Toxic Relationships and The Need to Let Go
Life is a series of hellos and good-byes. It is about attaching, connecting, and often separating and then detaching, disconnecting and letting go. In toxic relationships all-too-often one or both participants are not skilled when it comes to limits, boundaries, or letting go. Toxic people get addicted and have issues of neediness that cause them to avoid letting go when a healthier person would run the other way from the sheer emotional pain and suffering alone.
Not all connections are healthy ones. Many people get involved in what are known as toxic unhealthy relationships or even friendships. You can identify a toxic unhealthy relational dynamic when you feel that you are losing yourself to the control, wants, temper, or abuse of another, or if you are the one becoming abusive yourself for whatever reason.
Toxic unhealthy relationships often play out the unresolved wounds of our childhoods.
In a toxic unhealthy interaction or dynamic what occurs is not a reciprocal respectful connection but is rather an enmeshed and/or entangled connection that is driven by the quest (consciously or subconsciously) to resolve old wounds. It is co-dependent not inter-dependent.
Toxic unhealthy relating is fuelled by disrespect, power struggles and attempts to control the person one claims to love from a foundation of feeling emotionally out of control oneself.
Most people may at one point or another in their lives experience this type of relationship or dynamic with a family member or friend. These entanglements can be compelling. They are extremely painful. They are often rooted in codependency.
Toxic relationships can be emotionally and/or physically dangerous or even deadly. The abuse and control exerted in these relationships must not be minimized or denied. It needs to be faced and dealt with.
They are not easy to disengage or detach from. Each person in such a toxic unhealthy relational dynamic of any kind is getting something out of it. What is usually being derived from this "dance" is not in anyone's best interest and it will, in fact, block your growth not help you to learn more.
What helps us learn more, in life, about ourselves, is when we find ourselves having made a relational mistake that we accept that and transform that mistake into a growth opportunity. The growth and learning however, cannot be gleaned, understood, or realized until we are ready, willing, and able to let go.
More often than not what sustains the foundation of toxic relating inside of a person is a personality disorder or some other form of mental illness. Borderline Personality and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are the two most common sources of toxic and abusive relating. Both personality disorders seem to be on the increase. We also seem to be living in what are very narcissistic times.
Toxic relationships are everything that defies the word relationship. They are not about love – they are about relationship addiction – being addicted to chaos, drama and/or the other person. They are not desirable. They are painful. They are compelling in that given certain unresolved emotional issues from childhood, adults frankly get addicted to toxic relational schema. These toxic relationships are the vehicles of verbal abuse, physical abuse, and often domestic violence.
It is only after the letting go, the ending of the toxic drama and all its related trauma that we are able to get in touch with the absolute depth of the pain that we need to heal from within ourselves to not put ourselves back in the very same "dance" with someone else.
Unstepping this toxic unhealthy relational reality is very painful. It often involves leaving a lost person to their own lack of understanding and lostness lest you be lostwith them and to them.
Toxic bonds, toxic trauma bonds, create a foundation for "love" that is not healthy love. It plays out more like hate. In a toxic relationship or bond the key element is actually betrayal. Betrayal of self and betrayal of the other person you are in relationship to or with.
It is especially difficult for the co-dependent rescuer who is sometimes very invested in helping the other person to change or get healthier. We can only help ourselves. We only have control over ourselves.
If you find yourself too focused on someone else or not feeling that you are okay unless someone else in your life (partner or friend or family member) is okay than you are enmeshed and over-relating to someone – over-identifying with someone – and this is the abandoning of yourself – that is why it hurts so much.
You cannot rescue anyone but yourself. There are many ways to get lost in what many define as "love". Love isn't supposed to hurt, however. Real love is absolutely not about betrayal, disrespect, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and/or women abuse – physical violence. Toxic relationships are so prolific and sadly common these days that many people tend to "normalize" what is actually pathological.
In toxic relationships it is often when one or both people are avoiding their own emotional pain they over-focus on the other person often seeing them through a judgmental and critical pervasively negative perspective.
Too many people stay stuck in these destructive relationships due to an inability to cope with and a fear of loneliness. If you can relate to this please know that it is better in the long run and much more healthy in the long run to face the pain and challenge of loneliness than it is to remain in a toxic abusive relationship.
When we are ready to grow, to face our own pain, to do our own healing work and resolve our own unfinished business we will be ready to let go of this type of relational situation.
It is then that we will begin to spread our wings and fly toward the personal empowerment and freedom that our souls quest after and that each one of knows we truly deserve.
If you are hanging on to someone or some relationship today that doesn't work, whether that is with another person, or with food, or alcohol or drugs, now that when you are ready to stop hurting you can choose to stop hurting and that you can withstand the pain that calls out to you for your healing compassionate nurturing attention.
We must first tend to our own garden so that we are not needy or desperate or vulnerable to or for the person who seeks to live off of us or through us because he/she isn't well themselves. There are many more narcissistic and self-absorbed people who are all too ready to use us, abuse us, and exploit us to meet their own needs.
The lessons, especially for those who are in relationships with people with Borderline Personality Disorder who are known as non borderlines await your choice to break free from these types of relationships. The personal growth that you will so benefit from can only truly begin when you let go.
Let go, surrender. Let go today, of anything or anyone that is not healthy for you in your life, being kind and gentle to yourself and safe in the knowledge that everything has purpose and meaning. There are things you may still need to learn but work to free yourself and to learn more about all that healthy relating entails.
Letting go of toxic relating is a necessary loss that makes room for all the new that awaits you. Turn into the pain. The longer you try to avoid your pain the longer you will continue to accept what is an intolerable and painful way of life – living in what is a toxic and/or abusive relationship.
For much more about toxic relationships and how to end them and how to set yourself free from them and from toxic relating in any way shape or form check narcissistic.ca for my up-coming ebook, "Breaking Free of Toxic Relationships"
Learn more about how to become more fully aware of just what your precious mistakes have been so that you can learn from them once and for all and find the love, peace, and happiness that you so long for and deserve.
© A.J. Mahari, March 20, 2009 – All rights reserved.
A.J. Mahari is a Life Coach who, among other things, specializes in working with those with BPD and non borderlines. A.J. has 5 years experience as a Life Coach and has worked with hundreds of clients from all over the world.