You may have noticed that you seem to attract the same kind of toxic person into your life over and over again, just in a different body.
This may mean your toxic loves are just a symptom of the problem.
The most empowering thing you can do in these circumstances is to turn your attention away from trying to fix or change the toxic person in your life, and turn that attention back on yourself to find out what needs to be healed in order for you to make different choices.
Here are three ways to get you started:
1. Identify self-defeating traits that have kept you from leaving.
Notice when these traits encourage self-destructive behavior and practice “Contrary Action” (Doing the opposite, like George Costanza).
Some of these traits could be:
You have an Overabundance of Empathy for your partner. Contrary action: Rather than being empathetic to your Bad Boy/Girl and excusing their poor behavior, turn that empathy back to you. Ask yourself, “What would a person who loves themselves do when treated poorly?”
Misplaced Responsibility. Don’t blame yourself for someone else’s disrespectful behavior or betrayal. When someone treats you poorly that’s on them, not you.
Rescuing. Don’t allow someone to take and take and take, but never offer you any support. Give up the roles of Knight in Shining Armor, psychologist or parent with your partner.
People-Pleasing . Ask yourself this simple question when you’re about to do a favor for someone. “Is it for fun and for free?” What this means is you won’t feel resentful if the favor isn’t returned.
Abandonment of ‘Self’ due to Love/Sex Addiction. For example, don’t offer sex when what you want is love.
2. Establish a ‘Mental Health Village’ focused on your needs, which could include:
A Higher Power of Your Own Understanding.
A community of similarly-circumstanced people. (12-step groups are excellent resources; especially Codependents Anonymous. We’re only as sick as our secrets and the second you share them you kickstart the healing process.)
3. Implement actionable steps to empower yourself to receive Real Love.
“Create Your Perfect Mate”: Write down the Top 10 Qualities you want in a romantic partner. You’ll find your values in that list. We must have goals and be able to visualize them in order to reach the place we want to be.
Find Role Models: Quiz couples whose relationship you admire about the secrets to their success. You can find Real Love when you know what it looks like.
Salvage Your Self: Start recording the amount of time you spend drowning in codependency (i.e. minutes you spend stalking your Lothario online, time spent driving to his place to see if his car is there, time spent mentally obsessing), and then carve out equal time increments for self-care (i.e. go to the gym, yoga class, out to lunch or the beach with your girlfriends).
And there have you have it – 3 steps to begin your healing that you can take right now: identify self-defeating traits, establish a mental-health village, and implement actionable steps to receive Real Love.