Toxic relationships can leave a lasting impact on our lives, long after they have ended. One common effect of such relationships is the tendency to second guess ourselves. This article aims to shed light on why we often doubt our decisions and abilities after being in a toxic relationship. Understanding these reasons can help us heal and regain our self-confidence.
1. Manipulation and Gaslighting
Toxic relationships often involve manipulation and gaslighting, which can make us question our own judgment and reality. Manipulative partners constantly undermine our self-esteem and make us doubt our own feelings and perceptions. This constant emotional manipulation can lead us to second guess ourselves in other areas of our lives as well.
2. Loss of Boundaries
In toxic relationships, boundaries are often disregarded or violated. Over time, we may lose sight of our own needs, desires, and values. This loss of boundaries can make us doubt our own judgment and decisions, as we become accustomed to prioritizing the other person’s needs over our own. We may question whether we are capable of making sound decisions or if our own needs and wants are valid.
3. Emotional Trauma
Toxic relationships can cause significant emotional trauma. The emotional abuse and constant negativity can leave deep scars on our self-esteem and self-worth. This trauma can manifest as self-doubt and a lack of confidence in our own abilities, leading us to second guess ourselves even in unrelated areas of our lives.
4. Fear of Repeating the Same Mistakes
After experiencing a toxic relationship, we may develop a fear of repeating the same patterns in future relationships or life situations. This fear can lead to excessive self-reflection and self-doubt, as we constantly question our choices and actions to ensure we do not fall into the same patterns again.
5. External Validation
Toxic relationships often involve an imbalance of power, with one partner asserting control and dominance over the other. This can lead to a reliance on external validation and approval. After the relationship ends, we may struggle to trust our own judgment and seek validation from others to confirm our decisions. This constant need for external validation can contribute to our tendency to second guess ourselves.
It is important to recognize and understand why we second guess ourselves after a toxic relationship. By acknowledging the impact of manipulation, loss of boundaries, emotional trauma, fear of repeating patterns, and the need for external validation, we can begin the healing process. Rebuilding our self-esteem and regaining our self-confidence takes time, but with self-reflection, support from loved ones, and professional help if needed, we can overcome the effects of a toxic relationship and move forward with strength and resilience.
For additional support check out my book Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love, or join my community of others healing from codependency and toxic relationships, or check out my therapy and coaching packages.