Stay Away From Toxic Relationships and Trauma Bonds

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toxic relationships

For anyone who’s ever been in toxic relationships, this podcast episode with Dr. Michelle Skeen is for you!

Dr. Michelle Skeen has a doctorate in clinical psychology, and she is the author of eight books, including her latest book, “Why Can’t I Let You Go”. Her books are designed to enhance relationships by emphasizing the importance of identifying core beliefs that are keeping you stuck in limited thinking and unhelpful behavioral patterns. She also helps people with useful tools, such as a focus on values, mindfulness, self-compassion, effective communication, and conflict resolution skills.  

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • Understanding Your Attachment Style and Temperament
  • The Core of the Relationship Trauma Bond 
  • Trauma-Bonding Coping Behaviors
  • Relationship Trauma-Bond Traps 
  • End Toxic Communication
  • A Map for Navigating Your New Path

EP 595: Michelle Skeen – Stay Away From Toxic Relationships and Trauma Bonds

Why did you write WHY CAN’T I LET YOU GO, and what is it about?

Trauma bonds and toxic relationships are so draining, and sometimes we don’t realize how bad they are until we’re out. I had written a book called “Love Me Don’t Leave Me” about fear of abandonment. My clients had read the book and wanted to do additional work. Our core beliefs lead us to pick the wrong people and stay in bad relationships. It’s so difficult to let go of these partners. Understanding why we get stuck is so important, which is why I wrote this book. Once you’re aware of the issues, it empowers you to help make better choices.

What are the warning signs that a person is in a toxic relationship or relationship trauma bond?

A trauma bond is being in a relationship with someone who is similar to someone in your past who traumatized you. We know what to expect and like certainty. Initially, it feels very comforting. But, it’s very unhealthy, not value driven behaviors. You don’t feel good about yourself. They may belittle you or control you or make you feel less-than so you feel you need them.

Toxic relationships are trauma-bound light, where you feel your partner does these awful things and you don’t do anything wrong. But you are not engaging in value-driven behavior. You’re engaging in unhealthy behaviors. 

What are some important things to understand about yourself in order to stop getting into toxic relationships?

Our core beliefs come from our childhood that sets us up for fear of abandonment, feeling defective, mistrusting, etc. The way we behave to NOT be abandoned as children no longer serves us in adulthood. But, it’s difficult to change these behaviors (such as people-pleasing, not speaking up, setting boundaries, etc.)

If someone wants to release themselves from negative or toxic relationship patterns, what do you recommend they do?

It’s important to understand your personal history, attachment style, and temperament in order to release yourself from negative patterns and toxic relationships. There’s a temperament model I use to identify people’s temperament. There are the nine measures: activity level, distractibility, response, rhythmicity and regularity, sensory sensitivity, response to new things, ability to adapt, attention span, disposition. 

What are some unhealthy coping behaviors, and how can people change them? 

Some unhealthy coping behaviors are people pleasing, not speaking up, being reactive, not setting boundaries. To change, learn how to process your feelings so you respond and don’t react. Learn how to speak up, center yourself, set boundaries early on, and stop people-pleasing.

WHY CAN’T I LET YOU GO? Includes many tools that readers can use to free themselves from toxic relationships or trauma bonds.  Please tell us a little about these tools.

Identify your core beliefs and values driven behaviors. Learn how to communicate better, practice self compassion. Learn your attachment style and temperament. Don’t give lots of chances to toxic relationships. 

Identify your Core Beliefs: (based on schema therapy) 

  1. Abandonment
  2. Mistrust and abuse
  3. Emotional depravation
  4. Defectiveness
  5. Dependence
  6. Failure
  7. Subjugation 

What are your final words of advice for anyone who wants to go on their last first date?

Understand yourself before dating, and don’t change for a person you don’t even know!

Connect with Michelle

Website: https://www.michelleskeen.com/ 

Why Can’t I Let You Go Book https://amzn.to/3OdDPp5 

Watch this episode on YouTube


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