The Relationship Rollercoaster
As you step onto the Pathway to Your Authentic Self, you may become aware that you are engaging in patterns of behaviour that keep you stuck, going around in circles and sabotaging your progress and keeping you in dysfunctional and toxic relationships. Sabotage patterns are when you knowingly or unknowingly take steps that disrupt your progress and put you back in the same place you started.
It is really important to note that this pattern manifests over time into a dysfunctional and toxic relationship not only with your partner, but within yourself as well. Perhaps it’s not just happening in romantic relationships in your life. Some of the characteristics in dysfunctional and toxic relationships include a lack of trust, belittling, controlling, jealousy, mocking or angry outbursts, abusive antisocial and/or self-destructive behaviours, gaslighting, love bombing, codependency, guilt tripping and/or manipulative behaviour, withholding resources, feeling the need to constantly walk on eggshells and more. As a result, you may find that you are less involved with your usual support network whether that be because you are being kept from them or perhaps because you are feeling too embarrassed or vulnerable. The characteristics in a dysfunctional and toxic relationship can present themselves quickly but they can blindside you and manifest so covertly that it can take quite some time to notice. Generally, by the time that happens, a person’s self esteem, self worth and happiness has usually been eroded and replaced with anxiety, frustration, sadness, shame and insecurity. It can also happen to the strongest and most self aware of people.
Why do we get stuck in relationships that are not right for us? And I mean the ones that keep us looping back time and time again, like we are on an emotional rollercoaster that keeps going around until one of you hits the emergency stop button because you are getting sick. And yet, even when you take time out to regroup, you find yourself going back for more and you do it all again because you’ve talked about things and this time will be different. Not all dysfunctional and toxic relationships are easy to leave whether that is due to fear, personal circumstances, a perceived lack of support or perhaps even due to the level of intensity and the damage caused. There can also be a fantasy playing out that you can make things better if you try hard enough, work hard enough, or maybe even if you get help yourself, especially if you have been led to believe that you are the cause of the problems but it takes time, effort and commitment from both sides, individually and collectively.
There is also another perspective to consider. What if, the person you are with, deep down actually loves that you love them more than they love themselves and they love that you see something in them that they don’t see in themselves. Or, to put it another way, this person loves that you are protecting them and taking care of them and their needs, wants and desires. You are more than likely also making excuses for them, defending them or their behaviour, and more frequently putting their needs above your own. The reality of that scenario is, that once you are in that vulnerable position, they can sweep in and ‘save’ you, to which you will owe them a debt of gratitude that you’ll be reminded of consistently and paying off long after the gesture has passed, due to the dysfunction and toxicity in the relationship.
The key is to remember is that if a relationship is changing you in a way that is unhealthy or not aligned with your needs, wants or desires, it is time to pay attention, speak your truth and be heard. A healthy relationship should involve trust, mutual respect, support and open, honest communication. You should feel, see, know and trust unequivocally and undeniably that you are safe, loved, protected, cherished and are part of an equal, supported and united front with no imbalance of power and there should certainly be no fear of outcomes from decisions that are made by an individual in the relationship. If a relationship feels like a battle and you feel as if you are constantly braced for impact or you have already identified the dysfunctional or toxic patterns, it is important to take action before it escalates to an abusive level. We often keep riding the relationship rollercoaster because we feel we have invested a lot of time and energy into the relationship already and don’t want to waste it or you worry that you will lose your kids, friends, pets, or material possessions. Perhaps you feel stuck or scared and don’t see a way out. You could find yourself being drawn back in through sadness, loneliness, guilt, or as a result of the damage caused by the manipulation. You might even find yourself pondering the good times to the point where you forget the experiences that were not so good or you may indulge the ‘if only’ scenarios. You may also rationalise the situation by thinking this time it will be different because you’ve had time apart or have talked and seem to have made a little progress, so you’ll give it another shot and see what happens. There is evidence to suggest that if all parties involved are open, willing and invested in working things out, then with time, effort and consistency, the result can be a happy, healthy relationship, with themselves individually and together, which is a fantastic outcome.
Sometimes it is much easier to focus on making others happy rather than to shine the spotlight on yourself to do your own healing. It is important to understand that what you see in others that really irritates you, is presenting itself as an opportunity for healing and doing the work on your own patterns, limiting beliefs and behaviours is key. To not look at what that opportunity is showing you is actually a form of self-sabotage and it is what keeps us stuck in unhealthy situations. It is also important to note that you cannot freely give love and expect to receive it in return with somebody who is not willing to love themselves. Taking the time out to get off the rollercoaster to go within on a deep soul level will enable you to find those hooks that get you caught in dysfunctional, toxic relationships and unhealthy loops so that you can close them off and make new and healthier choices. Getting back to being your own best friend will enable you to find peace, joy and love in your own heart first. Then let the ripple effect do the rest which will bring in the happier, healthier, mutually satisfying and more loving relationships.
Share your experiences in the comments as it may help others in their journey.
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