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Toxic Relationship: Learn to Stop Worrying and Identify the Patterns

Until recently, I was in love with a person who was not good for me. When I say in love, I mean completely head over heels. I started believing that all the Bollywood movies and edits were about me and that I was in a perfect situation. I had an off-and-on thing with them, and I believed that I was in a Ross/Rachel will they/won't they scenario. What these films and shows seem to do is romanticize unrequited love. They would have you believe that being in love with someone who has made it obvious they do not want anything serious with you is beautiful and even noble. This is quite a toxic scenario, because one may not know how to extract themselves from this. This toxic cycle can be incredibly damaging to the psyche. I write this post to point out the problems with these toxic relationships this way, identify the patterns, how to break them and express some of my experience with this sort of scenario.

Toxic Relationship: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Identify the Patterns. Toxic relationships are tough, and recognizing you're in one is even tougher. Learn to spot the patterns and avoid inevitable heartache.

Let me also preface this by saying that this is not a hit piece, or me just trying to get back at someone. I do not blame anyone who was involved with this and I completely understand why they did what they did. There is no one at fault in this, and if there is someone who is to blame for my predicament, it is me. I should have left sooner. The situation itself became toxic for me and damaging to my mental health. This can be seen as a way for me to cope with things that have happened.

The first thing is that they are a bundle of contradictions. Rules that apply to you do not seem to apply to them. They would expect me to tell them everything that happened in my life, but I would find out things about them months after they happened, or from other people. Similarly, they would want me to do everything, from visiting new restaurants to simply hanging out, with them while they would feel that they are open to doing things with other people. These things create a sort of bubble where they are your primary person of contact, but being with them is also a sort of prize that you must compete for and win. In doing so, their time becomes more cherished than yours. This can create deep-rooted issues of self-worth and self-perception within oneself.

As a sort of added layer to the previous point, while you are in the bubble you feel like the most special person in the world. They will bad mouth all of their other friends in front of you and make it seem like they go out of their way for you. The latter part may be true, but the former is still a lie. They would claim they dislike spending time with their other friends for some flaw or the other and that you do not have this flaw within yourself. This adds to a sort of illusion that they build around you, where you are the most special person in the entire world to them. Therefore, when you compete for their time and win, it feels all that much better because you feel like you are special, where you may not be. The contradiction that occurred with the fact that I had to compete for their attention, despite them claiming that I was the most important person in their life was lost on me.

They also have very hot and cold attitudes towards you. They would randomly lovebomb you for a while and then proceed to go cold. After making you feel like the most important person in the world, they can suddenly just stop talking and lose all interest in you. When they do and you reach out to them, they can often make it feel like it is a chore for them to talk to you. They may say that this is not the case but their behaviour and body language is anything but that.

After all this, they are never the person to blame in any given scenario. If you do have a fight or disagreement with them, you find yourself constantly apologising for things, even though you are the one who brought up the problem. This is usually because they felt hurt by you bringing those things up. This makes you feel like you are the one causing the damage, placing you in the position of the perpetrator, even when you were the one to bring up a problem even when you were the one who was uncomfortable in the scenario. When they do apologise, they tend to shift the blame off them to things like their personality. They say things like this is how they cope with things and this is their personality, framing it to be as though it is something constant and unchanging. They fail to see how their actions may hurt you and cause you pain. This way, they also maintain a sense of plausible deniability. Since they weren't directly responsible for how you felt, you must be the one at fault. This adds to the diminishing self-image and self-worth already present in you.

For me, I began believing that I was the best version of myself around them. After all, I was happy with them, and when the two of us were going well, it felt like there was nothing wrong with the world that you couldn't solve. But this was not true. I knew that I was threading a line with them, constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing in fear of sparking a bad mood within them. I placed their feelings above my own, much to my discomfort. I was also not myself around them, and they were not themself around me. For the latter, I know better than to offer speculation as to why. For the former, it felt as though if I fit into some sort of a mold, I would be worthy of their attention and love.

This was the crux of it all: I did not feel loved by them. Perhaps they did love me, but not in the way I was looking for from them. This made me feel like if I was not myself, I would be worthy of this love. I wanted to fill a gap in my self-esteem through their love and validation. However, one must remember that this gap can never be filled by another person, only you can fill this hole within your psyche. Given their patterns of making me feel like I was special at one moment then not worth their time the other added to this seeking of validation.

So how does one break out of this? There is no simple answer. You've spent weeks, months, possibly years of your life trying to appease this one person to fill a space in your psyche, so much so that they become your only point of gratification and validation. The first step is to move away from them. You may be incredible friends with them and being with them may feel like heaven, but that is only because of the gratification you feel while being with them. It is almost like an addiction. The only way to beat an addiction is to get rid of the thing that you are addicted to. Perhaps at a later time, you may reconnect with them, but for now, the first thing is to remove them from your mind entirely.

It would undoubtedly be difficult to remove someone who has been a source of validation and happiness in your life for so long. So the second step would be to rediscover yourself. Go on dates with yourself. Find out what else makes you happy and do that. Do not focus on what they may be thinking about you or what they are doing with their time. Focus on yourself. What this does is try to replace that person as a source of happiness and find that happiness within you. This is incredibly important as it also serves as a permanent thing. Reconnect with your old friends. You will stop looking outwards for happiness, and instead find it within yourself, leading to more fulfilling relationships for yourself.

In the end, I would say that I am not a psychologist, nor do I have a very extensive background in psychology. These are my experiences and what I have been through, I just hope that this may find someone who is in a similar position to me and be of some help to them. It is essential to remember that one must not blame someone else or hold any feeling of ill will towards them. They are a product of their experiences and may not be aware of the patterns of behaviour they exhibit or how they hurt you. In these scenarios, it is best to inform them how they hurt you, and if they do not get the help they need or work on themselves, it is best to just wish them well for their life and move on. For yours and their sake.