Undoubtedly, being a giver is admirable, but this quality can make you lose yourself in a toxic relationship that lacks reciprocity.
Some understand the balance between healthy giving and self-protection. However, others can’t recognize when this trait becomes self-destructive. Giving too much of yourself can become mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually detrimental.
Empaths can struggle with over-giving, often followed by overpleasing and a deep desire to help. In an unhealthy relationship, the strengths of an empath can quickly work against them if they have not worked on becoming self-actualized.
Here are 10 signs you’re an empath in a toxic relationship.
What Does Being an Empath Mean?
An empath is deeply attuned to their emotions and that of others. These individuals are extremely sensitive and affected by the energies around them. Because of this intense connection, empaths tend to be supportive and giving.
There is much more to empaths than feeling and experiencing the emotional pain of others. Empaths tend to be more perspective of body language and facial expressions. Additionally, there are various types of empaths. For instance, physical empaths are those who feel and share the physical symptoms of others.
The subconscious ability to take on these external energies can also negatively affect empaths. It is an overwhelming emotion that can easily be taken advantage of. Hypersensitivity is a trait that all empaths display to a certain degree, and it can be preyed on in an unhealthy relationship.
In a toxic relationship, empaths often attempt to limit conflict with a strong desire to heal and fix a partner. This almost always creates a cycle of self-deception that keeps empaths in toxic relationships.
Tell-Tale Signs of Empaths in A Toxic Relationship
You are driven to help others as an empath; therefore, you’ll always tend to be there when needed. It is harder to pull away from a romantic relationship with intense love, even when it becomes unhealthy.
You feel the need to utilize compassion, love, and other resources in your possession to help your partner.
#1 – Your partner comes before you
There is a difference between being there for someone and chronically sacrificing yourself for that person. This extends beyond virtuousness and becomes pathological altruism.
If you’re someone who does this, you’ll often disregard self-care to attend to your partner’s needs. In a toxic relationship, your partner won’t mind you carrying all the weight, and the care is often unreciprocated. You’re not valued, and the toxic partner exploits your selflessness.
Despite your best intentions, prioritizing your partner without regard for yourself only leads to psychological and physical issues. You’ll always feel overwhelmed, physically distressed, anxious, and have difficulty accepting help.
It is important to know your limits and be considerate of your interests and well-being.
#2 – You claim responsibility for their emotions
You feel when they feel. You cry when they cry. Their emotions impact you deeply; therefore, you want to be there in every way possible. In a toxic relationship, there is an imbalance.
If there is no emotional regulation and your supportive nature is taken advantage of, you may feel responsible for your partner’s emotions. This is especially common in codependent empaths who develop an insecure attachment to their partner. This is mentally draining because subconsciously, you blame yourself for things you have no control over.
#3 – You feel obligated to help
Regardless of the nature of the relationship, you feel a sense of responsibility for your partner’s well-being as an empath.
You feel the need to make whatever pain your partner experiences disappear. It doesn’t matter if helping them comes with blaming or criticizing yourself.
Often, empaths are hopeful for a positive change, and they feel they can change their partner, so they always make themselves vulnerable.
#4 – You want to fix the relationship
“Just a little more effort, energy, work, and it will all be okay.” Not all toxic relationships are the same; some are beyond fixing.
Despite the toxic relationship signs, you hold on to the idea that you can fix things. Even when your partner does not give signs of wanting to change, you still believe the love and compassion you hold can initiate healing.
#5 – You make excuses for their behaviors
As an empath in a toxic relationship, you perceive negative energy and justify your partner’s behavior. This is known as toxic empathy and is likely to occur in unhealthy relationships. For instance, if you’re in a situation where your partner constantly projects their anger on you, you may excuse this by saying they’ve had a bad day or still healing from something you said years ago.
Toxic behavior in a relationship is harmful to mental health. Excusing them further enables their behavior and reinforces unhealthy patterns in the relationship.
#6 – You sense guilt when you think about leaving
The thoughts of breaking up crossed your mind several times, but you can’t bring yourself to do it. You’re afraid of how they might feel when you break the news. You stay in the toxic relationship to ease the pain you think they’ll experience.
You often feel you’re giving up, so you second-guess your decision to leave. When you’re unhappy, constantly doubting yourself, and can’t talk freely about these emotions out of fear, take a step away to protect yourself.
#7 – You approach everything they do with compassion
It is common to still love and be kind to a toxic partner. Toxic relationships don’t always start that way, so you may still hold on to their good qualities. When this person suffers, you still feel for them deeply. Therefore, you are compassionate to a fault, even when they engage in toxic behaviors. This can be dangerous because you may look past red flags for far too long.
#8 – You’re emotionally drained and overwhelmed
You’ve given so much that you feel depleted of your emotional reserve. Although you’re still aware of the energy around you and want to help, it almost feels like you have nothing to give. Your energy reserve is low; however, you can’t help but still take on the negative energy your toxic relationship exudes. There is no time for you to recharge in a toxic relationship. Feeling like this can affect your mood and take a physical toll. You’re likely to feel more stressed, overwhelmed, and overall irritated.
#9 – You overaccommodate
The reasons you overaccommodate may be to maintain peace and limit the frequency of disagreements. In this situation, you may find yourself apologizing for issues you’re not at fault for.
Your intentions are positive but not necessarily healthy. Your partner can rely on this, which doesn’t help the toxic relationship, but creates unhealthy power imbalances.
#10 – You can’t seem to say “no” to them
Empaths tend to have trouble saying no to favors. You may overcommit and overstretch for your partner because you’re naturally caring. The inability to say “no” only amplifies toxic behaviors, so it is important to set clear boundaries.
Empaths make amazing friends and great partners because of their keen ability to sense and feel the energies around them. They’re compassionate, highly intuitive, great listeners, and are always there to support.
These qualities are noble; however, can work against empaths in toxic relationships. The ability to feel emotional and, sometimes, the physical pain of others is draining.
Feeling emotionally exhausted after being around people as an empath is common. Therefore, toxic relationships can amplify these feelings without time to relax and recharge. The deep emotional connection and toxic relationship patterns can affect an empath’s well-being.