Many of the clients that I work with who are struggling with getting over a toxic relationship express to me that they’re slightly embarrassed that it’s so hard for them to move on. Take Rebecca for example. She reached out to me recently, saying that she had just gotten out of a three year relationship with her toxic ex boyfriend, and she was frustrated that despite the fact that she could clearly see how toxic things had become, she still missed him with every fiber of her being.
I remember her saying, “It doesn’t really make any sense. I know it was toxic, my friends know it was toxic, anyone I talk to about it can see that it was toxic, and yet, I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to be with him again. I know I have to turn the page, though. Too much has happened. Why do I feel like this? Am I crazy?”
This really made me feel for her, because I know how difficult it is. It’s actually a very common phenomenon, and it has to do with adrenaline. When people ask me why so many stay stuck in toxic relationships, I always explain that it is because you start to develop an addiction to the highs. In toxic relationships there is often a high high that is followed by a low low. The high is usually attained by making up after a fight or some kind of tension in the relationship, and then it becomes dangerously cyclical. Many couples will start to seek out that high by creating a low that then needs to be resolved.
As you can imagine, this is something that happens subconsciously, but is very insidious. It can make both people ache for those highs and even after the relationship ends, they can have trouble getting into the groove of a healthy relationship simply because they crave the peaks and valleys that they experienced in their previous relationship. The key to overcoming this is to become very aware of where these feelings stem from. The moment you are able to label the emotions, the less power they have over you.
So, if you are struggling with getting over a toxic relationship, I don’t want you to be too hard on yourself. As I said in the introduction to this article, breakups are extremely difficult as it is. When the relationship was toxic, there is an added element that makes it even more challenging. Fortunately, the fact that you have sought out this article means that you are already on the right path. You are being proactive and you are not going to just sit back and let these negative emotions overwhelm you. So, let’s take a look at how to get over this painful breakup once and for all!