The majority of women don’t realise that they are stuck in toxic relationships. The bad behavior towards you is excused as him having a bad day, or stress at work, that he doesn’t mean it and the “old” him will show up again any day now — the sad truth, that rarely happens.

When you first meet a toxic man, he will be charming, overload you with flattery, want to spend time with you and put you on a pedestal. You will be under this illusion that he’s all you ever wanted, he treats you like a princess showering you with love and affection, and he’s the match for you.

The problem is, all the flattery, affection and attention are all part of the gameplay to hook you, a toxic man knows how to deceive a girl into falling for him, he turns on the charm, and it works a treat.

But once the “honeymoon” period is over and you get behind the scenes when you move in together or get married, things start to take an undesirable turn. Be it gaslighting, belittling and chipping away at your self-esteem, lying, calling you crazy, oversensitive and overreacting to the extreme things like emotional and domestic violence.

The most frustrating thing for anyone looking on is to watch every woman in this sorry situation blame themselves for all of his actions. It’s easy to understand why anyone in this situation would begin to doubt themselves.

If you have someone continually belittling you, finding fault in all that you do, telling you you’re overreacting or crazy when you try and discuss things they have done. Then it’s only normal to question yourself, maybe I am too sensitive, or overreacting, he didn’t really mean it that way etc. If someone you love is constantly making you feel unworthy, it’s easy to start to believe them.

When women are stuck in a toxic relationship, there are some habits that they tend to share. Below is a list of some of those, see if you recognize yourself.

1. Crying more than normal.

When you’re stuck in a toxic relationship you need ways to blow off steam, when your feelings are being dismissed, it can build up inside you. Most women in this type of situation usually do their crying when alone. Doesn’t matter where, they could be doing the dishes, driving the car, or taking a shower, the tears will flow. Crying is their way of releasing all the toxicity out of the system. Crying alone means you don’t have to explain your reason to anyone because you have a subconscious fear of being ridiculed or thought of as overreacting.

2. They lie to everyone about how great the relationship is.

When things are not going good in the relationship, of course, not everyone needs to know this. When you know things are not that good though, trying to convince others that everything is ok won’t work, people will see through it. Women in toxic relationships feel the need to hold up the facade that everything is ok, as in their eyes it’s their fault things are not running so smoothly.

3. Contact with friends and family dwindles.

It can be difficult to uphold frequent contact with friends and family when you’re in a toxic relationship. Women in these kinds of relationships always find reasons for pulling out of family get-togethers or friends parties. It just makes life easier for the woman to cancel when their partner doesn’t want them to go. Women in these types of relationship as time goes bye lose the fight in them to have to explain why they should be somewhere constantly. It becomes easier just to let friends and family down while keeping the peace at home. These toxic partners want to control them, and isolation from friends and family is one of the ways to do this.

4. They think about leaving the relationship.

Most stuck in a toxic relationship think about leaving it all behind and finding the treatment they deserve. But sadly, most victims of this kind of abuse are now convinced they are worthless and won’t succeed without their partner. They have become so accustomed to their toxic partners’ ways, their self-esteem is in ruins, and they believe they won’t survive without their toxic partner. That they are not good enough for anyone.

5. They feel guilt and to blame for everything bad that happens them.

The abusive partner has the victim convinced that all the belittling, the withholding of affection, the mean things he does, are all because of her actions. The blame is always put at her feet. He will go out of his way to make her feel bad about herself. She starts to believe she deserved all the horrible things that have happened. This is a form of gaslighting, and most women go through this in abusive relationships. It takes a lot of time and courage to free yourself from toxic guys like this.

6. They make excuses for their abusive partners.

Even if close friends have spotted there are being abused, whether it’s emotionally or physically, they won’t ever admit it. The main reason for this  is the shame, shame because they feel and have been led to believe it’s all their fault.