Jake and Steve continues the discussion with Steve Barcia about toxic relationships in this two part series, as they close it off by digging deeper on how people use relationships to fill a void within themselves.

An addictive relationship is basically one that brings you pain, embodies a love/hate dynamic, and is frequently disrupted by conflicts, dissatisfactions, and emotional or even physical violence. It is addictive because despite being aware of how dysfunctional the relationship is, you keep buying into the dynamics, you keep participating in the conflict, you keep being focused on what the other person is doing wrong and what the other person needs to do to make things right.

The only way out of an addictive relationship is to change how you function, what you’re willing to put up with, and to develop the courage to make changes. If you’re trying to return to better days within the relationship, then you may be returning to the same problems that you previously experienced. Rather, you should reach for a newness within your dysfunctional relationship.

The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way. This same acceptance has to be applied to your own feelings, wants and needs as well. By accepting yourself and your partner just as you are, you have the basis of accurate information to use to create new solutions in your life.

The truth is that anytime you try to distract yourself from feeling what you’re feeling, you’re avoiding the fact that you’re not whole. Something is missing, damaged or broken, and until you face it, no person or thing will ever make you feel complete.

You have to take time to be with yourself, without another person or thing to fill the void in your heart and soul, all that’s left to do is feel it. Feel the emptiness or the pain. The hurt, fear and loss. To take a good, hard look at what’s missing, what you left behind and the parts you’ve ignored.

Because when you heal the hurts and fill the voids with your own love, light and self, you become whole again. When you’re whole, you feel a sense of joy and fulfillment that no outside person or thing can replicate. These outside circumstances will simply heighten the feelings you’re already experiencing.

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