Recently, I’ve been helping a friend who has been stuck in a toxic relationship for the past 6 months. I have a hard time helping her because I can’t understand why she would want to be with someone who half the time is great, and half the time horrible. He is unappreciative and rude to her most of the time. It seems simple to me for her to leave the relationship and completely forget about him. However, after reading an article I found on psychologytoday.com, I understand why that is so hard for her. As stated in the article, although we have been programed to make life as enjoyable and happy as possible, sometimes toxic relationships are hard to avoid.
The article talks about reasons that my friend could possibly still want to be in this relationship could have to do with the way she grew up. The article explains that if my friend grew up with a relationship with her parents similar to her relationship with her romantic partner, she may perceive this behavior as acceptable. She could believe that, “if you are nice to me, you are allowed to hurt me.” (psychologytoday.com). This would relate to the psychology concept of nurture, and learning behavior.
Another reason that my friend wants to stay in this toxic relationship is because of chemical reactions in the brain. The article refers to the chemical dopamine, which is responsible for feeling happy, being released during lust. Also, being in this unpredictable relationship creates adrenaline in the brain. The article says, “Adrenaline is a stimulant. Stimulants are addictive. In terms of neuro chemicals, you can think of dopamine as straight whiskey, adrenaline as beer, and the brain as a boozehound.”(psychologytoday.com). This explanation relates to the psychology concept of neurons and chemicals in the brain.
The article suggests that the way to escape a toxic relationship like the one my friend is in, is to learn why she wants to be in this relationship. She needs to realize that the reason she wants to be in this relationship is because of subconscious psychology and chemicals in the brain.