This post is a continuation of my last post Toxic Relationships – Recognizing one. Realizing your in a toxic relationship and getting to that crossroads point is never easy. You may keep yourself in denial and act as if this relationship is worth keeping. Everyone must decide this for themselves. But being in denial means keeping yourself confined to negativity. This negativity could be apparent or it could be deeply rooted from being accustomed to suppressed feelings. When we make a choice to stay in bad relationships, we learn to find a somewhat twisted comfort in this negativity. Ultimately, this is what makes a relationship toxic, and let me tell you this is the worse kind of relationship. It slowly kills you mentally, emotionally, and even physically. If you can’t get behind this idea, maybe it will help to explain the proven, biological, and scientific reasons why its time to walk away from this slow death.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is released from the adrenal glands, above every humans kidneys. If you’re not familiar with hormones and their effects on the body, I’ll try to simply explain to you how they work and why they’re important. Hormones control pretty much everything in the body, yet are often over looked in regards to importance because they are microscopic chemical messengers that cannot be seen by the naked eye. We couldn’t digest food, move our legs, feel emotions, think for ourselves, control our body temperature, reproduce, or perform sex if it wasn’t for hormones. Hormones initiate every bodily function and process – so yes they are imperative to life.
So why is cortisol important? Well, cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. When we are stressed out, in this case because of a toxic relationship, our bodies release the cortisol hormone. Although it is bad to be releasing cortisol all the time, it is in fact our bodies mechanism for protection. How you may ask?
You see, our bodies generate energy from glucose, also known as a simple sugar. When we are stressed our brain receives signals which stimulate the fight or flight response. An example of the fight or flight response could be getting chased by a bear. You’d be pretty scared and stressed out, much like the feelings you experience when you’re involved in a stressful relationship. Cortisol would then be released because it stimulates glucose production, which would then give you the energy to run from the bear. In these moments all that really matters is your mind and muscles working to make a run for it. So digesting your lunch or fighting an infection gets postponed. When cortisol is constantly in the blood supply it does the same thing, it suppresses other normal functions that are so imperative for overall health. So even though our bodies are trying to help, overtime high cortisol levels do much more harm than good. Long story short corstiol can have the following negative effects when chronically stressed:
- Increased blood sugar which can lead to diabetes.
- Weight gain or obesity.
- Memory and concentration issues.
- Tummy troubles – I mean more than stomach aches. Compromised digestion and absorption of necessary nutrients.
- Weakened immune system which means more chance of infection, disease, allergies, and other illnesses.
- Lack of sex drive – some women’s menstrual cycle will change. Reproduction could be compromised.
- Loss of muscle.
- Cardiovascular disease – heart issues from high blood pressure and blood vessel damage.
- Addiction behaviors – smoking, drinking, drugs, eating, etc.
Any of these complications listed above can cause your health to go completely down the toilet. Anytime prolonged stress is involved your body is wreaking havoc on itself – everything gets out of wack, which leads to more and more issues as you stay stressed. This is a big deal and should not be taken lightly. Are you starting to see how this toxicity could and is slowly killing you?
Its Hard but its Worth it
It could be the greatest struggle you’ll ever have to overcome. Theres no point in trying to sugar coat things and say it will be easy. It will be hard. But if you’ve really done all you can to make something work yet it still isn’t, I guarantee you there will be a light at the end of that long tunnel. When making the real decision to walk away its super important to be honest with yourself. Love and/or relationships are not some fairy tail paradigm – never has been and never will be. Relationships take time, work, understating, effort, and a whole lot of love, on both ends – regardless of the type.
The point isn’t to dwell on the good times, the what ifs, the reasons why, the I’m sorrys, the fourth and fifth chances, or the story book plots we all wish to experience. Dwelling on these things will just drive you crazy and corner you into something that isn’t feasible any longer. Its also important to find comfort and any sort of strength within yourself to say, I’m not happy and that is not okay. Keeping a toxic relationship alive is your choice. Ultimately, you’re making a choice to devalue your happiness, the positive things you bring to the table, your self worth, your health, and ultimately your life. In the end, you’re the only one who can change that.