Toxic relationships can often cause immense pain and suffering, yet many of us find ourselves drawn to them time and time again. Despite the obvious negative consequences, we continue to seek out partners who are emotionally unavailable, manipulative, or even abusive. Why is this the case? What drives us to pursue relationships that are clearly detrimental to our well-being?
First and foremost, it is important to recognize that toxic relationships can take many forms. They can involve emotional abuse, physical violence, or simply an unhealthy dynamic that leaves one or both partners feeling drained and unhappy. Regardless of the specifics, however, toxic relationships tend to share certain characteristics such as a lack of trust, communication, and mutual respect.
Let’s have a look at 7 Reasons why we want a toxic relationship:
If someone grew up in a family or community where toxic relationships were normalized or even glorified, they may have internalized the belief that love equals pain, drama, or sacrifice. They may seek out partners who resemble their caregivers or peers, hoping to redeem or heal their past wounds or prove their loyalty or resilience.
Our brains are hardwired to recognize familiar patterns and seek out comfort and security in them. When we’re presented with something familiar, our brains react positively, releasing a shot of dopamine that can lead us to feel pleasure and satisfaction. It’s a powerful reward that can ultimately draw us back into a familiar, yet toxic relationship.
We may find ourselves attracted to somebody who makes us feel small and insignificant, as it serves as a form of distraction from our own inner pain. This is especially true if we have unresolved issues related to our parents or other family members, as this type of relationship can provide us with a distorted sense of comfort and security.
Suggestion for you: Why does first love or relationship fail most of the time?
Some people crave the adrenaline rush and intensity of a toxic relationship, which can make them feel alive, wanted, or special. They may mistake the drama and chaos for passion and devotion, and ignore the red flags or warning signs that the relationship is harmful or unsustainable.
People may also stay in toxic relationships because they can provide an escape from boredom, loneliness, or depression. It may become a default relationship that is not necessarily good, but it is better than not having someone at all.
3. Low self-esteem
Individuals with low self-esteem may feel unworthy of healthy love or respect, and settle for toxic relationships that reinforce their negative self-image. They may believe that they don’t deserve better or that they can’t survive alone, and tolerate abuse or exploitation as a way to belong or be validated.
They may also believe that they cannot find someone better and settle for less than they deserve. In addition, the constant emotional rollercoaster of a toxic relationship can become addictive, causing individuals to cling to the highs and lows.
People who have a need for control or power may use toxic relationships as a way to dominate or manipulate their partners, either overtly or covertly. They may enjoy the sense of superiority or mastery that comes from making someone else suffer or obey and may rationalize their behaviour as tough love or discipline.
5. Fear of Being Alone
Many of us stay in toxic relationships simply because we’re afraid of being alone. We may fear abandonment, so we settle for an unhealthy relationship simply to avoid being alone. Humans are social creatures and the idea of being without a partner or support system can evoke feelings of vulnerability and isolation. In such cases, individuals may choose to remain in toxic relationships as they believe it is better than being alone.
Suggestion for you: Why do guys lie about their relationship status?
6. We Crave the Highs and Lows
As humans, we are wired to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. However, sometimes we find ourselves drawn to toxic relationships that are filled with highs and lows. The reason for this is complex and multifaceted. We may be unconsciously trying to recreate patterns from our past, seeking out familiar dynamics to feel a sense of comfort and control. This is the biggest reason why most of us choose toxic relationships even if they hurt us intensely. The intense emotional rollercoaster of a toxic relationship can be addictive, creating a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of being alive.
Suggestion for you: Why are relationships always better in the beginning?
7. We Don’t Know What We Deserve
When we don’t know what we deserve, we can end up getting stuck in a toxic relationship because we don’t know what to look for or recognize when we should walk away.
We can get used to the drama and excitement of a relationship and even confuse it for love. When this happens, it can be hard to recognize when it is time to leave because we have become so entrenched in the cycle of drama and hurt. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy relationship and can cause us more pain than happiness. We have to learn to recognize the red flags of a toxic relationship before it is too late and get out before we become too attached.
One way to identify if a relationship is toxic is to evaluate our feelings while in it. Do we feel drained and unhappy? Do we always feel like we have to put in all the work or explain ourselves? Does the other person never take responsibility for their actions? All these points can show that you are in a toxic relationship.