exposé, toxic relationship, codependent, narcissist

Toxic Relationships ÷ Codependent = So What?

So now I know I’m codependent. Just knowing this makes it so much easier to navigate the finer details of my emotional personality. More on that in a minute. But then, as I was researching and learning about my newly identified personality traits, I got an email from Single’s Swag. The headlines was a witty spin on toxic relationships. I believe it was something like “Toxic Situationships”. Of course this set me off on a new path of exploration. Only this time I coincidentally (if there is such a thing) found out that a codependent partner can lead to a toxic relationship. Will the good news ever end??

Toxic Codependency

Apparently being codependent can cause toxic relationships. Not surprised. As I mentioned in my last post, my textbook codependent traits pushed my ex away. Not that I’m complaining. But now that I understand some of the finer details of my own personality, I can see why they are “toxic” to a relationship. Because that level of attachment and neediness would drive me away, too. Which is saying a lot coming from a codependent person. Although my ex being a textbook narcissist didn’t help matters. But that’s his burden, not mine…anymore. (Do check out this article about codependent women and their attraction to narcissistic men. It’s pretty great!)

So now I want to take a look at toxic relationships and the realities of them.

toxic relationship
Source: Dr. Lillian Glass as quoted on TIME.com

And before we go to deep let me tell ya, if you think you’re in a toxic relationship and it’s “all them,” think again. Because it’s you, too. Actually, it’s all you. Allow me to explain.

There’s No Relationship Magic

magic, relationships

First and foremost, I know people like to find out how they can manage their partner’s quirks better. Some people even think there are “tricks and tips” to making someone love them, desire them, etc. Well, Debbie Downer is here to tell you there aren’t. All you can do is be you. Genuinely you. And while I know that’s a long, hard journey of discovery there’s really no other way to embark upon a truly healthy relationship. But just imagine the “magic” that can be found when two people are in a good relationship with themselves first. All too often, though, people embark on a relationship looking for someone else to complete them (thanks Jerry McGuire). And nothing screams “unhealthy relationship” like two people who are looking to one another to fill the voids they are ignoring within themselves.

If you’re a codependent “fixer” like me, you may even attempt to think of how to change yourself to better navigate your relationship. If this sounds familiar, read this next part a few times.

You are enabling bad behavior.

But believe me, you’re not alone. I enabled bad behavior too…a lot. And I mean a lot. You need to take a good look at your own head and realize what you’re doing to yourself. You are literally toxic to yourself. This is the perfect example of adjusting your vision for the “perfect life” to suit a person who may not be suited for you. Your relationship is toxic because you are allowing unresolved issues from your past to play a role in your present.

Toxic and the New Age

New Age, Law of Attraction

You are literally recreating your childhood because it’s what you know. It’s familiar. And it’s the environment in which you know how to survive. For the New Age Thinkers out there, this is what the Law of Attraction is all about – subconsciously attracting your reality. Seeing it this way almost makes too much sense.

From where I’m sitting now, and by no means do I mean to imply that I have all the answers, but there is no way to “fix” a toxic relationship. Well, I take that back. There is a way to fix a toxic relationship, but it’s not anything you can read in a book, or layered in the advice of anyone. And it doesn’t include helping your partner better understand you, or understand how they affect you. It comes down to you fixing you. And in order to fix you, you must acknowledge parts of yourself which are so engrained you don’t easily see them. You must be objective if you are to deprogram your first lessons in survival, no matter how trivial or toxic.

When you realize that being honest and objective with yourself is all it takes to create your best life, all of the gurus and Law of Attraction teachers will begin to make more sense. BONUS – meditation will become easier, life will become easier. Your thoughts won’t be as distracting. Things will just make more sense. Simply because you know yourself. Plus, acquiring some depth means you’ll acquire a better understanding of your self worth. From there, you won’t be as inclined to settle for less. Actually, you won’t be inclined to “settle” at all.

My Usual “Don’t Get Me Wrong” Part

I’m not saying that even the healthiest of relationships don’t take consideration and work. But the idea that they take such sacrifice is a bit too much self flagellation for my taste. The idea that pain makes gain. And the idea that pain means you earned it. It all reminds me a bit too much of religious suffrage. Let me set the record straight. Whether you believe it or not, you deserve to be happy. You just have to stop diluting what you think of “happy” for the sake of ease which comes from a low hanging fruit.

The Non-Toxic Perspective

non toxic, toxic, relationships

What I’m trying to say is, it’s easy to start making someone who gives you a certain amount of attention over a certain amount of time into something they’re not. It’s easy to make excuses for the tiny toxic red flags they’re throwing. Much easier than having to put yourself “out there” to find a replacement. Because the older we get the more exhausting the effort becomes. I get it. I’m there, too. But I’m not so far gone as to give up. I’m just setting it aside for now so I can work on becoming a better version of myself for the time it comes around again. It’s all part of the journey so many like to talk about on social media. Truly, don’t take my word for it. Just give this some thought, that’s all I ask.

Easing Toxicity

I’m happy to report that I’m experiencing less of a rollercoaster of emotions just having this codependent epiphany. And it didn’t stop there. Once I could objectively look at myself and the signs of codependency I exhibited I was able to (almost easily) make healthy changes. From almost the moment of this epiphany, my approach to my days changed. What I mean is, as the dynamics of my day began to unfold and I had to start interacting with situations and people it seemed natural for me to start asking myself, “Whose reaction is this?” And I found that this really helped me understand who I actually am. Conveniently, I also found out that I had no idea who I was.

I can say that I have yet to discover a reaction that was actually mine and not of a parent (of course), a sibling, or even a childhood friend whom I once admired. What’s worse. It’s so painfully obvious that I have been having other people’s reactions to literally everything in my life. Talk about seeking approval and being so insecure in myself that I actually don’t know how I would actually react to a situation. It’s true, I am the sum total of all of my experiences. But I’m realizing the gravity of having experienced life through reactions which I was taught and never felt for myself.

When I Was Once Me

I can vaguely recall that at one point in my life I had my own reactions. But that was long, long ago. The influences around me somehow taught me that my reactions were inappropriate or undesirable. Whether they were or not, I’ll likely never know. Why? Because I was programmed to react the way I was “supposed to.” And the “supposed to” was determined by my parents. While this served me well in navigating social norms and expectations, this revelation definitely makes me wonder about who I actually am. Now part of me is wondering if I’m overthinking being codependent. Is that a symptom? Probably.

Toxic Revelation

idea, lightbulb

So many people are searching for a relationship. When the truth is, the relationship is not the goal. The goal is to feel safe and secure on your own. Rather than depending on others to give you a sense of security. And then you will begin to notice that this new found confidence within yourself will undoubtedly attract all types of prospective partners, and likely some new friends, too. Only now that you have done the hard work to better know yourself you will be better suited to find a complementary personality, rather than a complicated one.

It can be hard sometimes to focus deeply when the mind is clogged with thoughts and emotions. So you may want to consider finding someone who will listen as you work through these thoughts and situations can be invaluable. And while I did most of this exploration and self awareness building alone in the darkness at 3am, a therapist may be valuable for you.

This is all so very important. Because I have realized that it is impossible to live your best best life with people who drag you down. You simply can’t find the self forgiveness which gives way to self awareness when you’re mired down constantly focussed on your partner, your relationship, and the chaos in between. You don’t need any more distractions from leading your best life. So now that you know, ask yourself, “Whose reaction am I having to this blog? Mine or my mother’s, father’s, sister’s…” Because this is part where you begin.

New Literotica is So Close

What I have coming to the brothel is pretty massive. “Mr. Darcy’s Unsuitable Fairytale” is a novella where you can experience Mr. Darcy artfully seducing his wife. I’m hoping to have it published by December 10, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…

Until then…


About the author

The Enlightened Spectacle blog uses the exes, codependent tendencies, and esoteric thoughts of one woman in search of life’s deeper meaning as the inspiration for you to deviate from social norms, gain new perspectives, and embrace the darkness on your own Path of Enlightenment.

Josie de Vere is evolving thinker who happens to be codependent and also a writer. Hoping her journey through the darkness to know enlightenment inspires others along the way.


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