“Sometimes, good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” –Marilyn Monroe
You’re so in love, but your relationship has become toxic. It simply can’t continue. Night after sleepless night, you lie awake replaying the fights in your head. You can’t understand why your partner won’t change or how they can simply ignore how you feel. You wonder if they ever truly loved you to begin with.
Are you constantly trying to “fix” everything to prove your self-worth, always being put down to the extent that you never feel good enough? Are you’re always walking on egg shells, having to think twice before you speak? Does your emotional support lie elsewhere? You have turned to others to vent because your needs are constantly not being met. Words of encouragement and support that were once common are now largely absent. Do you experience any physical or verbal abuse? Or, does boredom consume you to the point that neither you nor your partner is interested in making any changes?
You’ve tried everything to save your relationship, but nothing’s worked. You know it’s time to end it, yet the thought of being alone petrifies you. But still, the pain has become too unbearable. If you don’t end things now, you might completely lose yourself…forever.
All relationships take hard work and go through rough patches and when you’ve invested so much time and energy into a relationship, you want it to work out, regardless of how bad things have become, right?
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is when two people are emotionally dependent on each other—that is, they use each other for the love and respect they are unable to give themselves. Any relationship between people who don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect, and a lack of cohesiveness.
While every relationship goes through ups and downs, a toxic relationship is consistently unpleasant and draining for the people in it, to the point that negative moments outweigh and outnumber the positive ones. Toxic relationships are mentally, emotionally, and possibly even physically damaging, and these relationships don’t have to be romantic. Friends, family, and professional relationships can all be toxic as well.
A healthy relationship is when two people are emotionally interdependent with each other—that is, they love and respect each other because they love and respect themselves.
Toxic relationships need drama to survive. Toxic people, because they don’t love or respect themselves, are never quite able to completely accept the idea that someone else could love and respect them either. And, if someone comes around giving them love and respect, they don’t trust it or won’t accept it.
Simply put, toxic people are only able to accept affection from people who don’t love or respect them either.
Now, when you have two people who don’t love and respect themselves or each other, then, obviously, they begin to feel really insecure around each other. They need a way to consistently test whether or not the other person actually wants to be with them. These tests are accomplished by creating drama.
When a toxic person messes up their own relationship and their partner forgives them and overlooks it, it causes a toxic relationship to feel not so toxic for a short period of time. And that feeling causes the relationship to feel really meaningful, but because drama doesn’t last, the underlying insecurity remains.
What are the warning signs of a toxic relationship?
The most serious warning signs include any form of violence, abuse, or harassment, which should be dealt with immediately, but in many cases, the indicators of a toxic relationship are much more subtle.
The first and simplest is persistent unhappiness. If a relationship stops bringing joy, and, instead, consistently makes you feel sad, angry, anxious, it may be toxic.
Negative shifts in your mental health, personality, or self-esteem are all red flags too. These changes could range from depression, anxiety, to constantly feeling nervous or uncomfortable especially around your partner. Feeling like you can’t talk with or voice concerns to your significant other is another sign that something is off.
You should also look out for changes in your other relationships or in the ways you spend your free-time. You may feel bad for doing things on your own time because you feel like you have to tend to your partner all the time. You cross the line when you’re not yourself anymore, and you’re giving everything to your partner.
Finally, concern from family or friends should be taken seriously, particularly since people in toxic relationships are often the last to realize it. By the time you actually start to realize you are in something that isn’t healthy, it’s probably so normal to you that it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. You get paralyzed in it because you’re so used to it.
Love should never cost you your peace. It should never cost you your joy. It should never cost you your happiness. If there’s more negative in the situation than positive, something has to change.
It’s normal for relationships to be challenging, but when they exceed a certain level of stress, they negatively impact every aspect of your life: your business, your friendships, your health, even your mental stability.
One study shows that staying in a bad relationship can raise your stress level to the point where you’re more likely to get heart disease (the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S. today).
If you’re seeing the following signs of a toxic relationship, it may be time to seek help:
Constant exhaustion. Trying to predict someone else’s behavior (or mood changes) is tiring. Do it over and over for months or years, and you can’t help but to become exhausted. In healthy relationships, both partners feel normal and relaxed most of the time. In toxic ones, the “good times” that were once so common at the beginning start to be fewer and further between and rarely last long. If you constantly feel drained and exhausted in your relationship, it’s time to think about exiting.
Becoming isolated. Part of the problem with the exhaustion is your motivation to see anyone else, including friends and family. If your partner discourages you from seeing those closest to you, that’s a major red flag, but the bigger issue is when you yourself stop making an effort to see the people you love out of complete exhaustion.
Jokes that aren’t actually jokes. If your partner makes belittling comments about you but then claim they were “just joking,” that’s a problem. Emotional bullies not only drop subtle insults, but they often then try to make their victims look stupid or like they’re the ones overreacting.
Passive aggressive behavior. If you can feel something is wrong, but when you ask, “What’s going on?” the other person says, “Nothing,” but then punishes you by giving you the silent treatment…that’s passive aggression. One problem with it is that it doesn’t give you much room for resolution. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t fix it.
Passive aggressive behavior is often accompanied by “gas-lighting,” or making the other person think they’re crazy for even bringing it up. If you constantly feel like there’s something off, but when you try to talk to your partner about it, you get shut down, you may be in a toxic relationship.
The more love you give, the more hurt and angry you become. Because the drama is always calling the toxic relationship into question, the relationship demands all of your thought and energy. But, then the relationship only punishes you further for this thought and energy, enabling a downward spiral. Toxic relationships are black holes. Not only do they suck you in deeper and deeper, but they have their own force of gravity. Any attempt to break away just sucks you right back to where you began. Toxic relationships often have a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” quality to them. When you’re in them, you can’t wait to get away from them. But when you’re away from them, because you’ve lost your identity, you have no idea what to do without them.
The relationship harms other relationships in your life. Toxic relationships suffocate the other relationships in our lives. A toxic relationship soon becomes the lens in which you view all other relationships in your life. Nights out with friends are dominated by unloading the baggage you’ve accumulated since you last saw them. You find yourself unable to hold conversations that don’t relate to your relationship for more than a few minutes. Compared to your toxic relationship, the world feels like a cold, bland, gray mess. You couldn’t care less. You find yourself compulsively thinking about your relationship. Nothing else matters. Nothing else feels like it should matter. When trapped in a toxic relationship, friends will find you selfish and unbearable, family members will disapprove and then quietly distance themselves. Some friends or family may try to help, telling you that your relationship is hurting you, but this will usually only make things worse, not better. Outside people’s attempts to intervene will only be interpreted as more drama.
Volatility. A relationship with extremely high highs and extremely low lows that tend to repeat has a high chance of being toxic. This is especially true if you find it hard to predict when your partner will be upset. Study after study shows that not knowing what’s going to happen or how to avoid pain spikes your levels of stress hormones.
Walking on eggshells. Ever hide your phone because you’re afraid of what your significant other is going to say about a text from someone else? Are you afraid of going out with people because he/she might get jealous? Healthy relationships are built on trust and open communication. If you often find yourself trying to predict what will make your partner angry and avoiding that, it could be a toxic situation. You don’t do that kind of thing with your friends, so why is it okay with your significant other?
You can’t imagine having a happy life without your relationship. A toxic relationship is a deal with the devil. You lose your identity and self-worth to this person, and in return, that relationship is supposed to offer the meaning and purpose for your life that you so desperately crave. But, what you don’t realize is that by sacrificing yourself, the relationship generates more insecurity, not less. It consumes your life, demanding all of your time and attention. If the thought of losing your relationship feels as though your life would be over, then you’re probably caught up in a toxic relationship.
You feel like you have to ask permission. A mature adult relationship is comprised of two adults, and adults do not have to ask one another for permission. Yes, relationships require compromise, and you should consider your partner in the things that will affect them, whether directly or indirectly, but if you feel like you need permission to make plans with friends or find yourself feeling uncomfortable about making simple choices without “seeing if it’s okay” with your significant other first, there’s something wrong. You’re a grown-ass woman, Queen!
The first step when it comes to getting out of a toxic relationship is admitting there’s a problem. Be careful, take care of yourself, and get help if you need it.
While there are plenty of signs you may be in a toxic relationship, it’s not always clear when you’re deep in the dynamic itself. Often times, a toxic partnership starts out well enough, but then slowly (and subtly) starts to erode your sense of self. One of the first warning signs of a potential toxic relationship is that the other person is consistently violating your boundaries.
When someone has their boundaries continually challenged and crossed especially when they have made it very clear that’s not comfortable for them…that’s a huge red flag because that indicates the other partner doesn’t have any regard for that person’s boundaries.
From there, the list of symptoms of a toxic relationship can range from someone making themselves completely emotionally unavailable to emotional manipulation to physical abuse.
In fact, one of the most prominent warning signs of a toxic relationship is feeling manipulated. Be on the lookout for phrases that devalue the validity of your feelings such as, “You’re in your feelings” or “You’re crazy,” etc. Other times, the person may deny that they ever said or did anything or tell you that you’ve done something you didn’t. All of these statements and behaviors aim to bring control to a toxic partner and diminish your sense of self within the relationship.
Stop Waiting for Your Partner to Change
This is the biggest mistake a person can make when deciding to stay in a relationship in which you’re being mistreated.
You have to accept that the only person you control in this world is yourself.
Unless the other person owns up to their mistakes and shows the desire to get help, they probably won’t change. They may promise to change and turn things around for the better. They may even be genuine about their intentions at that moment, but more than likely, things will stay the same especially if they made promises in the past that they didn’t fulfill.
Change has to come from within; it can’t be forced. Only then do things have a chance of working themselves out.
Sometimes, our judgment is clouded. Sometimes, we simply want to see the best in someone. Sometimes, we’re just so afraid of being alone. Regardless of what we tell ourselves, some relationships are just irreparable. Your life isn’t over. Taking back control begins with you. Everyone needs help at one time or another. You don’t have to go through this alone.
If you’re in a toxic relationship, there are people who can help you. Seeking help from your loved ones or a professional can help you get back on your feet. Just imagine finally being happy again and enjoying the things that you used to love. No more worrying about the future. You are finally content with the present. You finally realize that you deserve better. It may seem unimaginable right now, but it’s definitely possible.
How to Let Go
Healthy relationships avoid drama because they find that unnecessary conflict detracts from the meaning and importance already generated by the relationship. Healthy people simply don’t tolerate drama. They expect each other to take responsibility for themselves. Only then can they really take care of each other.
Healthy relationships, instead of inventing conflict to affirm their love and mutual support, minimize conflict to make more room for the love and support that is already there.
Toxic relationships are addictive because drama is addictive. Like drugs, they’re numbing and distracting, and hits you with unexpected rewards of joy or excitement.
What’s worse is that we become desensitized to drama. We need to find greater and greater conflicts to prove to ourselves that we’re loved. The old conflicts will no longer suffice, but something else happens when we’re caught up in a drama spiral. As we up the ante, and the drama increases, we become more emotionally dependent on the person, not less. We invest so much into the drama that we come to believe that our partner is far more important to our well-being than they actually are.
In our eyes, this person is everything we need, when in reality, it’s probably the one relationship that most likely harms us the most.
Realize That You Deserve Better
Sometimes, loving someone just isn’t enough if you aren’t receiving the same love in return. The time you waste on the wrong person prevents the right person from coming your way. How can they come into your life if you already have that space filled? You may not know who they are, or when they will come, but they are waiting on you to let go so that they can come into your life.
How to end a toxic relationship:
Accept responsibility for your part. You probably don’t want to hear this, but your partner isn’t the only person in the relationship. You play a part too. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you won’t allow yourself to be treated badly in a toxic relationship ever again because you are worth so much more.
Be objective about the relationship. Try to look at the relationship from a higher perspective, a higher elevation. What do the two of you have in common? What are your differences? If you met your partner today, would you be attracted to them? Would you even be friends? These objective, outside observations will help you to gain perspective on your toxic relationship.
Find a lesson in the distress. Leaving a toxic relationship is rarely filled with positive emotions. While you are in the midst of emotional distress, think about the relationship as a lesson for future relationships. One of the best ways to end a toxic relationship is to find a way to walk away having grown as a person and learned something about yourself.
Find what you are missing that is keeping you from leaving. There’s a reason that you are staying in a toxic relationship. Once you know what it is that is keeping you there, ask yourself, “If _________ wasn’t an issue and I had that on my own, would I still choose to stay?” If the answer is no, it’s time to find a way to get what you are missing, so you can finally move on.
Forgive your ex completely. Harboring feelings of anger, hurt, regret, or resentment will only hurt your own mental and psychological well-being. In order to help yourself heal completely, you will have to let go of the negative emotions that will otherwise hold you back. This can be a difficult choice to make because you may feel justified in feeling the way you do, however, your emotional state is a choice.
Find your support system. If you find yourself in a toxic relationship and have made the courageous decision that you need to get out of it, the first step is to find healthy support. Remember: you don’t have to do this alone, Queen. Reaching out for support is huge. Family and friends are great resources. In addition to finding positive friends and family or groups who can support you, consider reaching out for professional help. A therapist not only can help you identify a toxic relationship in the first place but can also help guide you safely out of the relationship. In the process, you can work to build up your self-esteem, identify and establish the personal boundaries you want to set going forward, and cultivate healthier patterns for intimacy in the future. Once you have support in place, then it’s time to talk to your partner and let them know the relationship is over. Express your feelings to your partner in a non-judgmental way, using “I” statements (“I feel this way when…”), rather than declarations of blame (“You always do this…”). Be strong in your conviction and also be prepared that you may feel pulled back into the relationship by the way your partner responds. Often after leaving someone, you begin to miss the person. That is normal. It can be tempting to want the person to be back in your life but remember that you came to this decision after a long, thoughtful process. Stick to your decision and remember that it was made to better you and your life. Needless to say, reach out immediately to get help and protection if your partner remains abusive. Your safety is the number one priority.
Identify and express your emotional states. Anxiety, stress, feeling worthless, hopelessness…all of these are negative emotions that you need to be able to recognize in yourself. When something doesn’t feel right, put a name on it. Say “I feel depressed when _________ happens,” or “I am angry about _________.” Being able to name your negative emotions is a good start to knowing that there are too many of them and that you want them to be positive emotions like joy instead. Avoiding expression of emotions is repression, which leads to resentment about not being understood by your partner and feelings of hopelessness that things will never improve, so speak up, Queen!
Surround yourself with positive social support. Your social support system will be very important to you now as you seek to exit your toxic relationship. Bounce concerns off your friends and ask for their input. You will probably be surprised by how helpful people can be.
What to Expect When You Leave the Relationship
While from the outside, the decision to let go of a toxic relationship may seem obviously positive, in reality, the feelings will be much more complicated and conflicted. Know that’s okay and normal, just like the tendency to gravitate back toward the relationship.
It’s going to be a very complex mix of emotions because there is going to be relief that they are out of your life, but there’s also going to be a great deal of sadness.
Continue to reach out to your support network, so they can build you up and help you hold fast to the decision to leave the toxic relationship. Our support network can remind us that bigger and better things are on the horizon.
It might be horribly painful in the moment and very, very difficult to go through, but ultimately, most people, if they’re able to, they can get out on the other side and be much happier. It’s very scary going through it, but it is possible to find help and find freedom from a negative relationship.
What to Do After You Leave the Relationship
Once we’re in one toxic relationship, they can become a pattern for future relationships. In working with your support team, it’s time to break that pattern, Queen.
People are drawn to the same types of people, and so they’ll just continue to repeat that pattern until they start really working on and helping themselves to figure out what led them to that type of person in the first place. If they do get help for themselves, then the benefit would be that they could go on and have healthy relationships that are going to be fulfilling and happy.
Know that letting go of a toxic relationship is not only a courageous step to take, it’s one that benefits your own well-being, so you can find something healthier and more fulfilling in the future.
Why do toxic people do toxic things?
Toxic people thrive on control. Everything they do is to keep people small and manageable. This will play out through criticism, judgement, oppression–whatever it takes to keep someone in their “place.” The more you try to step out of your “place,” the more a toxic person will use toxic behavior to bring you back and squeeze you into the tiny box they believe you belong in.
It is likely that toxic people learned their behavior during their own childhood. In any toxic relationship, there will be other qualities missing too, such as respect, kindness, and compassion, but at the heart of a toxic person’s behavior is the lack of concern around their impact on others. They come with a critical failure to see past their own needs and wants.
Toxic people have a way of choosing open, kind people with beautiful, lavish hearts because these are the ones who will be more likely to fight for the relationship and less likely to abandon it.
Even the strongest people can find themselves in a toxic relationship, but the longer they stay, the more they are likely to evolve into someone who is a smaller, less confident, more wounded version of the person they used to be.
Toxic Families – A Special Kind of Toxic
Families are a witness to our lives – our best, our worst, our catastrophes, our frailties and flaws. All families come with lessons that we need to learn along the way about how to be a happy, healthy, functional person. The lessons begin early, and they don’t stop, but not everything a family teaches will come with an afterglow. Sometimes, the lessons they teach are deeply painful ones that tend to stay with us.
Rather than being lessons on how to love and safely open up to the world, the lessons some families teach are about shutting down, staying small, and burying your needs, but for every disempowering lesson, there is one of empowerment, strength, and growth that exists within it.
In toxic families, these lessons are around how to walk away from the ones we love, how to let go with strength and love, and how to let go of guilt and any fantasy that things could ever be different.
Love and Loyalty Don’t Always Exist Together
Love has a fierce way of keeping us tied to people who wound us. The problem with family is that we grow up believing that the way they do things is the way the world works. We trust them, listen to them, and absorb what they say. There would have been a time for all of us that regardless of how destructive the messages from our family were, we would have received them all with a beautiful, wide-eyed innocence, grabbing every detail and letting them shape who we were growing up to be.
Our survival would have once depended on believing in everything they said and did and resisting the need to challenge or question that we might deserve better.
At some point, the environment changes, we grow up, but our beliefs don’t always change with it. We stop depending on our family for survival, but we hang on to the belief that we have to stay connected and loyal even though being with them hurts.
The obligation to love and stay loyal to a family member can be immense, but love and loyalty are two separate things, and they don’t always belong together.
Loyalty can be a confusing term and is often the reason why people stay stuck in toxic relationships. What you need to know is this, Queen…when loyalty comes with a diminishing of self, it’s not loyalty; it’s submission.
Why are toxic relationships so destructive?
In any healthy relationship, love is circular—when you give love, it comes back. When what comes back is an empty and hurtful shell of love, it will eventually leave you small and depleted.
Healthy people welcome the support and growth of the people they love even if it means having to change a little to accommodate them. When one person in a system changes, whether it’s a relationship of two or a family of many, it can be challenging. Even the strongest and most loving relationships can be touched by feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and insecurity at times in response to somebody’s growth or happiness. We are all vulnerable to feeling the very normal, messy emotions that come with being human.
The difference is that healthy families and relationships will work through the tough stuff. Unhealthy ones will blame, manipulate and lie…whatever they have to do to return things to the way they’ve always been—with the toxic person in control.
Why a Toxic Relationship Will Never Change
Reasonable people, no matter how strong and independently minded they are, can easily be drawn into thinking that if they could find the switch, do less, do more, manage it, tweak it, that the relationship would be okay. The cold truth is that if anything was going to be different it would have happened by now.
Toxic people can change, but it’s highly unlikely. What is certain though is that nothing anyone else does can change them. It is likely there will be broken people, broken hearts, and broken relationships surrounding them, but the carnage will always be explained away as someone else’s fault. There will be no remorse, regret, or insight into why they do what they do. What is more likely is that any broken relationship will only amplify their toxic behavior.
Why are toxic people so hard to leave?
If you try to leave a toxic person, things might get worse before they get better – but they will always get better. Always, Queen.
Few things will ramp up feelings of insecurity or a need for control more than when someone questions familiar, old behavior, or tries to break away from old, established patterns in a relationship. For a person whose signature moves involve manipulation, lies, criticism, or any other toxic behavior, when something feels as though it’s changing, they will use even more of their typical toxic behavior to bring the relationship (or the person) back to a state that feels acceptable to them.
When things don’t seem to be working, people will always do more of what used to work even if that behavior is at the heart of the problem. It’s what we all do. If you are someone who is naturally open and giving, when things don’t feel right in a relationship, you will likely give more of yourself, offer more support, be more loving, to get things back on track.
Sometimes, out of a sense of love and terribly misplaced loyalty, people caught in a toxic relationship might sacrifice growth and change and step back into the rigid tiny space a toxic person manipulates them towards. It will be clear when this has happened because of the soul-sucking grief at being back there in the mess with people (or person) who feel so bad to be with.
“But, they do it because they love me…”
Sometimes, toxic people will hide behind the defense that they are doing what they do because they love you, or that what they do is ‘no big deal’ and that you’re the one causing the trouble because you’re just too sensitive, too serious, too weak, stupid, useless, needy, insecure, jealous…too whatever to get it.
The only truth you need to know is this: If it hurts, it’s hurtful…so stop!
Love never holds people back from growing. It doesn’t diminish, and it doesn’t ruin. If someone loves you, it feels like love. It feels supportive and nurturing and life-giving. If it doesn’t do this, it’s not love. It’s self-serving bullshit designed to keep you bound to someone else’s idea of how you should be.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but a healthy one is a loving, accepting, and responsive one.
If it feels like growth or something that will nourish you, follow that. It might mean walking away from people you care about—your parents, sisters, brothers, friends, etc., but this can be done with love and the door left open for when they are able to meet you closer to your terms–ones that don’t break you.
Set the boundaries with grace and love and leave it to the toxic person to decide which side of that boundary they want to stand on. Boundaries aren’t about spite or manipulation, and they don’t have to be about ending the relationship. They are something drawn in strength and courage to let people see with great clarity where the door is. If the relationship ends, it’s not because of your lack of love or loyalty; it’s because the toxic person chose not to treat you the way you deserve.
Though it is up to you to decide the conditions on which you will let someone close to you, whether or not somebody wants to be close to you enough to respect those conditions is up to them. The choice to trample over what you need means they are choosing not to be with you. It doesn’t mean you are excluding them from your life.
Toxic people also have their conditions of relationship and though they might not be explicit, they are likely to include an expectation that you will tolerate ridicule, judgement, criticism, oppression, cheating, lying, manipulation—whatever they choose to do. No relationship is worth that, and it’s always okay to say “no” to anything that diminishes you.
The world and those who genuinely love you want you to be as whole as you can be.
Sometimes, choosing health and wholeness means stepping bravely away from that which would leave your spirit broken and malnourished.
When you were young and vulnerable and dependent for survival on the adults in your life, you had no say in the conditions on which you let people close to you, but your life isn’t like that now. You get to say what happens to you and around you. You get to choose the terms of your relationships and the people you get close to.
Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy, but it is always brave and always strong. It is always okay, and it is always worth it. This is the learning and the growth that is hidden in the toxic mess.
Letting go will likely come with guilt, anger, and grief for the family or person you thought you had. They might fight harder for you to stay. They will probably be crueler, more manipulative, and more toxic than ever. They will do what they’ve always done because it has always worked. Keep moving forward and let every hurtful, small-hearted thing they say or do fuel your steps, Queen.
You can’t pretend toxic behavior away or love it away or eat it, drink it, smoke it, depress it, or gamble it away. You can’t avoid the impact by being smaller, by crouching or bending or flexing around it, but you can walk away from it.
You can love people, let go of them, and keep the door open on your terms for whenever they are ready to treat you with love, respect, and kindness. This is one of the hardest lessons but one of the most life-giving and courageous ones.
Sometimes, there are not two sides. There is only one. Toxic people will have you believing that the one truthful side is theirs. It’s not. It never was. Don’t believe their highly dysfunctional version of love. It’s suffocating you, and it will slowly kill you if you let it, and the way you ‘let it’ is by standing still while it spirals around you, takes aim, and shoots.
Be bigger, stronger, braver than anything that would lessen you. Be authentic and real and give yourself whatever you need to let that be. Be her. You are HER!
Be brave enough and have the courage to let go of those who keep weighing you down. Do what you have to in order to find happiness. Remember, you don’t need to prove to anyone how amazing, beautiful, and powerful you are; you just need to see it for yourself.
If you make the choice today, you are one step closer to a happier tomorrow. You can do it. We believe in you, Queen! Now, it’s time for you to believe in yourself.
Make a declaration that today starts the healing process. From now on, you will work toward living the amazing life you deserve. Happy healing, Queen!
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If any of those red flags sound familiar, it’s time to take action. If you feel like you’re in physical danger, you may need to involve the authorities. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also available for 24/7 guidance at 1-800-799-7233