Leaving a toxic relationship is one of the most painful decisions you’ll ever make in your life.
Because most toxic types are highly invested in making you doubt yourself. They convince you that you’re the one to blame, you’re too sensitive and everything’s all your fault.
They may also convince your friends and family that they’re Mr/Miss Nice.
So you make excuses and believe that-
- You’ve invested years in the relationship and not going to give up now. This is like the slot machine analogy, where you’ve had fun playing those one-armed bandits. It paid out and now you’ve invested so much of your ‘winnings’ believing you must be close to the big pay out. You hang in there waiting for the toxic person to change, believing that if you walk away you might regret it or someone else might come along and get the best of the life you’ve invested in.
2. They’ve had a difficult childhood– You feel sorry for them and believe their stories of childhood trauma and abuse-which may well be true but no excuse for choosing to treat others abusively. Our lives can either be an inspiration or a warning-we always have a choice.
3. They’re not bad all the time– This may be true but they’re not good all the time either. This is a cognitive distortion of black and white thinking. There are is also a shade of grey which means it’s not all bad, not all good but just okay. The trouble with toxic people is that they don’t do ‘okay’ They find ‘okay’ boring. They thrive on drama and chaos. So, they might not be bad ‘all the time’ and they might be amazing ‘some’ of the time’ but the bit in the middle is manufactured chaotic hell.
3. They’ll leave their wife/husband eventually– This may also be true but what if they don’t. How long are you prepared to wait? What are you missing out on in the meantime? Are they seeing someone else? Many toxic people are incapable of being faithful. Some even have a harem of other women/men while keeping a ‘constant’ wife/ partner at home. If they do leave, or get kicked out by the ‘constant’, they just move people round like chess pieces and set someone else up as the constant while maintaining the harem. So you could be setting yourself up to be the next constant.
4. They’re only nasty when they drink/drug too much. Many toxic people use alcohol and drugs as an excuse to abuse. They save up all their resentments and cash them in when they’re under the influence only to deny all knowledge of the abuse afterwards. There are many people in recovery from alcohol and drugs who are not ,and never will be abusive. The abuse is in the person, the alcohol/drug is just the excuse toxic people use to cover for it.
5. He/She’s the only one who understands you- Toxic people have mastered the art of active listening. They know the right things to say to get you to open up and reveal your deepest secrets. They are extremely attentive, so it’s natural to believe no one ever listened to you as they have. Or no one’s taken an interest in you like them. But you may also find that no one has hurt you the way they have and most of the time no one has misunderstood you as much either.
6. The Sex is too Good- Sex is a powerful hook in toxic relationships which often keeps people bonded to the abuser. If sex is used to make up from a break up, then the neurological mix of highly charged brain chemicals strengthens traumatic bonding which (sans psychobabble) means, it messes with your head and your heart. And even though you know intellectually that the relationship is bad for you, you keep going back like an addict for your next fix.
7. You’ll never survive on your own ( Bag Lady Syndrome)– This is the most common excuse we’ve all used at one time to keep us from leaving a toxic relationship. Emotional abuse breaks you down regardless of how intelligent, capable and strong you’ve been prior to the relationship. So when they tell you you’ll never survive without them, you really believe it. Because the abuse is designed to break down your confidence, self-worth and self-esteem, leaving you doubting yourself and struggling to make the smallest decisions.. You even have multiple panic attacks in the supermarket just trying to choose what to buy for dinner never mind contemplate the impact of surviving on your own. And when you do think about it, you picture yourself homeless and jobless on streets of London, New York or Paris (Or your nearest city with nice bags)
If any of the above beliefs ring true for you, then please don’t beat yourself up. Have some compassion for yourself. You’re only human and believed that the toxic person had genuine feelings for you and would love, care trust and respect you.
So now you have to be your own best mate and do it for yourself.
From the heart x
p.s – Please feel free to comment below or share with anyone who may need help.
Jacqueline Groves is a counsellor and coach specializing in in emotional abuse recovery from toxic relationships.