Have Your Tireless Efforts to Improved Your Relationship Failed?
Undoubtedly if you're in a toxic relationship you have tried everything possible to make the relationship better. If you're still in a toxic relationship your very survival depends on change. Your emotional and physical health are at risk.
People often ask if it is possible for their abusive spouse or significant other to change. The answer is a qualified yes. A person can change if they are willing and demonstrate a wholehearted acknowledgment of the ways they have hurt you. In order to change the abuser must begin, perhaps for the first time, to listen to you...to listen for understanding. They must be willing not only to go to individual and couples therapy, but to show up in a way that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the therapeutic process.
There are two major red flags to be aware of when considering if your relationship has a reasonable chance for meaningful change. The first red flag is ongoing alcohol abuse or any type of addiction (gambling, sex, pills etc.) The second red flag is an inability or unwillingness to admit how destructive their behavior is. If your partner is justifying, pointing out your flaws, arguing or avoiding the topic, you can be certain this person is not going to change and your efforts to fix the relationship will only cause more confusion and distress for you. At this point, you've likely had enough of that.
The primary reason it is so difficult to achieve positive change in a toxic relationship is the abuser's need to control and have power over you. You are not seen or valued as a separate and whole person; you are a part of them and from their perspective your purpose is to conform to a fantasy image of the ideal mate. Your abusive partner expects you to like what they like, agree with their opinions, do what they want you to do, agree when they define your inner world, and no matter what.... make them feel adored at all times.
To break free and recover you will need knowledge, skills, and ongoing support. Through the recovery process you will reclaim the parts of yourself that have withered away over the course of your painful relationship. Ultimately with help and support you will break out of the fog of confusion and begin to see exactly what is happening and why you feel the way you do. You will learn that you feel demeaned, invalidated, put down, silenced, disrespected, or controlled...because you have been. As you learn to identify and clearly see the various tactics used to assert control over you, you will gain strength for the journey ahead.
Whether you are still in a toxic relationship or have already left, you need ongoing support and encouragement as you journey to back to finding and celebrating yourself....just as you are!
Toxic relationships evolve from one person's need/desire to control another. In the process of asserting control over you, your mate routinely told you what you think, feel, like, don't like, etc. Day in and day out you are invalidated and belittled. Some emotional abusers yell, rage, and threaten while others use a more subtle coercive approach; commonly there is a combination of both over the course of the relationship.
The abuser's soul sucking tactics are often covert and predominantly happen when no one else is around to witness the madness. (One of the reasons it's difficult for this type of person to engage in therapy). Emotional abuse happens before an audience of one...YOU. Consequently your experience can be frustratingly difficult to explain to others. The gaslighting that occurs in an abusive relationship might make you wonder if you are going crazy or maybe imagining things. With help and support you will begin to trust your instincts again. You are not going crazy; you are being manipulated.
Toxic relationships beat you up on the inside and are a silent killer of self worth. Were you isolated from supportive family and friends? If so, they undoubtedly had a good reason why this time they didn't want to go out with your friends, or that time why they didn't want to spend time with your family. Even the times your were encouraged to go out without your abuser, they would act sullen, angry, or silent when you got home. Over time it was easier to spend the vast majority of your time with your abusive mate. Didn't things go better when you did what they wanted you to do? This is the madness of coercive control. You've been manipulated!
Even though they'd insist that you spend time with others, they'd ask why you were gone so long or want to know who you were really with. Your mate might make subtle accusations or raging displays of irrational jealousy: What else were you doing? Before you know it the entire situation got would get twisted around and the pleasure you felt from spending time with family or friends would quickly dissolve. Did you ever defend yourself even though you knew how ridiculous your mate's questions, insinuations, and accusations were? This is coercive control!
Did your abuser deny things they clearly said and had talked with you about previously? Did they question your memory? Your grasp on reality? Did they ever say they was worried about you, that there's something wrong with you? After a berating comment were you told it was just a joke and that you had completely lost your sense of humor. This is coercive control!
Support from others who have had a similar experience can help you regain your sense of balance and learn once again to trust your instincts and perceptions. You are not crazy....the relationship is toxic and staying in it is the only thing that begins to appear crazy.
When power and control are the driving force in a relationship there can be no true emotional intimacy or trust. Someone who seeks consciously or unconsciously to control are quite skilled at saying what you want to hear. When caught in a lie, it is common for the emotional abuser not only to deny the lie, but to turn it on you with angry indignation. This tactic creates a smoke screen so they can slip away from that uncomfortable moment when you might actually see through the lies and see the abuser clearly for who they are.
Toxic relationships are as addictive as a drug (crack, heroin...you name it). You know how good the relationship can feel when things are going well, you remember those idyllic times at the beginning of the relationship. You adapt your behavior to try to recreate the times when your mate was loving, affectionate, and supportive (or at least it felt that way). That person might show up every now and then and that little bit of intermittent reinforcement is strong enough to keep you coming back for more.
Family and friends who have seen the toll the relationship has taken on you may have encouraged you to leave. When you were being hurting you, you may have agreed that you should. But then you'd have those moments when you'd think that friends and loved ones just didn't understand how amazing the relationship could be when things were going well. From the outside looking in, it can be hard for friends and family to understand your addiction to this fantasy that your abuser might somehow change back into the person you thought you once knew.
It's not impossible for a controlling person to change, but for the vast majority change is unlikely. A person can not change what they can not see. A controlling person's M.O. is to get their needs met at any cost and to keep you in that perfect space where they can continue molding you into the likeness of their fantasy mate.
Controlling people generally have very low emotional awareness and consequently turn to a variety of things to numb out feelings. The possibility of change drops to near zero if your significant other is drinking alcohol daily or has other addictions (gambling, sex, pills, etc). If they are not willing to get help to overcome an addiction there can be no hope for change!
It's time to take the blinders off if your abuser is not willing to fully own and take responsibility for the ways they have hurt you. If they are defensive and you are doing all the work, close the book and move on. Continuing to buy into the fantasy simply sets you up for more of the same and a strong likelihood that things will only get worse as time goes by.
If you are or have been in a toxic relationship you need support to help you recover! It is essential to stay connected, to validate your experience by speaking out loud all that has been held inside for so long. I have been where you are and can help. I'm passionate about providing education, resources, community, and ongoing support to help you break free and recover.
What would it be worth to know that you will regain your sense of self, rebuild your self esteem, and end the daily assault. Even as you formulate next steps in breaking free and recovering from a toxic relationships you can take active steps to nurture yourself. Wherever you happen to be in this painful journey, I understand what you are going through! I have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate your journey as you reconnect with yourself and rediscovering the powerful resilient YOU! A one-to-one consultation will go a long way towards giving you the tools you need RIGHT NOW!