Returning to Toxic Relationships, Part 2

Poster for the film Basic Instinct (c) copyright TriStar Pictures and/or the graphic artist, Source

In the 1990s thriller Basic Instinct, Michael Douglas plays a troubled homicide detective who becomes involved with a female serial killer.  Despite this woman’s overt sexuality, others can see that she is dangerous.  The detective is blind to that.  He believes he has found true love and redemption.

What motivates the detective is not, however, love.  It is a deep sense of guilt over a shooting incident that occurred while he was high on cocaine.  He has, in effect, a death wish.

This is not to say that abuse victims have a death wish, when we return to toxic relationships.  Love can though be a minefield for us.

We are all too easily blinded by our childhood experience – experience that was tainted by abuse.  We frequently mistake dysfunctional relationships for love, and fail to recognize real love when we actually encounter it.

Having been trained to tolerate abuse, we do not see the danger.  We settle for what we had in the past.  That feels “right”.  That resonates with us, striking a profound chord, so “must” be love.  Other relationships pale by comparison.

It does not occur to us we deserve better.  Until we come to that realization, toxic relationships will continue to hold power for us.

This series will conclude next week.



Filed under Child Abuse, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

12 responses to “Returning to Toxic Relationships, Part 2

  1. I´m much better looking than Michael Douglas, having said that I have been in a toxic relationship, the girl it´s just nuts. I myself can look at the mirror and say that this guy writing is probably not the most balance guy….. but this girl is just off the charts. All my friends (the normal ones that is to say they are not criminals) tell me to stay away from her, and for me I don´t know why there is a sense of guilt in my part. I was with her, yesterday!!!! Forget about the sex, she suddenly since it comes out of the blue starts crying and saying some weird things about life. So I just sat in front of her, listen and tried to calm her down mostly because in the house I live now there are 3 other people which they already think I´m nuts specially if I bring this girl. Toxic is an understatement. But in my own Little dumb head I still think I can save her, no. It´s her and her, I didn´t even got mad at the situation yesterday, I really was trying to help her but as much as I tried I did see that the more I tried she got pissed off. Just nuts.

    Good morning by the way Anna, I found my psychologist in the internet it seems.

    • You have a kind heart, Charly. And you hit on an important point. Often we do, on some level, believe we can “save” these people from themselves. That has a powerful appeal. But the decisions they make are beyond our control. Even when we can understand their motives, these people continue to be destructive. Take your friends’ advice.

  2. Well said, Anna. Often it really is our “basic instincts” that get blunted in abuse situations and what “feels normal” to us is going to be unhealthy, rooted in the same kind of dysfunction that we are already familiar with. There is also this thing, this psychic bond where abusers seek you out and are attracted to those invisible scripts we have running in our heads.

  3. It is relevant topic. Dear Anna I think you should continue it please suggest us with the reference of Bible.Great job dear 👌👌

    • Thank you, Rachana. For me, the most powerful tool for healing has been God’s love. Here are some Bible verses that speak of His great love for us:

      For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29: 11).

      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
      To proclaim liberty to the captives,
      And the opening of the prison to those who are bound…
      To comfort all who mourn…
      To give them beauty for ashes,
      The oil of joy for mourning
      …” (Isaiah 61: 1-3).

      For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You” (Psalm 86: 5).

      The Lord your God in your midst,
      The Mighty One, will save;
      He will rejoice over you with gladness,
      He will quiet you with His love,
      He will rejoice over you with singing
      ” (Zephaniah 3: 17)

      For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3: 16).

      See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” (1 John 3: 1 NLT).

      Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3: 37-39).

  4. It is so easy to misconstrue what love is when one is hurting. An offer of sympathy, comfort, help or attention may not necessarily be love. Sometimes persons who have been in abusive relationships may need counseling to retrain or correct their misconceptions.
    Thank you for this wonderful post, Anna. Blessings and ❤ Love!

  5. Pingback: Returning to toxic relationships part 2 | Royal Commission and Brisbane Boys College

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