Toxic Relationships are definitely not something we want to keep around. Deep down we all want to feel connected. To feel loved. To feel understood. This desire comes from this innate place of wanting the warm and fuzzies we get when we are loved. This helps the world feel calm, manageable, and most importantly, enjoyable. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves in relationships that aren’t the best for us. There is a huge range of what “not the best” can look like but nevertheless it affects our lives in many ways.
What is a relationship that is toxic? This is a rather big question. But let’s start with saying that its a relationship that doesn’t have our best selves involved in it. You are longing for someone that really wants to be with you and loves you deeply. You’ve been shown time and time again that your emotions are being taken for a loop both by you and your partner.
This feeling is all too frustrating, overwhelming, and ultimately destructive in your life. You want to figure out how to feel better. You have thoughts of “can they change?” and you yearn to make it work but are having so many mixed feelings about it. This is normal. And understandable.
Perhaps your toxic relationship looks like this:
You get off the phone with a friend from high school. You have a smile on your face knowing that it’s been so long since you spoke with her. It was comforting to hear her voice since there has been so much conflict in the house with your fiance, and a calm and familiar voice feels reassuring. Your fiance sees you have this big smile on your face and automatically asks you “who was that?” You know that he gets pretty jealous (and for no good reason most of the time). You say “oh it was just a friend.” You can tell that he’s getting antsy looking at your face for clues. You start to recognize your heart is beating quicker as he grabs your phone to start looking at the history.
You end up feeling invaded in your space and rightfully so. But you know that you also don’t want to fight so you just walk away and you can tell he is left feeling insecure and angry. He then follows you and you get into a pretty intense fight which he then realizes that he said things he shouldn’t have said and apologizes. Same old story you tell yourself, but you don’t know how to get out of this loop, so you accept his apology and try to move forward. Deep down, you know it’s just a matter of time till something else pops up.
Eventually you wind up in a place of hopelessness and frustration. There are times where the two of you are the most connected. Like he really gets you and you get him. But other times, it’s just this chaos that isn’t bringing out the best in you or him. But the truth is that many people struggle with these type of destructive relationships. Understanding what is behind it all and what is needed to stay away from destruction, and live happily, is the most important thing.
It’s true that toxic relationships are all too overwhelming and have a strong toll on your life. However, if we can learn how to take hold of toxic relationships we can live feeling more free, connected, and in control of our lives. When we make deep rooted changes it is entirely possible to take hold of life again and make the changes we want.
Keep reading for my 5 pains of taking hold of toxic relationships and living free
When you can’t take hold of a toxic relationship:
You feel your life is like walking on eggshells not knowing when the other shoe is going to drop. Your relationship is described as having ups and downs that feel like a roller coaster and it’s hard to feel a sense of certainty. You find yourself believing this is what is “okay” or “it’s better than it being like this all the time.” You end up feeling distant from your partner, friends, family, and yourself. You say and do things that just don’t feel like you. It’s a really lonely feeling.
When you can take hold of a toxic relationship:
You are able to feel proud of yourself for taking care of you. Whether or not you are still in a relationship, you have shifted in your values of your life and connections. You are feeling more yourself and feel connected to those around you. You learn that you have control to become empowered and make the changes you want in your life.
Here are 5 Pains of Taking Hold Of Toxic Relationships And Living Free
Pain one: You have a history of not putting yourself as a priority
One of the reasons you struggle with getting involved in toxic relationships is because you have a history of not putting yourself as a priority. There is a big part of you that is struggling with stepping up and saying to yourself what you deserve and sticking with it. Maybe you’re not the nicest to yourself sometimes. We can all relate to being our own bully.
It’s important that you do the work to truly digest why you are important. Here is a little exercise I’d like for you to do: write down 10 reasons you deserve to have a healthy and happy relationship. Understanding and truly digesting the “why you matter” and “why you deserve happiness” is a strong first step.
Here at Simi Psychological Group, I help my clients build up their inner strength from the ground up. I understand that these messages are hard wired deep inside and need some rewiring. Together we work on developing a new narrative around prioritizing ourselves first and foremost and understand that the best of things (love, connection, success) all follows.
Pain two: You haven’t witnessed the best examples of healthy relationships
The reality is that growing up you may have had some less than adequate examples of healthy relationships. This may be a reason why you find yourself in toxic relationships. Sometimes we follow what we know. We try to do different or better but we can only do better when we know better and sometimes, even when we know better…old patterns still arise.
It is important that you clearly identify the messages you received growing up about what it means to be in a relationship. Some questions to think about include “what does love mean?” “What did I learn about intimacy? Sex? Contribution? Loyalty?” Again, write this down. Being able to identify the connections between the messages you received growing up and what is happening in your life is really insightful. It will allow you to access more of that inner you that stands up for yourself.
With my clients I work with them on identifying the connection between the messages they received growing up, how it plays out in their lives today, and how they want to be living their lives. Together we dissect the moments in time where they can respond from stronger places within themselves.
Pain three: You have a hard time speaking your mind and setting boundaries
Something that is hard for you is speaking your mind and communicating what you are needing. Maybe you let him or her know what it is that you think/feel but its in a reactive way. You can tell that it is coming from a place of nerves, overwhelm, or possibly fear. Maybe you are giving in to what your partner is wanting mainly because you don’t want a destructive cycle or conflict.
Identifying what you are needing for your own stability and happiness is so very essential in taking hold of toxic relationships and living free. This may sound like a broken record, but again, I am going to encourage you to write down at least 5 “musts” for you. For example, “I must have a space all to myself in the house when I need to gather my thoughts” or “I must be true to myself in a moment of tension.”
With my clients I work with them on connecting to their needs, wants, and desires for their lives. We work on setting the boundaries with their partners where they need and deciding how to deal with and respond (not react) to their partner’s defenses. We work together on bringing out their truest selves by better speaking their minds and setting boundaries that feels good to them.
Pain four: You are longing to feel loved
You are so wanting to feel loved. You have felt truly loved by your partner but you just aren’t sure how to feel that way consistently. You are feeling done with the ups and downs. You ask yourself some hard questions like “do I deserve to be loved?” and “why do I keep getting into these types of relationships?”
It’s essential to recognize when you go into self bullying mode. That’s the mode in your head that tells you bad things that aren’t true. That voice may be all too familiar and ultimately comfortable. Comfortable doesn’t mean that something feels good, rather that its become part of the way you talk to yourself. Try talking to your partner in a more vulnerable “off script” way. Where you are truly getting at what it is you are wanting with love and being loved. Another route is to talk it out with someone else first. Maybe a friend you can open up to.
With my clients, I help them identify foreign but yet loving thoughts. We work on self love and connection so that they can truly identify what it is they are wanting and deserving in their lives. Identifying and truly comprehending what you deserve and need to feel love from someone and yourself (most importantly) is essential.
Pain five: It’s feeling so bad and you aren’t sure how to do this on your own. You need help but aren’t sure where to start.
You’ve noticed yourself go through so many cycles with your partner that it’s just feeling too hard to figure out where to start. Maybe you have tried so many things with your partner and nothing works.
Therapy is a really good place to start to figure out what it is you are wanting for your life and how to make the changes to get there. Therapy can help you truly get at the core of what is happening for you, the obstacles to make change, and have a trusted safe place to talk about all you are feeling. Therapy can be considered for yourself or as a couple. A free consultation with a professional may be best to help you make that decision.
Simi Psychological Group is here to help you create real change you want in your life. Life can be free of toxic relationships and be replaced with healthy, loving, and connected ones. Please reach out to us for a free consultation today.
I believe that through self-compassion, inspiration and hope it is possible for anyone to reach their deepest and truest goals.
My focus is working with children, adolescents, and families that struggle with Anxiety, ADHD, Depression and relationship issues. I also have a strong passion for working with adults with a history of trauma. Healing, self-love and acceptance and growing through transformation, are all within reach. Learning to truly love and connect with one’s self and others is a true gift and it is my honor to be on this journey with you.