Falling Into Toxic Patterns

Falling Into Toxic Patterns

I always wondered why I could move past my toxic relationships. The truth is that I didn't really want to.
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"Why do you keep hurting me?"

"I don't know, I guess because you let me."

It's a tough pill to swallow, hearing these words come from someone's mouth. It's a painful realization to know someone hurts you simply because they have the opportunity to do so. And it's even more of a painful realization to be the one handing them the opportunity over and over again. Whoever said opportunity doesn't knock twice obviously never met me.

I've allowed myself to get hurt before, and not in a naive way, not in a sweet way, but in a stupid way, a foolish way. I knew I was giving someone to power to hurt me over and over and over again and yet I continued to do so. Although it was on the other person for seizing this opportunity to cause me pain, it was also on me for handing this opportunity over so easily.

Why did I do it? I ask myself a lot.

There a lot of different answers as to why I, and others, constantly fall into toxic patterns knowing exactly where the toxicity leads them. For one, it's a sort of addiction, or a really terrible habit, like falling asleep with all your make up on or sleeping past your alarm even though it'll make you late. There is a certain exhilaration in making a decision that isn't necessarily good for you but definitely feels good in the moment.

Another reason definitely relates to self-esteem, because people with high self-esteem don't make bad decisions on purpose, people with high self-esteem don't knowingly put themselves in a bad situation just for fun. I'm not saying everyone who makes bad choices had terrible self-esteem, but there are definitely underlying issues beneath the poor choices we make.

For me personally, I have a lot of self-doubt and struggle with my worth. I'm scared of being vulnerable and relying on other people. I don't always necessarily believe I'm worth the love and affection other's give me, and I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the people around me to realize that as well.

Which leads to the main reason as to why I fall into the same toxic pattern, and it's because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy for me. I question if I deserve to be cared about, so I place myself in a relationship that reflects that. I'm scared of being hurt, so aline myself with someone who I know will definitely hurt me.

There is a safety in knowing exactly how something is going to end, even if that ending is terrible. I would rather spend time crying over the same pain than open myself up to a new and unknown situation. It's safe, it's comfortable, even if it makes me miserable.

I always wondered why I could move past my toxic relationships. The truth is that I didn't really want to. It was a lot easier to pour my issues into a bad situation than to actually face them. It validated how I felt about myself, and it was safer than putting myself in another situation that would lead to real vulnerability.

I'm not perfect, and I make bad decisions. I'm working on forgiving myself for these mistakes and forgiving myself for getting hurt. People are going to hurt me, and sometimes I'm going to let them. And I should forgive myself for that. I'm very forgiving towards others, so I'm going to try to give myself the same courtesy.

I'm also going to teach myself I'm worthy of other's affection, love and caring. I've been working on this for awhile, but I obviously still have a lot way to go. I don't want to hold people at arm's length in fear; I want to let the people I care about into my life without hesitation or anxieties. I deserve reliable, loving relationships, and once I truly believe that, I know my toxic patterns will be broken.

Cover Image Credit: Jolie Delia

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

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Stop Making Instagram Your Only Outlet For Social Activism

Instagram is a great place to spread awareness, but stop confusing your desire for clout with your desire to save the world.

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Instagram is, without a doubt, one of my guiltiest pleasures. I often find myself spending way too much time on social media, caught up in the world of likes, filters, and hashtags. On the daily, I scroll through hundreds of selfies, beach pictures, happy birthday posts, and the occasional dog pictures. I am all for posting whatever you want on your Instagram account and personally hate the so-called "rules" that govern how we use social media.

Just as the use of Instagram and other forms of social media keeps growing, so has our generation's awareness of social issues. Everywhere I go, I get reminded of the issues our world is facing. Whether it be plastic, global warming, poverty, animal rights, etc., it is clear that our generation wants to see a change. Even though this is amazing, recently I've noticed that so many people my age are confusing the true desire to spread social awareness with the desire to make their Instagram account look better.

A few months ago on Earth Day, my Instagram feed was flooded with pictures of nature. Almost all of these pictures were of girls at the beach, or hiking with their friends, or even taken from the window of an airplane. While the idea of posting about how much you love the Earth and want to save it is a harmless idea, it does nothing to actually save the planet.

I fully support posting a picture of yourself at the beach, and showing off your confidence, but don't post it on Earth Day, pretending it's the ocean behind you that you care about. If you really want to save the Earth and make a difference, posting a yearly Earth Day picture of yourself is not the way to do it. Wanting likes and clout on social media is a part of how today's generation values themselves and each other, but thinking that this is actually promoting any form of social justice is plain wrong.

More recently, videos of baby calves being taken away from their mothers (highlighting the truth behind the dairy industry) have been flooding my social media feed. These videos are heartbreaking, and I am sure that the people posting them truly think they are horrific as well. Posting this type of content is a great way to spread initial awareness, but don't let it be your only outlet for promoting justice for the things you care about.

Social media keeps our world extremely interconnected, and without it, awareness of many of the problems our world is facing wouldn't reach nearly as far as it does. I'm not saying that using Instagram to spread awareness is a bad idea, I'm just saying that it shouldn't be your only outlet for doing so.

If you hate how much plastic our world consumes, go around to local stores and restaurants and ask them to cut their use of plastic. If you hate how the dairy industry treats cows, become a vegan. Promoting awareness while not actually doing anything to change the issues at hand is useless. Our generation is so strong and powerful, and we all need to stop hiding behind our desire for Instagram likes and start actually changing the things we care about.

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