Many of us don’t understand why we can’t stay away even after we learn how toxic they are to us. We must remember they have brainwashed us. Like a salesman, they keep us coming back with the lure, the promise and the hook.
They are master manipulators. They know how to make us feel guilty, so we will come back for absolution. They know how to make us feel sorry for them, so we will offer to help them. They know how to promise great things, so we will return in hopes that it will be different this time. They know how to make us doubt ourselves, so we will seek validation from them. Ultimately, they have trained us to return to them over and over again.
There is a principle in behaviorism called Random Reinforcement, which explains how inconsistent responses to identical behavior can lead to addiction. This same principle is precisely why slot machines and gambling are dangerously addictive. You get a big reward for a certain behavior on one occasion; other times, that same behavior leads to a huge loss or punishment.
The thrill that the next go-around might be the big pay-off or reward for a certain behavior keeps us coming back for more. We chase that high from the last time we were rewarded. Being in a relationship with a Toxic Personality is like a roller-coaster with incredible highs and unbelievable lows. When they make you feel good, they make you feel REALLY good and when they make you feel bad, watch out.
As a result, we get caught in a cycle of chasing that next high, hoping that if we weather the storm, the next moment will bring the return of the good again. Unfortunately, the good never returns permanently. The Toxic Personality knows by rewarding us intermittently, we remain hooked. They keep us on our toes guessing and always ensure we are left wanting more from them.
That is part of the lure (the hook) and they use it to their advantage. They are brilliant manipulators and know what they’re doing every step of the way. They enjoy punishing us as much as they enjoy rewarding us. It’s all part of a master plan to keep us under their control.
They have conditioned us to believe we can’t live without them. They want to keep us confused and coming back to them so they can keep using us forever. It takes a lot of time and effort for us to finally realize we are actually better off on our own.
It is for this reason support forums like ours are so important when coming out of a relationship with a Toxic Personality. We need to deprogram from them and talk to others who understand what we’re going through. No one understands like those who have been through it themselves and the support we give one another to establish and maintain No Contact is essential.