Stop Trying to Change Yourself to Make Your Toxic Partner Happy
Here’s a Quick Way to Discover if You Have A Toxic Partner
- Do you feel like you’re never enough for your partner?
- Do you feel that if you loved your partner more, he/she wouldn’t act the way they do?
- Does your partner tell you that your friends and family are just using you?
- Do you feel like a dog chasing its tail – trying harder to do more, to do it better for your partner – but it’s never enough?
- Have you tried to change yourself – sacrificing who you are in the process – in an effort to “keep the peace”?
If you can relate to these questions, you may be in a toxic relationship.
Stop trying to change yourself!
Changing yourself will NEVER make a toxic partner content with the relationship in any consistent way.
Does Michael’s Story Sound Familiar?
Michael came to see me feeling very troubled about his estranged wife: while controlling 95% of their monthly income, she had also blocked access to their five-year-old son.
It hadn’t always been that way. Over the years, she had been gradually increasing her control and limitations over his life. She continually complained about his friends until he stopped seeing them. Michael erroneously believed that if he compromised and gave in to the increasing demands of his wife, things would get easier.
But nothing ever seemed to be enough. She left him with the feeling that he still wasn’t accommodating enough; over time, his self-esteem began to suffer.
A Toxic Partner Will Never Be Happy – No Matter What You Try
Accept that a toxic partner’s behaviour will not magically change.
That acceptance is crucial to moving forward and finding happiness in your own life.
The psychological elements that make an individual toxic are primarily based on their past experiences.
A toxic partner oftentimes has been wounded in the past and has become stuck in a victim role: everything is someone else’s fault – NEVER theirs.
Michael felt it was easier to give in to his wife’s demanding nature. Because she was in control of their finances, he ended up walking to work and skipping lunch despite his successful career as a lawyer at an investment bank. Whatever he did to appease her failed.
Once Michael accepted that he could not change his wife’s behaviour, he began to think differently about his approach in dealing with her. Although a painful process that evoked a great deal of grief – especially accepting the idea he’d never be able to please her enough to get access to his son – Michael found the starting point for learning some basic self-protection strategies and cultivating healthier boundaries.
The Foundation of a Toxic Relationship
Think of a young child as a blank slate.
As the years pass, everyone from parents, siblings, friends and others write on that slate.
It’s this accumulation of experiences that determines our patterns of thinking and psychological behaviour. As a result, seeking a toxic partner is simply falling into a pre-established pattern that has its foundations in childhood.
Examples of behaviours that can pave the way for future toxic relationships:
- over-protective parents that controlled behaviour negatively
- being made to feel insecure and worthless
- not receiving positive reassurances needed as a child
Michael grew up in a house with a domineering, bullying father who used physical violence whenever Michael tried to assert himself. As a result, this robbed Michael of his sense of empowerment about getting his needs met from a young age. His mother was so busy coping with the trauma of her difficult marriage that she could not emotionally support Michael. He was left to fend for himself.
Michael learned from his mentally and physically abusive childhood that he needed to pacify and please others in order to keep the peace. He was unable to develop the intuition necessary to understand how to get his own needs met, instead of focusing on the needs of others in order to “fit in.”
Being in A Toxic Relationship: It’s Not Your Fault
There is nothing you can do to change a toxic person’s behaviour.
Their behavior is not your fault.
“A healthy relationship doesn’t drag you down. It inspires you to be better.”
-Author Mandy Hale
I can guide you to uncover how you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve allowed yourself to be bullied and controlled. I can help you learn simple self-protection strategies, and how to establish healthy boundaries for yourself that will make you feel more confident and happier with your life as you move forward.
Doesn’t that sound like a great way to start 2020? Contact me today to get started on a more fulfilling life path, one empowering step at a time.
Developing elegant solutions to complex personal issues
Daniel Lichtman MA (Couns Psych)
Daniel offers single session and multi-session packages of in-person and online counseling. Online coaching allows you to gain support privately and discretely, wherever you are in the world.
Registered Psychotherapist (PACFA Australia) and Certified Transformational Coach (Circling Institute, USA) with over 8,000 hours experience.