Years of relationship and family counseling and coaching has shown this to me over and over again. Outside of actual abuse, I really don’t think there’s a more toxic element in any relationship, and as I’ve been podcasting this month about healthy boundaries, I thought it was important to talk about what the LACK of healthy boundaries looks like. Because it’s toxic.
Familiar statements are:
“I can’t believe you can’t trust me”
“How can you be so selfish?”
“Can’t you see how stressed out I am because of you?”
The reason why manipulation is not often seen as the core issue is because it can be so insidious and invisible. The “symptoms” on the surface are usually increased conflict, anger, depression and tons and tons of anxiety. The anxiety is your body and your higher self saying to you “um – you may want to take a look here at why you don’t feel comfortable!“
I think one of the reasons is that internal conflict – half of you wants to pretend you’re not being HAD and the other half knows damn well that you are. Usually this is so much worse when there’s a marriage, kids, a mortgage, a business together…a life built together. The stakes are so high – hence the panic attack. Intuition can often be vague, and often it is only in hindsight that we see the specifics, like when they lied about this and then later about that. When they didn’t take responsibility. How you realize they never validated your feelings…your boundaries!
In fact you were probably met with lots and lots of acting out via rage, shutting down, threats, shaming name calling. All to “teach you” if you confront the shenanigans YOU WILL PAY. Sometimes there’s the fake realizations -the lip service to placate you for awhile and get you onto other subjects – and what the hell is wrong with you – everything’s fine now!
It doesn’t MATTER what THEY think. They get to choose to honor you or not! You get to choose to honor others or not. Boundaries create CHOICES so everyone gets to choose and not be a hostage to what the other person is not willing to do. Every choice we make has both benefits and consequences. In healthy relationships each person owns their choices and DOES NOT put them on other people. Healthy people want and expect you to have choices, as they do.
So if you find your hair on fire in one or more of your relationships, join us on the podcast, and seek some help around this. Detaching and choosing will require an army of support as I’ve written about before. Start out by getting alone, getting grounded, journaling feelings and regaining your self-trust, because you will need it.