Archive | May, 2012

Dossier: Love and Reflection – written by Sam Elliott

28 May

I was recently interviewed by Sam Elliott (who lives in the United Kindgom) for her college paper about toxic relationships.  With her permission I am sharing her paper with all my followers.  I hope that you find some encouragement and hope in Sam’s words.  I was really blown away when I saw just a part of my story in her paper – it made it so very real.  ~ Cheri

The path to toxic love Like a drug, toxic love is obsessive, compulsive, and full of delusion. Samantha Elliott looks at the power and destruction of addictive love and examines why it can take so long to recognise its poisonous charm. They say love is blind, and for reasons unknown he is the one. The urge to be with that special person can make you go crazy, which is fine when the feelings are mutual. However, when the relationship is poisonous, and you still can’t give it up, you know that you are in trouble. Susan Peabody, counsellor, and author of Love Addiction – Overcoming Obsessive & Dependency in Relationships explains that being in a toxic relationship can mean having an unhealthy dependency on love itself. She says: ‘It all begins with what seems like an innocent attraction to someone, which quickly turns into an infatuation. You can be somebody who is insecure and hungry for love and taking this infatuation much too seriously and easily becoming blinded by the exhilarating effects of love at first sight.’ Have you ever wondered why you keep falling in love with the wrong type? Peabody adds: ‘You will think that attraction, chemistry, sex, and romance are far more important than compatibility in relationships, because you want to get high from the start.’ Jumping into a relationship through physical attraction can happen before getting to know someone. It only becomes toxic when you become trapped and alone with the feeling that you just can’t leave the relationship.
A toxic relationship causes pain and suffering and can make you feel that you have nowhere else to go. Peabody believes this is the dark side of romantic love and relationships. She says: ‘Once cupid has hit his mark, you quickly become excessively preoccupied with your lover. Every other aspect of your life becomes less important, and endless hours are spent fantasizing about how your relationship is going to develop.’ Being irrational and rushing into things can make us forget who we really are. Becoming addicted to someone makes it harder to leave.
Cheri, 49, found out the hard way about toxic love. She says: ‘The marriage was doomed from the start. I met him on the internet in June 2004 and married in August 2004. Way too fast. I know that now.’ A toxic relationship can mean losing the people that care about you. She says: ‘He told me that I could not have single friends. I lost all of my girlfriends, and I lost my family because they did not like him.’ Being with someone who is toxic can set off emotions you don’t expect to feel. This can influence your decisions that you can later on regret.
Sometimes, you choose only to see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear when you know the relationship isn’t working. This becomes an easier option than dealing with the pain of separation. Michael Josephson, ethicist and author of ‘The Best Is Yet To Come,’ says: ‘Toxic relationships not only make you unhappy. They corrupt your attitude and disposition in ways that undermine healthier relationships and prevent you from realizing how much better things can be.’ Rarely do you choose a toxic relationship before it starts. It’s only after that can you experience the damage it has caused.
So what happens when you realise the person you love isn’t who you think he is? Sometimes it can be too hard to accept that you’re in a relationship that isn’t working. Cheri knew soon after an argument with her daughter that the man she had married was different to the man she had dated. She says: ‘He marched down to her bedroom, and bounded on the bathroom door, until she came out. He got all up in her face and yelled at her, that she will never speak to me that way and to apologise immediately. I was shocked and scared and did not even know what to do.’

Abuse can come later in the relationship. A toxic person is well aware of what they are doing to you. They know full well you will find it hard to leave and letting go. Being a victim of abuse is common in toxic relationships. Peabody believes that guilt is something you feel if you reject someone even when you are being abused and is a misguided sense of loyalty. She says: ‘When you are addicted to love you make a commitment and feel you must be loyal no matter what. You have no right to change your mind.’ Abuse was a part of Cheri’s every-day life and violent fights were a regular occurrence. She says: ‘The first time he hit me, we’d had a fight. He knocked me down in the closet, and I just cowered like a baby, crying and shaking. He promised he would never do it again. The issues kept on with the fights and I learnt how to fight. I hated what I had become.’ It’s when you begin to accept the abuse unknowingly that it becomes a pattern of behaviour. This is when the relationship starts to become destructive. Robert Burney, co-dependence counsellor and author of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, believes that if you feel that someone else has the power to make you happy, then you are setting yourself up to be a victim. He says: ‘As children you are taught that boy meets girl in a fairy tale story and there’s a happy ever. You are already setting yourself up for expectations and failures and a belief system that isn’t real.’
True love shouldn’t be about heartache, unhappiness, and entrapment. Burney says: ‘Believing you can’t be whole or happy without a relationship is unhealthy and leads you to accept deprivation and abuse and to engage in manipulation, dishonesty, and power struggles. The type of love you learnt about growing up is an addiction. It’s a form of toxic love.’
Having any addiction means it’s safer staying where you are than facing reality. Peabody says: ‘You are not in love anymore, but you cling to the reinforcing effects of the relationship. Maybe being financially dependent on a partner or the routine of the relationship is more comfortable than leaving.’ Sometimes just staying in a relationship is easier to deal with than the pain of separation. It’s when people that matter to you are getting hurt that decisions have to be made. After ten years in a toxic relationship, Mel, 39, had constant fallouts with her family in the belief that her relationship was good. She says: ‘My mum hated him. I was all for him. I felt that she was making it harder for me by planting thoughts in my head about what he was doing. This would cause so many arguments between us and make the situation worse at home. She didn’t understand.’ Mel had years of endless lies, womanising and became the victim of physical and mental abuse. She adds: ‘I fell in love with him from the start and clung on thinking that he loved me. But what he did to the kids and me was horrific. I’m so glad I’m away from him now.’
Sometimes it’s easier to get lost in your thoughts when your relationship is going wrong. Psychotherapist and author of ‘Facing Love Addiction’ Pia Mellody says: ‘When you are getting neglected, and spending a lot of time alone, what happens is you don’t know what it means to be connected or relational to other people.’ Cheri says: ‘I became pretty isolated. He always promised that he would change. Stop being controlling and get help with his anger problems. They were just empty promises.’
Mellody adds: ‘You spend alot of time alone daydreaming and making up fantasies in your head that make you feel better because what you are making up in your head chemically changes your body and creates a sense of joy or relief. This is the addiction. The addiction isn’t love as much as it is to the fantasy.’ When someone is controlling you, this can come from their own insecurity to control you. Cheri says: ‘He always told me that I was selfish if I did not do what he wanted. I had to sleep in a certain way. If I didn’t, then a fight would start. I could not win.’ Cheri was constantly telling herself that she still loved him. But breaking free is hard and after many seperations, Cheri would always take him back. She adds: ‘It was an addiction and so unhealthy. I learnt that I got addicted to the sex and the compliments. He always told me that I was beautiful whereas in my first marriage, I had never heard these words. I ate it up, and he knew it. It was weird. He knew me better than myself.’ Sometimes it is hard accepting that your relationship has come to the end of the road. But sometimes you have to break free.
Burney says: ‘If you can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth, then you can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment, it is a lesson.’ Mel came to a point in her life where she had to let go. ‘When I finally listened to my children, I knew. They begged me not to go back with him and from that day, I never did. It was the best choice and the wake-up call I needed.’ Letting go of any relationship is like grieving. She adds: ‘It was hard letting go, but time is a healer. Several months later I felt why had I not done it sooner?’
Cheri explains that after going back after five times enough was enough and in the end, something had to give. She says: ‘Fear is what kept me going back. I did still love him. But it was insecurity and that I didn’t think I could be dependent on my own. I did not want to fail again.’ Walking away from a toxic relationship involves courage, making changes and experiencing emotional pain. She adds: ‘In the end, I was tired of feeling controlled, suffocated and not being allowed to be just myself. The good and the bad. I had to dress for him. Not me. I was tired of being put down. Most of all, I was tired of the fights.’ The fear is in you to change, but when you are finally ready, there is no more going back. Recovering from a toxic relationship is about starting from scratch and learning about you again. Peabody says: ‘You must accept the fact that being without a partner is not a fate worse than death. It has its advantages and disadvantages, just like a relationship, and there are times in life when it is inevitable. Having a positive attitude allows you to be comfortable when there is no one special in your life. Being alone is not painful. It can be a time of cherished solitude.’
For some this can be a journey of discovery and knowing who you are. Melody believes that love addiction can stem from early childhood trauma of neglect and abandonment. Cheri saw
in therapy that her behaviour was linked through her childhood. She says: ‘I saw that my mum is very toxic. My dad is co-dependent. My younger sister is toxic. My toxic relationships had a negative impact on my own family, friends, and co-workers.’ Coming out of a toxic relationship can be liberating. Cheri says: ‘When I take a step back and really look within, I have made huge strides. I have freedom to be me. I have my girlfriends back and people around me who do not judge me at all. I like me. I like what I have become


Does Your Relationships Drain or Fuel You?

4 May

I found this today while searching out toxic relationship info – thought it was worth sharing!!!  Does your relationship drain or fuel you?  Remember, this is just not your spouse, it could someone in your family, a friend or a co-worker — toxic people are EVERYWHERE!


Since soulful connections require an investment of time and energy, you’ll want to choose the people you spend time with wisely. To determine whether a relationship drains you or fuels you, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Write down the name of a person in your life.
2. Am I able to be myself with this person? Do I feel accepted by him/her?
3. Is this person critical or judgmental of me?
4. Does the relationship provide an even give-and-take exchange of energy?
5. Do I feel upbeat and energized when I’m around this person, or depleted and drained?
6. Does this person share my values? My level of integrity?
7. Is this person committed to our relationship?
8. Can this person celebrate my success?
9. Do I feel good about myself when I’m with this person?

From Cheryl Richardson’s book Take Time for Your Life.
PAGE 3 of 5

Read more:

15 Powerful Things Happy People Do

1 May

15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently

What is the difference between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it may be very obvious, happy people are happy while unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct, but we want to know what are the things that these people do differently and that is why, I have put together a list of things that HAPPY people do differently than UNHAPPY people.

1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE. Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it, knowing that this will make the situation even worse, but rather, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? How can I make this better? and they go from there, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full no matter what happens to them.

3. FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS. Really happy people know that it’s not healthy to hold on to anger. They choose to FORGIVE and FORGET, understanding that FORGIVENESS is a gift they give to themselves first and foremost.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”Buddha

4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.

They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

5. MEANING vs. AMBITION. They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because they get a sense of purpose by doing so. They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” like Wayne Dyer puts it, and they care more about living a life full of meaning rather than, what in our modern society we would call, living a successful life.

The irony here is that most of the time they get both, success and meaning, just because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.

6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”. They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, but rather, every time the behavior is present, even if it’s not that often, they know that by praising the person and the behavior, they will actually reinforce the positive behavior.

When a parent wants to make sure that his 7 years old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, he will make sure not to focus on the many times the child won’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but rather, every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent will praise him and his behavior and that is exactly how he will reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end geting the wanted results.

7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lies many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.

8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS. They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness in the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.

”Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.”Buddha

9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.

10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe

11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.

12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.

13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still having big dreams about the future.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.” Eckhart Tolle

14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.

15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside forces for whatever it is that happens to you, you are in fact giving all your power away, and they choose to keep the power for themselves and taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.
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