Romantic Relationships and Toxic Love - the Dysfunctional Norm

"The gift of touch is an incredibly wonderful gift. One of the reasons we are here is to touch each other physically as well as Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Touch is not bad or shameful. Our creator did not give us sensual and sexual sensations that feel so wonderful just to set us up to fail some perverted, sadistic life test. Any concept of god that includes the belief that the flesh and the Spirit cannot be integrated, that we will be punished for honoring our powerful human desires and needs, is - in my belief - a sadly twisted, distorted, and false concept that is reversed to the Truth of a Loving God-Force.

We need to strive for balance and integration in our relationships. We need to touch in healthy, appropriate, emotionally honest ways - so that we can honor our human bodies and the gift that is physical touch.

Making Love is a celebration and a way of honoring the Masculine and Feminine Energy of the Universe (and the masculine and feminine energy within no matter what genders are involved), a way of honoring its perfect interaction and harmony. It is a blessed way of honoring the Creative Source.

One of the most blessed and beautiful gifts of being in body is the ability to feel on a sensual level. . . By striving for integration and balance we can start to enjoy our human experience - on a sensual level as well as on the emotional, mental, and Spiritual levels."

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

"Everything on the physical plane is a reflection of other levels. Ultimately, the strong sexual and sensual desires of human beings really have very little to do with the actual physical act of sex - the True compulsion to unite is about our wounded souls, about our endless, aching need to go home to the God/Goddess Energy. We want to reunite in ONENESS - in LOVE - because that is our True home."

continue story below

"It is not shameful to be human. It is not shameful to have a sex drive. It is not shameful to have emotional needs. Human beings need to be touched. Way too many of us are starving for touch and affection - and we have acted out sexually in dysfunctional ways to try to get those needs met which often causes us to be bitter and resentful (at the bottom of any resentment is the need to forgive ourselves.) In our codependent extremes we swing between picking the wrong people and isolating ourselves. We believe - because of our experience in reacting out of our disease - that the only choices are between an unhealthy relationship and being alone. It is tragic and sad.

It is tragic and sad that we live in a society where it is so hard for people to connect in a healthy way. It tragic and sad that we live in a society where so many people are touch deprived. But it is not shameful. We are human. We are wounded. We are products of the cultural environments we were raised in. We need to take the shame out of our relationship with our selves, and all the parts of our self, so that we can be healing our wounds enough to be able to make responsible choices. (re - sponse - able, as in ability to respond instead of just react our of old tapes and old wounds.)"

Web Page: "About Jesus & Mary Magdalene - Jesus, sexuality, & the bible"

Romantic Relationships and Toxic Love

One of the saddest aspects of Codependency is how hard it makes it for us to connect on an intimate level.

The type of love we learned about growing up is toxic love.

Toxic Love

"As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims"

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

True Love is not a painful obsession. It is not taking a hostage or being a hostage. It is not all-consuming, isolating, or constricting. Unfortunately the type of love most of us learned about as children is in fact an addiction, a form of toxic love. "I can't smile without you," "I can't live without you," "Someday my prince/princess will come" are not healthy messages. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship - it is natural and healthy. Believing we can't be whole or happy without a relationship is unhealthy and leads us to accept deprivation and abuse, and to engage in manipulation, dishonesty, and power struggles.

Here is a short list of the characteristics of Love vs. toxic love (compiled with the help of the work of Melody Beattie & Terence Gorski.)


Love: Development of self first priority. Toxic love: Obsession with relationship.
Love: Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow. Toxic love: Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love - may really be fear, insecurity, loneliness.
Love: Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships. Toxic love: Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.
Love: Encouragement of each other's expanding; secure in own worth. Toxic love: Preoccupation with other's behavior; fear of other changing.
Love: Appropriate Trust (trusting partner to behave according to fundamental nature.) Toxic love: Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects "supply."
Love: Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together. Toxic love: Power plays for control; blaming; passive or aggressive manipulation.
Love: Embracing of each other's individuality. Toxic love: Trying to change other to own image.
Love: Relationship deals with all aspects of reality. Toxic love: Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.
Love: Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other's mood. Toxic love: Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
Love: Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.) Toxic love: Fusion (being obsessed with each other's problems and feelings.)
Love: Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship. Toxic love: Pressure around sex due to fear, insecurity & need for immediate gratification.
Love: Ability to enjoy being alone. Toxic love: Unable to endure separation; clinging.
Love: Cycle of comfort and contentment. Toxic love: Cycle of pain and despair.

Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then something is not working.

next: Romantic Relationships and Toxic Love - the Dysfunctional Norm Relationships and Valentine's Day

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 1). Romantic Relationships and Toxic Love - the Dysfunctional Norm, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: August 7, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info