will help you realize if the communication in your relationship requires help.
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What is toxic communication?
Toxic communication is basically communication that is not straightforward or direct. It can lead to an unstable or toxic relationship.
It can come in many forms like:
- Getting triggered and blaming the person instead of calmly explaining to them why they feel the way they do.
- Defensive behaviour: Where the person gets extremely defensive, so they deny responsibility or shift blame.
- Sarcasm/Contempt: In this case, the person constantly taunts their partner, eye-rolls, is very sarcastic or sardonic. They psychologically abuse their partner.
- Stonewalling: This is also a type of toxic communication – where the person shuts out their partner completely by just ignoring them.
These 4 toxic communication patterns can be broken down further into 7. Let me explain.
7 types of toxic communication styles that are affecting your relationship
Here are some signs of toxic communication that may be running your relationship to the ground.
Keep reading to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy communication.
1. Constant blame
Suppose your partner is constantly finding fault with you and complains about every single thing wrong with their life without trying to compromise or solve the problem. In that case, this type of communication is very toxic.
If there is a genuine problem in the relationship or you have an issue with your partner’s behavior, find a better way to tell them.
Instead of using phrases like,
- “You never do anything romantic for me.”
- “You never help me around the house.”
- “I hate it when you place your mother before me.”
Please focus on the behavioral aspect of the person instead of them directly. And say it like this rather,
- “I feel sad that you’re not behaving romantic with me. I feel our romance has died down, don’t you think so?”
- “I’d really like if you’d help me around the house. Could we discuss this more?”
- “I feel you’re putting your mom before me and it makes me feel unimportant to you. Can we talk about this?”
When you learn to communicate your feelings with your partner in a healthy manner, your relationship will evolve and become so much better.
Try to avoid blaming or criticizing your partner and avoid bringing up the past constantly.
This will do more harm than good.
And it will only make your partner feel worse or pull up their defenses.
Whatever discussion you have with your partner, remember to put the relationship first.
2. Passive aggressive behavior
If one partner in a relationship is passive-aggressive, the communication is almost non-existent.
Passive-aggressive people don’t open up when they need to.
They assume the other person should know exactly how they feel and expect the other person to read their mind and know what’s going wrong.
This seldom works because the other person assumes that everything is hunky-dory, and eventually, resentment is built in the relationship.
You’ll understand your partner is passive-aggressive when they refuse to talk, make eye contact, or say things like:
- “I’m fine.”
- “Sure, whatever suits you best.”
- “Do whatever you want. I don’t care.”
These kinds of phrases don’t really help the relationship in any way and only make things worse. It’s also one of the most common toxic communication patterns.
The only way to move past this is, to be honest with your partner and not assume that they know how you feel.
3. Sarcasm or contempt
Some people prefer playing mind games with their partners instead of being honest and straightforward.
They’ll use sarcasm or negatively imply things without coming to the point straight away.
If your partner constantly insults you, makes sarcastic comments to make you feel poorly about yourself, is continually rolling their eyes or saying things like,
- “Yeah, right!”
- “You always know best, don’t you?”
And they mock you by laughing slyly and/or making you feel bad about yourself, then they’re undoubtedly sarcastic, and this is an extreme type of toxic communication.
These types of people will also make jokes at your expense in front of their friends to make you feel bad about yourself. And this is not okay.
It is a type of mental and emotional abuse and can leave you feeling very drained and exhausted mentally and emotionally.
If you feel like you’re in this place, you can seek help or therapy if honest communication isn’t working with your partner.
If you’re past the point of therapy or can’t handle the abuse anymore, you can move forward with terminating the relationship and letting them go.
4. Nothing is off bounds
If your partner doesn’t respect you and constantly brings up the past or exploits your weaknesses during an argument, this is also a sign of toxic communication.
They usually aren’t afraid to throw your mistakes in your face and always rely on this type of toxic communication instead of fighting fair.
If you feel your partner constantly makes you feel bad and uses your weaknesses against you, then yes… you are emotionally manipulated, which is an intense type of toxic communication.
You will constantly feel attacked and drained.
You can try talking to your partner, but you should consider therapy or ending the relationship for good if all else fails.
5. Jumping to conclusions
If your partner doubts your every move and constantly suspects something will go wrong or you’re going to disappoint them or cheat on them, then there is a lack of trust in the relationship.
This can also cause severe anxiety and depression for you because your partner rarely trusts you.
It doesn’t have anything to do with you, especially if you haven’t given them a reason to doubt you.
It’s more on them because of the insecurities they’re dealing with personally.
You can try communicating your stance with them and explain how they’re making you feel.
If they’ve had a past of their partners cheating on them or one of their parents practicing infidelity, then this could be the root cause of their insecurities.
Which has led to toxic communication.
It is not right to bring that into your relationship, which can cause severe damage to your relationship.
6. They are emotionally abusive
If your partner is highly controlling, doesn’t let you express your beliefs, and constantly belittles you for every view you have, you are in a very emotionally abusive relationship.
Suppose your partner fails to let you have your own life or allows you to socialize, mingle with your friends and your family, and constantly demands you do things or give them time when your attention goes elsewhere. In that case, you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
This is a toxic relationship because your partner fails to respect you as a person or respect your boundaries.
They will often criticize you and isolate you from others, making you feel alone and cutting you off from the outside world.
This type of relationship is something that no one should ever have to endure, which can affect you mentally.
7. Silent treatment
This is a type of toxic communication as well, even though it hardly involves communicating.
If your partner constantly walks away from deep conversations and avoids confrontations of any kind, this will not bode well for your relationship.
You may feel like you’re sweeping things under the rug, but these challenges are only piling up because they’re not being dealt with or addressed.
It’s like putting a bandaid over a deep wound.
Nothing is being solved.
If your partner is shutting you out or stonewalling you, then it is time to take a bigger step towards solving this type of toxic communication and bringing it to light so you can discuss how you want to move forward.
If you’re the one shutting out your partner, communicate to your partner that you need some time off, and you’ll come back to the conversation when you feel better equipped to handle it.
It’s okay to take a break and to take some time off to think things over or recharge so that you feel emotionally strong again to pursue the conversation.
But be open with your partner and communicate your needs to understand what to expect from you.
How to handle toxic communication?
I’ve covered some popular types of toxic communication, and now I want to talk about how you can deal with it to communicate more healthily and fix the relationship.
1. Take some time to understand where your partner is coming from
When a situation becomes unpleasant and harsh words are being said, take some time off to get more clarity about the situation and understand where your partner is coming from.
Reacting immediately is not always a good answer, and if you’re emotionally overwhelmed, you may say things that you regret later.
So, it’s alright to take some time apart to comprehend what’s happening and reach a place of calm so you can respond from a healthy place.
You are basically creating emotional distance and this will help you gain better clarity on the situation.
2. Take a hard look in the mirror
If your partner has been harsh with you, it’s easy to become defensive and shift the blame to someone else or assume that your partner is wrong.
But every fight or misunderstanding carries with it an important life lesson.
So, try to see if there is any fault of yours that you can fix or anything you can do to make your partner feel safer and more secure.
You can also seek therapy to see if there is an underlying issue with your behavior or there is something in your past that is affecting your current behavior.
It is important to love yourself just as much as you love your partner to be in a healthy and happy relationship.
And part of loving yourself is to be brutally honest and see whether there is anything you could be doing wrong.
3. Learn to control your emotions
It’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us.
Handling a toxic relationship can really take a toll on us because it comprises a huge part of our lives.
It can affect our relationship with our parents and children, our relationship with our friends, and even our careers.
And this can lead us to get angry or upset.
Whether your goal is to fix the relationship with your partner, or you want to break up, you need to do it calmly and rationally.
Do not let your ego get in the way of your relationship.
You’ve already taken a big step to identifying the toxic communication between you and your partner. You are now taking steps to remedy that.
So, try to communicate with your partner with nothing but honesty and respect.
4. Focus on the relationship always
If you aim to hurt your partner with your words to get them to see your side or make them feel bad about what they’ve done, it will not be very constructive for your relationship.
Your priority should be your relationship.
So, try to put your words across in a positive manner and help them understand where you’re coming from.
Instead of focusing on their faults, or them directly, focus on:
- How their behaviour is affecting you
- How their behaviour is affecting your relationship with them
5. Walk away from it
Suppose you’ve tried honest communication for a while and have even tried therapy, but things aren’t getting better, or the relationship is draining you and pulling you down.
In that case, it may be time to walk away from the relationship.
A relationship should make you feel safe, secure, and loved.
It should make you a better person and make you happier.
If that is not happening and you feel emotionally and mentally drained all the time despite your efforts to fix it, then there is a good chance that you and this person are not a right fit, and it may be time to consider ending the relationship for good.
Here is how I walked away from a toxic relationship.
Toxic Communication – Conclusion
Love isn’t enough in a relationship.
To have a healthy relationship, you have to accept the person for who they are despite their flaws and also be ready to compromise to reach a mutual ground.
But above all, trust, communication, and honesty are the pillars of a successful relationship.
And suppose you learn how to communicate your expectations and feelings to each other from a place of calm and respect. In that case, your relationship can survive pretty much any obstacle it comes across.
I hope this post helps you understand the signs of toxic communication and how you can fix that by changing the way you communicate with your partner.
Here are some more posts that you might find helpful:
- 17 signs your partner doesn’t value or respect you
- 17 signs it’s time to end the relationship
- How I recovered after getting out of a toxic relationship
- What I did when I found out my ex was cheating on me
- 13 signs of unrequited love and how to let go
- How to love yourself while you’re single
- How to stop letting things bother you
- The ultimate guide to getting over heartbreak and finding happiness again
- 35 honest ways to get your life together
- How to trust the process and just let go
- How to live alone and not be lonely
- The Ultimate Guide to letting go of the past
- 15 ways to get a fresh start this year
- How to create a plan and stick to it
- How to patiently wait for love while you’re single