“Why do I always get attracted to the wrong kind of people?”
“Why am I into toxic partners?”
How many of us have heard this or even said it to ourselves?
So many of us find ourselves attracted to this 'bad boy' energy or personality in life. In fact, we may see ourselves come out of one abusive/toxic relationship, just to get caught up in a loop of the same kind of relationship all over again. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.
This isn't something that may just be a fault of our own, but it’s important to know that it also happens because this is something that we have found comfort in. I know that it sounds bizarre but when we have had a past of abuse (whether it’s emotional, physical, sexual, neglect or any other), our body trains itself to find new ways to cope with our environment.
Now, one of these ways of coping can also be appeasing, which means understanding the perpetrator or the one who hurt us, understanding their patterns, learning what triggers them, and also learning how to tackle these triggers in order to survive in that environment to avoid conflict.
So why do we find ourselves in the same position again?
It’s often because these patterns are familiar to us. We know exactly how to deal with those red flags because that's what we've unconsciously trained ourselves to do. For example, knowing what to expect when they’re triggered and knowing how to calm them down or making excuses for their bad behaviour because they’ve also had some good days with you. Getting into a new relationship that may have more green flags (and in turn, is healthy for us) can be harder to adjust to because this seems like a new territory where we’re actually being respected.
Here’s the thing. We find ourselves needing to put in more effort, more trust, and also be more valuable with this new partner. Thus, new relationships which seem healthy may end up seeming more difficult. This can be because we haven’t received that kind of comfort in a relationship in the past. We find ourselves being treated as equals, and that kind of security (and effortlessness) in a relationship can be a whole new feeling! What we think we deserve, and how we make decisions for ourselves, all play a role in our future relationships. After all, feeling comfortable in these relationships also comes from feeling comfortable with ourselves.
Most times we may place blame on ourselves for getting into toxic relationships and put further shame on ourselves when we’re unable to get out of them. But realising our worth, and understanding our boundaries makes it easier for us not to take the entire blame.
One way we can start doing this is by being kinder to ourselves. This can be a really small start. It can start with listing down all those instances where we deserved better treatment, understanding what we want from our future relationships, and working through our insecurities slowly. Understanding our own patterns, listing down our expectations, and making our mental health a priority can be a great start to feeling independent and sure of ourselves.Doing these small things can help us learn to love ourselves and know what we truly deserve from our partners.
So take some time, remove those rose tinted glasses and prioritise yourself.
It sounds like a small step but it’s going to be great for you in the long run.
Meet the Author
Shipra's main areas of focus are the connections between the body and mind. She uses a trauma-informed & needs-based approach to counselling. Shipra believes in always trying to create a healthy balance between work and life.
She also loves sunsets, beaches, kittens, chai and cooking. Growing plants is her form of grounding, and she’s found to resort to Disney or the Mamma Mia soundtrack when everything else is spiraling.
Shipra Parswani, Psychologist