How your New Age beliefs get you into toxic relationships
Are you someone who wants to align with their higher self? Or do you know someone who would like to clear their aura? All of these ideas come from the New Age Beliefs Handbook, and perhaps these very beliefs are what gets you into toxic relationships.
Does that surprise you? Isn’t New Age spirituality a fundamentally positive thing meant to make your life better? Even as we accept that spirituality is a path to self-actualization, we cannot ignore that New Age beliefs are often misrepresented and twisted to take advantage of the gullible and harmless.
Tracing the roots of New Age beliefs
The New Age faith emerged in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s among an eclectic group of spiritual practitioners engaged in esoteric learning, mysticism, the occult, and various Eastern religious and philosophical views . They believed in various metaphysical concepts like reincarnation, karma, astrology, alternative medicine and so on. New Age teachings focused primarily on personal transformation through various practical exercises.
Now let’s look at some of the common themes of the New Age practices
As New Age beliefs and practices become more mainstream, the themes of New Age spirituality listed below can be found throughout our popular culture and media.
- Manifestation through the Law of Attraction
- Elevating our vibes
- Practical exercises in gratitude
- Aligning with our higher self
- Being our authentic selves
- Healing qualities of crystals
- The importance of balancing our chakras
- Astrology, Tarot and other divination techniques
How New Age Beliefs Get You Into Toxic Relationships
Regardless of whether you believe in New Age spirituality or not, the idea that spiritual beliefs aimed at improving our lives can be used against us, to entangle us or keep us entangled in toxic relationships, be a little confusing. Let’s take a look at these dominant New Age beliefs and how they are used by predators to manipulate unsuspecting people:
1. Positive vibes only
New Age philosophy urges us to “constantly vibrate at a higher frequency.” This means that we should regulate our feelings and make a conscious effort to always come from a place of love, compassion, peace, etc.
A positive approach is no doubt helpful in managing our day-to-day stresses, but when it leads us to avoid and mentally work around our problems , it opens a window for a toxic partner who may encourage you to only focus on the bright side of yours relationship and completely ignore the abuse, dysfunction, and manipulation. If the person you are interested in asks you not to address or resolve your relationship issues, that’s a big red flag.
2. You create your reality
Another common New Age thought is “You create what you think” or “What you focus on expands.” This attitude can make us aware of our thought processes and enable us to take responsibility for our situation. However, if your abusive partner is using that thought to prove to you that you are responsible for all the toxic things he’s throwing at you, you should flee! This is spiritual gaslighting, in which the abuser suppresses facts or twists reality and blames it on the victim.
3. Always be thankful
Practicing gratitude, or being thankful for your troubles yourself, is another practical exercise in how our well-meaning friends, mentors, and family members can urge us to bridge difficult times. Although gratitude directs our energy in a more positive direction and helps us see a silver lining in every dark cloud, you should stop putting up with the brainwashing done to you by your toxic lover. Your relationship is not a learning experience in dealing with abuse and neglect.
4. Signs and synchronicities follow
Certainly one of the most popular New Age beliefs is the search for signs and synchronicities that are said to be sent by the universe. Believers often take the sight of a feather or “angel numbers” such as 11:11, 222, etc. as a green signal from a higher power, reassuring them that they are on the right path.
Even if we believe in the existence of a conscious superpower sending us signs of it, we have to admit that the divine power works in mysterious ways and without a deep spiritual knowledge we cannot grasp the meaning of every sign that comes our way. This makes it particularly dangerous for people in toxic relationships to be unwittingly alert to signals that seem to validate their uncertain decisions. For someone staying in an abusive relationship out of fear of loneliness, not breaking up just because she saw 3:33 on the clock is a threatening and self-sabotaging act.
5. Trust your feelings/emotions
While it may be a good idea to go with our instincts or intuition in certain situations, believing that we should always make decisions based on our feelings certainly isn’t. It is important to process our feelings and interpret them logically before making important decisions. Predators often reprimand their victims for seeing through the abusive patterns of their toxic relationships by saying things like “You’re too much in your head” or “You have to trust your feelings.” If you suffer from emotional dysregulation stemming from childhood trauma, please be doubly cautious about your toxic urges.
6. You are where you are supposed to be
Abusive people often twist this neo-spiritual tenet to whitewash toxic relationships. If you believe there is a reason for every experience you go through, a manipulative partner can turn that against you and urge you to accept that you actually need that abusive experience and that there is a reason for yours to exist toxic lover there. This is undoubtedly 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 worry too much about what we don’t want in life, we’ll get exactly what we don’t want. Exactly what we don’t want! The underlying belief is that the universe cannot differentiate between what we want and what we avoid. So it gives us exactly what we focus on. This mindset is harmful because going into a relationship with a confused vision is not wise. You need to be clear about your demands and what kind of partner you will never accept.
8. Be what you want to wear
Another neo-spiritual belief often used by abusers to hold their partners accountable is that we attract what we are. In simpler terms, if you’re not happy in a relationship, it’s because you’re not a happy person, or you exude unhappiness, or something like that. Obviously, this tactic is only played to blame you for your partner’s toxic behaviors and still keep you trapped in the dysfunctional relationship.
New Age beliefs, toxic positivity and the shadow aspect
The “ shadow ” theory was first proposed by Carl Jung, who recognized the existence and validity of our so-called negative feelings, such as anger, jealousy, etc. Although New Age spirituality incorporates the “shadow aspect” into its teachings, many practitioners refuse to face their difficult feelings and do New Age about positivity and high vibes, creating the phenomenon of ” Toxic Positivity .”
Even in Buddhism, the principle of maitri preaches the need to make peace with our negative feelings. Without acknowledging these feelings, it is impossible to solve our problems. Emotions such as anger, hatred, etc. are often essential for survival and help us to process our personal distress as well as global or socio-political problems such as racism, war, poverty, etc. Therefore, suppressing our negative feelings is certainly not a healthy exercise.
Logic and faith can go hand in hand
This article is not about examining New Age beliefs or testing the validity of these neo-spiritual practices. Regardless of what beliefs you hold, know that there are people who will twist those ideas and try to manipulate you into staying in a toxic relationship. It is better to use your logical thinking and not let these toxic thoughts affect you.