Self-blame in the aftermath of a toxic relationship is common. Victims blame themselves for not realizing things sooner and for tolerating things too long.
How we see ourselves matters. And how we behave toward ourselves matters even more. Healthy self-regard defines the evolved character. And unhealthy self-regard is the hallmark of character disturbance.
Relationships naturally grow in strength, depth, and wholesomeness in the absence of character disturbance. And when our most important relationships are solid, we can expect the makings of a healthy community. It all starts with character.
How did we end up here? That’s the question so many folks who have been struggling in or recovering from a toxic relationship find themselves asking. Many also question how we ended up here as a society. My new book with Kathy Armistead provides a practical guide to surviving and thriving in a character-disordered world.
Recovering from an involvement with a disturbed or disordered character is almost always a substantially unpleasant experience. But much good can come from the ordeal if one is both self-forgiving and affiming enough to be open to the learning to be had.
Survivors of toxic relationships know how difficult it can be to restore one’s emotional sanity, pick up the pieces, and move on. They need answers that empower and help protect them against future harm.
Change, when it occurs, always happens in the moment of choice. That’s always where our ultimate power lies: the power to choose, and especially, to choose to do differently – at least for any particular moment in time.
Many relational abuse survivors have simply been the unwitting victims of a masterful con artist who said all the right things and did all the right things on the front end of the relationship to secure the object of his/her desire, only to reveal their true self once their conquest was complete and they found little reason to perpetuate their fraud any longer.
Aggressive personalities cause the greatest problems both in the conduct of interpersonal relationships and for maintaining the social order.
Dealing with a skilled manipulator is often like getting whiplash: you don’t know all that’s really happened until after the damage is done.