Women – It’s Time to Step Up and Stop Accepting Toxic Relationships
I hear story after tragic story of women in relationships with men who ignore them, cheat on them, yell at them, belittle them and even hit them. Again and again these women excuse the men’s behaviors because he’s stressed or sick or had a tough upbringing or got laid off or was hurt by something she said, or he hates women because of his mother or… Ugh. STOP THE EXCUSES—PLEASE!!!! There is NO excuse for poor treatment. Period.
The woman responds to poor treatment by trying to get the man to see how hurtful he’s being. She begs, pleads and demands that he treat her better. She hopes, dreams and wishes that he’d treat her better. She silences, accommodates, placates and enables, in the hopes that he’ll see the error of his ways and change. She continues to use one, two or all of these approaches again and again and again, hoping that some day, they will magically work. They never magically work. She continues endlessly to try to change him.
Women stay in these relationships, allowing their spirits to get chipped away on a daily basis. These are not relationships with minor bumps in the road. These are not average relationships with occasional struggles. These women stay in relationships that are emotionally toxic. Relationships where their thoughts and feelings are constantly minimized, dismissed and treated as silly, insignificant, stupid. These relationships are toxic to women, families and our world.
Women will forever be in these types of relationships if they don’t stop trying to change this kind of treatment. As long as women continue to plead, demand, cry, etc. in the hope of changing him, they will be stuck in the same miserable relationships their entire lives.
Stop it and step up.
The only way to change these relationships is to take your eyes off him and get them on you. Pay attention to the thousands of ways you teach him that the ways he treats you are okay. Get conscious of all the mixed messages, watered down messages and empty threats you send. Pay attention to YOU. The way you change your relationships is by changing how YOU are in them.
The way you change verbal abuse is by not taking verbal abuse. The way you stop physical violence is by not taking physical violence. The way you stop his belittling, affairs, selfishness…is by not taking it. You must be willing to put your relationship on the line. Often the only way to save a relationship is to be willing to lose it. Are you willing to walk away from toxic treatment if it does not stop? Until you are…it will not stop.
Too many women are desperate to keep their man or their family together, yet not desperate enough to make sure it’s a healthy relationship. Keeping a toxic family together is toxic. It is not helpful for children, men or women. If women want to have an intact family, than they need to fight to make that family a healthy one. Children live what they know and they know what they live. Make sure what they’re living is what you want them to repeat. Trust me, they will repeat it.
Challenge: If you’re in a toxic relationship, stop looking at your partner and pay attention to all the ways you are allowing the toxicity to continue. Do your own work to get stronger and more grounded. If there’s addiction—get into Alanon or AA. If there’s abuse—contact Women’s Protective Services. If there’s disrespect, contempt, and coldness—get into couples therapy as well as individual therapy. You and your family are worth the effort
Lisa Merlo-Booth is a relationship coach. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching and has worked with individuals, families and couples on a variety of life issues.
She earned her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pepperdine University in 1991 and has received her coaching training from Coach University.
Lisa is the Director of Training for the Relational Life Institute owned by the renowned author, Terrence Real. Check out Lisa’s blog on relationships at http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/