Is it love, is it hell

Personality factors
Believe it or not, your personality could be a major contributor to why you landed up in a toxic relationship. People wired with a dependant personality have been found to continue in relationships that gave them more grief than happiness just because they are afraid of being left alone. They are more likely to submit to unreasonable demands from their partner and tolerate verbal, emotional or even physical abuse. According to Clinical psychologist Gangajali Ojha, “the causal factors behind such a personality could be many - traumatic or over-protected childhood, inconsistent attachment patterns from parents, low self-esteem or low body-image etc. All or any of these can contribute to the person becoming dependant on and needing another person’s presence in their lives, whatever the terms may be.”

Warning signs
Richa* had a steady boyfriend for three years and in those long three years he broke up with her 12 times! But every time he sauntered back, she took him in without a complaint and without even a word of apology from him. Her rationale? “I love him too much…cannot bear to have a life without him.” Surely anyone can see what she’s putting herself through. The signs of a love-hate relationship aren’t easily apparent but can be noticed by close friends and family. You know you might be in a give-and-give relationship when

• You are always the one apologizing… no matter who’s fault it is because you don’t want to complicate things.

• Even all the apologizing cannot keep the fights away. You cannot remember the last time you had a conversation without raised voices.

• You’re miserable when he’s around but when he’s gone you’re not happy either.

• Breaking up seems to be almost a routine for him because he knows whenever he comes home you’ll open the door.

• All your friends keep telling you to get out of it!

Breaking the rut
“No matter how hard it looks, you have to take steps to mend this relationship or it can be seriously detrimental to your emotional health in the long run and can leave you scarred for life”, Ojha says. Here are a few steps you can take to ease the heartache a little:

• Raise your self-esteem
See a counsellor, write down all the wonderful things about you, meet people you’ve been good to but get a better view of yourself. The primary reason you might be hanging around in this relationship could be that you think he’s too good for you and that you’re lucky he chose you…so not true!

• Get the right vibes
Surround yourself with positive energy; family members who love you, your best friends who perk you up, your favourite music and books, even indulge in Feng-Shui to create the right aura if that’s your thing. A happy heart gives a lot of strength.

• Speak up
It’s high time you let him know that his behaviour hurts you. And if that angers him and sends him away, so be it. You are better off without someone who doesn’t give you a chance to be heard.

• Take time off
Get away to re-connect with yourself. If you’re too apprehensive to take a break from the relationship, just say you’re going on a short vacation - solo. Once you spend a few days alone in a fresh surrounding, you would realize that the concept of a life without him isn’t so bad. This ‘single’ time will ease you into the big transformations.

The mantra to remember is that you deserve the best and once you have that down pat, it’s easy to find the antidote for a toxic relationship!

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