Why do we stay in bad relationships until we are broken?
Last week, #HurtBae was trending on Twitter. It was an emotional short video about this guy confessing to his girlfriend that he had been cheating on her. I was sad to see this poor girl crying her eyes out to a man who had blatantly disrespected her – through his lack of remorse he shows that he does not care about her and would like to call time on their relationship. I can’t imagine the pain she’d had to go through but it was evident that their relationship had been toxic for a while and although she was emotionally broken, she clearly still loves the guy.
I empathise with her situation, as I have been in a toxic relationship and know how difficult things can be. I was once in relationship where I was not appreciated and my feelings were not regarded. At the peak of things, I could not completely be myself, treading carefully as though walking on eggshells. I gave her all of me, she was in control of my mood and dictated the tone of the relationship. It was emotionally tiring to say the least. The question to ask is why do we stay and endure toxic situations/ relationships until we are broken and emotionally drained? Why don’t we just walk away?
This was something I pondered for a while and in retrospect, I realised that my error was that, over the course of the relationship I was too bothered about loving her and in the process I forgot about myself.
The thing is that toxic relationships start out like any other relationship; attraction, chemistry and full of promise. So it is easy to ride on the euphoria of our feelings, completely leaving ourselves behind. We tend to focus a lot of energy on pleasing the other person, meeting their needs and fulfilling their desires, and it’s all cute and ‘relationship goals’ when things are fine in the relationship. However relationships can be unpredictable; people can change, life can throw curve balls and if one person is not mentally strong enough, it could affect their behavioural patterns. Or it could be time revealing as wolf formerly dressed in sheep clothing. This is could be the beginning of a downward spiral for the relationship and like weed, if not pulled out immediately, can suffocate the relationship and things become toxic.
I feel this is where self-love plays a massive role, it gives us that discernment to know whether we’re being patient or wasting our time. People who have lost themselves tend to hold to the perception of what their partner used to be, turning a blind eye to who they are. They would make excuses for their wrong behaviour, and fault their own actions; Maybe if I was more patient, I should not have talked back, if I looked a certain way and many more. This causes to people to intensify their love, only that this time it’s not reciprocated but rather absorbed and use as a tool of manipulation and control. Where do we get the strength to stay in these type of relationship? We use our friends and loved ones. We complain about how horrible things (if they are not already visible) and in the same breath we defend our partners actions.
I cannot reiterate enough that self-love is absolute; there’s nothing wrong with going all out and loving someone you’re into but it should never be at the expense of loving yourself. Self-love allows you to understand your worth and not settle for less, you become comfortable in your own skin and rather than expecting someone to complete you, you are about someone that compliments you. When things starts getting rough in the relationship, love allows you to have empathy and support but self-love offers the strength to walk away when you’re being treated in manners not consistent with your value.
I would love to hear your views, experiences or questions on this topic, please comment below. Many thanks.