You would be amazed at the variety of things that people say to justify staying in a toxic relationship, the ways they excuse that they are willing to compromise their health and happiness to stay with someone who is making them miserable.
And I get it. Everyone wants to be in a relationship, so much so that they will stay in one that’s bad for them, even if they are suffering. Even if they are suffering enough to reach out to a life coach.
So many of my clients know that they have to walk away, and some even do, for a minute. But staying away is easier said than done for someone who is caught up in the ups and downs of a toxic relationship.
They tend to believe that this person is the love or their life and that because their sex life is so good and that there are moments of happiness so there must be hope, right?
More often than not, no, I am afraid.
So that you can understand the things that people say to justify staying in a toxic relationship, I have listed them below.
Perhaps if you can see that what you say is just an excuse, an excuse that EVERYONE trying to escape a toxic relationship says, you will find the awareness and strength to walk away for good
Here you are – 5 things people say to justify staying in a toxic relationship.
#1 – I know that my love can fix them.
This is the number one excuse that I hear from people who know they are in a toxic relationship and yet they can justify staying.
When we love someone, we want to see the best in them. Even if our person causes us pain, we want to believe that they aren’t horrible people, that they are just damaged people who can be fixed. And, more often than not, we set out to fix them so that we can save the relationship.
I have a client who was carrying on an affair with a married man and, while she loved him, it was making her miserable. Why? Because she saw how damaged he was and she wanted to help him. She figured if she stayed, in spite of the fact that he was married, she could show him that her love could make him happy and that he would leave his wife to be with her.
So, she set out to do just that. He was an angry person and she worked with him to stay calm. He struggled in his career because of his insecurities and she encouraged him to have confidence in his abilities and bought him career books to inspire him to work smarter. She told him he was a great lover, even though he really wasn’t, and she was always there for him.
And guess what – it didn’t work. Not only did he not leave his wife but he never changed, no matter how hard she tried to fix him.
But she loved him and wanted to be in the relationship so she didn’t give up and, as a result, she stayed, ever hopeful but constantly let down.
So, don’t believe that, if you just love your person enough, things will change. The only way someone will change is if they want to. Don’t kid yourself.
If the person in front of you is making you miserable, ask yourself if you can love THIS person forever, not the person you believe that they could be. And if you can’t, it’s time to move on.
#2 – Things were so good in the beginning.
The beginning of any relationship is wonderful.
We spend hours talking about things, connecting in a way that we believe that we have never connected before. We have sex every night, sometimes more than once. We walk around on clouds, believing that we have finally found THE ONE.
But, as relationships settle in, those feelings change. Even in a good relationship, those intense feelings that were felt at the beginning fade, to be replaced by something that feels good but isn’t so intense.
When a relationship is one that isn’t good for us, those wonderful intense feelings can turn into something else, usually somethings that cause pain.
I have a client who was in a relationship with someone who ignored her. Who took her for granted and rarely even saw her there. And, yet, in spite of the fact that this made her miserable and made her feel like a horrible person, she stayed. Why? Because he was so nice to her in the beginning and she believed that he could be nice to her again.
Unfortunately, this just wasn’t possible. For him, those intense feelings that he felt in the beginning were gone, replaced by contempt and disrespect. He had no desire to go back to the way things were in the beginning so he didn’t even try.
So, don’t kid yourself that things could possibly be the way they were in the beginning because they won’t ever be that way again.
#3 – If I can change, we will be happy!
I can’t tell you how many people I coach believe that a toxic relationship is their fault. And the reason that they believe that is, more often than not, because their partner tells them this is so.
As a result, my clients are paralyzed, thinking that if they could make change, if they could be prettier or smarter or more independent or more involved in their partner’s hobbies, things would be good again.
And, so, they set out to try to be all those things. They twist themselves into pretzels, trying to be what their person wants them to be, but not necessarily who they are.
Does this ever work? If people turn into things that they are not so that their person will love them again, will their relationship be happy? The answer, I am afraid, is no.
Unless you want to change for YOU, any change that you make will be inauthentic and your partner will know. If you suddenly wear make-up or like bowling, your person will only disrespect you for changing yourself for them, even if they told you it’s what they wanted.
People who ask you to change are only using the way you are to make excuses for their bad behavior – they don’t really expect you to change. And, when you do, they only have more contempt.
Believing that you must change, not them, is something that people say to justify staying in a toxic relationship. And change definitely can be good.
But, unless you want to make change for yourself, don’t even try. Changing won’t save your relationship – it might even make it worse.
#4 – I will be alone forever if I leave.
This is the most inaccurate thing that people say to justify staying in a toxic relationship – that they will never love or be loved again.
We all want to be in a relationship more than anything and fear that if we walk away from this one, we will never love or be loved again. That this person is the one and only person for us and leaving them will doom us to a life alone.
I remember thinking this exact thing in high school – that if I broke up with my boyfriend I would never find another one. And, guess what, I did, just a few weeks later. I have had countless boyfriends since then.
Every one of my clients who find the strength to walk away from a toxic relationship has found someone else to love. It might have taken some time and perhaps some self-reflection but they do find someone. I know that for my client who was dating a married man, when she finally got the strength to leave him, the guy of her dreams came into her life. She never would have found him if she hadn’t had the strength to leave.
It’s those of us who stay who never find happiness in love. We stay, in an unhappy relationship, hoping that things will change. And they don’t.
So, don’t let the belief that you will never love or be loved again keep you in a relationship that is bad for you. If you can walk away from this one, someone who can love you better is out there, waiting.
#5 – I don’t deserve any more than I have.
This is one of the saddest things that people say to justify staying a bad relationship. That they aren’t worth any more than the person they are with. The person who treats them badly.
Unfortunately, people who are in relationships that are bad for them often feel really bad about themselves.
Weeks, months or years of being with someone who tears them down, who ignores them or treats them with contempt or fools around on them or belittles them, can cause even the strongest person to lose their self-esteem. As a result, they believe that this toxic relationship is all that they deserve.
Let me tell you that NO ONE, no one deserves to be mistreated in a relationship. We are all human beings in the world who deserve to be happy, who deserve to be loved and cared for. If your person only makes you feel bad about yourself, thinking that this is all that you deserve will only hold you back from finding the love that you want, to get yourself back and live your life fully!
I would encourage you to start spending time with people who love you – your family, your friends, your co-workers, people who will remind you that you do deserve better, that you are worth a lot in this world.
If you can start to see that you deserve better, you will find the strength to walk away from this toxic relationship and find the person of your dreams.
I really should write a book about the things that people say to justify staying in a toxic relationship.
Every single client of mine thinks that their situation is unique, that their toxic relationship is like none other and that staying is all that they can do.
I hate to tell them but the reasons that they stay are the same reasons that other people stay in toxic relationships. In toxic relationships, the details might be different but the dynamics of the relationships are the same. And the reasons for staying are universal.
Many (most) people have a hard time being honest with themselves about many things, particularly about the state of their relationship. As a result, they waste good time on someone who treats them badly, time that they could be spending out in the world, finding their person.
So, if you believe that the problems in this relationship can be fixed by you loving them enough, if you believe that things can go back to the way that they were in the beginning and if you believe that you don’t deserve any better, ask yourself if you are truly being honest with yourself.
Do you truly think that those things are true or do you know, on some level, that you are kidding yourself? That you are just scared to go, so you stay, justifying your behavior in whatever way you can.
It’s time discard those justifications, to face what those lies are doing to your happiness, to push back on them and walk away.
Walk away towards of life full of love, self-respect and honesty.
You can do this! I promise!