What you can learn from your toxic relationships & friendships (if you’re ever able to escape them)

People, they’re everywhere.

And dear God, we must (somehow) find a way to live with them.  Being a social species means finding variation through the people we share our human reality with, but it is not void of it’s challenges. Relationships can be enriching and enlightening and they can also make you wish you had never lived.

When you suddenly drop from cloud nine to the gates of hell, you are forced to reflect.

Regardless of who set fire to the bridge, a relationship primarily composed of conflict and misunderstanding deserves a proper burial so consider this:

If everything can offer some sort of insight, isn’t it possible that your toxic relationships can too?

HOW STRONG IS YOUR GRIP?

Toxic relationships have the tendency reveal how much you depend on another. When we rely on others to make us feel whole or safe we place our trust, security and self-worth in their hands, and nothing could be more dangerous. When these relationships come to an end the codependent person(s) experiences a terrifying reality: A void that desperately seeks to be filled. It’s normal to seek connection with others however, it is not healthy to rely on others to dictate your worth.

Attachment theory is a psychological model that attempts to describe the dynamics of long-term and short-term interpersonal relationships between humans. However, it addresses only a specific facet: how human beings respond within relationships when hurt, separated from loved ones, or perceiving a threat.

If you’ve experienced a pattern of toxic relationships, it may be time to commit yourself, to yourself. While codependency arises for different reasons, it’s possible to overcome once one learns it’s origin and how to validate themselves. Have you considered your attachment pattern? Are you codependent or are you interdependent?

HOW MUCH EFFORT ARE YOU EXERTING?

Every relationship requires effort and that’s not a bad thing unless the balancing act proves unsuccessful. How much you care is relevant. How much you invest is indicative of the value you see in another person (or perhaps it’s indicative of the value you fail to see in yourself). We already know that you love, but how much does that love weigh? While there is nothing wrong with wanting to invest in another person it can be far too easy to lose sight of your own priorities, as well as yourself. Not everyone has your best interest at heart and some are more than eager to manipulate or even to abuse. How well do you know the person you’re spending your time with?

WHAT LIES DO YOU TELL?

If your balancing act is worthy of applause than you should have more than sufficient time to yourself and your endeavors, right? Well, what if your balancing act isn’t very impressive? Are you being true to yourself?

Honesty is the best policy because it forces you to see the world as it is. Seeing your world as it is, is important because you’re the one living in it.

Synonymous with being true to yourself is allowing yourself to be yourself. It is a shame how easily a person can enter a relationship as an individual and how willingly they’ll morph to better fit the image of what their partner would like them to be. Some changes are not for the better. We often like to think we’re in control but that isn’t always the case. Just how much has changed? How much have you?

ARE YOU THINKING CLEARLY?

Life is too rich with beauty and opportunity to spend it with emotional vampires. You should be around people who enrich you, not those who rather suffocate. Some relationships have less to offer than you may realize, no matter how different you wish they were. Red flags arise and you look away because you are obviously blinded, but remaining disillusioned will not work in your favor.

Teaching yourself to function from a place of logic means learning to look at the facts rather than being a slave to emotion.

If you’re struggling to decide who or what belongs in your life, perhaps it’s time to write a list or start a mood diary. While it may sound overly simplistic, it’s effective because it asks you to observe your surroundings and look at the facts. What happened today? How did it make me feel? What was said? What wasn’t? Write a sentence or two, don’t make it a grand theatrical event. Keep it simple. Study the facts and analyze them. Start there. As time progresses, compare your findings. Are you seeing patterns? Ask yourself if these patterns help you, or hurt you. You may be surprised with what you find. Commit yourself to this task of keeping a mood journal. Be consistent. What if I told you it could save your life? It saved mine. It will take less than 5 minutes out of your day and when you look back at it you will know that it’s information you can trust, because you wrote it yourself.

HOW MUCH CAN YOU ENDURE?

What do your toxic relationships have in common?

You lived despite their end.

The pain you endure/endured can be used to your benefit, if you chose to grow from your experiences.  Be diligent and force yourself to create a strong emotional foundation based on the prior circumstances which you have overcome. You’re only as weak as you allow yourself to think you are. Your emotional resilience is determined by your ability to bounce back from negative circumstances. How quickly you bounce back is determined by the strength of your desire to live, do, and feel better.

What kind of life will you create, now that you are free?

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