Why can't we end toxic relationships

Apr 05, 2019

People are often puzzled by this: How can you go through such an abusive childhood and then end up in adulthood being in abusive or toxic relationship (and friendships).

How come we can't just say: “hey, stop that's not OK for you to treat me like that!”


Let's explore that a little bit…


It's really difficult for us to stand up for ourselves in such a way, because we're so *used to* being treated like that from childhood.

Now in adulthood, the very signs of a toxic relationships, like when someone:

  • puts you down
  • minimises you
  • critiques you
  • makes you feel less than
  • de-humanises you
  • violence
  • etc

… it just kind of feels *normal* and kind of validating what you’ve heard & experienced so often in your life.

It’s hard to know what to expect from a health relationship and feel worthy of such, when no one was ever there for you growing up.


Abuse in adulthood fuels that feeling of hopelessness & helplessness, we felt throughout childhood –

That strong belief that our needs will never be met…


The more we feel that way, the more we put up with abuse...


Sadly, we not just put up with it - we all feel like we deserve being treated that way. We feel unwanted and unlovable...


Because of all the attachment trauma, our beliefs and behaviours are somewhat twisted. We had to do this in order to survive!


We won’t go into details about attachment theory here, but I’d like to mention a concept called “The circle of security”. This explains how a child with a healthy attachment figure in their life, goes out to explore and then returns to that secure base (nurturing caregiver) when distressed, to regain that sense of safety.

Here's a blog on attachment trauma...

That sense of security/safety we need our whole life to have those deep meaningful friendships or relationship. So, this isn’t just something specific to children. 


That's what most of us didn’t experience though, hence we struggle with safety and trusting. And live with fears of abandonment and rejection...


We know that we need this sense of safety and also attachment or sense of belonging lifelong.


Ok this is where toxic people hook us…


In toxic relationships:

the more manipulative, threatening, violent or life-threatening our partner is the more you want to have a sense of safety.


You want to get back to that secure base IMMEDIATELY


That's exactly what toxic people will give you in their twisted way by:

  • stopping or telling you that they spared you from a potential other threat they could have done to you


Because there's no real danger except for the one they created!!


Things become very twisted when the very same person is life-threatening and your saviour as well. This double roll creates the most strongest bonds.


In their sick way, they safe you from their abuse.


Similar, most of my abuse was by groups of people. And often the leader of a group, is the person who initiates all the abuse, encourages it and determines the length etc of the abuse. Again, the one person creating the threatening situation, is the person pretending that they safe you by calling it off just in time… which creates a wicked strong bond…


… psychologist refer to this as the “Stockholm Syndrome


You get really drawn to that person, this strong magnetic pull…, because

  • it feels like that person likes you
  • he/she gives you back that sense of safety, that secure base we crave so badly
  • he/she makes you feel like you wouldn’t be able to survive without them


Toxic people play on that need of safety, hence it’s so hard to get away from for us who haven’t experienced healthy nurturing relationships, safety or unconditional love.


These are just a couple of reason why it is so difficult for us to get away from toxic relationships.


It's really difficult to explain to people who have never been in such a position – It’s a really strong magnetic pull and it really feels like you can't get away from that person. For many of us it means that we need professional help, advocates, police… etc to get away safely…


I needed a ton of professional help. Please don't be afraid to reach out. Remember reaching out for help is a sign of courage.


Please share your thoughts on this too. Always love hearing from you guys 😊

  For more videos hop on over and check out my YouTube Channel 

 Do you feel disconnected from your body? This is a normal coping mechanism to survive the trauma but puts as at great risk of developing burnout and disease in adulthood. This video series is for you to become more aware of all the different ways your body is talking to you and some practices, tips and exercises.  

In the meantime, sending you lots & lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little

Here are the recordings from FB lives where I shared tips, practices and tools that helped me on my healing journey 

Struggle with feeling isolated and alone?

Here's a webinar where I discuss 3 x isolation hooks, the underlying belief system and some actions we can take https://www.tanjawindegger.com/isolation-webinar-complex-ptsd