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We end up in toxic relationships because.....

MsHoliday 8 Jan 21

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It took 27 years of marriage and a heartbreaking divorce to teach me that now I prefer to be alone

Well I had a 15 year marriage and a heartbreaking divorce that taught me only to try harder to find a better person. That had mixed results too. I eventually figured out how to let go of / give back my projections and accept that people suck, myself included, and it's sort of okay if you want to put up with it / impose yourself on someone else. But on balance I think I'd be better of flying solo. On the other hand, I couldn't have known that for sure without having been in relationships. Life is weird and absurd that way. You piss most of it away chasing illusions and by the time you wise up it's all over but the shouting.


some of us do not end up in toxic relationships.

"you're responsible for your experience, nobody else is" is -- apart from its common really needing to be a semicolon -- not completely true. the first half is partly true. the second half is definitely false. more than one person can be responsible for someone's experience. victim-blaming is NOT HELPFUL. yes, we should know warning signs and see red flags. not everyone has the wherewithal -- emotional, physical or financial -- to get up and go at any point during a relationship. some people get tied to radiators. are they completely responsible for their experiences? some people get murdered. guess what? it happens after they leave, TOO.



I’m all for the message that you don’t have to stay in a situation that is bad for you. I am all for learning to set and stick to boundaries. I am not ok with blaming victims of abuse for being “responsible for your own experience.”


Most of us end up in toxic relationships because that's all we've ever known, even as kids, so it feels familiar. I really don't think people are responsible for what was done to them as children. And I would say that without a lot of outside help, many victims are unable to see their situation for what it is, much less to fix the damage done to them to the point where they are able to protect themselves.

Carin Level 8 Jan 21, 2019

Well stated.


I have gone from tolerating incredible crap for 30 years, to wasting just under 2 years with that same familiar hollow feeling inside....I should get it right when I hit, oh, 106......


Yes, some people are bum magnets. Most people are on their very very best behavior at the beginning of a relationship. I think there are a lot of different reasons that people end up in toxic relationships. I also think that it is not always the trapped person's problem that caused it. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer for anything. I've been in for relationships in my life and only one was truly toxic.


We do it because in the beginning when it starts to happen we don't notice it and when we do we are so shocked that we don't believe that it is happening. That he/she did not say that or did not mean it, that he/she had a bad day, etc, etc. And then we are there downtrodden, all self confidence gone not knowing where or whom to turn to.


It’s not always as obvious as disrespect and neglect. Sometimes those are outgrowths of other differences that grow larger in importance over time.

UUNJ Level 8 Jan 21, 2019

A question that is just as important is why do we stay in toxic relationships? Some of the same aspects apply, i.e. fear of losing companionship.

Why do we end up and stay in empty/boring relationships?

@ToolGuy Sometimes, that could be the reason. I stayed in a toxic relationship because I was afraid to leave. One of my childhood friends was murdered by her boyfriend when she left him; violence is not always a part of a toxic relationship, but it can be.

It could also be economic reasons. Women who don't work outside the home will tolerate way more abuse than those who are economically independent.

@Theoma Oh yes. Spot on.


Some people end up in toxic relationships because toxic relationships are all they know.

Sadly, true in some cases.

@Gwendolyn2018 I honestly think that it's most cases.

@Carin I think that it is often a learned behavior. I have known women who have gotten out of violent relationships only to hook up with another man who is violent. Of course, "toxic" does not preclude violence, but it can. I would be interested in knowing any research on whether people in toxic relationships had parents in toxic relationships.

@ToolGuy I think you have it exactly right. Great insight!

@ToolGuy, @Gwendolyn2018 It is learned, but I think stuff like that we learn young as it's pretty unconscious & internalized. & yes, I came from an abusive home & ended up with some abusive guys. I'd break up with them but "somehow" the next one would turn out to be an abuser too... It was really depressing. Without counseling, who knows how long the cycle would have gone on--what a normal woman would have seen as huge red flags did not raise alarms for me because I figured everyone did that. My counselor actually had to tell me that it wasn't normal for mothers to push their kids down the stairs, smash dishes, humiliate family members & micromanage everyone's daily life. Going from there, I began to see that insults & baseless accusations were NOT part of normal human interaction, & not only that, would eventually lead to physical violence.

I know it sounds dumb, but since all these things happened in private, I assumed all the other families we knew growing up were the same as mine, & all marriages were as unhappy as my parents'. (& incidentally, it was my mom who was the overt abuser in their relationship, although my dad was extremely cold & passive aggressive.)

@ToolGuy I didn't feel shame during childhood because I thought it was just normal, if I even thought of it at all! So basically, I had no role models for what I would later learn were normal healthy relationships.

But yeah, they heap plenty of shame on abused women, & for abused men the shame, if not the physical & financial consequences, is even worse.

The thing about counselors is that they know they need to explain super basic stuff like mine did, whereas strangers or even friends had no idea of the depth of my cluelessness, basically. And even when people had said their mom didn't do stuff like that, or their parents really loved each other, I dismissed that information as an anomaly at best, or figured they were kidding themselves. & you can believe me or not, but I am not a stupid person--I graduated with close to a 4.0 average from college. I only had 2 B's to ruin my GPA.

@ToolGuy Yes! A friend of mine says that we usually only change when the prospect of staying where we are is scarier than change. Unfortunately, for some, change is scarier than the toxicity.

@Carin Indeed--apt and cogent points.


I think we get in those toxic relationships by taking the easy path - gradually slipping into companionship while wearing rose color glasses - and not seeing the red flags for what they are.

Ohub Level 7 Jan 21, 2019

First woman I met in my new wonderland was ..all over me, so to speak. Couldn’t have been more attentive. What turned out telling was the way she’d rag on others, anything & everything in fact. Couldn’t help but wonder ..when would that be me?

Sure enough, as soon as I backed off, allowed for some space, made a few subtle suggestions, the real her emeged. No thanks, thought i..

Miss her son, though. So emotionally beaten, father runoff years ago.. We’d talk for hours, though he appeared to realize I’d be gone soon, too.

A toxic personality is where an online searched led me, every trait became evident. Crap, after 3 years prior with a Borderline.. I hate to be rude, but have decided self preservation must come first 😕

Varn Level 8 Jan 21, 2019

You are not rude, that is the way it should be.

@Jolanta I really appreciate hearing that.. Never much of a dater, back when I should have been, I never learned the art ..or perhaps acquired the strength to ‘leave.’ It’s probably what keeps me from working a room 🙂 Feels like ‘it’ will need to be so certain, so obvious that ‘we be together,’ there’d be no need to part.. How foolishly romantic 😕 I may be doomed (though LOL).

I was in a toxic relationship that involved physical abuse. I will never again be in such a relationship; if a man shows ANY tendency toward violence, I have never seen him again. Self preservation, whether emotionally or physically, comes first.

Self preservation is.... self respect.

@Varn Your not doomed, they right one will come along when you least expect it. Smile and love life and it will love you back.


Or, relationships evolve into toxic relationships because nature's plan of consorting pairs is only hormonally/chemically designed to be temporary and society promotes a falsehood as to what it actually is. Nature's plan may be, "It is better to have loved and lost, loved and lost, loved and lost..."?

It shocks me how little is made of that fact.. Perhaps it conflicts with our initial desires to the point nobody wants to acknowledge it. And, society has so convinced anyone not living ‘happily ever after’ that the ‘failure’ is their fault 😟

[edited 'I' to 'It']

@Varn Yup...over half of marriages end in divorce, many of the remaining are of convenience, for "the children", etc. A "happy" marriage seems to be a very rare thing. Therefore, such evidence suggests long-term relationships are likely not the natural state. But...the females especially do not seem to get it. Somehow, they prefer to believe the myth. I suspect that if, as some primitive tribes, the men lived on one house and the women and children in a seperate one, there were be much less dissonance in our culture.

@dahermit I could feel my marriage changing, had remained loyal.. knew I could have made a far better choice than I had at age 22… But I’d have stuck with her, it was ‘the female’ who split..

Having photographed many a friend and relatives weddings ..looking back, all but two ended. I shot one cousin’s second.. On a similar discussion I mentioned the ‘monkey observations,’ where it became evident ..primate behavior was not monogamous or lasting… Surprise Surprise?

But who didn’t/ doesn't think theirs wouldn’t/ won’t last forever? I did 30 years, with friends joking that we’d see our 50th. I can’t say the desire or expectations are more female than male - it fooled me! What’s strange are the r/s’s I note now, with people my age.. They seem co dependent, or marriages of convenience. Not, ‘how deeply are we in love,’ but ‘what can this partnership provide?’

Silly me ...holding out for true love 😕 Fu.k

@VictoriaNotes Are you basing your conclusion on an abstract of a study, without seeing the actual study and what conditions were controlled in the study and which were not? How many subjects were involved? My "disorder" saves me from seeing things under the distortion of emotion. And, there is nothing wrong with my "communication skills." It is just that I do not live in what is a socially reinforced myth.

@VictoriaNotesThey transition from passionate love to compassionate love.” I know we can override our instincts, if likely doing so on a daily basis. And maybe we can function beyond the partner-swapping behavior of our lesser primate cousins, too. I’ve not given up… though it may occasionally read that way 🙂 Your parents did good, obviously..

@Varn No, my parents did horribly. But back in those days, a divorce was not an economic possibiliy.


I don't know about this. Some people are unable to recognize red flags.

@Holiday Yes, I agree. A good point.


Very true as I can attest. 28 years of differing abuse, all types, a year hospitalized, and now after 8 years away peace finally.

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