By: Amanda Wiegert, LMHC, NCC
Most of us have experienced a toxic relationship at some point in our lives. Sometimes it is obvious to see that the relationship is toxic. Other times, they sneak up on us and before we even realize it we are already sucked in.
Toxic relationships are dangerous for many reasons. The most harmful effects are that they increase your stress, consume your energy, and destroy your self-esteem. Even after recognizing that you are in an unhealthy relationship, it may be very difficult to let go.
Here are a few reasons why letting go of a toxic relationship is so hard:
I am afraid that I wont find anyone else after leaving a toxic relationship.
It is perfectly normal to be afraid of what life will look like outside of the relationship. You may feel as though you will never find someone to love you or to spend your life with. Often times, toxic partners work to instill fear in you and make you feel as though you won’t find anyone else. This is his or her way of manipulating you into staying in the relationship.
However, if you live your life based on fear then you will never take chances. Growth can only happen when you choose to step outside of your comfort zone even though sometimes the thought of stepping outside of your comfort zone can be paralyzing.
I can help my partner change and become a better person.
Toxic relationships often breed codependency, which is the tendency to form unhealthy, one-sided, or abusive relationships. The codependent mindset can lead you to think that you can help the other person become more kind, caring, and compassionate. Therefore, leaving a toxic relationship does not even cross your mind because you believe they “need” you.
However, it is important to recognize that you should not have to change the person you choose to spend your life with. If you need more help or information about codependency, take a look at my previous article: “How to Overcome Codependency.”
I don’t think I can survive without my partner.
When you have been dependent on someone for years or even decades, it can be hard to imagine yourself creating a life that does not include that person. You have likely lost sight of who you are, what you enjoy, and what is most important to you in life, which makes letting go of a toxic relationship even more difficult.
Your partner has led you to believe that this unhealthy environment is your “new normal” and that your life is going to be like this forever. This does not have to be the case. Although it may seem daunting at first, you are absolutely capable of learning to survive on your own and eventually learning to love yourself again.
My partner loves me so why would I leave?
After being in a toxic relationship for a while, you can start to confuse chaos for love. The high highs and low lows of relationships can be addicting because many people thrive off of that chaos. You may even look at the times in your relationship when there was no fighting, yelling, or threatening and feel as though these “calm” moments are boring because you are so used to always being on edge.
Chaos is not love and you should not be in a relationship where you have become accustomed to it. Letting go of a toxic relationship can be difficult, but you deserve more and are worth more than you may believe.
If you feel like you may be in a toxic relationship, it is important to recognize that you are not alone. It can be helpful to talk with someone about the unhealthy patterns in your relationships. Please call Life Counseling Solutions today at 407-622-1770 to schedule an appointment or a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with Amanda.
About the Author: Amanda is passionate about helping people navigate all stages of life. She believes great healing can emerge from trauma and challenges if we allow ourselves to be open to learning and exploring new ways of dealing with difficult life experiences. Read more about Amanda..