Are you someone who wants to align themselves with their higher self? Or know someone who likes to cleanse their aura? All these notions are from the handbook of New Age beliefs and maybe these very beliefs are getting you into toxic relationships.
Surprised? Isn’t New Age spirituality an essentially positive thing that is supposed to make your life better? Considering the intangibility of spirituality, even if we accept that it is indeed a path to self-realization and actualization, we cannot ignore that new age beliefs can often be misrepresented and twisted to take advantage of gullible and innocent individuals.
Tracing The Roots Of New Age Beliefs
The New Age Beliefs originated in the 1970s and 1980s in the US among an eclectic group of spiritual practitioners involved in esoteric learning, mysticism, occult, besides various eastern religious and philosophical views. They believed in several metaphysical concepts such as reincarnation, karma, astrology, alternative medicine, and so on. The New Age teachings primarily focused on personal transformation through diverse ritualistic practices.
Now Let’s Look At Some Of The Common Themes Of The New Age Practice
As New Age beliefs and practices are becoming more and more mainstream, these below-given themes of New Age spirituality can be found all across our popular culture and media.
- Manifestation through the law of attraction
- Raising our vibrations
- Practicing gratitude
- Alignment with our higher self
- Being our authentic self
- Healing qualities of crystals
- Importance of balancing our chakras
- Astrology, Tarot, and other divination tools
How New Age Beliefs Are Getting You In Toxic Relationships
Whether you believe in the new age spirituality or not, it can be a little baffling to think that spiritual beliefs that are aimed for the betterment of our lives, can be used against us to either rope us in or keep us tangled in toxic relationships. Let’s look at these prevailing new age beliefs and how they are being used by predators to manipulate unsuspecting people:
1. Positive Vibes Only
The New Age philosophy urges us to “vibrate in a higher frequency’’ all the time. This means we should regulate our emotions and consciously make an effort to always come from a place of love, compassion, peace, etc.
No doubt adopting a positive approach is beneficial to manage our daily stress, however, when it leads to avoidance and spiritual bypassing our issues, it opens a window for a toxic partner who might encourage you to only focus on the sunny side of your relationship, completely ignoring the abuse, dysfunctionality, and manipulation. Your person of interest asking you to not address or resolve your relationship woes is a big red flag.
2. You Create Your Reality
Another widely accepted New Age notion is “ You create what you think” or “What you focus on, expands”. Now, this attitude can make us conscious about our thought processes and also enable us to take responsibility for our situation. However, if your abusive partner is using this notion to prove that you are in fact responsible for all the toxicity that they are putting you through, run for the hills! This is spiritual gaslighting, where the abuser dismisses facts or alters reality, and puts the blame on the victim.
3. Always Be Grateful
Practicing gratitude or being grateful even for your troubles is another way of “counting our blessings”, something our well-meaning friends, mentors, and family members might ask us to do to tide over difficult times. Although being grateful shifts our energy to a more positive direction and helps us see the silver lining in every dark cloud, if you are being brainwashed to be grateful for the mistreatment dished out to you by your toxic lover, stop putting up with it. Your relationship is not a learning experience for managing abuse and neglect.
4. Following Signs & Synchronicities
One of the most popular New Age beliefs is surely looking for signs and synchronicities, supposedly sent by the universe. Believers often take seeing a feather or “angel numbers” like 11:11, 222, etc. as a green signal from a higher power, assuring them that they are on the right path.
Even if we believe in the existence of a conscious superpower, who does send us signs, we have to admit that divine power acts in mysterious ways, and without a profound spiritual knowledge, we cannot grasp the meaning of every sign we encounter. This makes it especially dangerous for people in toxic relationships who go against their better judgment and look for signals that appear to confirm their insecurity-driven decisions. For someone staying in an abusive relationship out of fear of loneliness, choosing not to snap ties just because she has seen 3:33 in the clock, is a threatening and self-sabotaging act.
5. Trust Your Emotions/Gut Feelings
While it can be a good idea to go with our instinct or intuition in certain situations, believing that we should always take decisions based on our emotions is certainly not. It is imperative to process our feelings and interpret them logically before making important decisions. Predators often chide their victims for seeing through the abusive patterns of their toxic relationships by saying things like “ You are too much in your head’’ or ‘’You must trust your emotions”. If you have Emotion Dysregulation stemming from childhood trauma, please be doubly cautious of your toxic instinctive urges.
6. You Are Where You Need To Be
Abusive people often twist this neo-spiritual tenet to whitewash toxic relationships. If you believe that there is a reason for every experience you are going through, it can be turned against you by a manipulative partner, pressing you to accept that you indeed need this abusive experience and there is a purpose for the existence of that toxic lover of yours. Undoubtedly this is a sick mind game trick and you need to wake up and smell the coffee.
7. Never Focus On What You Don’t Want
One of the common New Age beliefs is that if we put too much thought into what we do not want in our lives, guess what we get? Exactly what we didn’t want! The view behind this tenet is that the universe cannot differentiate between what we are asking and what we are avoiding. So it just delivers what we are focusing on. This kind of thinking is harmful as going into any relationship with a muddled vision is not a smart move. You must be clear about your standards and what kind of partner you will never accept.
8. Be What You Want To Attract
Another neo spiritual belief which is often used by abusers to put the onus on their partners is that we attract what we are; in simpler terms, if you are not happy in a relationship, that is because you are not a happy person or you radiate unhappiness, or something in that line. Obviously this tactic is simply played to make you responsible for the toxic behaviors of your partner and keep you trapped in the dysfunctional relationship.
New Age Beliefs, Toxic Positivity & The Shadow Aspect
The theory of the “Shadow” was first put forth by Carl Jung, who acknowledged the presence and validity of our so-called negative emotions, such as anger, jealousy, etc. Although the New Age spirituality includes the “Shadow Aspect” in their tenets, many practitioners conveniently refuse to face their difficult emotions and make the New Age all about positivity and high vibrations, giving birth to the phenomena of “Toxic Positivity“.
Even in Buddhism, the principle called “Maitri” preaches the necessity to make peace with our negative feelings. Without acknowledging these emotions, it is impossible to resolve our issues. Feelings like anger, hate, etc. are often fundamental to survival and help us process our personal distress as well as global or socio-political issues like racism, war, poverty, and so on. Therefore, repressing our negative emotions is surely not a healthy practice.
Logic & Faith Can Go Hand In Hand
The motive of this article is not to put New Age beliefs under the scanner or examine the validity of these neo-spiritual practices. Whatever beliefs you may have, know that there are certain people who can flip the ideas and try to manipulate you into staying in toxic relationships. It is better to apply your logical thinking and not get swayed away by these toxic mind games.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I clear my mind from a toxic relationship?
You must not keep any contact with them. Reach out to your support system and make healthy life choices. Don’t give in to negative self-talk and do things that make you happy.
How to trust a man in a new relationship when all you have had are bad experiences in the past?
Speak your mind and gradually open up to them. Observe their behavior and be compassionate. Ensure there’s mutual respect and equal contribution in your relationship.
How do I get out of a bad relationship when I have no place to go and no money?
Begin a side hustle and start saving up. You can sell things you don’t need or ask for help from your family or friends. You might also contact a local helpline or charity organization.
How to cope with my inability to fall in love after a toxic relationship?
Give yourself time and be patient with yourself. Before getting into another relationship, heal your past relationship trauma, so that you don’t repeat the same pattern again.
How to help someone who keeps going back to a toxic relationship that could end up tragically?
Offer your unconditional support but don’t meddle in their relationship. Listen to them without being critical and offer suggestions that you feel might help them.