After a toxic relationship, one may often feel confused and frustrated, struggling to make sense of the aftermath. It is not uncommon to start questioning why you were not able to pacify the relationship by doing something differently - by maybe jumping through more hoops. this would be an ineffective bandaid. We must recognize that no amount of hoops we jumped through would make a difference; there should be no hoops in a healthy relationship.
Often, the aftermath of a toxic relationship can be a time of immense difficulty, full of negative emotions and confusion. It can be hard to comprehend what happened and here oneself again, alone without the validation or reinforcement from someone else. The fact that you have been unable to mend a broken relationship may only add to this distress. You may start to question your actions, desperately searching for something you could have done differently to save that bond. We must recognize that this is an exercise in futility. Regardless of how hard we try, it will not be enough. A relationship where hoops need to be jumped through is never a healthy one and should always be avoided.
The power dynamic of a toxic relationship makes it difficult for both parities. Victims of toxicity will feel obligated to deviate from their true selves in order to satiate the other party. To them, it may feel like hours are spent walking on eggshells, struggling to read between the lines in hopes of avoiding the next wave of temper. Simultaneously, the puppet master hovers above, controlling the movements and micromanaging interactions, ensuring that those eggshells are always underneath the other's feet. They set up impossible standards and place unreasonable expectations to keep their victims feeling desperate, helpless, and constantly striving. No matter how much effort is put in, the hurdles seem to rise higher every single time.
It is easy to get lost in this web of doubt and discouragement after experiencing such a traumatic event. We must be careful to not fall into the trap of adjusting our character even further to make up for what has gone wrong. This could be a destructive move and one that often leads to self-doubt and fruitless desperation. Instead, the focus needs to be on ourselves and the process of healing. We need to look within to restore our sense of self, unlearning the attitudes and behaviors we had to adopt while in an unhealthy relationship. In understanding and appreciating our own identity, we will be in a better place to take care of ourselves, reject what is poisonous, and identify relationships that truly nurture our spirit and bring light into our lives.
It is important to remember that there should be no hoops or expectations for love or for any kind of relationship in general. Love should come naturally and it should be mutual. We should not have to bend backwards and twist our personalities to accommodate those around us. Moving forward, let us be vigilant but also full of hope, understanding that it is possible to find joy that is unconditional and free of lies.
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