Before we start looking into toxic relationships, it’s essential to understand what that phrase actually means. When a relationship becomes toxic, that is, two sides argue to the point where they cause each other distress, it means they fail to see how they serve each other. At the root of toxic relationships lies a distorted consciousness that fails to see how the other person serves us and only perceives them as harmful and bad. When we can’t see how our partner serves us or want them to live their life aligned with our values, we find ourselves in a toxic relationship. If we’re not aware of our own values, we cannot be aware of our partner’s values.
And if we’re not aware of our partner's values, we tend to think of our values as more accurate. And we expect the other person to live according to the values we uphold.
Understanding the values of our own and our partner’s, not expecting them to live according to our own values, recognising that each person has their own values, and seeing that each person lives their life aligned with their value hierarchy are key to a relationship. A peaceful and calm relationship requires us to own up to our set of values and realise ourselves while we respect our partner's values and not try to change them.
So, what can you do to make your toxic relationship more peaceful? First of all, you need to write down all the traits of this person that bothers you. Once you make a list of the behaviours that trigger you the most, you need to examine the benefits of each of them. After listing at least twenty benefits of each trait, you can see how this person benefits you and have a more peaceful relationship with them.
One of the most important reasons for conflict in relationships is expecting the other person to conform to our values and trying to change them. When we accept our partner as they are, stop trying to change them, and understand they deserve to live their lives according to their values, we can have more peaceful relationships.
As you write down the traits of your partner that trigger and bother you, ask yourself these questions:
How do I benefit from these traits?
What do they teach me?
How do they give me strength?
How do they support my social life?
How do they support my career?
If a particular trait triggers us, this shows that we think we don’t have it ourselves. Think about that. Which trait of theirs do you think you don’t have? Think about the times and places where you exhibited the same trait or behaviour. Make a list of these as well. Continue working with your consciousness until you realise you exhibit the same triggering behaviours or the same traits as much as the other person.
Last but not least, think of it this way. If this person was exhibiting a trait that is the opposite of the one that makes you uncomfortable, how would it harm you? What would you fail to learn? What would you fail to see? If this person was exactly how you wanted them to be, how would it harm your values? Make a list of them all. Continue writing until you see that your partner's traits are perfect and as they are supposed to be.
As I often say in my classes, everything we can’t love and everything we can’t be grateful for will keep happening. And we will keep struggling in our lives and relationships until we learn to love.