As an energy healer and meditation teacher, I have the privilege of helping people in all different stages of life. Often, through energy work and self-reflection, people realize they are engaging in toxic relationships that they didn't recognize until they started really digging deep. This story is a typical example of the toxic relationship process.
Lydia was a hotshot real estate agent—a go-getter with a history of closing top deals. She was confident and happy with her work and relationships. When she met Jake, she thought she really had it made.
He wooed her with dinners at fancy restaurants, two dozen roses on her birthday, and "happy hours" that alternated between margaritas (her favorite) and tequila (his favorite). He was smart and funny. He said he appreciated her independence. She fell hard.
It was several months after meeting Jake that she managed to sneak out to lunch with two of her girlfriends. It wasn't easy for them to get together. Lydia had stopped joining her friends to go shopping, have brunch, or just chat on the phone.
When they asked her about it, Lydia broke down. Through her tears, she told them how hard Jake made it for her to pursue her own interests, how jealous he would get if she even talked to someone else on the phone. He constantly hovered around her, and it had gone from flattering to scary.
She told her friends how she’d started to realize her strategy of "people-pleasing," which worked so well in her job, spelled disaster in her relationship. No matter what she did, he found fault. He was always putting her down. "I don't know who I am anymore. What should I do?"
Some of you might already realize that Lydia’s relationship was a toxic one. But it took self-reflection and the help of her friends for Lydia to get out.
Is it possible that you or someone you know is in a toxic relationship? Think about it. It doesn't necessarily have to be with an intimate partner. You can be in a toxic relationship with anyone from a parent to a sister-in-law to a co-worker, but the warning signs are pretty much the same.