So much of life revolves around relationships: with family, friends, and co-workers. While relationships can bring great joy and happiness into our lives, they can also be a source of great sadness and frustration. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to become stuck in relationships with toxic people, emotional vampires, and abusive, controlling partners.
In contrast, positive people are nourishing in the same way that sunlight and water nourishes a plant. There will be moments, however, when you notice poison and rot creep into your life in the form of negative people whose presence suffocates and restricts your growth. If you wish to survive and flourish, you must cut toxic people out of your life. Otherwise, their negativity will continue to infect you, leading to atrophy and decay.
Consider the person trapped in a toxic relationship. The thought of leaving the relationship never enters their mind. Because of this, they become a slave to their relationship. Trapped in this mindset, leaving the relationship is more terrifying than staying. Ever hopeful, they hang on to the wonderful memories, even though they are few and far between. All the while, they feel trapped, suffocated, and deprived of love.
People who find themselves stuck in toxic relationships often dream of escape, yet they feel powerless to make a change. There are so many unknowns. What will happen if they leave the relationship? Things might be bad, but they could be a lot worse, they tell themselves in a desperate attempt to soothe their anxiety. They hold out hope that one day everything will change for the better.
They believe their situation won’t last forever. They pray that something or someone will come along and save them. They don’t know what that something or someone is, but they pray for it anyway. It could be death, it could be an accident, it could be a dramatic change in their partner’s attitude or personality. They lie to themselves that everything will be alright if only they hold out a little longer. In psychology, this is known as the sunk cost fallacy.
The sunk cost fallacy suggests that the more time you invest in someone or something, the harder it is to walk away. To avoid giving in to the sunk cost fallacy, it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to your emotions.
People often dismiss their emotions and push their feelings to one side. This is particularly the case with men, who often prefer to ignore their emotions at the expense of their own well-being. And, in an equally devastating way, women often sacrifice their emotional needs to maintain peace in a relationship. Ignoring your emotional needs is damaging because it keeps you stuck in denial and emotional enslavement.
How much of your life are you willing to sacrifice by putting other people’s needs first? This question becomes all the more important when dealing with emotional vampires. An emotional vampire is a person who drains your energy, time, and emotions.
You’ll know you’re in a relationship with an emotional vampire when you feel tired in their presence. You’re mentally and physically drained and often can’t even summon the energy to mount an effective escape.
Emotional vampires don’t drain their victim’s blood to enslave them, they drain their energy. Perhaps you’re stuck in an abusive relationship. Perhaps your partner’s an emotional vampire. Or maybe you find yourself stuck in a relationship with someone who doesn’t care about you or pay attention to your needs. You’re trapped in an endless web of lies and deceit.
Reclaim Your Freedom
You want freedom, but you can’t escape. You know all you have to do is walk out the door, and the abuse ends. Walk out the door, and you’re no longer a slave. But why is it so difficult to open the door and walk away? The answer is simple: you’re trapped by your emotions.
The relationship slave finds themselves stuck in a relationship that offers no nourishment and slowly eats away at their soul. Like one of Dracula’s victims, they are drained of life and too weak to escape.
On the surface, the relationship slave appears to be the only victim in a toxic relationship. Yet, on a deeper level, the abusive partner is also a slave and a victim. Consider the person who cheats. Often unhappy and dissatisfied, they seek intimacy with someone from outside the relationship.
While deep down they know they’re hurting their partner, in their mind leaving the relationship is more hurtful than cheating. To the outside world, this is selfish behavior. Yet, the cheating partner is also enslaved. They are enslaved by a relationship that makes them feel trapped.
Even though this doesn’t excuse their actions, it helps us better understand their self-sabotaging behavior. Instead of communicating honestly with their partner about what they feel is missing in the relationship, the unfaithful partner searches for escape in the most destructive way possible.
Suppose you feel trapped in your relationship, enslaved by your emotions and your partner. This might be the perfect time to reflect on how you came to find yourself in this situation. Do you want to be with your partner but find it difficult to be around them?
Are you attached to your partner but feel as though you need to detach from them? Are you in love with your partner yet despise them at the same time? This dichotomy represents the dual nature of relationships: good and bad; dark and light; love and hate.
In toxic relationships, however, there’s more dark than light, more chaos than peace, and more dependency than freedom. Your relationship remains skewed towards the negative, for a truly loving relationship is neither suffocating nor restrictive―it is wholesome, loving, and free.
Unf*ck Your Life is a powerful guide that offers a solution to the turmoil and uncertainty in today’s world. Through practical exercises, inspiring stories, and insightful reflections, this book will show you how to untangle life’s most difficult issues. From relationships and work to personal growth and well-being, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking a way to unf*ck their life and embrace a brighter future. Pick up your copy today.