It’s not because he was an @ss or she was toxic that your heart closed down..
It’s because your heart was closed down that you attracted someone like that.
Hundreds of conversations with people in difficult relationships over the last decade have shown me something that -although it may sound politically incorrect- it’s painfully (and factually) accurate.
(Disclaimer: This post is directed to adults and adult relationships, leave children out of this for that’s a far more nuanced topic to explore.)
There’s a pattern to every person who finds themselves caught up in a toxic relationship.
They think their partner is being toxic and the actions derived from their toxicity become traumatizing.
They feel like the good ones, sometimes the victims or martyrs.
They often have taken upon themselves the role of rescuing another from their poor choices and lack of personal responsibility. (mental, emotional, social and sometimes financial)
Under the pretence of seeing “what’s possible” they delude themselves into becoming either rescuers (saviour complex) or martyrs (victims)
Yet there’s only a certain limit to what a person’s nervous system can handle when exposed to constant stress.
Most people who find themselves in a desperate place in their relationship are usually operating from a burnt out nervous system, making them fertile soil for deep wounding (trauma.)
However, in my observation the trauma is not directly derived from the difficult relationship or acts of transgression.
The trauma is what created the difficult relationship to begin with.
When you smell like prey you’re bound to be preyed on..
When you smell like naivety you’re bound to be taken advantage of..
“How dare you Nico victim-shame! you have no idea what it’s like!..”
I know what it’s like.
I’ve been beaten up, blood coming out of my arms, by previous partners.
I dated narcissistic, borderline psychopathic women at one point in my life.
I don’t take pride in knowing a little too well what being on the receiving end of abuse looks like..
I have also dated women who needed rescuing from their lack of direction, financial confusion and uncared-for mental health..
I’ve been the martyr and the saviour.
I have judged heavily the “abusers” for “all they did to me”, carrying bitterness and resentment for years..
I have judged the “weak, fragile ones” for “consuming my life, draining my energy and slowing down my progress” and resenting the fact “I had to” take care of them and help them through it all..
Yet judgement or righteousness never took me anywhere.
Neither have they for the 100’s of people caught up in cycles of dysfunction.
Here’s the truth:
I kept attracting the same ‘flavor’ of pathological relationships for about a decade until I was willing to recognize that perhaps it was me all along.
Perhaps I was the one responsible for the choices I made, if every partner I dated seemed to turn awful down the road.
Perhaps I should have looked into where my intuition’s voice and gut feelings got so suppressed and quieted down that I no longer trusted my discernment..
Perhaps it’s not that these women were traumatizing me relationally and giving me more reasons to close my heart..
Perhaps my heart was closed to begin with..
Therefore I did not hear it when it spoke..
I ignored its warnings..
And dove deep -over and over- into pools of red flags.
I had to face the painful realization that I had to stop blaming my previous partners if I wanted to gather the wisdom and courage to transform the quality of my future ones.
Victim-shaming does not exist.
Nobody shames you.
You feel ashamed by another’s words and actions towards you.
Yet to be offended you need to take offence and become an accomplice in your own suffering.
Yet if you don’t receive someone’s gift, who keeps it?
whose gift it is?
Why carry stones thrown at you..
To be clear I refuse to join societal narratives where someone’s difficulties are met with pity and coddling.
For I know love is NOT meek.
And there’s no such thing as shaming another..
You can throw words at them, yet it’s always up to them and their own shame to complete the circuit.
Back to our topic, I realized that it was trauma and closure which pull in the people and relationships needed to re-live it..
Not the other way around.
So what does this mean, practically?
It means that if you have dated “horrible” people or if you have a track record of choosing “the wrong” person..
You can be certain that you’re carrying a certain ‘scent’ that pulls these people towards you.
(In the hindu traditions they’re called Vasanas, or karmic imprints and tendencies.)
And until you understand and resolve the root of that scent, you will draw to you patterns who will match all those previous cycles..
Or even if you’re lucky and you happened to connect to someone different, you will eventually (and inevitably) pulled the same darkness out of them.
In other words:
You get to take responsibility for the relationships that you have created, take a look inside and decide what you want to do about it.
You get to free yourself from thinking you were anybody’s victim or rescuer..
And you get to take in your hands your present and future relationships.
Whatever you do, one thing is certain:
Nothing (and nobody) will change unless you do.
Whether this scares you or excites you reflects the level of maturity and inner work you’ve done on yourself.
Open hearts attract open hearts.
Closed hearts attract closed hearts.
The path towards sacred union must start within.