I recently had someone ask me “What do you do if the toxic person you need to get out of a relationship with is yourself”. Awesome question!
One I’m very familiar with. First, let’s address the nature of toxic relationships with others. You will attract others that will be toxic in your relationship not because you are unworthy of a better relationship, but because somehow (not always) some part of you has normalized toxic traits as normal responses, behaviors, or energy. In other words, your brain didn’t recognize it as toxic. The brain actually noticed it as familiar.
How we treat ourselves is how others will treat us!
Most of us have a certain amount of negative self-talk. Some of us, through our conditioning, have a toxic relationship, and that negative self-talk can run our lives. It can ruin our lives too. It feels like we are in a runaway vehicle with no breaks.
In many cases and throughout my life, that toxic relationship is hidden. I consciously could not see it when I went inward. I was working on myself diligently and yet, even with the facilitation of a therapist, it was unknown.
Each time, I’d get involved with someone it showed up. No matter how much inner work I did. It was beyond frustrating. At times, I wanted to give up. I left the person and I also realized it was a pattern that kept repeating. Why couldn’t I choose better partners? What was going on!!! It was maddening.
The person I wanted to leave was myself, and that is impossible. I had to stay and deal with myself. However, I was completely committed to finding the cause of this cycle. It took over a decade to find my toxic relationship with myself. One of the things that has drawn me to conscious relationships and my passion for helping others is this very thing.
It takes practice, patience, and curiosity to get there!
It takes practice, patience, and curiosity to get to some of these traits. When I say practice, I really mean practice.
I had to really become nonjudgmental with myself, still within myself to allow and be open to hearing the dialog inside of me – even when it was non-verbal – to get to some of these injured, unheard, confused parts of myself.
Your toxic relationships are a reflection of something inside of you needing to be seen and understood!!
Sounds simple and yet, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in all my years of healing and personal development. The toxic people in my life were setting off triggers and reminding me of aspects of myself that had been hurt by toxic people. Those toxic people, in my youth, were a foundation of my conditioning. It was so confusing to feel as if something was comfortable because it was familiar and toxic and triggering at the same time.
It hit me the hardest one day in therapy when I had this epiphany while speaking about the narcissistic ex that continued to create feelings of “having no choice” and “being controlled”. When I investigated this more, the tears came, and sobbing – OMG! I’m treating myself just like he is treating me!
I had a toxic me inside of me! I just didn’t know it.
The reason he was constantly setting off my painful feeling of disempowerment was because the toxic person was inside me too! I grew up with it and my brain absorbed all that and normalized it.
I can’t change others but what happened in that moment forever changed my life. I, too, had been treating myself poorly—my beliefs about myself. My judging myself, my not listening to myself all were there!!!
I also was reminded that in that moment to not judge myself for not seeing it sooner. There was a real change when at that moment I realized my toxic relationship with myself was there and I saw it!! My toxic part was the issue that kept attracting what I didn’t want. I was the issue. Now that I found it, I had to be aware to not be harsh or disappointed in myself. That is what would set the cycle over again.
I breathed through the moment of acceptance. Keeping the beauty of the realization and being present with that wounded part that needed to know that I had her back. I still loved her!
Since, that moment, I notice more and more when I’m being toxic with myself. The voices that “I should have known” or “You didn’t do it right” were there but I calmly talked to myself so that I would get it isn’t true. I stood by my commitment to stay in a healthy relationship with myself. That meant not yelling at myself, demeaning myself, or punishing myself.
My life shifted that day and so did the outer world I was in. People started dropping out of my life or got frustrated with me. This is because there were no more “hooks” that aligned with their view of me. My subconscious no longer had the same story as they had about me. The toxic bond was broken. It was painful to let go, but now I’m much happier and healthier.
Develop a profoundly deep love for yourself
To this day, I’ll be forever grateful for that moment. I’m happy to say that I’m in a much healthier relationship with myself. My love for myself is profoundly deeper and I’m looking forward to, each day, discovering aspects of myself that I didn’t know. This is radical Self-Love!
Having a conscious relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you can have and it sets the stage for all your relationships.
If learning more about toxic relationships with yourself is something you would like to investigate further, let’s chat. Book an Intro into Awakening session, and let’s start developing a healthier, toxic free relationship with yourself.
Photo by Mathilde Langevin