signs of toxic relationship

Why Do You Always End Up in Toxic Relationships?

Does this sound familiar? You’re in a relationship with someone who you feel connected to. They’re seemingly the perfect partner for you, and you love spending time with them. 

At the back of your mind though, you know that you have to walk on eggshells when you’re around them.

If you utter one word or sentence that they don’t like, you’ll get an earful of why something is your fault, and you’ll feel the need to apologize again and again in order to “fix” the issue. 

Needless to say, you most likely feel as though it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re okay. You want to do whatever you can to keep them interested in you and the relationship

And even though an argument may lead you two to part ways with bitterness, you still want to see them. You patiently wait for them to text or call you while your levels of stress and guilt rise. “Was it my fault?” you start to wonder. 

Then, when they do contact you, a wave of relief washes over you. All of those negative emotions drift away, and make up sex is on the cards. Hooray!

But why do people fall into this kind of relationship pattern? Clearly it isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s toxic. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, including the high highs and the low lows. Extreme excitement, lust, hope, and euphoria, as well as anger, anxiety, despair, and guilt. 

Let’s look more into that, shall we?

Why Do People Stay in Toxic Relationships?

There are a few valid reasons as to why people stay in toxic relationships. But whatever the reason, it’s important for those individuals to know that there is nothing “wrong” with them. They aren’t the problem. 

Staying in a toxic relationship may be because they’re stuck in a cycle, which is very difficult to break. 

So, if you’re prone to entering and staying in a toxic relationship, here are some reasons why that may be:

You want to “fix” people 

Perhaps you’re the type of person who sees someone mysterious and guarded and instantly finds them attractive. You may feel as though you can fix/save them by giving them all that your heart has to offer and loving them fiercely. Maybe you believe that you could be the person who changes their life. 

It feels familiar 

The whole notion of walking on eggshells could be a recurring pattern in your life. Perhaps you felt that way growing up with your parents, siblings, family, or friends. In this way, you could have believed that their anger and upset is because of you and that you need to do whatever it takes to make them happy again. You might have apologized for things that were not your fault, and believed that you were responsible for making people feel better.

It’s a result of trauma bonding 

According to Cleveland Clinic:

Trauma bonding is when a person who is or has been abused feels a connection to their abuser. And this connection is based on the abuse that the person has or is enduring — whether emotional or physical.” 

This cycle usually follows the pattern of:

  • Tension building: Silent tension builds between the abused and the abuser. The abuser may start projecting their tension onto the abused.
  • An incident of violence or harm: Physical or emotional abuse starts, like shouting, threats, throwing things etc. During this, partners may threaten to leave each other.
  • Reconciliation: The violence/abuse has ended, and the abuser will overcompensate with gifts or being overly kind. This brings a dopamine rush to the abused, and a sense of relief.
  • Calm: Both partners are neutral, and the groundwork for the next cycle of abuse is slowly building.

With a trauma bond, you may believe as though there’s only one person who not only knows what you’ve been through, but also loves you for it. And this is possibly why you stay in the toxic relationship.

Why is it so hard to leave a toxic relationship? 

Just like a lot of things in life, we tend to form habits or do things out of comfort and familiarity. 

And so, if you are aware that you’re in a toxic relationship, but don’t understand why and/or you find it difficult to end, it could be because: 

You may feel guilty 

Like we mentioned above, you may feel that you’re responsible for other people’s moods and happiness. Perhaps you’re worried that they may harm themselves if you leave and/or you may believe that, if you leave the relationship, you’re a bad person. 

You justify being in the relationship 

It’s easy to tell yourself that other forms of abuse, besides physical, are not that bad. Because of this, you may be blinded to the fact that other forms of abuse can cause serious mental, emotional, and physical health issues. 

The sex is amazing

With the rollercoaster of emotions and mood swings, your sex life may be beautifully intense. It could be hard to walk away from that and/or you may believe you’ll never find a sexual connection like that again.

You believe they’ll change

With time and persistence, you think that they’ll change. And so you endure the ups and downs and the abuse. But this can be dangerous, as it is you equating their efforts to change with your self-worth. The reality is: we can’t change people.

Fear of being single & societal judgment

There are a few reasons why you might not want to be single. Maybe you’ve formed your entire identity around your partner, and throughout this process you’ve lost a lot of friends. You might fear what life would be like without your partner, and that you’ll be lonely. Additionally, there is still a stigma today for those who are single. Plus, families may insist that you have a partner.

How to finally get out of a toxic relationship 

Self-awareness will go a long way. That, plus finding someone or a support group, could help you exit this abusive cycle.

In order to find freedom and seek healthier relationships, it’s important that you: 

Stop blaming yourself

It is not your fault. Being aware that you are in a toxic relationship alone can be painful, you don’t want to add additional layers of guilt and shame.

Talk with someone you trust

Be cautious of who you open up to. It could be a family member, a friend, or even a therapist. But, before you talk to them, make sure that they’re trustworthy and that you feel comfortable with them. Also, make sure that they have your best interests at heart, and are able to hold a space for you. When you find that person/persons, you can unburden yourself, and possibly see things from a different perspective.

With this insight, we hope that – if you’re in a toxic relationship – you feel empowered to leave. Leaving does not make you a bad person. You may still care for your partner, but it’s much healthier to care from a safe distance. It’s all about breaking the cycle, and getting what you truly deserve in love.