How does one know that she has been in “The Problems and Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior Phase” too long?
You know you have been in The Problems and Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior Phase of a toxic relationship too long when you have normalized blame shifting, guilt and obligation, gaslighting ️, and walking around in a state of cognitive dissonance all the time.
What is causing the cognitive dissonance? Cognitive dissonance is caused by the fact that your values, beliefs, core sense of self, faith, and everything else in between, is incongruent with the life you are living.
Another thing that causes cognitive dissonance is going through the mean and sweet cycles, better known as breadcrumbing.
What is breadcrumbing ?
Breadcrumbing is when your partner, or any other person you are in a toxic relationship with, gives you something to keep you smiling and happy to make you forget about the fact that you are living in a constant state of emotional abuse and mistreatment.
Long story short, it is a pacifier.
Think about when infants and toddlers are crying, and you need to get your housework done. And perhaps they are hungry, and you need 15 more minutes to finish your project and then feed them.
So, you give them a pacifier. A pacifier does not take the place of food. It is something that gives temporary relief and comfort.
Breadcrumbing has the same affect. It is only temporary relief from the mistreatment that you have been receiving.
Unlike dealing with your infant or toddler, in a toxic relationship, breadcrumbing is a way of saying, “Yes, I’m not treating you right big time. And I know this. I’ll throw you a little bone here and there to make you forget about how awful it is.”
What are some of the breadcrumbs? Going to the movies, chocolate candy, teddy bears , going on vacation, going out to dinner , and on and on.
And we all have enough common sense to know that none of these things will ever makeup for mistreatment.
However, after being in this phase for so long, you have been conditioned to accept these things as being enough, which causes even more cognitive dissonance and disrespect, dishonor, and devaluing of self.
To not accept the breadcrumbing as being enough is to face the truth. And as the Scriptures tell us, the truth is what brings freedom. However, you are not ready for that freedom. Not in this stage. You want the temporary relief, not the pain that goes along with freedom.
And thus, the movie continues.
In my next post, we will discuss the next phase in the toxic relationship cycle. And that phase is languishing.
Until next time,