Leaving Isn’t Weak: Relationships that End
Sexism and patriarchy are embedded in society and many women’s upbringing which fans the embers for staying and leaving relationships. There are other factors that keep a woman in a toxic relationship such as:
· Lack of self-worth
· Lack of financial support
· Protecting children
· Feeling like a failure
Repeating relationships that are toxic are further complicated with the steady stream of negativity in the form of advice from friends and family.
“What did you do wrong?”
“Do you come from a broken family?”
“Why didn’t you try harder?”
“I wish you had a better antenna to figured out the good ones from the bad ones.”
“Let’s get those marriages annulled and no one will know!”
“It’s must be horrible having so many failed marriages.”
Each accusation is a direct hit of shame and it often perpetuates the cycle of not trusting our self.
What frustrates and angers me is how women are often blamed when they leave a relationship.
They are seen as weak and accused of not putting in enough effort. They are criticized for their decisions regardless of how difficult and toxic it was in the relationship.
Ten years ago, a coaching acquaintance advised me to “love my significant other for 90-days. Do everything for him in complete and unconditional love.”
This was the cure, she said, to fix my broken marriage. She disregarded all that I had shared with her and reverted to a formula from her coaching success handbook.
I call bullshit. That type of advice is lethal.
Recently, I was ‘friended’ on social media by a couple’s therapist. Within minutes I received a request to follow their professional page.
Their platform was ‘stay in the relationship no matter what.’
That’s dangerous! Especially if there is violence in the form of physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse.
And what about when the relationship has naturally ended, and it is dead and there’s no more love?
What I do know is it often takes most people numerous intimate relationships to realize that we won’t accept another toxic situation because we’ve learned from our mistakes.
This takes resilience, courage and support rather than blaming, dismissing the severity of the situation.
Leaving a relationship takes strength.
It is not a weakness or how you’ve done something wrong.
Leaving helps us to hear our inner wisdom and gradually with support, alleviate self-doubt and increases self-esteem. There’s less need for external validation and approval.
Leaving a toxic relationship can teach us to use and see our strengths, gifts, insights and intelligence. This part of the healing process is about empowerment.
When we shy away from sharing what makes us who we are, we suppress our true self from being free. It takes a healthy relationship of give and take to safely share not only our gifts but our flaws with our partner.
In my experience, supportive counseling can help unfold the undercurrent of where the shame originated. This understanding will help a person to develop self-confidence, self-worth, self-respect and to utilize our innate voice of wisdom.
I have learned this wisdom under many layers of toile, and it has gifted me with seeing sometimes leaving is the best decision. We ferrate out the inner and out critics — both of which are like bullhorns — however they can no longer keeping us bound into submission.