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.
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