9 Reasons Why You Stay in a Toxic Relationship
I’m sure people have often asked you ‘so why did you stay in a toxic relationship‘? You’re left feeling a little awkward scrambling for an answer that sounds plausible and makes sense.
For people who have never experienced a toxic relationship, it is very difficult to understand why you stay in a toxic relationship.
So we often feel judged by their lack of understanding. But to be fair, toxic relationships are complex and how we manage them is foreign to someone who has never experienced abuse of any kind.
A toxic relationship starts off like any relationship, you feel amazing and life is just perfect. The abuse within the relationship happens slowly and what started off as normal and perfect slowly becomes abnormal and you often don’t notice your boundaries and the relationship eroding.
Understanding this complexity is important for your healing process so that you don’t feel as if you wasted years of your life. You can rather let go of the past and all the regrets, forgive yourself and move forward stronger and wiser.
Maybe you’re the type of person who runs when things get tough. Maybe you’re the kind of person who sticks around to help when things get rough. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between.
Either way, you might find yourself asking the following questions:
- Why am I still with this person?
- Why do I continue to put up with this?
- I don’t deserve this…
Even though you’re asking yourself these questions, and know that you are not happy and that the relationship should be different you don’t leave and instead blame yourself, spending more time and energy on trying to make someone else happy.
There are many reasons why people often stay in toxic relationships, even when they know it’s not healthy for them.
It can be scary to admit that an intimate partner isn’t good for us and that we need to leave them sooner than later.
However, once you understand why you might be staying in a toxic relationship, it will become easier to identify the toxic behavior and end things, if necessary.
Here are 9 reasons why people tend to stay in a toxic relationship:
1. You’re still in love with your partner.
You might be in love with your partner and feel like you can’t leave them, no matter what. You might have a strong urge to stay with them, even if the relationship isn’t healthy.
Keep in mind that you can love someone and still acknowledge that the relationship isn’t healthy.
When you meet someone new, you fall in love with them considering them to be your perfect mate. Slowly with time your partner’s behaviors change, the way they treat you is different and the relationship becomes rocky.
This is when your partner’s mask starts to crack and fall off, and they begin to display their true self.
The beginning of the relationship moved very quickly and seemed so perfect which is called the ‘love bombing phase’ of a toxic relationship.
For the remainder of the relationship and long after the relationship has finally ended you will be in love with the person that you first met.
The problem here is that the person you first met does not really exist. You continue to hang on to the relationship hoping that your soul mate and the person that you fell in love with will reappear.
You try harder to be the perfect partner in the hope that you will be able to reconnect with the person you fell in love with. Months and years go by as you patiently search for the reconnection.
The person that you consider yourself to love never existed.
Toxic people have the ability to mirror your needs and pretend to be everything that you would want in a mate. They hide behind a mask until they have you completely under their spell and in love with the person they portrayed.
No one deserves abuse and disrespect of any kind for any reason.
The question you have to ask yourself is how do you love someone that now hurts you?
2. Blaming yourself for the relationship problems
If you grew up in a household where you were always the person to blame for things going wrong, you might stay in a toxic relationship because you blame yourself for the relationship issues. This is your habitual behavioral pattern.
This is where you need to take the time to look back at your life and have the courage to call it for what it is. It’s your life after all.
It’s time to dump toxic habitual patterns learned in childhood and find your true voice that serves you.
Toxic partners will project their faults and misdeeds onto you and they will gaslight you. You will be blamed for everything that goes wrong in the relationship and in their lives.
They will rewrite the past, twist your words and question your sanity. These insidious forms of abuse will leave you confused and doubting yourself.
You will initially try to stand up for yourself and get drawn into senseless circular arguments ending in the same result, you apologizing for everything.
You will start blaming yourself for all the problems in the relationship, you will feel that it’s all your fault, and you need to make more of an effort to live up to your toxic partner’s expectations.
You will make excuses and tell yourself that it is not really that bad. Over time this becomes your norm and time passes.
When you blame yourself for relationship problems, you might find it difficult to leave your partner because you think that you are the cause of all the issues.
If you blame yourself for relationship problems, it will allow your partner to get away with the toxic behavior.
It will also cause you to stay in a toxic relationship because you’ll feel like you have to fix the problems you have caused and then you will be able to reconnect with the person you first met.
3. you stay for the sake of your children.
If you have children with your partner, you might want to stay together for the sake of your children.
You might feel like you’re obligated to stay in a toxic relationship because your partner is a good parent.
You should never stay in a toxic relationship because of your children.
By staying in a toxic relationship because of the children, you will be giving your children a message that the way your toxic partner behaves is OK.
You may think that you are helping your children, but instead, you are providing them with a bad role model to follow. This is not a healthy thing to do.
You should leave the relationship, if possible, for your sake and for the sake of your children.
4. Financial and social Dependency
If your partner provides you with financial support, it might make it more challenging for you to leave the relationship.
Toxic partners like to control the relationship and so often control the family’s financial affairs, including how you spend your time and what you do with any money that you may earn.
If you have money they will create situations where the family has to use your money, while they are building a nest egg of savings for themselves.
If you have trouble making friends outside of your toxic relationship and your toxic partner has been controlling you and your access to your friends over time you will have lost contact with friendships and you will be socially isolated.
Toxic partners will find many different excuses why your friends are a bad influence and your family are against them. Over time you will become socially isolated from your friends and family.
Financial dependency and social isolation are tactics used by toxic partners early on in the relationship to ultimately control and isolate you.
You are now reliant on your toxic partner financially and socially and leaving the relationship is now more difficult.
5. Poor self-esteem could be why you stay in a toxic relationship
If you have poor self-esteem, you might stay in a toxic relationship because you don’t think you deserve better.
You may not see a way out to a better future.
How did you arrive at a place where your self-esteem is at such a low point that you feel that you deserve to be treated badly?
A toxic partner will assassinate your character by:
- calling you lazy and claiming that you are not good enough
- They will create situations of triangulation where they use other people to make you feel jealous and insecure
- They will lie and manipulate and call you possessive and crazy when you question them
Your self-esteem will plummet until you reach a point where you believe that you actually deserve the abuse and that nobody else would be interested in you.
If you have poor self-esteem, it is important to work on improving your self-esteem. You can get help with your self-esteem by seeing a therapist and/or joining a support group.
Alternatively, you can make a list of all your good qualities and focus on those good qualities.
Affirmations are another useful tool to help you boost your self-esteem.
6. Fear of your toxic partner
If your partner is controlling and abusive, you might stay in the relationship because you’re afraid of what they might do if you leave them.
You might have a hard time leaving the relationship because your partner has threatened you and your loved ones.
If you stand up to your toxic partner, question them, or even disagree with their opinions they will punish you, by using a tit for tat behavior and even stonewalling you.
This treatment from the toxic partner will over time teach you to fall in line, not to question them, and behave in a way that ultimately gives them total control over you.
Fear of retribution results in you accepting things within the relationship that you once could not even have imagined accepting.
If you’re afraid of your partner, it will make it more challenging for you to leave the relationship. It will be important to get help from a therapist or law enforcement if you have a controlling or abusive partner.
Your therapist or law enforcement can help you get the resources you need to leave the relationship safely.
7. A toxic partner controls your time
If your partner controls how you spend your time, you might stay in the relationship because you don’t have time to work on yourself, create a plan to leave, establish an income and rekindle friendships and connections with family.
Your time and energy will be consumed by satisfying the needs of your toxic partner.
Understand that they will never be satisfied.
So, do what is necessary, but conserve time and energy to prepare yourself for the day that you are able to leave the toxic relationship.
8. Toxic Hope
Toxic hope is where you might hope that your partner will change and become a better person for you. You will end up staying in the toxic relationship hoping for your partner to change.
It is important to let go of all hope that your toxic partner will change.
They are toxic because they will never change.
They will either not accept responsibility for their actions and blame you or they will make false promises of change that they will never carry through.
If you have toxic hope for your relationship, you might stay in the relationship when you really should leave.
It is important to let go of your toxic hope so that you can see your toxic partner for who they are.
You might want to seek help to let go of your toxic hope.
Journaling is a great way to overcome toxic hope. You will be able to look back in your journal and will see that over time things have not changed.
In toxic relationships, we tend to forget how badly we are treated. The journal will be a point of reference for you to remember and realize that you are living in hope of something that will never happen.
Why you stay in a toxic relationship may be due to toxic hope.
9. Trauma bonded
When you are trauma bonded to your partner, it means that you have an addiction to the feelings your partner gives you. It means that you can’t easily leave your partner because you need their abusive and toxic behavior.
Sounds crazy right?
But your body releases hormones to help you survive the toxic behavior and your body becomes addicted to these hormones.
A toxic partner will treat you badly causing you emotional and maybe even physical pain. They will then turn on the charm.
This push-pull type of relationship is where your partner, who is supposed to be your primary source of comfort is also the same person that is hurting you.
This push-pull type of relationship results in a trauma bond developing between you and your abuser.
You end up believing that life would be unbearable without them and that you would not cope without them.
We all want to find a healthy relationship. But some relationships are just toxic and will ultimately break you down emotionally and physically.
Once you understand why you might be staying in a toxic relationship, it will become easier to identify the toxic behavior, address it, and end the relationship.
If you’re in a toxic relationship, don’t give up hope of escaping. You will be able to leave with a better understanding of your situation, your toxic partner, and why you seem to be just accepting the situation and taking no action to get out.
Life is too short to accept being treated badly. You do deserve better.
Yes, it does take courage and you will have to dig deep but your freedom and personal growth will be worth it.