Psychology for living: why we stay in bad situations
Gwen Randall Young
psychology to life
Over the years I have worked with clients who were in unhappy, even toxic, relationships. You may have tried everything, including counseling, but history just keeps repeating itself. When asked why they stay when they see that this will never change, sometimes the answer is that they are afraid of being alone.
Sometimes these people, often women, CEOs, are highly educated and professionally recognized and are seen as very strong. Yet when it comes to leaving a bad relationship, they crumble.
It is the inner child of the person who is afraid of being alone. Being alone can be scary for a young child. They are unable to take care of themselves and if left alone for long periods of time they feel abandoned.
It is the strong woman’s inner child that keeps her from taking charge of her life. Very few women are unable to be alone, but the inner child takes over and expresses fear of it.
Certainly there are instances where finances limit the ability to move on, but that is different than having emotional anxiety. The fear of being alone is the fear of being with yourself and being independent.
Undoubtedly, a major life change can be daunting. However, there is support in the form of lawyers, bankers, real estate agents, psychologists, family and friends. Living alone is part of becoming an independent adult.
Being in a toxic relationship erodes your confidence and self-esteem. It can even have negative effects on physical and mental health. No one deserves to be abused or put down. If you are in such a situation and have tried everything to make the relationship better, then you need to reconsider things. It may be the partner’s responsibility for the pain we feel, but it is our responsibility to allow it to continue.
As a child, we have no opportunity to change the circumstances in which we live. As adults we may feel powerless, but we are not. Millions of women have pulled themselves out of bad situations, and virtually none would say it’s easy.
Some women don’t tell anyone about their suffering because they are embarrassed. This makes them isolated and vulnerable. It’s important to share with someone. If there are no friends or relatives to share with, seek counseling.
Others think that the end of the relationship means the fate of the children. That is not true. Children can thrive after a divorce, unless it’s controversial. Living in a home where there is stress, tension, arguments and arguments is worse than living with one parent at the same time.
And for those who think therapists always tell women to leave their partners, that’s not true either. Therapists don’t tell people what to do, they help them clear their thinking and consider all the options for a healthier life.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. To obtain permission to reprint this article or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.