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Why Some People Stay In Toxic Relationships, From A Therapist



Hope is a great force in motivation and inspiration. Hope can help us finish writing a book, or training for a marathon. Hope can keep us by the bedside of a sick person we love. Hope is a beautiful quality in many contexts, but when it comes to people, hope without critical awareness can obscure the reality of a relationship. As therapists, we are often inviting a person to zoom out and see the pattern, as opposed to focusing on the momentary potential of who that person could or might become.

When it comes to interpersonal relationships, hope is often masquerading in the form of repeated attachment patterns. For instance, you might have experienced narcissistic abuse as a child, or had an unavailable caretaker, and so hoping someone will change and finally give us the love we want feels familiar and attractive. The feeling of longing or deprivation might also feel familiar, and so we hope that if we are good enough, talented enough, thin enough, smart enough, attractive enough, that finally we will get the attention we are so craving from this person. 

Without even realizing it, you are intoxicated by the fantasy of who you hope this person might become. But every time you are in the movie of projection, you have left the ground of your reality.



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