How do you clean up relationships that are reparable and clear out those that are toxic? That is a question that has this seasoned therapist digging deeply into her internal “learning library” to offer guidance to clients who come seeking answers. For many, relationships are a playground filled with fun adventures and delightful activities, and for others, they are a proving ground that tests everything they have ever learned from childhood on. For people who have grown up in dysfunctional or abusive households, they have either replicated their parents’ relationship or have done a 180 to avoid those perils and pitfalls. It is about nourishing one’s heart and soul or starving it. The choice is always present.
Consider a long-standing relationship that continues despite lies and secrets, not the full disclosure and openness that one party wants. Even though it is not likely to change if both are not invested in having it be different, one person stays since they are not sure how to launch themselves from it, rationalizing that getting some needs met is better than going without any. The question asked is: Are you holding your own heart sacred by remaining entrenched in interactions that leach love rather than lavishing it? The answer is a sad, “no.” In order for the dynamics to change, people need to be able to ask for what they want and avoid settling for less while remaining prepared to leave if it is not forthcoming.