No relationship is perfect, in the personal or the business sphere. But for the most part, a good relationship makes you feel secure, happy, cared for, respected, and free to be yourself.
On the other side of the coin are toxic relationships--the ones that make you feel drained, depleted, and sometimes even distraught.
Whether you're running a business, working with a partner, leading an organization, or managing a team, the last thing you need is a toxic relationship.
Here are some signs to help you recognize a toxic relationship:
1. All take, no give. Any relationship in which you experience withdrawals of energy without deposits will leave you in the negative.
2. Feeling drained. If, instead of feeling happy and productive, you're always mentally, emotionally, and even physically drained, it's time to re-evaluate.
3. Lack of trust. A relationship without trust is like a car without gas: You can stay in it all you want, but it won't go anywhere.
4. Hostile atmosphere. Constant anger is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship. You should never be around hostility because it makes you feel unsafe.
5. Occupied with imbalance. A one-sided relationship can never run smoothly.
6. Constant judgment. In judgmental relationships, criticism is not intended to be helpful but rather to belittle.
7. Persistent unreliability. Mutual reliability is important to building trust and is at the core of any good relationship.
8. Nonstop narcissism. If the other party's interest in the relationship is really just a reflection of him or herself, it's impossible to achieve any kind of balance.
9. Loaded with negative energy. It's almost impossible for anything positive to come out of a relationship filled with negativity.
10. Lack of communication. Without communication, there is no relationship. Period.
11. Continuous disrespect. Mutual respect is the first requirement of a good partnership.
12. Mutual avoidance. If you spend your time avoiding each other, that tells you all you need to know.
13. Insufficient support. If you cannot turn to each other, is there a reason to be in the relationship?
14. Ceaseless control issues. If one person is in control, or a constant tug-of-war is going on, you're probably spending too much energy navigating the relationship.
15. Never-ending drama. Good relationships improve your life; they don't make it messier.
16. Persistent self-betrayal. If you find yourself changing your opinions to please someone else, you're in a damaging relationship.
17. Constant challenges. All relationships go through challenges, but good relationships work through them.
18. Feelings of unworthiness. It's an insidious thing negative relationships do: They leave you feeling you don't deserve any better.
19. Vibes of entrapment. Is the other person a positive force in your life, or are you there because you don't see any way out?
20. Always undermining. If a relationship can't be reassuring, it's failing a crucial test.
21. Empty pretense. Smiles don't always mean everything is OK.
22. Packed with uncertainty. When nothing is sure, forward movement feels impossible.
23. Brimming with envy. Partners are never equal in all aspects, but that should be a source of strength, not of a source of disruptive envy.
24. Shortage of autonomy. Anyone in any relationship should have the right to say no.
25. Permeates victimhood. You can't move onto the future if you're tied to someone who's still stuck in the past.
26. Diminishes your self-worth. When you're in a relationship with someone who doesn't acknowledge your value, it can be hard to see it yourself.
27. Laced with dishonesty. Every lie between partners undercuts a little bit of the relationship.
28. Makes you unhappy. If someone is constantly making you unhappy, you owe it to yourself to let that person go.
29. Feels uncomfortable. Sometimes your mind needs more time to discover what your heart already knows.
30. Lowers your high standards. Toxic relationships can cause us to slowly begin accepting what was once not acceptable.
31. Senses stagnant. Growth and learning are vital, and you can't afford to be cut off from them.
32. Cuts corners. Nothing is ever worth cutting corners, or accepting anything that is second rate.
33. Filled with criticism. A nonstop barrage of criticism never helped anyone improve; it's not about making things better but boosting the critic's ego.
34. Brings out the worst. If you are constantly being your worst, you cannot be your best self.
35. Cannot do anything right. If you cannot do anything right, maybe the relationship is all wrong.
Relationships are important, and a toxic relationship can cost you dearly in time and energy that you could be putting to much better use.
Stay true to yourself and your values, listen to your heart, and be strong if you need to extricate yourself from a toxic relationship.