I know we all that one friend who is or was in a toxic relationship but could not leave. You wondered what she saw in this man that bartered her over and over again yet she still defended him. On many occasions, she showed up with a black eye and a bruised neck to work, tried covering it with sunglasses and a scarf, told you about the whole ordeal but then when the man came to pick her up in the evening she gladly went. You have sat there, listening to her breakdown as she recounted how she had been choked to near death, left to bleed out in the basement or hit with a blunt object. On the many times this man had told her how useless she was without him and held a knife to her throat when she threatened to leave. So, you wonder, why is it so hard to leave a toxic relationship?
- Self-doubt/ Self-sabotage
As crazy at it may sound, people in toxic relationships depend on their partners for so much emotional and at times financial support and they believe that they are to blame for their partner’s behavior. This self-doubt may also stem from past trauma and especially if one was raised in an abusive relationship and you have come to convince yourself that your mother was abused by your father because of something you did. Over time, you believe that the failure of the relationship is your fault. It doesn’t help one bit if your partner keeps shifting blame on you or gas-lighting and saying you are making things up and that the relationship is perfectly okay.
- What if I am making a mistake?
People in toxic relationships find it so hard to leave their partners because of the overwhelming fear that they might be making a mistake. This stems from low self-esteem. This often happens when your toxic partner has made it seem like he is providing the best for you, coupled with you guys being deemed the “power couple” with an enviable life.
A woman who is stuck in such a scenario will have streams of thoughts like: “No marriage is perfect. Maybe everyone else’s is just like ours and that no one is showing the ugly side of things”.
- Fear of the unknown/Future
Human beings are naturally aversive to loss and that is why we hang on to things we should be moving on from. When in a toxic relationship, we often stay put because of the fear of being alone. Often times, this woman thinks about all the time, energy and resources she has put into the relationships as opposed to the happiness and peace of mind should could gain from walking away from a toxic relationship.
- Mistaking drama for passion
A toxic relationship is hard to leave because after a tumultuous fight, comes passionate love-making. This confuses the mind to think that all the aggression is love. Highly controlling and manipulative partners with narcissistic traits get the upper hand in such relationships because their partner does not leave.
It is even more mind-blowing to realize that there are women who believe that their husbands show them love by beating them and being physically abusive. To them, if your husband does not come and rough you up, then he does not love you.
- Normalizing of bad behavior
Women that were brought up in toxic homes are more likely to end up and not leave toxic relationships because they recognize it and stomach it because it is “normal to them”. They even go ahead and excuse the bad behavior saying “deep down he really loves me but he does not know how to express it” or “it is not his fault; he does not even realize he is hurting me”.
Well, it is a fact that toxic relationships are hard to leave because of many other reasons. There are people who are addicted to the toxicity, the high highs and the vert low lows that when they are in normal relationships, they crave for the fights and the passionate make-ups. It is, however, important to be aware of toxic traits in a partner and especially when things get abusive, it is advisable to run and never look back. Many women and even men have lost their lives to gender-based violence. You deserve better. Do not be a statistic. A broken marriage is better than being cold, dead, six feet under.