How did you end up in a toxic relationship? Is something Wrong with you? The answer is NO- Something is Really Right with you. You may feel upset when you look at how conventional wisdom often portrays you as: “co-dependant, needy, having daddy issues, lonely, having no back-bone, and having low self-esteem”. BUT the reality is you are: “smart, self-sufficient, giving, empathetic, kind and successful”. Toxic people know how to use your strengths against you. Your strengths are what attracted the toxic person to you and your strengths are the key to getting you out of that toxic relationship and healing fast.
Toxic people are playing a game and you need to learn the game. “Toxic people train you to ignore red flags, distort reality, protect their image, they live a double life, and you often do not act like yourself in order to preserve the peace”. You are often trapped in the flight, fight or freeze mode. Denial is a powerful tool used to cope with toxic relationships; I know it was my tool for many years. But denial only helps you seek relief in the relationship and is not the same thing as seeking a solution. Hoping things will get better with time is not a strategy or a healthy coping tool.
I am a smart person, why can’t I heal more quickly after a toxic relationship? I am a high achiever and want to solve this problem fast, why can’t I?
I have “Smart Girl Syndrome: I am smart, I have a growth mindset, I am focused on achievement, I want answers, I am a problem solver, I am self-reflective, I focus on how I can change and I try harder”. One step to healing faster is to stop spending all your time trying to figure out the toxic person. I spent so much time researching narcissism, personality disorders, anger issues, wondering if my partner was abused as a child, and thinking that I was a co-dependant. I thought my emotional attachment to my partner was normal but I was stuck in a cycle of emotional abuse that alternated between positive feelings and negative reinforcements which created a trauma bond. I needed to focus on my own healing instead of researching and trying to rationalize my partner’s behaviour. It took me a long time to learn this lesson. Save time- Learn from me- The emphasis needs to be on yourself!
The key is to change your way of thinking and move forward. You cannot heal from a toxic person by focusing on them! “You are not responsible for your past but you are responsible for your future”. Invest in yourself because it is the best way to improve your quality of life now and in the future.
-This blog contains references from the webinar “How High Achieving Women find Peace, Love, and Confidence after a toxic relationship” by Sarah K. Ramsey.
-Blog written by L.W. -Social Work Practicum Student with UR Plentiful Therapy Inc.