Whether you call them toxic, co-dependent, or emotionally destructive, these are some crazy relationships! They contain a lot of good and a lot of bad, with very little neutral between the extremes.
Crazy relationships become addictive. Although destructive, the participants often feel like they can’t survive without them.
When one person “hits bottom”, they simply can’t go on as they have in the past. It doesn’t mean they want to end the relationship or no longer love the other person; they finally recognize the toxicity and destructiveness and make a decision for change.
However, the relationship is a system. When a system changes, it goes through a season of chaos before settling into a new pattern.
Some conversations will be really peaceful and contented — basically neutral, and in the next moment, they shift to volatile and mean-spirited. It raises the question, “What just happened here??”
Recognize the bigger picture: relationships slip back into old patterns until they are replaced with new patterns.
Decide ahead of time, “I’m not doing crazy.” Don’t go there. Learn some boundary skills.
Don’t villify the other person either. It generally is about habits and patterns; even when it’s misery, we gravitate toward what’s familiar. Separation is often needed to avoid slipping into the familiar patterns of the crazy relationship.
It’s not easy to heal these relationships, but it is very possible. For those who develop the patience and skills needed, they discover it’s worth it!