I have been hovering over this post on my dashboard for many days now. I thought of the title, typed it down, started writing, and then yet another case related to this question "Why do we keep holding on to people we don't deserve", and I start from the beginning to collect my thoughts and my experiences with people who seek help for this. We all have held on to people we know we never deserved, at least once in our lifetime.
We do everything in our power to make the relationship work, modify, change, adjust, compromise. We rationalize our partner's behaviour. We make excuses for their actions. But deep down, we know we do not deserve them. That they are toxic for us. We start losing our self-confidence and start doubting our own thoughts and feelings, and are torn between conflicting emotions! So why do we do this? Why do people hold on to relationships that are no longer a contribution to themselves or their partners?
A young, beautiful and distraught girl met me a couple of months ago. She had just broken up, and she and her partner were a part of this vicious cycle of breaking up and patching up. He would always pick up a fight with her because of her past relationship prior to meeting him, abuse her and break up with her. He would then come back into her life with apologies and a charming smile and probably a gift, and then they would be back together. This had been happening to them for over 1 year. She was desperate to get out of this cycle and just wanted him back for good. That was the sole purpose of her meeting with me. She recollected all the trauma and abuse she had to go through. She realized that she had completely lost her self-confidence because of this relationship, yet continued to be in it and wanted it. I could relate to her.
We all have an attraction to trauma drama in our lives and we do tend to get very comfortable in it. When she introspected, she realized that of all the men she had encountered in her life, he was the only one willing to commit to her. He at times would make her feel very special, do nice things for her and take care of her. He gave her the protection of a parent and comfort of a sibling. He had become her family. It was so difficult for her to dissociate herself from this false sense of security.
We had to help her realize the trap and manipulation in these little rewards he was gifting her in the form of protection and security. It is heartbreaking when you become aware of the fact that everything you perceived until now in the relationship was merely an illusion. It was purely a power play and he had complete power and control over her, probably because he felt so powerless in his own life.
It is so amazing that everyone in the entire world speaks of love. They all feel they experience love. And yet each one experiences love in such a different way. We can love anything and anyone. The object of our love is an external source. We all live in the same shared delusion, where we perceive love as an act of powerlessness. When people say that I had to do this for love, or I go through this trauma because I love him/her, or I can go through pain and suffering for love. This is powerlessness.
Love gives us a choice. Even in the face of attachment and possessiveness and obsession. It is when we rationalize our partner's actions as an act of "love", we are only making excuses for them and taking away a choice from ourselves. When this young woman realized this, she set herself free of this delusion. She realized what she thought was an act of love, was merely an act of control. With empathy for her partner, she decided to communicate with him and asked him to seek help to overcome his own insecurities. When he declined, with a very heavy heart, she chose to walk away from this toxicity. She finally realized her worth, and her fear of never finding a loving relationship, dissolved. She made a choice and she acted upon it by getting out of her comfort zone. The purpose that she had come to me with-to help her get her love back, was fulfilled. She got back her love towards herself.
The purpose of this story was not to create yet another motivational image of a success story in your mind. It was to help you introspect at each moment about how much do you think you deserve and isn't that exactly what you're getting out of this relationship? If you perceive yourself as a powerless person, there is a very high chance that you will depend on someone else for protection. Be it emotional, psychological or physical. There is always something we are gaining in that toxic relationship. One of my mentees said something very profound the other day when we were discussing a case: When we hold on to a toxic relationship, we are being selfish. We just don't realize it. It is that selfishness that keeps us with them. So we think we deserve only that charming smile and a twice a month "I love you", and we are happy with it while disregarding all the pain this person is inflicting on us. Find the power within yourself to realize what you deserve. You will find abundance there. It is only when you truly believe you deserve that abundance, is when you will be able to find healthy and fulfilling relationships in life.
Are you in a toxic relationship too?