#selfhelp #relationships #toxicpeople #dysfunctionalrelationships

Getting into a toxic relationship is certainly not something that people see coming, desire, or think that they could ever fall victim to in their life. After all, it is pretty clear when a relationship is unhealthy, giving transparent indicators and warning signals to leave it behind. Right? Well, yes and no.

Though on the surface, it might seem clear cut and easy to steer away from people who are bad for us and incompatible. However, the reality is that it happens much more often to sound-minded people than you may think. It could even happen, or is currently happening, to you. No one is immune from it, and that is why I want to go over some vital dysfunctional relationship myths with you. I want to give you a bigger picture of human interaction, mindful correlations, and the formulation of habits that can lead to toxic relationships, like what happened to the famous Lord Byron and Caroline Lamb.

Myth 1: Rational Humans Could Never Fall for A Dysfunctional Partner

Lord Byron, a famous and celebrated British romantic poet in the 1800s, was tied within an extremely dysfunctional relationship with Lady Caroline Lamb, the wife of William Lamb and a daughter of wealthy, cheating, unreliably parents. Caroline did not have any formal education, and her parents viewed her as a reckless person known to lash out.

As for Lord Byron, he did not grow up in an ideal household either. His father was known to seduce married women, was brutal, and that womanizing critical state of mind carried over to Byron. With these two seemingly harmful traits, it is no wonder why Byron and Caroline were terrible for each other, yet still attracted. Let’s dive in deeper as to why this might be the case.

Familiarity Principle: Something that comes into play is what is known as the Familiarity Principle. This is a behavior in psychology that resembles people behaving and being attracted to certain things in life because that is what they are used to, both good and bad. For example, Caroline grew up in a cheating home, so that is what she was used to being around, thus attracting her to Byron for his resemblance to her familiarities. This term is also a key element to explain why women tend to marry men who look and act like their fathers.

Though some things are clear takeaways you have gotten from your family dynamic, some might be subconscious and could dictate your decisions without realizing it. For instance, alcoholism, lack of control, lack of empathy, and criticism are all things you may have fostered growing up.

Myth 2: It Is Easy to Identify A Dysfunctional Relationship

Something to note about Byron is that he has a deformed foot, inhibiting him from dancing. Caroline used that as a way to make him jealous and enrage his insecurities. She would dance with other men in front of him, and in retaliation, Byron would flirt with other women, both actively trying to hurt each other. Byron even tried forcing Caroline to tell him that she loved him more than her husband, which she ultimately refused to do. This is pretty clear to see as dysfunctional, but it is not always that prominent. There are other smaller ways that can make spotting a toxic relationship more challenging.

Micro-Expressions: When you smile or move your face around, you notice it. But there are certain facial tics that you do without being aware of happening. As each second goes by, your face does an array of movements that go unnoticed, and this is called micro-expressions. Using this as a way to see the connection between couples, a study was done to analyze facial features between couples to discover dysfunctionality. During that said study, they found that the one expression that had a 94% predictability rate of a relationship that will not last was disgust. Once a person features disgust towards their partner, there is a good chance it will not work out.

Familiar Unnoticed Expressions: Another way to see if a relationship is not going to work or is unhealthy is if your love is going unnoticed. When someone is expressing love, and that action is ignored, it builds resentment, and that resentment then manifests into disgust. If you are the person feeling unappreciated, then keep an eye on your behaviors and see if you reach the point of feeling disgusted, because once you get there, it might be hard to get out of it.

Myth 3: Dysfunctional Relationships are Doomed

At the end of Byron and Caroline’s relationship, Byron was leaving for good. As he was packing his bags, Caroline showed up in disguise with a crowd of people behind her, making a scene that ultimately ruined both their reputations. She threatened to stab herself if Byron left, but he ended up going anyways. Up to this point, with the endless public sabotaging and Caroline accusing Byron of criminal incest and the corruption of young boys, they became firm enemies and remained that way until Bryon died at the age of 36.

Now the big question is, could they have worked it out? Gearing towards you, do you think you have anything worth saving within the relationship to make it work? Though the odds may be against you, if you believe something is still there that is good, the best thing you can do is utilize the Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio is the idea of ensuring you state at least five good things for every negative or critical thing. The good and bad is not a 50/50 scenario, and there needs to be more positivity in the relationship than not. Though more good statements are always better, those who at least said five heartfelt affirmations for every criticism, those couples were five times more likely to stay together. However, if there is no hope to fix the relationship, let it go and move on before any more damage is caused.

What Now?

In the end, make sure there is no score counting, no fake supportiveness, and no forced interactions. It needs to be genuine, raw, and real to make it work and worth fighting for. Always know your self-worth, what you deserve, and be mindful of dysfunctional behavior from both your partner and you that you find false comfort in. Furthermore, really dig deep into the misconceptions you host so you can truly transform into a better version for yourself to attract, grow, and foster healthy relationships.

Todd Lemense