Three Ways To Cut The Cord On A Toxic Relationship
That’s tough to do in a culture that tells us true love means giving up everything you are for another person, but as the old saying goes, “How can you take care of another person if you can’t take care of yourself?”
Here are three things to help you gather the courage to put yourself first and walk away from a controlling or manipulative relationship.
1. Love Yourself More
We’re all guilty of seeking happiness outside of ourselves. We’re taught to do it from the day we’re born – first its toys and cartoons, and later on it becomes material things and especially relationships. We want these things and these people to make us feel good about ourselves. We seek validation from others because we measure how loved we are by how much they ‘love’ us, not how much we love ourselves. But that becomes a needy kind of love, a jealous and possessive kind of love, and a painful kind of love, because when it’s taken away, we immediately feel as though it’s because we are somehow deficient.
When you truly find love and acceptance for yourself, flaws and all, you know how beautiful you really are. You know how deserving you are of someone who sees you and loves you for who you really are, not the person they want you to be in order to placate their insecurities. And you know that you’re going to be okay, even if your relationship ends.
2. See The Situation For What It Is
Your current significant other is manipulative and controlling because he or she is INSECURE about THEMSELVES. They are so afraid that they aren’t good enough, that they aren’t worthy enough of your love, that you’re going to leave them for the next guy or girl who comes along, so they overcorrect by attempting to control you and the situation.
That’s why they’re insanely jealous. That’s why they can’t stand to see you talking to another person of the opposite sex. They. Are. Terrified.
With lots of therapy, some people can get over this. But if your significant other refuses to acknowledge that he or she has an issue, there isn’t much hope there for you. The one thing that might actually kick their ass enough to make them realize it is when you DO leave them. It’s a classic case of “Sometimes loving someone means letting them go.”
3. Detach (Or Practice Healthy Attachment)
There’s something to be said for practicing non-attachment. Just for the record, non-attachment doesn’t mean not caring, it means not being dependent. People often get the meaning of non-attachment confused as much as they confuse actual love for emotional attachment. Here’s a great article from Huffington Post that explains the difference between non-attachment and detachment.
Non-attachment is basically a way of having a healthy attachment, as opposed to an unhealthy one. Real, unconditional love creates a healthy attachment free of dependence.
Love and emotional attachment are not mutually exclusive. You can love someone and be emotionally attached. JUST because you love them, does not mean you are emotionally attached to them, although I think most of us are – in some cases it’s biological (mother, child for example) and in other cases it’s just what society teaches us – what we are shown love is supposed to look like between two people. That they ‘can’t live without’ one another. But that is not a healthy attachment.
When that happens, you build your life around another person and they become the pillar that is holding up your world. But it’s a crutch. You become dependent on them. And if something happens to them – they die, or they leave of their own accord, your world falls apart. Your crutch is gone, the pillar is gone and that structure of yourself that you built up around them falls apart. You fall apart.
Having a healthy, loving attachment toward someone is loving them, but understanding that you are whole without them. It means loving yourself just as much as you love them. It means having such a solid foundation on your own, that you are able to take on the weight of your own load AND theirs if they need it, but you also help them stand on their own. You aren’t reliant on one another.
The kind of love that isn’t dependent is unconditional. Unconditional love doesn’t produce attachment, fear does. Fear that you can’t do it on your own, fear that you’ll never see that person again, fear that they can’t do it on their own, fear of not knowing what you’ll do without them.