How do you break the spell of a toxic relationship?
The only thing worse than dating is breaking up. When you realize that the person you have been in a relationship with, dating, or even simply fantasizing about falls short of future husband or wife material, it can feel like a sharp fall "on the concrete" — Katy Perry. Maybe he has a drinking problem or she flirts with other men behind your back. Or maybe she seemed perfectly nice at first but fails to encourage you to better yourself. Regardless, "it's about time, damn time," thank you Blake Shelton. Although you may know that you need to cut ties, most of the time the cord feels like metal rather than string. But breakup you must.
Admittedly, I am a bit of a bibliophile when it comes to reading, and I absolutely love The Chronicles of Narnia.
In The Silver Chair (1953), C.S. Lewis offers us surprisingly pertinent wisdom on breaking bad attachments:
- The wrong relationships are like enchantments. Lewis' protagonist Prince Rilian falls under the spell of a witch-queen (sound familiar?). Seduced by her beauty, he worships her in the Underworld and forgets his past as well as his identity. He believes her lie that she saved him and that he would have zero worth without her. In a bad relationship, many share this same desperation.
- Separate the empty promises from reality. The witch promises the prince a kingdom that was already his (spoiler alert), he had just been too far removed from reality to realize it. Your Ex-Man could have promised to marry you, introduce you to his family, or even to bring you to a nice restaurant. Unless these promises materialize, you need to take them with a grain of salt. Judge his actions instead of his pretty words. Refuse to be a slave to your imagination. But remember, these promises are yours to have in the right relationship.
- You will have lucid moments, trust them. Every night, the Prince has a time of sanity where he remembers who he is. The Witch-queen convinces him that those times are evil fits where he turns into a snake. As a result, he lets her minions tie him to a silver chair. In a similar way, your intuition will tell you when a relationship hurts you, you only need to listen to it. Many will drown out this little voice with drugs, alcohol, prescription medication, or constant socializing. Spend some time alone to cultivate this inner wisdom.
- Discouragement can sound comforting, fight it. One of the most chilling parts of The Silver Chair occurs when the Prince comes to his senses, and consequently, the Witch plays a mandolin after lighting a fire with green powder. The narrator says that she speaks "in a sweet, quiet voice" words of discouragement to delude him again (173). Whether this voice comes directly from your Ex-Flame or from your own doubts, fight against it through remembering the bad areas of the relationship. Talk to a Break-up Coach, like us (one of the Matchmakers @MatchingUpLA), to recount his chronic lateness or her passive-aggressive disparaging comments.
- Shake it off, and kill the flame. One of Prince Rilian's bros, Peddleglum, finally has the courage to extinguish the Witch's fire in the hearth. The narrator posits, "The pain itself made Puddleglum's head for a moment perfectly clear, and he knew exactly what he really thought" (181). Yes, it will take every effort to remove this person from your life. Delete his number, recycle her greeting cards, and donate his teddy-bear.
You may have had lovely moments together, but you need to allow your heart time to heal. After Puddleglum makes his move, the Prince finally breaks free of the spell, and he kills the Witch who had turned into a snake. He then returns to the Overworld, sees his dying father, and assumes his rule over the Narnian kingdom that was his all along.
While I suggest leaving your sword at home, you too can kill the enchantment of a bad romance. With time, your heart will heal. Just remember, you are worthy of a wonderful relationship.
Recovering from a bad romance? Even if you never were official, or if it was a few years ago, heart-break can cause lasting scars. Check out our new Groupon Deal to book an in-person or Skype Break-Up Coaching session.
All quotes from: Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia : The Silver Chair. New York: Harper Trophy, 1953. Print.