Why Nostalgia Keeps you in Toxic Relationships
Do you ever think why it is so hard to end a relationship that you know is toxic? In her book Daring Greatly, author Brene Brown said, “Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare ourselves and our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed.”
Are you really mourning the end of your relationship? Or are you mourning the end of a relationship that never really existed? It’s easy for you to cling on to small amounts of idealizing/loving behavior that went on in the past. Narcissists are experts at misusing your memory of the good times to keep you trapped in the manipulative cycle. They might promise that things will return to ‘the way they were,’ but were things ever that great? Or was that just part of the love bombing/devaluing/discarding cycle?
Your past is not going to come back no matter what. Wasting time 'remembering' happy and wishful moments prevents you from being present. The discomfort you’re feeling now is actually good. It’s good because it provides an impetus to grow, develop, and change. Without discomfort, conflict, and contrast, you would stay in the same place.
Nostalgia is nothing more than an emotion that keeps you trapped in the past. It's especially hard to let go of those comforting feelings when times are tough and it feels like happy memories of the past are all that you have. By identifying what you don't want--instead of running away or numbing yourself from being uncomfortable--you can readily identify what you do want, and work to get there.
Either way, you must stay focused on the hope and possibilities in the future. Realize that the past can never repeat itself, so those good times will never, ever be repeated. You can, however, build new happy memories.