Toxic relationship (TR) – a relationship characterized by negative behaviours such as insecurity, self-centredness, dominance and control that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to the significant other.
We know the signs. We all know someone who’s been in one or is perhaps in one right now, it might even be you. TRs drain our confidence; rob us of our courage and self-esteem and even our common sense. We cling to the hope of change that never arrives, until eventually we become an emotional mess, stuck in an ever ending cycle of heart wrenching, gut churning drama.
Of course it didn’t start out like this. The TR often begins with a powerful, overwhelming attraction that has us hooked from hello. Swept away we fall into the trap that is believing we’ve found our own little slice of fairy-tale perfect. Our desire to make it so has us blinded by passion and what we believe to be a crazy love that has all the hall markings of being the one. We jump in eyes closed, hearts wide open, willingly surrendering our power and before we know it we’re gone. So much so that when the cracks appear our poor little loved up heads are buried too deep in the honeymoon sand to see them coming. Our friends may not be so blind, but we excuse it all away because we’re in love and this time it’s different.
All too soon however we can’t ignore that what was once a flutter in our stomach has now turned into a twisted knot. The little voice inside whose heart was singing is now whispering a warning, but we hush it away and numb ourselves to the internal stress whose very purpose is to alert us to the fact that we’re emotionally veering off course.
The garden is no longer rosy but we hope and pray that it’s just a phase and true love will carry us through. All the while the controlling and belittling worsen the lies and irrational outbursts of anger and accusations seem to fly out of nowhere. The sweet nothings have all but disappeared, replaced by argumentative tones, or worse still the cold wall of silence. We’re constantly on the defensive as we tip toe around the ever growing sea of egg shells that now surround us. Things aren’t good, but there’s still hope, right?
So what’s really going on? Firstly we need to realise that we attract into our lives those who resonate with our own vibration. Controllers are attracted to those who’re easily controlled. They may seem like opposites but they share a deep rooted fear of abandonment, being judged or being alone. It’s the very fear that leads to jumping in head first without stopping to assess whether or not this person is truly right for us. It’s also the fear that keeps us holding on amidst an array of signs that scream out “let go.”
What they also have in common is low self-esteem and a lack of self-love. As well as relieving symptoms of loneliness, another reason we attach so quickly and hang on long after the toxic wave has hit is to appease our belief that we’re just not good enough. When we withhold love from ourselves we attract another’s internal chaos and drama which is a perfect match for our own. With no healthy boundaries to protect us we transmit a message that it’s ok for us to be treated this way. It’s a message that’s heard loud and clear by our new beloved who all too soon reflects back to us the lack of love we have for ourselves. And the beat goes on.
As with all relationships TRs are an interaction of energy. We are always attracting and reacting to the energy of others. The first step to getting out is awareness. We have to be willing to become an honest observer as to what’s really going on around us and to what extent we’re resonating with it. Turning a blind eye and suffering in silence has never been a solution for anything. The very behaviour we’re ignoring screams for our attention and it won’t stop until it gets it.
But our attention needs to be turned inwards, because we’re the only person we can do anything about. Complaining about our partner won’t solve a thing. The real issue isn’t what he or she is doing but what we are failing to do by tolerating harsh relationship patterns. There’s always a pay-off, no matter how much we protest that we don’t like it; if there wasn’t something in it for us we simply wouldn’t be doing it. More often than not that something is the very thing that led us to the relationship in the first place and keeps us there; our fear of being alone, unworthy and unloved.
And so we come full circle. When we open our eyes we see that the universe has provided us with what appeared to be the wrong partner but was in fact the right partner at the right time to show us what we have been avoiding all along; our own lack of self-worth. Until we release the fear within our hearts and lift our vibration to one of love and not needy attachment we will continue to attract relationships that reflect the toxicity of our internal world. When we connect to the love that we are we break the cycle and send forth a new vibration that brings home to us those who reflect back the inner calm, respect and love that we now so dearly hold for the beautiful soul that is our self.