I’ve heard the term banded around… I sort of get the poisonous innuendo- but couldn’t totally unpack whether ‘toxic’ was another term for ‘unhealthy’ or whether there was something peculiar to the term. I’ve had plenty of unhealthy relationships- dependent, abusive, ‘co-dependent’ but I’m not sure I would have added toxic to the list! In my session on Friday, Penelope and I were trying to unpack a relationship that has gone a little bit awry… she used the term, and it got me thinking.
Penelope described toxic relationships as those that look like a beautiful sweet, wrapped in attractive shiny paper- but when the paper is unwrapped it unveils a poisonous sweet. The wrapper is far more attractive than the content- not only that, the wrapper entices you in to eat the poison. This description got me thinking of other analogies… a stunning flower, beckoning you to come and smell it, admire it, maybe even touch it- as you bend over to partake of its fragrance, you realise with horror that it is actually a venus fly trap and before you can move away quick enough, you have been bitten, trapped, suffocating to death.
I’m not sure I can yet admit that this particular relationship was actually toxic, or whether I’ve had other toxic relationships… but what I can admit is that I can relate to that feeling of being allured in- beguiled into believing that something can offer some relief to my internal pain and before I know it I’m suffocating… that sounds pretty toxic to me.