Do you wonder why the person who mistreated you seems to pursue you relentlessly after your relationship ends?
Do you find yourself asking why your emotionally unavailable ex-partners seemed to be the most available humans on earth after you leave them?
Although some people remain friends with their exes for a variety of reasons, but when a toxic ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend reaches out, there’s usually something deeper going on than just missing their former partners.
Don’t get carried away by their sweet words. Don’t start telling yourself that they are crawling back into your life because they are missing you; they may be trying to destroy you completely. Keep your eyes open.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that if their ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend reached out, it must be because they truly love and miss them.
They desperately want to believe in the illusion that a friendship with their ex-partner or some other dubious arrangement will fulfill their long-term needs. They may hope that this second chance provides a pathway for their ex to finally morph into the ideal partner they have desperately hoped and prayed for.
While there are people who can be friends with their ex-partners usually after they have taken the time to heal, when it comes to a toxic relationship where a person has continually demeaned you, the fantasy of establishing friendship after a break-up is far from reality.
After all, when someone has been a toxic relationship partner, it’s doubtful that he or she will be that great of a friend. This is why people shouldn’t allow loneliness push them back into the arms of toxic ex partners.
If you are dealing with a toxic narcissistic ex, the decision to reach out is usually one driven for the need to regain control over their former partners. Narcissists hate to fail or lose, so they will do what they can to maintain some connection if they didn’t make the choice to end it.
They also have inside information about their exes’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses that they can exploit and manipulate which gives them a sense of power and control. Such people don’t know how to love. They only know how to exploit other people.
When a toxic or abusive ex-partner reaches out or asks to stay friends, they are most likely looking to ensnare you back into the unhealthy dynamic that made the relationship lethal in the first place. This type of behavior is known as hoovering. It is named after the Hoover vacuum and aptly describes the way a malignant partner tries to suck you back into the traumatic vortex of the relationship long after its expiration date.
If you are dealing with a toxic ex-partner who also happens to be a malignant narcissist, watch out. Your reasons for allowing narcissistic ex-partners back into your life can be even deeper and darker – they go beyond everyday dysfunction and have to do with the effects of abuse.
They will ensnare you with mind-blowing sex that will cause you to stay attached to them. The biochemical bond you develop with toxic partners is inexplicably addictive. Sex only strengthens that bond by releasing oxytocin and keeping the reward circuits in your brain tied to your ex-partner. They will use sex to prevent you from properly detaching from the dysfunctional relationship.
Your toxic ex may have seemingly moved onto a new partner that love to stroke their ego, financially support them and tolerate their toxicity, but that doesn’t mean he or she is done with you just yet.
You are still valuable in the sense that you could be a good fallback person for whenever their new boyfriend or girlfriend falls short of their standards and moving goal posts. If you submit to their requests to remain friends, be assured that they will exploit your compassion and feed off of your emotions whenever they need a break from their new target.
The ability to stay friends with a toxic ex-partner may tempt you into believing that you are both mature people capable of evolving, but the truth of the matter is that only one of you is truly capable of evolving and it’s not the abusive ex.
A narcissist will use their friendship with you as a way to say to the world, “See how great I am? He or she still wants to be my friend. There was never any dysfunction in the relationship after all!” This allows your toxic ex to treat your breakup as a symptom of mere incompatibility rather than abuse.
Many toxic people stalk and harass their ex-partners after an abusive relationship ends. This allows them to maintain control over your life and ensure that you do not move forward – whether that be moving forward in your own healing or onto a healthier relationship with a new partner.
They keep you trapped with their toxic behaviour because they know that if you are too busy agonizing over their mixed messages and ambivalent behavior, you will be far too preoccupied to rebuild your life, pursue healthier self-care or meet new loving mates.
If you have ever been with a toxic partner, you would have also met their harem, their shady social circle which often includes exes that never seem to fade from the picture, flirtatious buddies they call just friends, and new people they groom to eventually serve as your replacement. They love to create love triangles just to keep their victims glued to their abusive behaviour.
Abusive exes thrive off of the attention of having multiple lovers at their beck and call. Even after the break-up, they will attempt to add you to their harem so they can triangulate you with their various exes, current partners and potential targets.
An abusive ex who comes back to you isn’t repentant, they only missed the object of their manipulative games. They missed their victim and would do anything to get them back under control.
Such people don’t change; they only become worse with time except they seek help and decide to change for the better. The sad part is that they will blackmail you emotionally and make you feel guilty, if you don’t accept them back.
They hurt you with their words and actions. They reduce your self esteem to zero with their abuse. You go through a healing process, find your feet again, start building up your confidence and self-esteem and even start enjoying a good relationship with a good partner.
One day, your ex appears from nowhere and starts whining about how he or she has missed you, how you were the best thing that ever happened to him or her, how they can’t live without you, how they want you back, and how they were under the influence of the devil.
Even when you respond rudely to them, they start accusing you of being hard hearted and unforgiving. They know you are in a better relationship and are hell-bent on destroying your new found happiness. They claim they want to die if you don’t take them back.
Taking back an abusive ex is like going back to live in the past. You will never be all right. When next you see that abusive ex coming towards you, run! He or she is enemy of progress.
Re: Welcome to Nigeria, our Nigeria!
I was in tears while reading your column last week. It was heartbreaking reading the many ways women are violated and abused. I wept for Nigerian girls and women who have constantly been victims of selective violence because of their gender. I hope all women rise up in unity to fight the oppressions we suffer in this country. It’s just too much. I am afraid for my daughters with the way things are going in this country. –Mrs. Grace Ile
Kate, this is the worst, merciless attack and sweeping generalization about Nigerian men from you. Not all men are as bad as you have portrayed them. You were born by a man, have men as relatives and friends. I believe none of them ever committed the abominations and criminalities you mentioned in your column. I won’t pity you if you are attacked by your male readers. You have to expect worst counter attacks which some of us often consider as crude and unfair. -Chioma Papa
During conventional sex, women must be under. Therefore, the things you outlined in your column are natural. Women must be under men no matter what. If you like, write for a thousand years about this, you are wasting your time. -Innocent
While I won’t waste my time debating about the violence meted out against women and girls in Nigeria, you should try to focus on more on teaching women to be humble and submissive through your column and not encouraging them to continue to rub shoulders with men. Women should know their place and there will be peace. –Mr. Obiora Enwerem, Awka
Thanks for exposing the ugly trend in most African cultures against women. But you should know that there are also some bad wives who intentionally drive their husbands to their early graves. It is really sad that a man will take his own life because of love and betrayal. -Prince Chido Ferguson, Port Harcourt
What a knotty piece you delved into! It’s quite touchy and needed to be tackled. Women are already endangered species meant to be totally caged and posterity might not forgive us if we just kept quiet and continue to be trampled upon. Keep the flag flying as you are among the pacesetters with a burning passion and others will follow suit.
We will educate our girls not to see themselves as second citizens or less-humans to their male siblings. We will prepare them intellectually to stand tall and be themselves under any circumstances. -Alawode Omotunde