TikToker Uses Gambling Metaphor to Explain Toxic Relationships
I’ll never forget the moment I realized that my ex-girlfriend’s and my relationship was toxic. I was at a friend’s birthday party, and everyone was talking, laughing, playing cards and having fun. In the middle of everything, I found myself shaking while staring down at my phone, waiting for yet another abusive text from her (we’ll call her Kinzie). She told me a few months into dating that she didn’t want me hanging around other people, even though we were in a long-distance relationship. I had placed no kind of restrictions on her. She claimed that it was because she was afraid that I’d cheat on her — something I never did.
My phone kept going off during the party because I didn’t answer a SnapChat as quickly as she wanted me to. When I explained the circumstance, the wait for her response was agonizing. Like many others, I found myself trapped in a toxic relationship.
TikTok user @sonya_maya, a self-claimed doctorate student and bartender, posted a video entitled “PART XXII: PSYCHOLOGY: WHY WE CATCH THE FEELS for the wrong person.” Her video explained why we can’t seem to break it off with the person who hurts us the most, particularly in a romantic relationship.
@sonya_mayaPART XXII: PSYCHOLOGY: WHY WE CATCH THE FEELS for the wrong person ##fyp ##psychologyfacts ##funfacts ##learnontiktok ##dating ##single ##foryou ##dopamine♬ The Creepy Music Box (Psychological Thriller / Horror) – Film Music Experience
@Sonya_maya said, “Nothing creates an addiction like an inconsistent reward.”
She explains that relationships that use different standards of reciprocation between partners is much like gambling. You get such a rush when you finally hear from this toxic person, the brain releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter created by the body that elevates feelings of pleasure. Because we get such a physical and psychological high, we often keep ourselves trapped and unable to break up.
She also says that the internal anticipation while waiting for the person’s response to the attention we give them is often better than the feelings we get when we’re in their presence.
After my friend’s party, it took me seven more months to break it off with Kinzie. The rush of her finding me attractive and my finally receiving affection after her manipulations kept me coming back for more.
@sonya_maya concludes her TikTok saying that the best way trapped individuals can stop caring so much is to remember why they’re attracted to the toxic person.
Two months before my breakup, I began deeply analyzing Kinzie’s and my relationship. By this time, I knew she had cheated on me with three different people (I found later there were more), and began remembering the abusive things she said, particularly how she no longer found me attractive since I’d lost so much weight because of my eating disorder.
I finally recognized that I no longer wanted to have a relationship with someone who only loved me when it was convenient.
After three years of singleness and learning who I was, attending therapy and discovering what I deserved in a relationship, I just happened to find my current partner with whom I have a very healthy relationship.
If you’re trapped in a toxic relationship, I encourage you to take some time to think about what still holds the two of you together in that space. If you have to search hard for the reasons, you know what you need to do.
Screenshot via @Sonya_maya