13 Lies I Believed About Relationships Growing Up With Parents in a Toxic Marriage

By: Nour Jumma

It is genuinely a blessing to have parents that have a loving marriage. Love/relationships are hard. They take a lot of work, commitment, compromise, and patience. This is practically tripled when a kid is involved. It’s safe to say that a lot of children’s first guides on how to interact with other people is based on how their parents (or parental figures) interact with each other and people around them. This makes early developmental years extremely crucial in a person’s life. When these years are faced with heavy toxicity and a general negative environment, a child’s development process adapts certain ideals about love and relationships, terrible ones to say the least. 

“Toxic” seems to be the word of the year (along with “cancelled” and “corona”). And having a toxic relationship with a parent is one thing, but having parents that are in a toxic relationship mawal tany khales. Being exposed to that kind of bullshit, shallow not-really-love brings forward a number of lies about relationships, love, and marriage. On a personal note, I myself have a deeply-seeded hatred for marriage. I’ve always said “I never wanna get married”. Independent woman w kollo, but I never want to put myself or my hypothetical kids in a situation like the many situations I’ve been in. So, here are lies I believed (and eventually discredited) because of my in-a-toxic-marriage parents. 

PS, this is all extremely subjective and is my own opinion. Your views on love and relationships will most definitely differ to my own interpretations. 

  1. “You and your insecurities are one.”

When it comes to loving someone else, your own personal insecurities play a big role in how you love them, how you expect them to love you, and how you let them love you. When you witness the supposed ideal image of ‘love’ tarnished with throwing each other’s insecurities in the other’s face 24/7, you’re bound to think that this is how you argue with the person you love.

  1. “Love is supposed to be stressful.”

Love is difficult, sure. But is it really supposed to be stressful? The whole point of being in a marriage is supposed to take away the stress factor of your life as much as possible. You shouldn’t have to feel a wave of tension crash every time both parents are in the same room.

  1. “This is the only image of love.”

I can not stress enough how different people can love in extremely contrasting ways. There isn’t really “one” way to be in a loving, committed relationship. It’s not really black and white. I think love poses one of the biggest gray areas of life. What’s love to you isn’t love for many others. Which is why your parents love (or lack thereof) doesn’t represent merely a fraction of all the extraordinary types of love and relations there are.

  1. “Maleesh da3wa”

La2a. Leek w leek da3wa. You have literally vowed to share your lives together for the rest of time. Ely tekhoseny, yekhosek. Whatever affects me, affects you.

  1. “You have to prioritize them over yourself.”

Bullshit. At any given moment, you have to be your own first priority, and they have to be their own too. Mesh betfeedo ba3d when you put each other above yourselves because then you doubt that the other person prioritises you the way you do them. This helps both loathing and resentment grow.

  1. “A marriage is supposed to be boundary free.”

Setting boundaries can be the thing that ‘saves’ a relationship. You have to draw lines, place edges and say “this is as much as I am allowing in us”. Especially in long-term relationships, where ‘you’ and ‘us’ tends to blur.

  1. “If you wanna get what you want, manipulation is key.”

I can’t count the times I’ve seen parents manipulate each other. And for what? You’re supposed to be this person’s backbone, and this is how you go and treat them? A strong testament to the types of relationships you should/shouldn’t be in.

  1. “The more details you pick apart the stronger your argument.”

Fights/arguments shouldn’t be about “winning”, and they definitely shouldn’t be about who can criticise and pick apart the other one more. When you tear down your partner, you create a rabbit hole of slowly nicking at each other’s self-esteem, confidence, self-worth, and most significantly, question the other’s love.

  1. “‘I’m sorry’ is a superficial shiny ring or bracelet.”

Apologies are a tricky thing in relationships. You can’t just ‘sorry’ something away. Proper apologies start with consistent change, and not a pretty necklace. You can’t bury or distract a problem with material. It will come back.

  1. “Relationship + disagreement = you vs. them”

As cliche and as overtold as it is, in moments of anger and frustration, it’s hard to remember that your partner isn’t really against you in this. It could genuinely take a while for both people in the relationship to understand the difference between me vs you, and us vs. something that’s bothering us (or one of us). A healthy, loving relation does not depict a you vs. me picture.

  1. “Sometimes you have to walk on eggshells around your partner.” 

If you have to deliberately go out of your way to not hurt your partner or your relationship, then you have to re-evaluate how your relationship is set, what boundaries either of you have set, what you do hurt them so much, and why you’re doing these things/where it’s coming from.

  1. “You will always be the victim in an argument.”

Stop victimising yourself always. It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. It’s the healthiest sign in a relationship. Pride and ego have no place when it comes to loving someone unconditionally.

  1. “Love is a competition.”

It is absolutely not. It is not about one-upping the other. It isn’t about who can prove they love the other more. This creates space for small and petty arguments that distract from the fact that, you dumbass, I love you. It is also not competing with other couples. “Bos howa gablaha 3arabeya gdeeda lama etgawezo wenta magebtleesh, el nas 7at2ool eh?” Fuck that. Your relationship is yours, and no one else’s. Don’t treat it like every moment of it should be on your Instagram page. 

But what the fuck do I know, huh? At the end of the day, relationships are something we learn, heal, and grow from everyday. All of us have our own coping mechanisms, how we show affection, and the different things that actually matter to us when it comes to committing to someone else. 

All I’m saying is, you are not your parents. You and your partner are not gonna necessarily end up like your parents. Fearing relationships or marriage because of the number of examples you see around you can take away from you one of the sweetest connections in life (or so I’m told).

Stay kind, 

  • NKJ

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