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Dysfunctional Relationships

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

How many people do you know in dysfunctional relationships? How many of those people know they're in dysfunctional relationships, but still stay? Whether it's out of comfortability, guilt or shame- staying in toxic relationships is a disservice to you and the person you're with. Let's talk about why we stay...

1. Guilt/Shame

When you grow up as a people-pleaser, as most of us have... You might have a hard time sharing your truth, especially if it is at odds with someone else's feelings. When you're unhappy with your relationship, it may be hard to admit to your partner, but it's a necessary step toward creating the kinds of relationships you deserve. Opening the dialogue is the first step toward making a dysfunctional relationship, functional again. When it involves a long-term relationship, the shame that comes with ending things is unavoidable. You might feel like a failure if you couldn't make your relationship work. You might feel like it is "just a phase" in your relationship, but the truth of the matter is: you are choosing to remain unhappy by staying in a situation that is stagnant and unfulfilling. You know when a connection has expired, so honor yourself by committing to yourself.

2. Codependency

In my opinion, codependency is one of the hardest tendencies/habits to unlearn. There are many reasons why people grow to become codependent. Codependency forms out of the need to feel needed. Healthy adult relationships should have a certain level of autonomy. It's important to know the difference between planning your entire life to please another, and planning a life with that person. Both parties should be able to function independently of the other in order to foster a healthy dynamic. When you are codependent, there is in imbalance in the relationship that entails one person enabling the others self-destructive tendencies, to both of their detriments.

3. Fear Fear is usually what keeps us in unhealthy relationships. The fear of what happens when you end it, of what comes next, of loneliness, a fear of happiness. The trick to combatting that fear is to lean into it. Remind yourself of the first time you've attempted anything, there was a certain level of fear that existed until you learned to complete the task. The same goes for creating the relationships you want in your life. As you experience people, you learn what you're willing and not willing to tolerate in your relationships. Think of what life would be like if we all decided to stay with the first person we ever dated... There are so many experiences you would have never come across. Letting people go is an act of love. It's natural to feel guilty and afraid when you put yourself first, but think of all the happiness you're both missing out on.

4. Love

"Just because you love someone, doesn't mean you should be with them." I've lived by this motto for as long as I can remember, and I've still gotten it wrong countless times. Love is only half of the equation when it comes to cultivating healthy relationships. Love is necessary, it's the first ingredient. Your head and your heart may be at war, and you might feel tempted to follow your heart and give the relationship the benefit of the doubt... But if it's still a thought lingering in your subconscious, it is definitely a sign that you need to let it go. It gives people the opportunity to heal and find themselves, to find a love that you don't have to work so hard for- I swear, it exists.

5. Defeat

When you remain in dysfunctional relationships for prolonged periods of time, feelings of defeat starts to set in, especially if you've already tried to communicate your needs and desires but they still aren't being met. You might feel like it's your job to change something about yourself in order to make the relationship work. Wrong. You rob yourself of your identity, you set yourself up for failure. When a relationship isn't giving you what you need, you need to let it go in order to have your needs met. Don't be mistaken- I am not saying that you should try and find this in a new connection, but go within and find the tools to provide that for yourself. Sometimes we use people as excuses not to better ourselves. We get too comfortable with those feelings of defeat, and in turn, we end up growing resentment for the person or the situation. Relationships are complicated in nature, they're rarely black and white. There is a difference between a healthy relationship going through a rough patch, and a relationship that lacks genuine passion and fulfillment. Trust your intuition to know the difference.

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