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55 Best Songs About Toxic Relationships (Toxic Songs)

January 3, 2024
Songs About Toxic Relationships

I’ve compiled a list of the best songs about toxic relationships, a powerful playlist that delves into the complexities and emotional turmoil of unhealthy partnerships.

These toxic songs, spanning various genres, artistically explore the struggles and realizations that come with navigating difficult relationships, offering both reflection and catharsis for those who may relate.

Table of Contents

Top songs about toxic relationships

  • “Love On The Brain” by Rihanna
  • “Something In The Way You Move” by Ellie Goulding
  • “Irresistible” by Fall Out Boy
  • “I Hate U, I Love U” by Gnash Feat. Olivia O’Brien
  • “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry
  • “Put My Heart Down” by Sara Evans
  • “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp
  • “Love Hurts” by Nazareth
  • “Broken Strings” by James Morrison Feat. Nelly Furtado
  • “Hotter Than Hell” by Dua Lipa

1. “Love On The Brain” by Rihanna

Rihanna is not new to the toxic relationship rodeo.

Before “Love On The Brain,” Rihanna had lyrically expressed toxic relationship woes in “Unfaithful” and “Love The Way You Lie” feat. Eminem.

In this song, Rihanna sings about a type of love she can’t get away from, even if it beats her and abuses her consistently.

Many have said this song referenced her abusive relationship with Chris Brown, but it might just be speculation.

2. “Something In The Way You Move” by Ellie Goulding 

Something In The Way You Move” is a groovy song about toxic love recorded by Ellie Goulding in 2015.

At first, you might not realize this is a song about toxic relationships because it is upbeat and leaves room to swing your waist in the air.

The song tells the story of a woman in a toxic relationship with a bad boy who cannot leave because she’s in love with him.

3. “Irresistible” by Fall Out Boy

“Irresistible” is a song about being manipulated into a toxic relationship by Fall Out Boy.

In this song, the singer is being manipulated by a gorgeous girl, and he doesn’t mind staying because her beauty is overwhelming.

The song compares being in a toxic relationship with fighting in a boxing ring, which is unhealthy.

If you ever find yourself in such a relationship, seek counseling.

4. “I Hate U, I Love U” by Gnash Feat. Olivia O’Brien

“I Hate U, I Love U” is a pop ballad by Gnash and Olivia O’Brien released in 2016.

The song tells the story of a girl that has been in love with her male friend but refused to express her feelings.

Her friend moved on to another girl, and now she’s thinking about all the things that could have been; and it is obvious from this song that she had conflicting feelings, hence the lines “I hate you, I love you.”

5. “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry

Katy Perry released “Hot N Cold” in 2016, a song about emotional abuse in which she’s never sure of what he feels.

In this song, Katy Perry compares her relationship with the mystery boy as confusing, and this is a form of emotional manipulation.

When going through this form of manipulation, victims tend to hang around until they are pretty sure about how the abuser feels.

6. “Put My Heart Down” by Sara Evans

Finally, a song about walking away from a toxic relationship.

In “Put My Heart Down,” Sarah Evans describes her toxic relationship with a man that verbally abuses her and how his words always cut her deep.

She also sings about the struggles of moving away from the relationship but has to do it because that type of love is dangerous.

7. “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp

“Hurt So Good” is a Grammy award-winning rock song by John Cougar Mellencamp about relationship abuse.

In this song, the aged man invites his young lover to his home and asks her to give him a love bite that sinks right through his bones.

The singer doesn’t care; it might hurt because it doesn’t always feel like it should.

8. “Love Hurts” by Nazareth

“Love Hurts” is a 70s slow rock song about bad love by Nazareth, a famous Scottish rock band.

The song tells the story of a heartbroken man whose lover has just been abandoned, and the hurt makes him believe that love is a lie.

In the song, the disgruntled lover urges his listeners never to believe in love because they will get hurt.

9. “Broken Strings” by James Morrison Feat. Nelly Furtado

Have you ever felt betrayed by your partner? If you have, you will relate so well to this duet pop song by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado.

In this song about broken trusts and hurtful truths, the singers describe how their partners have hurt them because of betrayal.

The relationship should have come to a sudden stop, but they both decided against it and decided to repair the broken strings.

10. “Hotter Than Hell” by Dua Lipa

Imagine being in a relationship that can be used to describe hell metaphorically; It is this sort of relationship that Dua Lipa describes in “Hotter Than Hell.”

Dua Lipa narrates a relationship that brings out the dark sides of the couple and how they are basking it because it is what they are used to.

It would be best to steer clear of this type of relationship because it harms your mental health.

11. “Ex-Factor” by​ Lauryn Hill

“I keep letting you back in; how can I explain myself? (I don’t understand why).”

“Ex-Factor” is a song about manipulation by Lauryn Hill and is one of her most critically acclaimed songs.

In the song, the protagonist keeps accepting her abusive partner and can’t explain why, which is why it is a song about manipulation.

The protagonist knows they would be better off if they could both let go, but it is not so simple.

12. “Hostage” by Sia

Sia combines rock and pop to record this song about being controlled by an abusive boyfriend in her hit single, “Hostage.”

This song tells the story of a woman being entrapped by the love she feels for her controlling partner in a secret relationship.

The protagonist doesn’t care that she’s being held hostage by his love because that is what she wants; Isn’t it daunting?

13. “Mad Love” by​ JoJo

“Mad Love” by Jojo is a song about toxic love and why people stay back.

If you want a song that can kick you back into reality, this is the perfect song. 

Jojo sings about the insecurity and emotional baggage responsible for keeping people in an abusive relationship. 

14. “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” by Olivia Rodrigo

If you are looking to listen to a song about gaslighting in toxic relationships.

From the first line of “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back,” Olivia Rodrigo sings about her relationship issues.

In the relationship, her lover gets angry at almost anything she does and makes her doubt herself, but she finds it exciting in some “masochistic way.” 

15. “Bleeding Love” by​ Leona Lewis 

It’s always worse when you get into a relationship with someone against everyone else’s advice because you think you are in love.

In “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, she sings about being in a relationship with someone who abuses her despite her friend’s warning.

She doesn’t care about the abuse, even if it drains her because she’s in love.

16. “Jealous” by​ Beyoncé​

“Jealous” by Beyonce is a song for everyone experiencing relationship problems.

In this song, Beyonce references a cheating partner that is irresponsible about her feelings. 

She continuously reiterates that she will only keep her promise of faithfulness if he keeps his own.

17. “The Pressure” by​ Jhené Aiko

In this song, “The Pressure,” Jhene Aiko sings about being in a relationship out of convenience because she can’t leave.

“The Pressure” is a song about being in an abusive relationship with a partner that keeps hurting you and coming back to ask for forgiveness.

18. “Rock Bottom” by Hailee Steinfeld ft. DNCE

As the name suggests, “Rock Bottom’ is a toxic love song by Hailee Steinfield and DNCE.

The song details the relationship between two toxic people in a relationship and how they keep going back and forth and hurting each other.

The line “You get under my skin more than anyone else but when we lay in bed, you hold me harder till I forget” perfectly describes a toxic relationship.

19. “Girl” by​ Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child is an R&B girl group with Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, and even though they have long separated, their songs are evergreen.

The group delivers a beautiful song about their girlfriend in a toxic relationship in this song. 

Her friends try to convince her that the relationship is not worth her time because they love her.

More often than not, your friends are all you need when you find yourself in a bad relationship.

20. “The Heart Wants What It Wants” by​ Selena Gomez

What does your heart want?

Hopefully, it is not as toxic as what Selena Gomez sings about in her 2014 hit song, “The Heart Wants What It Wants.”

In this song, Selena yearns for a lover that doesn’t care about her enough to come back home at night or call her.

She knows a million reasons to give up the relationship, but her love for him overpowers those reasons, and she remains in the relationship.

21. “Playing With Fire” by Thomas Rhett

Have you ever been in love with something that the flames burned too hot you thought you would burn?

If your answer is yes, then you are lucky to find such love, but it can get ugly at some point, and that is what Thomas Rhett sings about in “Playing With Fire.”

The song is about toxic relationships that start as loving but end up hurting both involved parties.

22. “Walls Could Talk” by Halsey

Finding yourself in a toxic relationship with a manipulative partner is the worst thing that can happen to anyone.

Halsey describes being in such a relationship in her hit song “Walls Could Talk.”

In this song, the singer has reached her breaking point, and she’s gradually becoming an emotional mess.

23. “Need Me” by Eminem ft. Pink

Eminem has been very vocal about his abusive relationship with his ex-wife, Kim; however, he teams up with Pink in “Need Me” to retell the story.

The song tells the story of a toxic relationship between Eminem and his drunk ex-wife, whom he is so in love with despite her shortcomings.

Even though she continuously cheats and reminds him of his mother, Eminem still feels like he needs her.

24. “Pearl” by Katy Perry

“Pearl” by Katy Perry is a song about controlling relationships that are detrimental to the persona of the victims.

In this song, the singer goes from being a pearl to being nothing because she fell in love with a partner that controls her.

This is one of the worst forms of an abusive relationship, as you might never remain the same even after it ends.

25. “Poison” by Rita Ora

Rita Ora picked her poison in her hit song “Poison,” and it was her toxic boyfriend. 

This is a pop song about toxic love in which a woman keeps going back to her emotionally abusive partner even though she knows it’s bad for her.

In this song, the singer doesn’t care that the love tastes like poison; all she knows is that it’s okay if it kills her. 

Finding yourself in relationships like this is a cry for help; we hope you get it.

26. “Cherry Wine” by Hozier

Hozier used “Cherry Wine” to promote domestic abuse awareness after it was released in 2014 by donating its sales proceeds to anti-domestic abuse organizations.

“Cherry Wine” is a song about abusive relationships that details the experience of a victim lovingly because of his attachment to the abuser.

This song’s poetic lyrics and Hozier’s soft voice made this song feel like a love song until you study the lyrics closely.

27. “Cold” by Maroon 5 Feat. Future

The song’s title is in direct correlation with the lyrics of this song as “Cold” describes a relationship that has gone bad.

In the song, the lead singer, Adam Levine, lyrically details how his relationship went from being perfect to being sour.

He also pontificates that he doesn’t recognize his lover anymore because everything has gone cold.

28. “Jar Of Hearts” by Christina Perri

“Jar Of Hearts” is a song about toxic relationships ending abruptly.

In this song, the protagonist’s ex reaches out to her in an effort to rekindle old flames, and her response is pretty brutal.

If someone has treated you poorly in the past, an ex or friend, they should never have a place in your life again.

29. “Stone Cold Dead In The Market” by Ella Fitzgerald Feat. Louis Jordan

“Stone Cold Dead In The Market” is a 1940s jazz song about an abusive relationship that ended badly.

The song tells the story of a woman that was being physically abused by her husband, but she eventually got fed up and killed him.

Although the song was released in the late 40s, when women were supposed to be silent, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan still managed to release this powerful song.

30. “Behind The Wall” by Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman delivers a beautiful ballad in “Behind The Wall” that tells the story of an abusive relationship from a neighbor’s perspective.

The neighbor listens from behind the walls to all the issues her neighbors are facing in their toxic relationship.

At first, the neighbor wanted to call the police but decided against it because she thought they wouldn’t help until it was too late and she heard the ambulance sirens.

31. “Church Bells” by Carrie Underwood

“Church Bells” is a country song by Carrie Underwood that tells the story of a beautiful woman called Jenny.

In this song, Jenny marries a man because of his wealth, only to find out later that he is an abusive drunk.

Now, Jenny is covered up in scars and is always seen wearing dark shades to cover her black eyes. 

Carrie described the signs of an abused woman in this song and did it well.

32. “Love The Way You Lie” Eminem Feat. Rihanna

“Love The Way You Lie” is a song that perfectly describes the situation in an abusive relationship, and what better duo to deliver this song if not Eminem and Rihanna?

The song tells the story of a toxic relationship filled with lies, mistrust, and verbal abuse.

The couple is well aware that they are not suitable for each other but still stay together.

33. “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi

“You Give Love A Bad Name” is a song by the popular rock band Bon Jovi and it is one of their most popular songs.

The song tells the story of a man that fell deeply in love with a woman that broke his heart, and the narrator describes the woman’s love as a “Loaded gun.”

The relationship described in this song wasn’t toxic per se, but it took an emotional toll on the narrator, making him believe less in love.

34. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by Zayn Malik Feat. Taylor Swift

“I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by Zayn and Taylor Swift gained popularity because it was part of the soundtrack for the adapted movie, Fifty Shades of Grey.

The song details the pains of being in a toxic relationship and how it is to leave, especially when you are already invested in each other’s lives.

35. “Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly Feat. Camila Cabello

“Don’t matter what you do, I wanna do bad things to you.”

This song describes a seriously toxic relationship between two toxic people.

“Bad Things” is a duet that goes back and forth between Machine Gun Kelly and Camilla Cabello, detailing their roles in the toxic relationship.

The couple in the story knows they are bad for each other but stay together because they enjoy hurting each other.

36. “Pulling Teeth” by Green Day

In “Pulling Teeth,” Green Day uses a comical approach to describe the woes of an abusive relationship, which is why the song is referred to as “unconventional.”

Billie Joe, a member of the Green Day band, wrote the song based on a joke by the other band members after Mike Drint was sent to the emergency room after a pillow fight with his girlfriend.

37. “Toxic” by Britney Spears

What happens when your abusive partner is the only one that can make you feel alive? 

Britney Spears sings about finding herself in a similar situation in “Toxic.”

The song is about abusive partners and their victims that cannot get away from the relationship because of the “trauma bond.”

38. “Unfaithful” by Rihanna

Unpopular opinion, but being unfaithful in a relationship is a form of emotional abuse because it hurts the other party tremendously.

Rihanna sings about constantly cheating on her partner in “Unfaithful” even though she knows that it hurts him.

She sings, “I don’t wanna hurt him anymore, I don’t wanna be the reason why,” but she still doesn’t stop.

39. “Numb” by Linkin Park

“Can’t you see you are smothering me?” is a line from Linkin Park’s hit song, “Numb,” that describes the effects of being pressured by parents.

Do you know how most parents expect their children to be their mirror image and how these expectations often pressure the kids to become what they are not?

Linkin Park lyrically details the situation described above and confesses that the pressure is making him numb.

40. “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes

From the first line of “Stitches,” Shawn Mendes confesses that he has been abused before, but the one he’s experiencing with his new partner is worse.

The song is about verbal abuse and how words can sometimes cut deeper than a knife.

The narrator is tired of the relationship because it has drained him and left him in stitches, but his abusive ex wants him back.

41. “Love Lockdown” by Kanye West

“Love Lockdown” is a song about an unhealthy relationship by one of America’s most famous rappers, Kanye West.

In this song, Kanye is in an unhealthy romantic relationship that adversely affects his mental health.

He knows that ending the relationship is the best for him and his partner because he doesn’t love her enough to stay.

42. “Kill For You” by Skylar Grey Feat. Eminem

In “Kill For You,” Skylar Grey is so enamored by her lover that she is ready to kill anybody because of him.

After Skylar Grey gushes about her dangerous love for her lover, Eminem swoops in and delivers rap lyrics about how his manipulation influenced her to participate in his crime.

“Kill For You” is a Bonnie and Clyde inspired crime song.

43. “Going Under” by Evanescence

According to Evanescence’s band member and writer, Amy Lee, “Going Under” is a song about bad relationships and the efforts it takes to get out of one.

The relationship described in this song is so toxic that the protagonist no longer wants to be a part.

The protagonist is dying and drowning in the relationship; she knows the only way out is to break through.

44. “Vicious Love” by New Found Glory

“We fight as hard as we love” is a lyric from this song that describes a toxic relationship between two toxic people.

At the start of “Vicious Love,” the singer sings about how he admires couples on picnics in the park, but he knows he would never experience it because of the toxic situation in his relationship.

45. “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish

“When I’m away from you, I’m happier than ever.”

In an interview, Billie Eilish admitted that “Happier Than Ever” is the most therapeutic song she has ever written.

The creativity displayed by Billie Eilish in this song is therapeutic as she sings slowly in the first two minutes and switches to an upbeat tune at the end.

Many have called this song a breakup anthem as it details getting out of an abusive relationship and standing firm in your decision.

46. “Smoke When I Drink” by Kelleigh Bannen

In “Smoke When I Drink,” Kelleigh Bannen tells a very well-known and relatable story.

The story follows a woman that went to a club for a few drinks and ended up in the bed of her abusive ex the following day because she was too drunk to decide against it.

47. “I Miss The Misery” by Halestorm

The situation described in Halestorm’s “I Miss The Misery” is called Stockholm syndrome, a condition where an abused person develops a strong emotional attachment with their abuser.

In this song, the singer expresses that she misses being lied to, screaming, and how her abusive partner hates her.

If you feel the same way about your abusive ex, then you need to seek professional help.

48. “Take A Bow” by Rihanna

“Don’t tell you sorry ’cause you not.”

Everything Rihanna sang in this song is true because cheating partners only apologize when they get caught.

In “Take A Bow,” Rihanna’s lover manipulates her with his pleas after he cheats, and although she forgave him the first time, she couldn’t take it the second time.

She asks him to take a bow out of the relationship because it is over between them.

49. “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift      

“We Are Never Getting Back Together” is a single off Taylor Swift” s Red Album.           

In the song, Taylor promises her ex that they are never getting together even though she misses their silly fight.

The relationship described in this song is unhealthy and Taylor taking a firm stance is all the motivation you need to get out of your abusive relationship.

50. “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber

“Love Yourself” is one of Justin Bieber’s biggest songs as it peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for song of the year at the Grammys.

This song is powerful as it urges everyone to love themselves and stop being trapped in toxic relationships.

51. “Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” by Grace Carter

Grace Carter pours her soul into recording this heartfelt song about leaving an abusive relationship for good.

You may have been abused and manipulated in a relationship, and even though it hurts that you left the relationship, time will pass, and it will no longer hurt.

52. “I Hate Myself For Loving You” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

“I Hate Myself For Loving You” is a song about abusive relationships performed by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.

The song tells the story of a girl who falls in love with a man who abuses her as he pleases and how she hates herself for having no control over her love for him.

53. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus

“Wrecking Ball” is one of Miley Cyrus’ first songs that portrayed her deviation from her Hannah Montana persona.

In this song, she defiantly paints a vivid picture of what it feels like to be in a relationship with a toxic partner.

As Miley describes in the song, the only wrong thing she did was break his heart, but he retaliated by wrecking her.

54. “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele

Adele is known for being delicate in her songs about toxic relationships, but she finds her strength in this song.

In “Rolling Deep,” Adele threatens her ex that he shouldn’t underestimate what she could do to him if he tries to return to her life.

This threat comes after several betrayals from her toxic ex, and as she recounts the experience, she remembers that they almost had it all.

55. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

In this song, Lady Gaga is caught in a bad romance with a man that hasn’t noticed her yet.

She goes on and on about loving everything he represents and everything he does, and she doesn’t care if all his paramours try to fight her.

Songs About Toxic Relationships – Final Thoughts

In listening to these songs, could you relate to the toxic patterns? 

If yes, find your strength and a support system to guide you out of it.

We hope our list of the best songs about toxic relationships has been of use to you.

Similar Playlists:

Songs About Jealousy

Songs About Moving On

Best Sad Love Songs

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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