Why Smart, Successful Women Fall for Toxic Men
How many times have you seen an intelligent, beautiful, and accomplished woman married or in a relationship with a man who doesn’t treat her well?
Maybe you are that woman?
Although it can be beyond belief to their family and close friends (and even to the women themselves), it is not unusual that intelligent, successful women fall for toxic men. You cannot help wondering why these women who set high standards in their lives get trapped in unhealthy relationships?
Bright, successful women can spend years or even decades tied to abusive partners without their family and friends ever knowing it. Unfortunately, by choosing to stay silent about their struggle, these women only prolong the suffering. Their silence keeps the toxic cycle of abuse alive, destroying a woman’s self-respect and mental health and straining their other relationships.
Once the toxic relationship has finally been revealed, you will hear that this attractive, charming, livewire woman avoided speaking about her relationship because she was ashamed of being seen as weak or stupid.
Research shows that weaknesses or intelligence (obviously) have nothing to do with this. Then why is it that smart individuals fall for toxic people?
How High-Achieving Women Fall Victim to Abusive Men
If you are in a relationship with a toxic partner, at some point you may start wondering how to break the cycle of abuse and end the unhealthy relationship. But the first step in walking away from a toxic partner involves answering a single question:
How did I get here in the first place?
Here are some of the common reasons why smart, successful women fall for toxic men.
1. It is Hard to Recognize Abuse
Most commonly, abusive relationships don’t start as such. Most women do well in keeping away from obviously toxic men. However, abuse in a toxic relationship usually starts slowly and gradually, so you may miss many subtle signs of mistreatment along the way.
When the first incident occurs, your partner may apologize or say it was just a joke, gaslighting you into believing that you are too sensitive, dramatic, or insecure.
And this is how the abuse usually starts – subtly and systematically, day by day. By the time you realize that your relationship is unhealthy, you have invested so much into it just to pack up and leave.
Guys with narcissistic disorder are typically very charming and appealing at the beginning of a new relationship. They may attract you with their self-reliance, confidence, and charm. A narcissist will make you feel valuable, important, and loved. They will make you believe that you are the center of their world. However, this fairytale will not last forever.
After a while, you may realize that your partner is the center of his own world. When you get to know him better, you may become aware that your boyfriend doesn’t treat you as an equal partner but as someone who must succumb and admire him.
Narcissists usually have an inflated self-image and exaggerated belief in their own superiority. They are typically impulsive and prone to sudden anger and aggression. Also, your narcissistic partner may experience sudden mood swings and show manipulative and abusive behavior. He may use gaslighting to make you feel responsible for their feelings and issues, always putting his needs first and showing no empathy for your feelings.
2. Toxic Men Go After Strong, Successful Women
Successful women are usually strong – and that is most commonly the reason why toxic men pursue them. Despite the common misconception, narcissists don’t go for feeble women. Since they are self-centered and with an exaggerated sense of self-worth, toxic men are usually attracted to strong, self-assured women who will take care of them. In other words, these men need a powerful and self-sufficient woman to stroke their fragile egos and protect them from feeling abandoned.
3. They Grew Up in a Dysfunctional Family
Your upbringing in an unhealthy family with insecure attachment may have left long-lasting consequences. Suppose you grew up in a family with unhealthy attachment, with negligent or abusive parents. In that case, this might have established a desire to please others as a pattern in your adult relationships.
People-pleasers have difficulty turning others’ requests down because they either don’t want to disappoint or fear being rejected. Such behavior patterns attract toxic individuals – women who are kind, generous, and compassionate tend to attract men with narcissistic traits.
4. Strong Women See Themselves as Problem-Solvers
Bright, successful women are used to problem-solving. They like fixing issues, so they may see problematic men as a challenge and a project they can work on. If you are accustomed to solving problems, you may tend to over-rationalize and search for reasons behind your partner’s behaviors.
You will always find excuses for his behaviors, telling yourself (and others) that he didn’t mean it, that he grew up in a dysfunctional family and doesn’t know how to handle relationships, or that he will change.
5. Successful Women Feel Pressure to Have It All
Some women may be afraid that they will miss their opportunity to have it all – a thriving career, love, and the family. After years of schooling and pursuing professional goals, all you want is to complete your story with a man and your own family. The fear of your “biological clock ticking” may make you less cautious when starting a relationship.
An unhealthy relationship can quickly become a path towards self-destruction and mental health issues. However, it is possible to break the cycle of abuse and leave the toxic relationship with support and therapy. Coaching can be a safe place to work through your feelings of shame and guilt, learn self-compassion, and forgiveness. It can be that one safe place where you can allow yourself to reveal what the truth is .
Combined with self-care strategies such as mindfulness meditation, personal boundaries, visualization, and positive affirmations, coaching can help you break free from a toxic relationship, learn to love yourself again, and focus on your personal growth and well-being.