Giving a toxic Ex ‘another chance’..
It's like handing them a fresh bullet to reload their gun because they missed us the first time.
When we leave, or even before, we’ll tell someone else what it was like, what they did, why we are so glad it’s over. We will list what they did to us and finally acknowledge it to ourselves because verbalising it makes it so much more real.. and surreal.
But then doubt creeps in, ‘should I have left? Was it really that bad? Am I crazy? Ungrateful maybe’?
I’ve had an ex say ‘at least I didn’t hit you’.. and it worked, I went back, twice..
Going back makes no sense to someone who has no history of abuse or trauma. Why would we put ourselves back in the firing line? Why would we put our kids through it?
Going back makes perfect sense if we’ve lived it as a child. That abuse, the trauma, the toxic environment, it’s normalised for us. So we can’t NOT choose it, or become it, for ourselves later in life.
If we believe we are unworthy, that we don’t deserve better, that we can’t do ‘life’ without someone else to put a roof over our heads, that we can’t start fresh, that it’ll only be the same next time with the next one anyway, that we are embarrassing our parents, making another mistake, that’s just what relationships are like, we’re splitting up a family, ‘the kids need both parents’, what will people think..
Believe me, our children are happier with separated parents and a peaceful home than living in conflict, witnessing a loveless partnership, contempt, arguments, violation, addiction, or worse.
Maybe our parents stayed together for us, so we believe that’s just what you do, no matter how unhappy, unsafe or unfriendly the environment.
Maybe we were made to keep secrets as a child, maybe we weren’t protected, maybe the very people we relied on to keep us safe and teach us how precious and amazing we are, were the very ones who betrayed our trust, who made us feel small, useless, worthless.
We learn what we live.
So it makes perfect sense we’d go back to a bad situation, one time or many times. Babies learn how to love by being loved, by witnessing loving relationships, by being part of healthy, safe interactions.
If we don’t have that, how could we know what’s possible for us outside of what we’ve lived?
So can you see that until we stop, until we get facilitated support to figure out why we’re attracting toxic partners, repeatedly, and until we unpack what comes up and heal from it, we are going to stay in that pattern.
What’s possible once we’ve done the work is being in a position to attract and choose a really healthy person to partner with.
If someone believed they deserved respect, duality, trust, love, fun, intimacy, safety, encouragement, protection.. do you think they’d go back?..
It makes sense that the only difference between someone who would, and someone who’d never choose it in the first place, let alone go back, is what they believe about themselves.