Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Last week, I was asked to answer some important questions about the red flags of an abusive relationship for a press interview.
It was an interesting process that brought up a lot of thought for me. I decided afterwards that I wanted to do something with my answers - so here I am, sharing them here with you!
This blog continues to be my connection with so many of you.
Some of you have been reading my work for the full 9 years of publication, while others have joyfully joined the journey more recently. I appreciate every single one of you.
Shall we begin?
Grab yourself a cuppa, and let's get started!
"Why are toxic relationships so addictive?"
The adrenaline rush of being validated by someone after a long bout of rejection, and for that cycle to happen over and over again, is deeply addictive and ultimately hurtful. The abuse cycle is well recognised. Dramatic highs are followed by deep lows which are then whipped away back to a highly confusing ‘joy’ mode just as fast. This is an exhausting process, and certainly NOT a case of authentic (or caring) love.
"How can I tell if what I am experiencing 'counts' as abuse?"
Ask yourself this - do you feel the very best of yourself with them? Do you feel empowered, valued and cared for when you spend time with this person? If you are finding yourself searching endlessly online for answers to questions like, “is it normal when he says…’ or ‘is it acceptable for her to say…’ then chances are you are in not in a healthy relationship right now. Your responses are trying to tell you something here. Try to listen to them.
"What are some signs of being in a toxic relationship?"
If you find yourself constantly apologising for who and how you are, then something isn’t right. If you are belittling yourself instinctively, then someone may be meddling with your intrinsic (and vital) sense of self. If you find yourself self-isolating and not being able to cope with daily tasks and challenges, this is a sign that you don’t feel comfortable in your situation. Take note, and get the help you deserve to break away.
"Can you describe a few signs to look out for?"
Instinct is everything. We tend to cover over how we really feel deep down when we want something - or someone - badly enough. Examining our reactions and emotions in the presence of somebody (and in the hours afterwards) is one way to spot if toxic abuse is occurring. Do you feel like you need to recover from an emotional hangover after seeing this person? Does your heart race for the wrong reasons when they call? If so, your gut is trying to warn you.
"Why is it so difficult to break away from a toxic relationship?"
Social culture (and Disney) teaches us to expect love to be overwhelming and to feel 'swept off our feet' by it. In reality, healthy love is not about being knocked off our balance. It’s about being reassured and validated for the incredible people we are, without any manipulative tactics used to hurt us in the short or long term. True love helps you up when fall - not the other way around.
"Why can't I leave - even though I feel I want to?"
It is incredibly hard to break away from a toxic relationship primarily due to the manipulative nature of the connection itself and partly due to society’s pressure to ‘stick it out’ and not end up alone. It is far healthier to move on from toxic love and be free from harm, but that isn’t always an obvious or easy option to take. When the time comes, make sure you let someone know your plans to keep yourself 100% safe and supported.
"Any tips on how to break free from unhealthy relationships?"
Self love to safe love! Without valuing yourself, truly madly deeply, you cannot cultivate healthy and happy relationships. Self esteem cannot be whipped up from thin air, as we all know! Professional support (therapy, counselling, coaching) teamed with personal development is vital in order to build up a safe space within your heart and mind for better love to come along. You are worth loving and respecting - every last little piece of you.
Just a short note before I sign off:
You deserve to be loved.
You deserve to be respected and cared for.
You deserve to feel good about yourself when you wake up in the morning.
You deserve to feel safe and valued.
You deserve nothing less, ever.
If you are struggling in a difficult relationship right now, get in touch. I offer 100% judgement-free mentoring as well as signposting to further organisations that can (and will) help you.
With love & freedom,
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