The following blog, along with previous blogs written, is based on issues from various patients I have worked with over the years. If you wish to no longer receive these blogs, merely e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, stating “Do not email future blogs” and your name will be deleted from the mailing list.
With that, let’s get on with the current topic.
“How to Make Better Choices With Relationships”
I am sure that you must have seen people in relationships that are obviously wrong for them. Some of these people may have recognized that their relationship is toxic but still don’t leave it. Others are oblivious to the relationship being dysfunctional and rationalize reasons to stay in it. Regardless, it invariably leads to delusionment and unfulfillment.
How can a relationship that starts out so good, end up being so draining? That’s the dangerous part. At first, the warning signs are usually ignored. The apparent initial good times are magnified and those memories are held onto when the bad times invariably creep in. It would be much easier if the other person’s bad behavior consistently manifested itself. That way, one would clearly know what to expect. However, it’s the inconsistencies that throws the person off. The mixture of being warm and caring with being distant and rejecting results in confusion and a tendency to wish for the return the initial positive experiences.
So, what do you do? Well, you first need to recognize whether the relationship is dysfunctional or not. Next, if you find that it is, you need to determine whether or not it’s worth attempting to fix it or healthier to move on. Be aware that all too often, people get stuck in endlessly trying to fix a relationship which, in reality, is going nowhere good. This happens when one person works on saving the relationship and the other person is only paying lip service. Clinging to the hope of change without full investment from both people will only lead to a deeper level of toxicity.
This “merry go round” is recognizable when, often than not, one feels criticized, put down and/or belittled on a regular basis, intermingled with short periods of “heavenly bliss”. Be aware of whether or not you feel validated, heard and supported. Do you feel lifted up or put down on a consistent basis?
Leaving a toxic relationship is not done without a lot of ambivalence. However, clinging to the hope of change without full investment from both people is doomed to failure. People often stay in these types of relationships because they are easily manipulated into thinking there is something wrong with them and not the other person. They might even think the other person needs to be saved by them and feel a sense of failure if they can’t accomplish this goal.
Regardless, this may be influenced by people who struggle with a poor sense of self. As a result, they may also have a gnawing underlying fear of abandonment should they assert their own needs. They’ve grown so accustomed to being abused that they are not quite sure how to move forward and live a healthy life. The bottom line is that toxic relationships rarely become healthy ones.
Though leaving a toxic relationship is rarely an easy decision, once one decides to leave, there should be a well thought out exit strategy. I share with you some thoughts.
- As the old song goes…. “Breaking up is so very hard to do” . You first need to come to the realization that change is hard. Though you intellectually you know that ending the relationship is the right thing, emotionally there are many mixed feelings that stem from deep caring, a history together and possible financial ties.
- Next you need to take a hard look at yourself and ask… What is it that makes me stay in such an unhealthy relationship when my gut tells me to get out?
- Here’s where it gets harder….. You need to push through all the resistance that rationalizes why you should stay, such as “They will change.”… They never do. “If we go back to the way it was when we first met.”,,, It never will . “How will I cope without them?” It will be hard at first but you will be able to.”
- Remember, nothing is going to change until you start believing that you are better than you think you are and that that you deserve more than what you think you do.
- Don’t expect the abuser to go away quietly. Their need to control will result in their constantly trying to lurer you back until they’re ready to end it. This usually happens when they find someone else. So hang tough and you be the one to take charge of getting unstuck.
- Realize that your feelings can’t turn off like a light bulb. It will take time but remember “The trip up has not been worth the trip down.”
- It will be better use of your time to plan out how you will survive emotionally, financially and concretely.
- Resist the temptation to contact the other person. Also, block any attempts to contact you by the other person, be it through phone, text or e-mail.
- Discontinue analyzing the possible root causes of your partner’s dysfunctional behavior and start focusing on yourself.
- Seek counseling in order to examine the possible etiology of your behavior that makes you vulnerable to a toxic relationship, From there you can explore healthier choices in your life.
- Be aware of not falling into the same trap again with someone else. Trust in your gut and be aware in not letting your emotions get in the way of clear thinking.
- Say loud and clear that you will never again get into a toxic relationship. Merely saying it, will reinforce you’re staying on track and drive home that you will not be fooled again. Readers are invited to comment, share thoughts, ideas or suggestions about this blog or any other previous blogs. Readers can e-mailing me at email@example.com or mailing me at lifesourcecenter, 710 Main Street, Plantsville Connecticut, 06479.