Toxic relationships don’t always start out so overtly destructive—rather, it’s usually a host of underlying issues that build up and up until one or both parties start feeling trapped, controlled, or drained. Doctor of clinical psychology, Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, would agree: “It starts off with very tiny stuff that on the surface, when you look at them individually, they just seem so petty,” she notes on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. “We could think of them as microaggressions.”
That doesn’t mean you should brush them aside: It might be difficult in the moment, but compiling these issues all together can help you see your relationship with fresh eyes—and determine whether it’s truly healthy.
Below, Neo reveals four common—yet subtle—signs of a toxic relationship. It’s non-exhaustive, of course, but these are some of the signals to watch out for:
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