5 Signs You Are Addicted to Toxic Relationships
Many of us are addicted to toxic relationships.
It might seem counterintuitive because all we want is a healthy one but many of us choose toxicity over and over and over.
I didn’t realize that, until I got in a healthy relationship, I was someone who was totally addicted to toxic relationships. I don’t know why exactly but I knew they were exciting and adrenaline producing and that kept things spicy, which I liked and was addicted to.
And this addiction kept me from finding happiness with another person.
Are you addicted to toxic relationships? Knowing the signs will help you know if you are and, if you want to, figure out how to change it.
#1 – Red flags? What red flags?
Are you one of those people who sees red flag and who purposely ignores them?
Do you see that your new person is still stuck on their ex or struggling to keep a job or has a temper or tries to control you?
Do all of your friends tell you that those are red flags and that you should run?
Do you ignore everyone, because this person, in spite of their red flags, is exciting?
When I was single and dating, I met a guy who was cute. He made me laugh. The sex was great. But I could see a few red flags right away. He drank too much. Someone who he was engaged to had walked away. He wasn’t talking to any of his neighbors. He had jumped from job to job.
I saw those red flags and I ignored them. The sex was great and we had a great time together.
It didn’t take long for our relationship to get toxic. We drank a lot together which started out fun but usually ended badly. I noticed that his ‘friends’ pushed him away and that, when he was with people, he got loud and obnoxious, which made me crabby. He disappeared on Sundays, to this day, I don’t know why, which made me not trust him. His job consumed him and the stress of it made him not fun to be with.
We fought and had sex and I hated him and loved him and broke up with him and got back together with him. I was completely addicted to the cycle and couldn’t get out.
Unfortunately, that addiction kept me from finding the relationship that I was really looking for. Walking away from him was what I needed to do to find one.
#2 – You are a relationship jumper.
Are you one of those people who doesn’t stay in a relationship very long?
Do you meet someone, fall quickly, get into an intense relationship and then run, screaming, when the honeymoon phase ends?
I have a client who does this every time. She tends to meet the same kind of guys online, ones who, like her, fall quickly and hard. We have long conversations about how wonderful a certain someone is and how she can see them lasting a life time.
And then, within a few months, something shifts. She gets bored. Things are too good. She starts creating problems where there shouldn’t be. She pulls back from them and starts acting passive aggressively. This confuses her guy and he gets clingy.
Does she walk away? No. She stays in this relationship, in spite of the troubles that she created, addicted to the toxic relationship in spite of herself.
My client says that she wants a healthy relationship more than anything but she thrives on the chaos of a messy one, subconsciously sabotaging any chance of it become one that is healthy and sticks.
#3 – You are a pushover.
Many people who are addicted to toxic relationships are pushovers.
You know what I mean – the type of person who is low in self-esteem, who is willing to take endless amounts of shit from their partners in silence. The kind of person who lets their person walk all over them without any repercussions.
So, why are people who are pushovers most likely addicted to toxic relationships? Because, by letting their person abuse them and get away with it, they are choosing to stay no matter what the cost.
I was involved with a man once who used to take me for granted. He would call when he felt like it and disappear otherwise. When we were together, he was hot and cold. Sometimes he would be angry at me for no reason. I was constantly walking around on tip toe, trying to keep him from reacting to me in a negative way.
When things were good, they were GOOD. When they were bad, they were horrible.
I think that I was addicted to those good times. I didn’t want them to go away. And I was willing to put up with the bad stuff to keep the good stuff.
Much like a drinker who is willing to put up with the killer hangovers as long as he can have the booze he is addicted to, so was I willing to put up with whatever to get those moments of happiness that I craved.
#4 – You thrive on drama.
I am a Pisces and Pisces love, love, love drama. It is kind of confusing because we also just want peace but I guess we all have multiple sides to our personality.
Anyway, before I got into a healthy relationship, I absolutely thrived on drama. Any kind of drama. And if there wasn’t any drama in my relationship, I made some.
I had a boyfriend who I absolutely adored. He was a wonderful man and our relationship was one that other people saw as very healthy. And I was so happy that I was with him but I couldn’t get used to actually being content in a good relationship.
So, I would create drama. One night, I went out dancing with some girlfriends, met up with a guy friend and decided to go on a midnight road trip with him. The night ended up with him in jail for running a toll booth and me having to explain to my boyfriend what had happened.
I had no intention of doing anything with this guy friend but, by making the choices that I did that night, I knew that I would inject a little drama into my relationship.
And, boy, did it work. My boyfriend was not happy with the choice I made and he let me know it. There was lots of door slamming and name calling and break up promises. He gave me the silent treatment and slept in the other room.
While I hated the fact that I had let my boyfriend down, deep down I welcomed the drama, that break from the everyday steadiness of my relationship. To be honest, after a while, I found that I was addicted to it. If a day or two went by with no drama, I would make some.
So, if you are someone who likes to create drama in a relationship, you are most likely someone who might just be addicted to toxic relationships.
#5 – The sex is amazing.
So, be honest. Does make up sex turn you on in a big way?
Do you enjoy the sex that you have with your partner but do you LOVE the make-up sex that you have after a fight?
Back when I was single I had the strangest proclivity. I loved to have sex with men as I was breaking up with them. I definitely didn’t want to be with them but the idea that I would never see them again made me super attracted to them. I often had the best sex I had had with guys when I was breaking up with them.
Many of my clients who are in toxic, chaotic relationships, stay because ‘the sex is great.’ They know that they shouldn’t be staying but they are worried that, if they leave, they will never know sex like this again. Many of them have never had sex this good in their life.
And why is the sex so good? Because, after the adrenaline of a fight, sex can be amazing. All of the chemicals that are coursing through your body heighten your senses and enhances the sexual experience.
Who doesn’t love sex that is amazing?
So, if you find that you crave the intensity of make-up or break- up sex, you just might be someone who wants and needs a toxic relationship.
Now that you know the signs that you might just be addicted to a toxic relationship, are any of them ringing true?
Fortunately, knowing what these signs mean are the first step towards breaking the pattern. Having awareness is the key way to making change.
People who are addicted to toxic relationships are often people who have dealt with things in their lives that have made them ill prepared for a healthy relationship. They believe that they aren’t worthy of true love and deserve to be abused.
I know that in my life, my parents set a horrible example for what a healthy relationship looked like. They both cheated and fought regularly. When they got divorced is was acrimonious and their new partners were toxic. As a result, when it was time for me to get into romantic relationships, I had no idea what to do.
What I know now is that, by staying in a toxic relationship with no future, I was able to protect myself from fully giving someone my heart, to making myself vulnerable to being hurt. By ignoring red flags, by cheating, by being a pushover and creating drama in general, I could protect my heart from being damaged the way my parents had been damaged.
Awareness of these patterns was key to me starting to make change.
You can do this too. You can break the pattern of your addictive behavior, escape from it and live happily ever after!