The phrase “toxic relationship” gets tossed around so much these days, it seems most of the relationships out there are toxic. Ten years ago, when I was in the midst of “the bad old days” in my relationship, “toxic” wasn’t quite the buzz word it is today.
Had it been, I’m sure I would’ve said I was in one. I didn’t feel heard, understood, seen, or loved. The boundaries I had set weren’t respected and every day felt like a losing game. Surely, he was the toxic one.
Looking back, I can see that I was probably right. I was in a toxic relationship. It felt overwhelmingly negative and painful. However, with the experience and clarity I have today, I can see that the toxic one was actually me.
I just didn’t know any better. I didn’t know how to communicate in a healthy way, so I was manipulative. I didn’t know how to decipher his freedom of choice from mine, so I was controlling. I didn’t know I was responsible for my own happiness, so I blamed him for my dissatisfaction. I was in a cycle of blame and pain.
I was pretty positive I knew how to love. I was giving my all to my relationship. However, I didn’t know how to love in a healthy way. Once I took accountability for my part, my self awareness made space for growth, which led to the transformation in my marriage.
Something I’ve learned from seeing so many women transform their relationships is that just because a relationship is “toxic”, doesn’t necessarily mean it's doomed to be that way forever. With the right skills and support, relationships can be healed and made loving, caring, and tender.
These are some ways you can use your powerful influence to start shifting some of the old negative patterns in your relationship.
Step Into Your Place of Power
Each individual is the ruler of their own kingdom. This kingdom is made up of each person’s body, mind, soul, ideas, sense of humor, tastes, choices, moods, and words. When I try to tell another how to rule their kingdom, I am acting as an unwelcome visitor at best and an invader at worst.
I have also abandoned my own kingdom. My actions are not serving anyone. I have now neglected my responsibilities to my kingdom and am destroying the harmony and safety between me and the ruler whom I just invaded.
This situation is very common. Many of us think that as soon as we become a couple, we become joint rulers of both kingdoms. This is just not the case. This type of thinking is what can take us down the road towards toxic patterns.
A strong sense of self and autonomy is essential for an individual to thrive. This forms a strong foundation for a relationship where both partners can grow, learn, and feel respected.
To step into your place of power in your relationship and in your life, return to your kingdom and dedicate yourself to making it thrive! Take amazing care of your body, mind, and soul. Mend broken agreements with apologies when called for and restored respect. Create emotional safety by building bridges rather than walls between you and your partner. Invest your energy in things that bring you joy and health rather than defense weapons. Treat your partner like your strongest defender and ally and you will give them the space and opportunity to become just that.
Be a Queen, Not a Martyr
I used to give my relationship 110%. I gave so much. I cooked, cleaned, worked, went to the gym, did my hair and makeup, and still nothing got better. I said all the right things and was always the one pouring out the, "I love you's" and "I miss you's". None of this made me feel more connected or valued. I was so frustrated that I was giving so much and receiving so little in return. This was not how things were supposed to be in a relationship.
I was right, this was NOT how things were supposed to be. I was not supposed to be giving my all for my relationship. The only person I could blame for giving more than I was receiving was myself because nobody asked me to give my all away.
When I stopped giving my relationship 110% and started giving myself 110%, that is when everything started to change. I started focusing on the woman I wanted to be and leaning into how she would show up for herself everyday. I started to grow as an individual, explore parts of my soul I had never known, and develop self-love like never before. The more energy and love I invested in myself, the more my relationship began to grow into the intimate and connected one I had always wanted.
I invite you to consider, are there areas in your life you are pouring out energy that could be better served investing into yourself?
Be the queen of your life. After all, only you can be that for yourself!
Get your free copy of: 5 Mistakes Wives Make. (These may surprise you!)
You’re invited to join the private Facebook group: confident & Magnetic Wives for women to get inspiration, tips, and encouragement as you become empowered in your marriage. I’d love to have you in the community!
Subscribe below for articles and updates.