When it comes to the word 'toxic', almost every single person on the planet automatically shrinks away from the term. Quite an intriguing reaction from human beings, given that the majority who react to it have often not actually experienced any toxicity in a relationship. What takes place here instead is the instinctive reaction triggered from the fear of the unknown. In an age and time that emphasises, embodies and to a large extent, even romanticises "red flags" in a relationship, it creates an inherent and rigid fear within the human mind.
Ideally, this fear should perhaps be a blessing in disguise. After all, if this stemming fear is stopping you from butchering your self-respect in a relationship and essentially helping you avoid a traumatic experience, then there is naturally no harm in goading the fear. Unfortunately for our innocent minds, this is often the wrong path to take. As it so happens, the fear stays but so does our silent curiosity. Despite our best efforts to spot the red flags that lead to toxicity, our eyes, mind and invariably even our hearts tend to glaze over all the warning signs.
If you believe that the reason why human beings tend to endure toxic relationships is simply because of being in love, think again. Avoidance of clear warning bells in a relationship are often stemmed from a bigger root cause. Interestingly, trauma plays a crucial role in shaping your emerging thoughts and behavioral aspects as an adult. Your subconscious thus somehow buries your childhood trauma deep within the confines of our mind, which eventually projects itself later in your adult relationships. In the case of having an abusive parent in your childhood, your guttural instinct cautions you to stay away from pursuing any person with a remotely similar set of characteristics. The irony is that inevitably, the marked off person is exactly the one you end up falling for.
This is not a coincidence in most cases. You convince your mind that you will stay away from such obvious toxic characteristics, having faced the outcomes personally. Yet in the face of reality, it is that inexplicable familiarity that arises from that characteristic that makes you crave that relationship anyway. Often, this is a sidelined and subconscious attempt to hurt your abusive parent by making them witness the exact torture inflicted on yourself, as they have done on your other parent for years; it therefore becomes an endless loop of endless mental torture.
This is not to say that every toxic relationship dependency is stemmed from childhood trauma. It may also arise due to other kinds of suppressed trauma, that thus lead you to bury yourself instead in the open-ended toxic relationship than in dealing with your inner demons.
In your mind, It just seems like an easier escape to add another pile of trauma to the already growing pile inside of you.
A simple question now comes to mind: what about the people that hold no past trauma whatsoever, yet somehow get tangled in a toxic relationship and refuse to leave it despite the mental unrest? A key factor to incorporate here—as well as to always remember—is the power of human emotions. Both a blessing and in certain cases a curse, our grasp of emotions often delude our own hearts into thinking this is acceptable. Have you ever felt like your partner treats you like garbage, yet you conveniently forget all about it when the sun is shining bright on your relationship once again? This pattern is you clinging to your inherent hunger for positivity, thereby erasing the earlier wrongful treatment from your mind. By clinging to the sweet memories of your partner, whose version in your head differs starkly from the person in front of you, you begin to reason more and more on the matter through your memory version than the real life one.
It is suffice to say that if someone is hoping to find a clear cut solution here on escaping their toxic relationships easily, then the truth is—there isn't one. There is no easy "hack" on escaping that dependency you have built inside your head, over and over. The first step here though might just be your acknowledgment as well as eventual acceptance. Is there trauma that you have buried, a past that you are running away from by choosing to rather accept abuse in your present? Perhaps just a little shred of acceptance can actually help you not only cringe at the term "toxic" but also turn away from it, bit by bit.
Roshni strongly believes that the study of human behavior holds the answer(s) to all our internal issues. Mail her unusual facts on human psychology at email@example.com