How To STOP Being Addicted To Toxic Relationships

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addicted to toxic relationships
Love, Heartbreak

Swallow your pride, ladies.

My client Margaret (who has allowed me to share her tale) has been stuck in a dead-end, emotionally abusive relationship with Colin for several years and is desperate to unstick herself because she turns 36 this fall and her ovaries are impatiently tapping their stilettos.

They whisper to her in the dead of night while she lays next to her sleeping, non-committal, pot-smoking, job-losing, philandering boyfriend: “While his semen is aging like fine wine, we’re shriveling up like sun-dried raisins. Get it together, Chica, or there’ll be no babies for you!”

Margaret’s cycle of abuse with Colin looks something like this:

  • She pushes him to make a commitment by nagging, complaining, begging, crying, smothering him in anxious, manipulative sex until finally...
  • He sabotages the relationship by shutting down emotionally, not speaking to her, sometimes for days, becoming inconsistent and unreliable and possibly cheating on her.
  • Margaret pulls herself up by the bootstraps and breaks up with Colin, then spends the next several days, or possibly weeks, curled in the fetal position and biting a bullet to keep herself from alleviating her pain by calling him and relapsing.
  • Colin eventually appears in a desperate condition. He regrets everything he’s done to destroy their relationship; he really needs her. Nothing goes well in his life without her. Not his job, not his health, not his friendships. He’s a wreck.

And this is where Margaret makes the one mistake that keeps her coming back for more of the cycle of emotional abuse: Margaret allows herself to feel smug and superior which inflates her ego. She is addicted to toxic relationships.

Her ego says this:

"Now he knows how much he needs me. Now he knows how special and important I am.

Now he knows he can’t live without me because only I can help him and love him the way he needs a woman to.

Also, I’m much smarter than him and a much better person in every way. I was right and he was wrong.

Now I can make him change to give me everything I want and deserve."

The death of attracting emotionally healthy relationships is our pride. Until we can get humble enough to admit we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing when it comes to our romantic entanglements there’s no way we’ll be willing to ask for help.

Some of us can find help for breaking being addicted to toxic relationships with private therapists, some with life coaches, some in the right 12-step programs like Coda (Codependents Anonymous), but until we recognize we’re getting an ego payoff every time our man comes crawling back to us, we will continue to do the Dance-of-Death in our dead-end relationship.

Ladies, check your Pride at the door.


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This article was originally published at Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.