Okay, so here’s the deal. I won’t even bother getting too caught up in defining what a toxic or unhealthy relationship is because I’m pretty sure you’re probably already familiar with it. Most, if not all of us has dealt with some form of a relationship that was just no good for us. You saw the red flags your partner showed you, the signs that told you to run in the opposite direction, the way “they changed” or what I like to call– simply revealed who they truly were to begin with. We all can relate to over-staying in relationships that we KNOW we have no business staying in. So here’s the million dollar question, simple in nature, but incredibly difficult to answer.
Why do we stay ??
Why do we stay in relationships with partners who mistreat us, that cause us more pain than pleasure, ultimately engaging in self-harm?
I had to think pretty hard on this, only because I know the sensitive nature of the topic. You see, people on the outside looking in will never understand this common dilemma. But I’ve been there, completely engulfed in what we love to call the “on and off” relationship. People who have never found themselves in that situation are always quick to judge. They label us as being too weak, too dependent. “Why are you still with so and so?” They may often ask. “Don’t you know you’re better off without them?” But how did they come to that conclusion in the first place? The thing is, you really can’t blame these people for the things they say. I’ve learned that people love to criticize what they don’t understand.
I am of the opinion that the top two reasons we stay in these relationships are embedded within the concepts of fear and insecurities. So let’s backtrack for a bit, shall we? The favorite piece of advice people love to give you– They tell you you’re better off without your partner, but deep down you don’t believe it. It’s at this point that fear comes knocking on your door. You’re afraid that if you walk away, you will never encounter love again. You’re afraid that if you leave, you will never get the opportunity to know what it’s like to be treated well. You’re afraid of being single again. You begin telling yourself that there’s nothing better out there, and even if there is, you probably won’t find it. Additionally, if the relationship is abusive, you will definitely be fearful that your partner may retaliate if you tried to walk away from them.
Then they’re insecurities. Whether this stems from bad past experiences and failures as a child or growing up, many people feel inadequate and insufficient. These insecurities then play on your mind because you begin thinking that you don’t deserve better, and so you settle. This is why it is so vital to know your worth, and to practice self-love daily. Once you recognize your own value, you won’t allow anyone to devalue you.
ENOUGH WITH THE EXCUSES
There’s also the excuses we make, and man..do we make them! I’d just like to put this out there. The amount of time you spend investing in your relationship is by no means a good enough reason to continue wasting more of your time. So yeah, I understand you have years of history with that person. Believe me, I get how you would feel like you’re completely giving up on everything you worked for. But that’s just it, if that’s the main reason why you want to stay, you’re already on the wrong track. That leads to the next excuse. The one where you tell yourself your partner will change because they used to be different. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but they probably won’t change. I say this because chances are, it’s not they changed to begin with. Their true colors are just coming to the light. I’ve also learned that people are great pretenders, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They can have you fooled for years before certain situations finally begin revealing who they really are. Unfortunately, we find comfort in thinking that things will get better, and as a result we ignore our gut feeling.
YOU ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER
So now what? Well, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what to do. To be honest, I’m sure you already have a pretty clear idea of what’s best for you. I will however say this: If you find yourself in a toxic relationship that is causing you distress and draining you emotionally, you have to become active in your own breakthrough. You have to do something. The sooner, the better. I know it’s not the easiest choice to just walk away. So I won’t tell you to do that, because there have been cases where relationships completely change for the better. But that means you both have to be willing to achieve that outcome. However, if you’re the only one willing, your best bet will always be to walk away. Try and pinpoint the exact reasons why you’re still with that person, and begin changing the way you see yourself. Find a good support system and be open to their help. Be true to yourself by assessing what you truly deserve, and remain confident in knowing that you can change the dynamics of any relationship by firstly changing yourself.
Until Next Time..