Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? You've been there. Your gut told you run, but every time you entertained the thought of leaving, you couldn't muster up the emotional strength to do it. There was always a excuse that seemed viable enough to stay.
Is being in a relationship where you are consistently unhappy your idea of love? If so, I've got news for you; If you're in a relationship with someone who used to make you happy and now no longer does, what keeps you there isn't love, it's fear.
You're afraid that if you leave, you may never find someone else; you're afraid of being single again; you're afraid that what you really want may never happen, so instead of taking a chance and moving on, you decided to settle. Unfortunately, you just don't see it that way.
People in a toxic partnership may feel like they're walking on eggshells around their spouses, or that they have to clam up about their own emotions to keep the peace. And of course, they might feel their partners think they can NEVER do anything right.
It sure doesn't sounds like a true romance.
But interestingly, "toxic relationships don't start out that way," says Eric Charles (a relationship expert). The problem comes when one or both people believe that the other person should make them happy and it's their duty to do the same.
"Nobody else can be ultimately responsible for your emotions," notes Charles. "That's the soil in which a toxic relationship dynamic can take root", he goes on to say.
Here are the five major reasons women stay firm in a toxic relationship:
1. Thinking you can change the other person
Empathetic people, who are sensitive to others' emotions and quick to put themselves in another person's shoes, are especially at risk here. "They believe they can change someone's emotions through their actions, " Charles explains. Sure, their intentions are good but, "unfortunately, they don't see that they're attempting the impossible."
2. Living in a fair-tale world
Countless TV shows and movies portray a relationship that was filled with turmoil magically leading to a happy ending. Because of that, many of us have been led to believe that "drama, heartache, and pain will somebody lead to the happiness in the end", Charles writes. But the reality is they don't!
3. You're on an emotional roller coaster
In a healthy relationship, each partner is pretty happy, so although your interactions are loving and joyful, they're no earth-shattering. But toxic relationships have a much higher emotional contrast.
Think about it. When your self-esteem is at an all-time low and you're worried you can't please your partner, then all of a sudden, something between you actually does go well, you're mood will shoot into the stratosphere. You feel good, happy, hopeful, and inspired.
Only problem? The reason for this emotional high is because the relationship takes you to such a low place most of the time.
4. Your lives are intertwined
Maybe you have kids. Or you co-own a business. Maybe you own a home together or share the same tight circle of friends. Whatever the reason, an outside factor beyond the relationship can make you feel like a clean break isn't possible.
5. You can't see a way out
Surprisingly, most people who are in a poisonous relationship actually KNOW it. But they deny it (to themselves as well as to friends and family) because they don't see any alternative.
Thinking of a toxic relationship like a drug addiction may help. When you can see that the "drug" is not really making you "high" anymore...you can see the reality of what's really at play; and recognize that detoxing yourself is the only route to peace and happiness.
If you find yourself in the midst of what you think might be a toxic relationship, help is out there. Contact me at (440) 836-3186 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’d love to hear about what is going on and direct you to the right help. If you are looking for help with relationship difficulties, you can read more about how I can help here.