There is much discussion nowadays about “toxic relationships” and how to move on from the experience of being in one. One of the keys to “moving on”, if feel that we are in a toxic relationship, is to ascertain how likely is it that it will change. Unless we see clear signs of the other person being willing and able to change the chances are that they won’t – which makes it less likely that the relationship will change.
However, the responsibility for a toxic relationship, toxic marriage, toxic friendship, or toxic lover, is not just with the other person; we may also be a contributor. This is not about blaming and shaming ourselves; this is about being willing to look at how we got into such a relationship in the first place, so that we can avoid similar situations in the future. We may have not noticed warning signs about the other person. We might have made excuses for them if they showed “red flags” warning us of potential problems owing to their behaviour. We might even have made excuses for odd or extreme behaviour, like unexpected bursts of anger or even violence, on their part just because we were feeling very attracted to them physically.
We may need to forgive ourselves for getting swept away in the moment and getting into a relationship which was not good for us. We may need to forgive the other person for their behaviour so that we can move on. However, forgiving someone does not mean that we need to put up with their bad behaviour now or in the future.
“ Forgiveness sets you free.” – Forgiveness is Power
It is also a matter of looking at how our reactions to the other person may have contributed to creating a toxic spiral where their behaviour got increasingly toxic and we feed the flames by our reaction to them. We might need to forgive ourselves for such reactions so that we don’t carry the same reactive behaviour into our next relationship.
Forgiving our Biology
Our biology is geared to recognising traits which make a potential mate likely to contribute to producing offspring which will survive, but it is not reliable when it comes to recognising whether the person has a personality disorder which makes them difficult, impossible, or even dangerous, to be around. Therefore, to get better at recognising a potential long-term partner (rather than one just suitable for the job of producing offspring) we need to be aware when it is our our biology that is running the show. Nature gives us “the tingles”, or the like, to help us recognise a potentially suitable partner for producing offspring. However, they may be totally unsuited to a long-term relationship. We need to be able to somewhat put aside our biology and not respond to potential mates just in terms of whether we find them “hot” or “not”.
Finding ourselves in a toxic relationship may simply be the consequences of choosing a partner who has very different priorities from us and very different values from us. We may have got into a relationship with assumptions and expectations which are very different from the other person. Each person in the relationship could be trying to argue and fight with the other into seeing things their way. Each is convinced that they are right, but they would both be better off if they had taken the trouble to discover whether they have the same expectations and assumptions.
Men and women often have very different expectations from a relationship, especially in the beginning. Many people try to at least to be clear about what they themselves want. However, going around with a mental shopping list of what we want in a partner is not much help if we don’t know what a potential partner will want from us in return. We all want “the best”. But no point shopping for a Ferrari if we can only afford a Ford.
In days gone by religion and society helped to reign in individual behaviour. This influence on people has weakened considerably and modern dating apps and social change have tended to encourage and reward impulsive behaviour. However, this does not protect us from the consequences of such behaviour. Being in a relationship with someone who is “exciting” but damaging to our self esteem is not a good strategy. If we produce a child with a partner we are unable to get along with there will be a range of financial and lifestyle consequences which follow. Unfortunately, dating apps and “self empowerment” influencers don’t tend to warn us of the downside of hookup culture.
All the consequences of our actions eventually come back to us. No matter who told us we could get away with it, eventually we need to deal with the consequences of our choices and they may be very different from what we were expecting. Forgiveness is a very useful and helpful tool for enabling us to handle the consequences of our actions and our choices.
Forgiving and Moving On
Learning how to forgive ourselves and others can be life-changing and give us a new perspective on life and the relationships we create. It is like we rise above the complex maze that sometimes life can seem to be, and see our way through to a new and better way.
Forgiveness helps us unhook ourselves from the patterns of thinking and feeling which cause us to get into toxic relationships and step out of attitudes and behaviours which were causing us to feel stuck.
Forgiveness sets you free. To learn how to forgive, download the free ebook using the links on this page. There is no need to enter an email address as the book is an immediate download.
Wishing you all the best on your journey into healthier and happier relationships.
Written by William Fergus Martin, Author: Forgiveness is Power and The Four Steps to Forgiveness.
Four Steps to Forgiveness
Four Steps to Forgiveness
A powerful way to freedom, happiness and success.
William Fergus Martin