We have already discussed the fact that whether you are in a healthy or toxic relationship, it is normal And a part of God’s plan for us to crave relationship.
We also talked about the fact that it is normal for people both in healthy and toxic relationships to have what they call symbiosis initially, basically meaning that all of your individual preferences, likes, and dislikes, are ignored for the sake of the other person initially.
I like to think of the perfect example of symbiosis as the “whatever you like” concept and quote from Coming to America.
Symbiosis usually transfers over to differentiation, Where the individuals are showing their true selves, likes, dislikes, and uniqueness in healthy relationships.
Differentiation does not occur in toxic relationships.
It does not occur because One partner in a toxic relationship wants the entire relationship to focus on their needs, desires, career, and otherwise.
This causes the other partner to take a back seat to what they want and or need for the sake of keeping the other person happy as well as keeping the peace.
Individuals in a toxic relationship have learned to adopt a dysfunctional coping mechanism of what we call a “false sense of peace”.
This false sense of peace stems from the unspoken understanding That as long as they do not say anything about their partner’s behavior and or issues in the toxic relationship, things will be OK.
Unfortunately, what they do not realize Is that this is the same thing as sweeping things under a rug until there is a big bump in the middle, and the pile is not only as tall as they are, but it is making them physically sick.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.Jeremiah 6:14
They have learned to ignore, overlook, and or “wish away” nearly all of the problems that are going on in the toxic relationship.
This leads to magical thinking as well as the individual operating from the spirit of avoidance rather than dealing with conflict in the healthy, flourishing, thriving, way that occurs in a healthy relationship.
When we see healthy couples thriving and dealing with conflict, it’s not because they don’t ever have problems. We are judging their outside movie reel, so to speak.
What we don’t see behind closed doors is the effort, time, and intentionality that they put into keeping their relationship up to par.
These individuals attend therapy, coaching sessions, deal with conflict resolution among themselves, consult their pastors, and or healthy couple friends, and support groups.
They are not doing it alone.
In toxic relationships, the toxic individual does not see that they have a problem, will not seek help, and do not want anyone in their business for fear that the truth would be leaked out.
The other thing that becomes a coping mechanism/dysfunctional pattern of behavior for the individual in the toxic relationship Is the fact that they adopt a “false sense of hope”.
The false sense of hope stems from the fact that their partner with toxic issues has been promising a change of behavior, attitude, And or both.
The only behavior that the individual has seen has been abuse. This abuse has been unconsciously equated to love.
And thus, their partner is left wishing, hoping, and waiting for this “change” to take place. They are hoping and waiting with no evidence at all.
And unfortunately, this leads to their partner becoming “heartsick” at best.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.Proverbs 13:12
Tune in for my next post on dissecting trust in a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
Until next time,