Dernière mise à jour : 15 févr. 2021
I want to share an answer with you that I gave on my favourite online forum; it was upvoted by many readers and appeared to help them.
In my experience, most people fail to realise they are in abusive or toxic relationships. Appearances are often misleading: an attractive couple, a beautiful family with healthy children, a lovely home and great vacations – in short, the perfect Facebook image.
Relationships with our loved ones – partners, children and friends – are the best way to learn about ourselves. We learn through relationships, we get to know ourselves, we change and grow.
A human being has a fundamental need to share and connect through building healthy relationships.
Couples are in the perfect environment in which to explore intimacy. The conditions are similar to those we experience during childhood: a safe space and unconditional love. So, the couple's environment is a healing place. We can show our vulnerabilities, fears and wounds.
However, not everybody is brought up in a safe family environment filled with unconditional love. Some do not – and it is not their fault. Often, their future romantic relationships can go in the ‘wrong’ direction and they could attract the ‘wrong’ partner.
Why is that? Because this is the only way they are used to being loved. So, they look for the type of love most familiar to them.
When I hear my clients talking about a partner with abusive or toxic traits, most of the time the partner demonstrates similarities with a close family member, usually a parent.
It is both very hard and brave to admit this because it suddenly changes our perception of all our relationships. We realise that we are in the wrong cycle with the wrong aura; and, therefore, surrounded by people who make us feel exactly as our childhood figures did.
How do we get out of this spiral, then?
First, by healing our childhood wounds and defining the type of love we wish to experience.
To heal, we need to reach a certain level of consciousness. Denial is good for survival when we are little. But as adults, it prevents us from healing and attracting the sort of love we need.
By bringing forth our childhood experiences to a conscious level, we start a necessary grieving phase. Grieving the kind of love we never experienced, but needed so much. We put the feelings behind our experience, something we couldn’t do as being young.
As adults, we do not fundamentally depend on our parents and can afford to show our emotions without being afraid of losing security.
In the process of opening up, we can seek the company of others and search for professional help; we can also read and educate ourselves, and join live or online communities for support. Information is more than readily available today.
Also, to be honest, what I see with my clients very often is an external ‘trigger’. It can be a relationship crisis, an unexpected event and sometimes, sadly, an illness. The latter often surfaces later in life.
This is usually the moment I start working with my clients using different techniques - talking, visualization, art-therapy tools, bodywork. Most people usually like combining different tools to access their feelings, to create a safe and healing space within them; to build resilience; to let go of the negative emotions, to boost their self-esteem and reconnect with themselves.
In any case, when we begin the healing process we see the near-immediate benefits of doing so. There is so much energy tied up in unhealthy relationships. We wish to be a different person and cannot move forward. By becoming emotionally intelligent people – by building self-awareness and self-advocacy – we give ourselves the fuel, or energy, to move forward.
Emotions are the keys to our needs. By knowing how I feel, I deduct what I need. Our needs then determine our BOUNDARIES. When I know what I need, I make clear where my limits are.
And that is exactly where to start a healthy relationship.
By defining a space in which love and mutual understanding can thrive.
To wrap it up, going through a toxic relationship is undoubtedly a learning experience. And it is important to see it from this perspective – stop cultivating resentment and turn it into a positive outcome in the long-term.
A ‘wrong’ partner shows us a mirror. We might be grateful for that and move beyond it.
I love what Carl Jung said:
I am not what happened to me,
I am what I choose to become.