3362 Big Pine Trail, Suite A, Champaign, Illinois 61822


Many people find themselves in toxic relationships, and it's all too easy to stay in them far too long. A toxic substance causes great harm to your body, and the damage can be hard to heal from. A toxic relationship can damage your happiness, self-esteem and belief in yourself in much the same way. It's important to know the key signs that a relationship is no longer healthy for you so that you can get help or get out. Here are five signs of a toxic relationship that you should never ignore. 

1. You feel like everything you do is wrong

If your partner is constantly putting you down and making you feel small, this is a big red flag. They may make fun of the things you say and do or make you feel belittled. This may feel even worse if they do it in public or in front of friends and family. At worst, you may feel like you have to think and act just like your partner to avoid criticism. This type of dynamic can rob you of your sense of self and make you feel inadequate. 

2. There doesn't seem to be any happy moments anymore

Even the healthiest relationships go through rough patches and periods of time where you just can't see eye-to-eye. However, in a toxic relationship, it often feels like the good times have gone for good. Your partner is constantly negative and there is always a new problem to worry about. This keeps you in a constant state of stress and anxiety and prevents you from enjoying life fully. 

3. You've become isolated

In any relationship, it's important to maintain the bonds and ties you had with friends and family before you met your significant other. If your partner discourages you from socializing outside of your relationship, this is a toxic form of control and can leave you feeling lonely and unhappy. Alternatively, you may be so exhausted from the trials and tribulations of coping with your partner's behavior that you lose interest in your social life. 

4. Your partner stops you from growing as a person

In a supportive relationship, it's a joy to watch your partner blossom and grow as a person. However, some toxic partners prefer their partner to stay just as they are. They don't want to see them striving to improve themselves. Whenever you take steps towards positive changes in your life, either personally or professionally, your partner responds with negativity or pokes fun at your achievements. After a while, you may simply stop trying to grow as a person altogether to avoid criticism of your efforts. 

5. You're walking on eggshells

If you find yourself trying to predict your partner's mood and what will or won't make them angry, this is a bad sign. You may find yourself turning down opportunities to do things you really want to do "just in case" your partner is enraged. It may seem no matter how hard you try, you simply can't avoid angering them into outbursts that seem to come from out of the blue. Living with this kind of tension can be extremely stressful and draining in the long-term. 

The bottom line

If you're noticing some or all of these signs in your relationship, it may be time to consider walking away. Toxic relationships can be hard to leave, and you may need help from family, friends or a therapist to find the strength that you need. However, the longer you stay in a damaging relationship, the more harm it does to your self-worth, and the harder it is to get out. The sooner you break free from this type of relationship, the sooner you'll be free to pursue your own happiness and find the supportive, loving partner you want and deserve. 


It's normal to want to get rid of negative thoughts. After all, they are at best uncomfortable, and at worst painful. You imagine you'll be better off without them. Nonetheless, each unwanted thought exists for a reason and says something about you. Uncover the gems hidden in disparaging self-talk and you will recognize the wisdom that can help you grow.

Why negative thoughts exist

No one, not even a spiritual leader, is free of negativity. Negative thoughts are part of life, and they occur for good reasons. They tell you when to change tack or keep going in the same direction, so you know what to avoid or move toward.

Critical self-talk arises from familiar discomfort, and it doesn't cause your unease. It reflects what goes on inside you. If you get rid of it, your disquiet will still exist.

For example, you might be upset if it's not your turn to put the trash out, but your partner's left you with the task and gone out. Self-talk triggered by the event will echo what you already feel. If you have low self-esteem, it might say your partner doesn't care about you. Then again, if you have healthy self-esteem, it may say your partner was just forgetful. How you view what happens, which is summed up by your thoughts, says more about your frame of mind and beliefs than anything else.

The essence of negative thoughts

Maybe you've contemplated how terrific it would be to have a personal guide, like a genie, someone who works entirely on your behalf to improve your wellbeing. The idea isn't as outlandish or magical as you imagine. You have an inner guide: your internal voice.

When you fight negative thoughts, you stop self-understanding. You don't give yourself the chance to learn. Negative thoughts let you know where you are, so you can check your location against your preferred destination. Your internal voice mirrors your emotions and perspectives, but don't take its words literally.

Rather than take negative self-talk to heart, recognize it highlights your fear. It may show your self-worth is low. As such, the sight of the trash still in the kitchen bin instead of outside ready for collection, triggers your anxiety. Once you know the underlying emotion, you can trace it to its origins.

How to understand your negativity

Negative thoughts often come from beliefs formed in childhood. If a parent abandoned you, for instance, or was unkind, you might not believe you are lovable. Familiar feelings of shame, fear, and pain swim to the surface of consciousness when circumstances push your buttons.

If they resemble the original events at the bottom of your psyche, even to a modest degree, you'll experience anxiety. Then negative thoughts to explain what's occurred rise. Your mind creates a story for you to decipher, and its intention is to help you resolve issues.

Look behind negative thoughts. Treat them as paths to unresolved traumas. Sit quietly, figure out their origins, and acknowledge your fears related to the past. Now you can view your history with fresh eyes and let current knowledge help you manage. You might note misconceptions, and can come to terms with events and let them go.

When you uncover the hidden reasons for negative thoughts, you learn about yourself and what makes you react as you do. You gain clarity and emotional intelligence that helps you deal with life's challenges with less anxiety.

Is your life too full? Do you struggle to keep up with your schedule at times? If so, you're not the only one. Many people, young and older, battle to keep a grip on their bustling lifestyles and that problem can produce other problems, such as stress, depression, low self-esteem, and even physical ill-health. But you don't need a hectic schedule to lead a full and rewarding life. In fact, a simple life can often bring more joy. Here are a few tips for slowing the pace and enhancing the quality of your day-to-day life.

Prioritize and select

Try to reduce your quota of commitments, including the ones you enjoy. If you pursue several hobbies, for instance, drop one for a while, to allow more time and energy for the others. Select your social engagements with care, bypassing any you're happy to miss. Prioritize your domestic chores, too, skipping any that can wait, and do the same with other tasks. If you have social or caring commitments, such as shopping for a neighbor or visiting a relative, remember that your own well-being is as important as theirs and may need to take precedence at times. The simpler your lifestyle, the better you can control it.

Be your own boss

Stand up for your needs when feeling pressured. If your friends are planning a night out, for instance, but you'd prefer a quiet evening at home, tell them how you feel and let them go ahead without you. If they're true friends, they'll respect your feelings and suggest a more suitable arrangement for you next time. Similarly, if your employer is piling too much work on you, let them know this, explaining its effect on your well-being, so a solution can be found. As for your own demands on yourself, such as exercise or study goals, you'll need to scale those down, as well. Moderation is the name of the game here.

Make the most of the moment

Small events can often reap great rewards, so make the most of them. An hour of quality time with someone special, for instance, can be savored forever after, as can a stroll in sparkling sunshine or a piece of cheering news. By imbuing the moment, you can slow time down and bring shape and meaning to your life. When you go to bed, think back over the day's highlights. If nothing stands out, think over all the good things you've taken for granted: tasty meals, an interesting TV program, and a pleasant chat with a friend, perhaps. You'll sleep all the better for those calming reflections.

With your simplified lifestyle, you'll be freed up to enjoy every day in a relaxed and fulfilling way.  You'll notice a new spring in your step, too.

Philosopher and Roman Statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others." Having an attitude of gratitude may seem like a cliché, but it is an important factor in enhancing your life. Consider the following reasons why you should start a thankfulness journal today.

Renewed Perspective

Your mindset is a very powerful thing. It can motivate you forward toward achieving new goals or it can keep you stagnated in past failures. Taking the time each day to write down several things that you are thankful for can give you a renewed perspective. Henri Nouwen said, "Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering to walk in gratitude."

Enhanced Health

According to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences and reported in Time magazine, participants were asked by researchers to rate their "levels of gratitude, physical health, and psychological health, and how it boosted their health." These participants reported positive parallels regarding how having an attitude of gratitude helped overall health and well-being. Improve your health by increasing your level of gratitude as you start writing in a thankfulness journal.   

Better Sleep Patterns

Research completed by Web MD shows that the average adult needs approximately 7-9 hours of sleep to properly function the next day. Of course, some people can function well after only having 6 hours, while others need 10 hours. Various factors can impact sleeping time, like anxiety, stress over complications in life, and illnesses.

Writing in a thankfulness journal each day can become a calming activity that you could complete right before going to sleep at night. This process can remind you that in the midst of life's daily stressors, you do have some things to be thankful for. Each night, you should write down three or four new things that you are thankful for. Repeating this positive habit can be the turning point in relieving stress so you can focus on calming your mind and getting the restful sleep you need each night.

Passing the Torch

Developing this habit of daily writing in a thankfulness journal--whether you write in the morning at the start of your day or in the evening before bed--can cultivate in you a desire to pass on the torch. You can share your experiences with this new positive habit with others in your life who may need a mindset change, to improve their health, or to sleep better. Maybe your positive life changes can become the catalyst to help someone else make changes too.


Be Thankful Today

Melody Beattie said, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity, it can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." Change your life today by starting a thankfulness journal to remind yourself of how much you have to be thankful for

About Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a professional mental health private practice located in Champaign - Urbana. Insight Therapy offers individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, and professional mediation services to clients of all ages and issues.

Contact Information

Insight Therapy, LLC
3362 Big Pine Trail
Suite A
Champaign, Illinois 61822

Phone: (217) 383-0151
Fax: (217) 633-4555

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Practice Areas

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction, Couples Counseling, Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse Survivor, School Anxiety, Women's Issues, Relationship Issues, BiPolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Family Issues, Couples Counseling, Mediation, and more!