Emotionally Trapped in Relationship

“I can’t endure you, I can’t change you, and I can’t leave you.” This is the first sentence of the article written by Randi Gunther entitled “Emotionally Trapped.”  Featured in Psychology Today, Gunther writes about the emotional entrapment that can often occur in relationships, describing it as such:

“The partners who feels controlled within them often describe their partners as seemingly two different people, one whose qualities they still are attracted to and one who hurts them without apparent remorse. Torn between these two behavioral extremes, they feel sought after and desired in some moments and discarded or derided in others. They want to, and need to escape from the invalidating and erasing behaviors, but cannot let go of those that make them feel desirable.”

She goes on to describe the nine most common reasons that one may stay in a relationship of emotional entrapment. Three that stood out include:

  • “You are with a partner who is an addict. Your experience of your partner as two people is real. One may act significantly differently when using or when sober. You may feel seduced by his or her sincere promises to quit, only to watch another relapse. Your entrapment is the belief your partner’s sober side will triumph over time.”
  • “You are a love addict. Are you a person who is in love with love and will pay most any price to experience it, even if the cost is painfully high? If you fall into that category, you may be willing to endure any discomfort as long as the love part of your relationship remains intact.”
  • “You believe you are trying to save your partner. Are you in a relationship with someone who tells you he or she has never felt loved and you will be the one who rectifies this terrible situation? Some people truly believe that, if they just love deeply and long enough, they will be the one who can make the difference where all others have failed. Their partner has just “not met the right person who can make him or her whole.”

Beginning to understand the reason we may stay in a relationship of emotional entrapment is the first step in moving towards leaving it. Convincing yourself that the relationship ‘stands a chance,’ unfortunately keeps you trapped.

To read the full article (it is worth the time!): https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rediscovering-love/202002/emotionally-trapped

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@andreas_haslinger

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