You finally left behind your on/off toxic relationship which almost destroyed you from the inside out; you went no contact, went through the healing process, learnt how to love yourself again, and have now entered into a new relationship only for it to feel less intense, less exciting and predictable.
Here are a few reasons why:
Familiarity breeds contempt!
A film review of your previous relationship would read something like this:
‘A multi Grammy-Award winning blockbuster featuring a high octave, spine-tingling rip-roaring highs of drama and a familiar, charismatic stellar cast which seduces it’s audiences by tuning into their frequency of dysfunction on an unconscious level.’
We are generally attracted to people based on what feels familiar to us on a subconscious level – which is why if you grew up in a household with controlling parents your ex/exes may have been of a controlling nature and all though red flags were being raised from the initial attraction, you ignored them because you felt safe and secure, it was all you knew…at the time.
Fast forward to your current relationship, you have learnt more about yourself, healthy relationships in general and have made the decision to enter a new relationship on a conscious level. Despite this choice you have gone off into uncharted waters, outside your comfort zone and have entered foreign lands.
The white flag is raised yet you feel a strangeness.
Nothing is wrong here except perhaps you have never experienced a healthy relationship before, through your healing process and development of self -awareness, you’re vibrating on a higher frequency and have outlined a new criteria for yourself and the universe has responded.
Developing awareness of the patterns which were leading you into choosing partners who were abusive, disrespectful and damaging your self-esteem has now enabled you to attract the partner whom you wish to date.
What you’re experiencing now is fear – we are creatures of habits and although the toxic relationship was dysfunctional it was what we knew, in some ways we felt safe and secure with it because it was familiar.
Stay with these feeling of being uncomfortable, healthy relationships will too become familiar and you will no longer settle for less.
We were high!
In our previous relationships we were high on drugs – dopamine and serotonin that is! Drugs produced naturally by our bodies!
These are the hormones responsible for the high we feel when we experience pleasure, euphoria or anything associated to receiving a reward (our bodies are incredible)
Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter associated with attention, wanting, driving, motivation and the anticipation of reward.
Serotonin regulates moods and is the chemistry associated with giving the brain a feeling of calm and stability
Toxic relationships hooks you on these “drugs”– think back to your feelings during the ‘honeymoon phase’ you were unwittingly idolised and ‘love-bombed’; your partner seemed kind, compassionate… everything you wanted… thus you experienced high doses of dopamine.
As you continued on within the toxic relationship swinging through the painful cycles of abuse such as being devalued and other abuse tactics used – your body began to crave dopamine.
When I was involved in a toxic relationship with a person suffering with narcissistic personality disorder the cycle pattern of love-bombing, devaluation and discard kept me running on the hamster wheel waiting in anticipation for a reward, and although your partner is simultaneously abusing you and rescuing you, cognitive dissonance also takes it hold leading you to self deceive.
Your abusive ex partner also becomes your “saviour” giving you your dose of dopamine by ending the silent treatment or returning to you suddenly after abandoning you without warning or idolising you once more.
A healthy relationship doesn’t experience such extreme highs and lows therefore the shift in this chemical balance will not be giving you the same dosage you experienced previously.
Breaking the trauma bonds
You’re no longer bound by the chaos which reeled you in during the cycles of abuse, therefore the trauma bonding which you experienced through “Intermittent Reinforcement” of punishment and reward will be non-existent in your current relationship – leading you to question whether your new partner is right for you as your previous partner ‘felt like your soulmate’ or ‘you and _______ had a stronger connection’ which you worry you will never experience again.
A relationship with an abuser was built around false hopes and false promises, we fell in love with an illusion, a facade which kept us “connected” We saw glimpses of this promise filling us with hope and along with the inconsistency of the abuser, the neurochemistry within our bodies – created the perfect conditions for this intensity within the relationship.
You previously believed love had to be a war-zone for it to be real, now that you have developed self-love you know this isn’t true.
Love is not a roller-coaster.