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The Toxic Relationship Pattern

Updated: Jan 14

In the beginning of a toxic relationship you may consider this relationship to be some or all the of the following ...

~exciting ~fairy tail ~seductive ~intoxicating ~soul mates

~a lot of attention ~euphoric

~instant attraction ~moving fast

~understood ~generous ~extravagant gifts

~quick love ~magical connection

~remember everything about you

This is often referred to as Love Bombing. They treat you like you are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to them.

But things slowly begin to change after they know they have you (you say you are in love, you move in together, you open up to them). Then the following starts to happen.....


~little digs ~subtle put downs

~comparison to others

~laugh at your dreams ~use of guilt

~shaming ~nit picking

~contemptuous ~hurtful teasing

~irrational reactions ~arguments

Once these things happen you will usually self-blame and think to yourself; "Things were so wonderful in the beginning, what happened, it must be my fault."

You recognize this isn't healthy so you may distance yourself, start to pull away, you may even be the one to break up. They may do any or all of the following during the discard faze....


~lying ~cheating

~silent treatment

~use your vulnerabilities to hurt you

~deeper manipulation

~threat of break up or do break up

But, once they don't "have you" anymore they will change to get you back. You may feel like things are back to normal, or like they were in the beginning when you were both in love with eachother. This is the hoovering faze, to suck you back in ....


~gifts ~attention

~love bombing round 2

~say flattering things

~admit they were wrong

~say you are the only one they want

If you are strong you may resist which will lead to their desperate attempts to get you back by promising things they know you want. This faze is called future faking because they have no intention of following through with their promises.

Future Faking

~promise therapy ~promise to change ~promise to work on things

~promise what you want

The cycle I've explained causes a trauma bond.

Trauma Bond

A cycle of emotional addiction, with intense ups and downs, where you keep coming back in hopes that the behaviors will change.

This bond is so powerful that the rational brain can be aware of the dysfunction, but you feel powerless to leave. The re-enactment of this dynamic feels like “soul-mates” or a deep connection; you believe you need each other because you can’t stay away from each other.

There are of other tactics and terms associated with narcissistic abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological abuse. What I've explained so far is the basic cycle of a toxic relationship.

Some people say that all relationships are hard. You may believe you just have to work harder to turn this relationship back into the bliss you felt in the beginning. But, though any relationship has its ups and downs, the difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic relationship is mutual respect.

Someone who loves you will not intentionally hurt you to get what they want. An example of intentional manipulation is often referred to as gaslighting. The term comes from the 1938 play Angel Street, which Alfred Hitchock later adapted into the film Gaslight. In the film a man tries to convince his wife that she is going insane so he can steal from her. When he turns on the lights in the attic to search for her jewelry collection, and the gas lights dim downstairs, he tells her it’s all in her imagination. Gradually she begins to question her own memories and perceptions.


(A tactic used to groom you, and test the waters)

~doubt in your reality ~accusations

~denial of the truth in a manipulative manor

~skilled lie to make you believe you remember wrong

~when you react they cause you to believe you are forgetful or mentally ill

Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation. The abuser will attempt to sow seeds of self-doubt and confusion in your mind. They usually do this to gain power and control, by distorting reality. This naturally forces you to question your own judgment and intuition.

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