If they make you feel so angry and frustrated, why do you keep coming back? We all have a person who is challenging us, antagonizing us, he or she is the perceived cause of all our problems. What is it about them that you need? What is keeping your attention on them, and why can’t you let go?
We all benefit from having people in our lives, from having a support system, and people to reflect with. But if this person is as toxic as you claim, why are YOU so fixated on them? Why can’t you walk away? What are they feeding you that you are bingeing on? Think about it. It takes two to tango. Often, it is we who are addicted to their toxicity. Sure, they are awful and treat you badly, but if that was the whole problem, you could easily walk away. Why are you still here? Is their constant stream of toxicity your fuel ? Does their abuse provide you with an identity of victim, does their drama give you something to participate in?
Have you ever met people who are always in some sort of a mess? They have a toxic parent, a crazy ex, a bad boss, and friends who never give as much as they do. When one problem gets solved, another one arises almost instantaneously. And then there are the ailments, both physical and emotional ones, and you want to sympathize, but after a while it is obvious their whole life is a wreck. They blame everything on others, yet they cannot walk away from their tormentor? Ask them this: If this person is so bad to you, if he is the cause of all your dissatisfaction, why do you seek his company or a relationship with him? Chances are, they don’t know why. They may say that they need friends, family, and love like everyone else and that’s true, but they cannot provide a concrete reason for why they actually need this person specifically. That’s because the relationship is not personal, it is about what their tormentor provides. They need the tormentor’s time, their attention, social access, money or whatever it is that they provide, but they know nothing about who this person is on an inner level. They need the drama as much as their toxic ex needs them.
A long time ago, I wrote a blog post called “We Love on Our Own Level of Consciousness” and all our relationships reflect who we are. You cannot tango with someone who is less conscious than you, and you are not healthier than the toxic people who you give access to. You can’t walk away from them because they provide something that you cannot live without.
Can you identify what your toxic mother provides you, what your crazy ex from 10 years ago still does for you, identify exactly what you continue to get from them? Be honest with yourself. Are you still latched onto them because of money, addiction to toxicity, fear, emptiness, personally inadequacy? If they disappeared tomorrow, how would you feel without them? Would you then seek out similar company with new people who provide just as much drama?
Have you ever noticed that when one relationship ends, a similar one with the same issues begins? You might lose a crazy, toxic friend, only to get into a romantic relationship with a toxic person with similar qualities? They never go away, do they? That’s because you are still here to greet them.
All relationships reflect who we are right now. Unless we are the ones who change, people will continue to mirror back who we are, and that can be maddening enough to take all our aggression on them. Before you allow another imbalanced person to throw you off course, ask them What keeps bringing you back to me? If I am so bad, why do you continue to call? Why do you keep asking me to come back, why do you keep working on our relationship? If they cannot give you a concrete reason and simply keep trying because they have nowhere else to go, know that the relationship was never about YOU, it was always about what you provide for them.
This morning my sister asked me why I continue to care for my elderly mom, when she was so cold and dismissive of us when we were growing up. Luckily, I have had 18 month to think about this. Closure. She is providing me with closure I never would have had if I turned my back, put her in a nursing home, and took care of her the way she took care of me when I was a child. I want to know that I can do better for another human being, and that I am over any past resentments. I want to feel peace with myself. It is not about her at all.
Every relationship has a reason for being. If you are unaware of it, seek that reason within yourself. Most people in our lives served some need many years ago, and we are attached to them simply because we are afraid to let go, when we should have flowed to a newer and fresher perspective many years ago. They are all we know, so we keep driving each other crazy over and over again. They might be toxic, but you might be too. The truly toxic people simply feed on relationships regardless of whether the interaction is positive or negative. They love their tormentor, they need their bully to bully them, how else would they know they exist?
To toxic people, we are simply an audience, eyeballs they need to validate their performance in life, the applause then need to hear, we are someone who listens and mirrors back the person they want to believe they are. It’s exhausting to do that for people, and chances are that is all they need from you. Move on.