Almost everyone who has been in a toxic or negative relationship finds it hard to leave, and although that might sound like stupidity, it is only perceived as so by those who haven’t been in one. You would often hear them say ‘If someone is treating you like dirt, why did you stay?’ But the truth is that they only know half the story.
For those in the trenches, it can be tough to answer such questions. Some lucky ones who escape the leash of toxic relationships and negative partners have the luxury of telling their traumatizing tales of woe while the majority are yet in bondage. More so, they don’t even know that they are in very abusive relationships. They are still occupied with the destructive and yet addictive cycle associated with toxic relationships.
They are in the never-ending chase of their partner’s love and affection. This is to say that bad or negative relationships and the suffering they bring are needlessly prolonged because most of the time, victims of such relationships don’t even know the nature of the relationship they are in. In the few instances that they are aware, they refuse to accept the reality of the situation. Instead, they would rather stick their heads in the sand – hoping against hope that things would change, that their partners would seize to be the monster they really and transform into an angel.
So they would take punishment as their partner knowingly manipulates them by maltreating their victims and occasionally showing just enough love to keep them in the toxic relationship. If they don’t realize what is going on, the victims will remain in a perpetual state of seeking those intermittent small doses of affection that their evil partners dish out.
This kind of relationship where the victim is psychologically addicted to his/her abuser is called trauma bonding. Author of the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse” says that in these types of cases, the victim is biologically attached to the abuser, and would continue on the self-destructive path of seeking validation from his/her abuser. The victim is usually hellbent on fixing their relationships because they genuinely believe that their toxic relationship is like that because of them. They are manipulated to think that they are the cause of their partner’s bad and inexcusable behavior. This is because their partners usually start the relationship on an amazing tone – in fact, it is usually borderline unrealistic. They are over saturated with love and attention till they get so used to it. Then their partner reverses to who they really are – negative and manipulative people. Meanwhile, the victims get confused and then begin to think that whatever caused the sudden change in their partner’s behavior has to come from them. So they are willing to take abuse from their partners while trying to figure out and fix what went wrong.
Thomas reiterates the point made above when he says this… “You have this back and forth, and the body becomes addicted, when we’re looking for something that we want, that we once had, which is a connection with somebody, and they are playing cat and mouse where they are pulling it back and forth, then the body really does become dependent on having that approval.”
Discussed below are some of the signs that indicate that you are in a toxic relationship and suggests that you are in a trauma bond with someone.
1. Your partner keeps saying things that he/she doesn’t do. Their words don’t match their actions, and when accosted with evidence they don’t seem to care. For them, it is all a game of manipulation and deceit.
2. People around the two of you are not happy about the way your partner treats you or how you react to abuse. You may not see it that way, but if you keep getting concerned family members or friends complain about your partner’s behavior, maybe you should listen to them and not your partner. I say this because most abusive partners would downplay their bad behavior or even flip it on you instead of acknowledging where they went wrong and trying to change.
3. You may not always see the signs outside of your relationship; sometimes they come from the inside too. When you continuously feel stifled and uncomfortably restricted in a relationship, then it could mean that you are in an abusive relationship with a partner who isn’t interested in seeing your personality blossom.
4. Another inside sign is that you keep quarreling with your partner over the same issues with no resolve at hand. The fights just get more negative and bitter as they progress. They don’t come to any reasonable conclusions.
5. Sometimes bringing up problems or issues that need to be trashed out feels like a chore because you usually feel punished for pointing out something wrong your partner is doing. This is your abusive partner’s way of saying that you should suck it up. Rather than taking correction and becoming a better human being, they would prefer you deal with the damaging results of their misdemeanor.
6. Another such sign is your unexplainable ability not to leave a toxic relationship and negative partner who you have lost every bit respect for. That is a sign that you are hooked to cat and mouse chase of attention and love.
7. If you notice that you are really putting in an effort to make your relationship work, but it just seems as if your is efforts are in vain, then it is very possible that you are in an abusive relationship and you are unfairly hooked to such a person. They are just there to ungratefully take from you without even giving it thought to reciprocate.
8. Your relationship seems to never have a steady growth and instead is in a constant off and on mode. You as a pair don’t grow together – something that comes as a result of the uninterrupted length of your relationship with that person. Instead, you get intermittent love and care like you guys are Romeo and Juliet and the very next week, you guys can’t see eye to eye. That kind of disrupting pattern can biologically be very addictive to the body, so you’ll end it once and for all if you want to still live a happy and productive life.
9. Sometimes when you confront your abusive partner concerning their bad behavior, they seem to feel remorseful for their bad behavior, but they never really change. That is a clear sign of an abusive partner.
10. Take a good and thorough look at your relationship and then honestly answer this question. Did you love your partner before you got into a relationship with him/her? Were there other reasons for being with your partner? Did these reasons supersede the love you had for your partner? Have you ever doubted that your partner is in love with you? What are the behavior patterns that support your doubts? When you answer these above questions truthfully, then you will know if you should continue the relationship or call it quits.
11. You could be going through hard times in your relationship, but every time you observe your partner always looks like they are having the time of their lives. They could be the cause of the problem, pain and sleepless nights you are going through but they just sleep fine – unwilling to change or become better.
12. This is one that can be very complicated and sometimes you are ashamed to admit it. But after celebrating your departure from such toxic relationship with family and friends, you still long for your abusive ex-partner. Don’t be so hard on yourself; it is just your body yearning for an old dangerous drug you were once addicted to. Open up to friends and family members you trust to not scorn you for your struggles. Build new and healthy relationships too and with time temptations would wane off. But for the love of God, don’t go back!