Have you been or are you caught in the web of a very toxic relationship? You ask what a toxic relationship is. A toxic relationship generates feelings of emptiness, frustration, anger, resentment, jealousy, and insecurity and a host of additional negative emotions. These emotions can be directed at another person, but ultimately is self-directed.
A toxic relationship is an addiction, similar to drugs, smoking or alcohol. We justify in our minds we can stop anytime we wish, or don’t have an addiction, two dangerous and delusional self-lies. We refuse to accept the warning signs, heed the advice of others and cling to destructive behaviors. We have an addiction, or we would have moved into a happier relationship.
In a toxic relationship, we allow another control over ourselves in the name of love. Perhaps we fulfill the whims of this person at the expense of ourselves. Perhaps we become chameleons, eager to be that perfect person for our partner. Perhaps we know he or she is cheating but we turn blind eyes because we are so immersed in these relationships that we won’t let go.
Fear often keeps us in these relationships. We are terrified by thoughts of being alone in life. We fear we cannot financially support ourselves if we leave. We become anxious they will not let us go, or will inflict bodily harm. We have become excuse machines, an excuse for this and a false justification for that, but at the end of the day, we are miserable and defeated.
We have lost the person we once were, or because of low self-esteem, we settled for this toxic relationship. We knew at the start of this relationship, something was wrong or unhealthy, but we closed our eyes. Now, our personal power is almost nil, and we feel permanently stuck to an unhappy situation. We use that worn-out justification, “But I love him or her.”
How many tears? How many moments of extreme unhappiness must we experience, before we know we can no longer remain as we are? For some people, this becomes a lifetime of unhappiness and misery. We chose to believe the lies and manipulations from the toxic relationship and remain entangled. For others, we realize we must make a change and kick this toxic relationship to the curb.
Kicking a toxic relationship to the curb is NOT an easy process. Like an addiction, we have the temptation of bringing this person back into our lives because of some misplaced regret that we didn’t do the right thing. We have managed to justify to ourselves that he or she wasn’t that bad and perhaps things will change, or this person has changed. We go back, and quickly realize the reunion created an additional level of entrapment.
Kicking a toxic relationship requires courage, resolve and determination to move onward. Toxic relationships cement us to one point in life, and we cannot move forward as everything in our lives revolves around this relationship. This poisonous relationship consumes every thought, intention and action. And like any addiction, remove the source, and the craving must be mastered.
Once the person is out of our lives, the rebuilding and healing must begin. If not, we risk attracting the same type of person into our lives, or we attract one who is worse. Once out of a toxic relationship, our vulnerability to manipulation is strong, but as each day passes and we work on ourselves to rebuild the foundations of our being, the lure of toxic relationships become less and less.
We must acknowledge help is required, whether the support of family, friends or professional counseling. Seldom can we kick a toxic relationship without support because of the emotional damage inflicted in this relationship. Reality checks are required from these people providing support, so we do not create some illusion that our past relationship was something wonderful and not destructive. We need support to help us through those shaky moments of being alone, and facing the truths about ourselves to move forward emotionally.
Most people wish to love, and be loved for all the right reasons. Toxic relationships can help us understand what we do not desire in relationships, how we will never allow people to treat us and where our vulnerabilities exist. Toxic relationships can also destroy us in many ways, and while kicking to the curb isn’t easy, we deserve better in our lives, but the decision is ultimately ours. Not all deaths are physical; some relationships suck the life out of our hearts and souls.