And that’s the Catch 22 of being in a toxic relationship.
It is a lot like being stuck in a vacuum that deprives you of oxygen and air. It’s literally intoxicating to be in a toxic relationship. It suffocates you and eventually kills your spirit if you don’t get out of it soon enough.
A toxic relationship can strike anywhere. It doesn’t discriminate against any age, relationship type, gender, or setting. Toxicity can make its way into high school puppy lovers and it can also find itself in couples who have been married for decades. No type of relationship is immune to toxicity. Some are more toxic than others, but any level of toxicity is always going to be detrimental to a relationship.
And the worst part about being a victim in a toxic relationship is that you don’t always realize right away that you’re being victimized; that the relationship that you’re in is actually a toxic one. You have this feeling in your gut that something is just off in your relationship but you try to suppress it; you brush it off and you continue to act like everything’s okay. You try to go on with your relationship as if everything is perfectly fine. Your partner tells you that you’re imagining things whenever you try to bring up the idea that there are issues in your relationship. Sometimes a toxic relationship can really draw itself out because a victim will never come to the full realization that things are wrong until it’s too late. For some people, they are lucky enough to spot the signs of toxicity early on but for a lot of victims, it takes a while for them to realize their own helplessness.
One of the most prominent signs of a toxic relationship is just instability and inconsistency. Of course, when you start things out in the relationship, everything is going to seem perfect. It’s going to be full of bliss and that’s what’s going to get you on the hook. You become so invested in the relationship because of how happy the early stages of the relationship make you. It’s exciting and exhilarating. It’s all new and fresh. Everything is a thrill to you and you can’t get enough of it. You love that you are in love and you want to preserve that feeling for as long as possible. But then the problems start to rear their ugly heads and you have to make a decision. For most people, they will want to stick with the relationship despite the problems because they long to get back to that place of bliss that was present during the early parts of the relationship. And the predator in the relationship; the source of all the toxicity, they understand that they have to give you just enough to keep your hopes up. They have to be able to keep you on the leash and so they’ll give you just a little taste of sweetness in the sea of bitterness to keep you there. And that’s why a lot of victims won’t want to leave their relationships right away hope.
And that’s the Catch 22 of being in a toxic relationship. You live for the moments of happiness, but they are so scarce and practically nonexistent. When you’re in a toxic relationship you are going to feel very lonely and isolated. You will feel like you don’t really have a support system and that’s not a feeling brought about by accident. You are made to feel that way by your partner. You are made to believe that you are helpless. You are made to think that you are dependent on this relationship for survival. You are made to believe that you can’t make it on your own and that you need to stay in this toxic relationship for you to be happy even though you haven’t been happy in a long time. It’s weird because people usually get into relationships to escape that feeling of solitude and loneliness. But being in a toxic relationship has a tendency to make you feel as lonely as ever.
If there’s one take-away from the experience of being a victim in a toxic relationship it’s only temporary and you always have the choice to make that drastic change in your life that you so desperately need. As difficult as it may be for people in toxic relationships to find the strength within themselves to escape their unfortunate situations, they are their only hope. You have to be the one who makes the choice to create the change that you want to see. You have to be the one who believes in your own capacities to escape the sad reality of your relationship. You have to be the one who says that enough is enough. You are the victim but you also have to be your own savior.