All Bad Relationships Are Not Created Equal
Are you recovering from a bad relationship – and feeling lost, hurt, confused? I’m the founder of the The Never Again Program – a digital course with research and tools to empower people to heal and move on from toxic love. In my research for The Never Again Program, I discovered Sandra L. Brown, MA – a ‘pioneer’ in the field of Pathological Love Relationships and its impact to survivor partners. I loved the research and tools Sandra Brown shared so much – that I invited her to host a series of articles! Below is her first!
Part 1 in a series of articles on Healing From Toxic Relationships by Sandra L. Brown, MA,
So, you’re a big messy, snotty, weeping heap on the floor.
You broke up – but this time it’s different.
You’re not just in your yoga pants binge watching Sex in the City with a gallon of ice cream.
It doesn’t pass in a week – and your gal pals haven’t managed to chat you out of the funk.
You’re not sure why it’s different, but this time you have obsessions that brain-locked you, you have flashbacks not of the last fight but all those romantic fun times.
You can’t decide if you ‘love him’ or ‘loathe him’ and the utter cravings for the relationship make you feel like a jones-ing crack head.
You can’t sort out ‘what was that’ when you think about all the gas lighting facts of the relationship—all the supposed realities said by him that just don’t add up to what you THOUGHT you experienced.
You lay awake at night in stealth ruminations that make you delineate every side of his Jekyll/Hyde persona that are total opposites of each other.
‘Was he more good than bad, or bad than good?’
You never dated someone before with such a split personality—the edgy aloof bad boy and the wounded child-like man.
Your rock-hard boundaries have been beat down to render you ‘doormat status’ and you have become someone you don’t even recognize. Things you normally would never accept in behavior, you accepted time and time again.
Maybe it’s not him, it’s you?
What about that hidden life of his? And all those other relationships you suspect while you thought you were monogamous?
And that crazy-making dialogue when you tried to talk about the relationship and what was going on. Somehow every sentence ended up making you the persecutor and him the victim?
Or those insane behaviors that ping ponged around an invisible cycle – that included aggression then tenderness, lies then truth, threatening to leave you, then asking you to move in, adoring you as the Madonna, then reducing you to a whore, accusing you, then idealizing you—all in the same argument.
And that stable core of you that made you the ‘rational one’ amongst your friends, the one that was level-headed, that could think through anything, that prided herself on living by her core values and beliefs who has done shameful damage to those previously unviolated values.
What about the vault of conscientiousness you use to be—full of principles and the line-in-the-sand-deal-breakers – that didn’t hold water in this relationship?
And that big heart of yours—that used to trust others, believe optimistically that others were basically good, and saw others through who you are?
Now all that compassion and trust is a crusty scab on your heart and the world looks dark and murky, and people are bad and untrustworthy.
How will you ever see life and people the same again?
Yeah, that worldview now.
Friends and family don’t get it. They tell you to just get back out there again. Or time will heal all wounds. Or he just wasn’t the one.
Each flimsy cliché that always worked in other break ups just makes you snottier and weep-ier – because this break up is different in a way you can’t even explain ….because you don’t know why it’s different.
This relational b@#chslap has taken you down in a new way.
It’s got your attention and you are held hostage by obsessions, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and a brain that has the consistency of scrambled eggs that won’t let you stay on the same page with yourself whether he is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
It gets all jumbled together and you play monkey-mind trying to make yourself stay on one view of him—he’s horrid, I loathe him. No, he’s just a wounded person who needs more understanding. He’s the most fun I have ever had, he’s the most infuriating person I ever met. You’re paranoid and suspicious. Jaded and negative.
You are sure labor is not as painful as the grief you are experiencing.
And grief over what? That you lost someone who lied, cheated, and gas lighted you? It’s not rational, not to others who think you have changed, and not to yourself who knows you have changed.
Yep. All that.
This is a break up of a new genre, a new species, a new alien world.
In my next article I share on Karen’s site, I will talk about ‘what was that’ – because all bad relationships are not created equal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandra L. Brown, MA, is the CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education. She is noted as a ‘pioneer’ in the field of Pathological Love Relationships and it’s impact to survivor partners. She is an award winning author, frequent media expert, radio host, and therapist trainer. Her ground breaking research was the first on the personalities of women in relationships with Narcissists and Psychopaths collaborated with Purdue University. She is the current president of The Association for Cluster B/Psychopathy Survivor Treatment, Research, & Education and a case consultant. She has appeared in several documentaries on the topic with world expert Dr. Robert Hare and has created a prolific array of recovery products, programs, and techniques for survivor partners. You can find more of Sandra’s insights and tools via her Safe Relationships Magazine and Relational Harm Reduction Radio and her Psychology Today Column: Pathological Relationships.
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