The other day I caught up with an old school friend, whom I hadn't seen in years. She told me that her love life was a disaster. She felt that she always attracted toxic men. Now this is a very common issue that I often help people address in my BNE sessions. So, in this blog post, I would like to give you a few simple, powerful tools that will help you shift your perspective to address the issue from a place of empowerment.
Let me first say that the most powerful step you can take for yourself is to turn your focus inwards, which ultimately is the surest way of addressing the cause of your problems. This may or may not be new to you, but the circumstances in your lives are, in fact, the effect NOT the source of your sorrows. That simple shift in perspective can work wonders because as a great mentor of mine says: "When you can see what you were unable to see before, you can act in a way that you previously thought you couldn't."
Before I delve into this, let's get clear from the get go: I am no relationship expert. However, what I am very good at is helping people see their patterns and what they can learn from their ("toxic") partner. For starters, if you ask me, there is no such thing as a "toxic" partner. What we are dealing with here are dysfunctional patterns. And, it takes two to create a dysfunctional relationship. It's a very important point that is often overlooked. What I teach people is to take ownership for their side of the coin, which is a way of empowering them into action.
Seeing the other person as a mirror, gives people the possibility to understand how they are contributing to the dysfunctional pattern. This, in turn, allows them to make changes that will improve their lives. For, as Marcus Aurelius, very wisely said: "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment".
And, how do you assess your estimate of it? Well, there is a very simple trick that you can use to see what the other person is teaching you. First, get very clear and specific about what they are doing that is triggering you.
What is a toxic person? Toxic is a broad term that people assign a different meaning to. If we want to assess our estimate, we need to get specific about the behaviour we believe to be the cause of our problems. My friend, for example, might feel that her partner doesn't respect her. A specific example of that may be that he regularly cancels plans with her to spend time with his friends and/or has cheated on her twice.
Now that we are clear on the specific behaviour, let's take a look at the mirror and reverse it. The first simple step is to talk about the other person in relation to ourselves. For example: How am I disrespecting myself through him? How am I cheating on myself through him? For instance, remaining in a relationship with someone who repeatedly cheats on you, can be a way of betraying yourself. And, constantly putting your partner's needs first, can be a way of disrespecting yourself.
The second step is to ask yourself two simple questions with regard to your partner's specific behaviour: What are they doing that I am not allowing myself to do? Or, In what other areas of my life do I behave in the same way? For example, my friend might default to waiting to hear about her partners plans before agreeing on spending time with her friends. She doesn't allow herself to think of herself first. In that case, her valuable mirror is teaching her to think of her own needs more, without feeling the urge to always wait around for him. And if she delves a little deeper, she might come to realise that she repeatedly cancels plans with her best friend, when her partner calls. Therefore, she also acts like him in other areas of her life. Ultimately, she has attracted the perfect match for her growth. Once she has understood the lesson, she can take appropriate action in order to start respecting herself.
We always judge in others what we are unable to see in ourselves and that is where the most valuable lessons are. These are powerful questions that can really help us navigate our relationships in a mature, responsible way and give us simple answers and solutions to our problems. As I mentioned earlier, if we truly want to evolve as people and become the masters of our own lives, turning the spotlight inwards is a must. That's when we truly understand that every single experience is rooting for us to grow, and that the answers lie within, never without.
Ps: if you need a further hand to delve into a relationship pattern you feel stuck with, BioNeuroEmotion (BNE) is a wonderful method that will help you shift your perspective, so you can foster meaningful changes in your life, by transforming your conflicts into stepping stones for growth. My mission is to help you move beyond your perceived limitations, tap into your intrinsic wisdom and make conscious choices so you can live your life fully. You can find out more about my work and book a session here.
Hi, I´m Dannie
A fellow soul seeker, blogger & certified BioNeuroEmotion® (BNE) practitioner who is passionate about growing, self actualising & learning in order to lead a more coherent/conscious life and help others do the same.