As the most toxic relationship in my life started coming to a dramatic end, seeing what both of us had become to one another, steeped in shame, guilt, and regret, I couldn’t even stand to look in a mirror.
I was depressed, anxious, and confused as to what was happening around me, grasping to hold onto a reality that was crumbling before my very eyes.
The most confusing part was a deep split happening in my Psyche that I couldn’t seem to mend:
WAS I THE VICTIM? OR THE ABUSER?
WAS I THE NARCISSIST? OR THE CO-DEPENDENT?
And most importantly, how could I make sure this NEVER happened again so I could finally have what I considered to be the Holy Grail of human existence: A relationship that is TRULY authentic with someone who is genuine, who can see and love all parts of me, and create the same experience for her– instead of using one another as a transactional means to an end?
I felt completely lost at where to even begin to unpack this.
Concealed behind the shared fantasy my ex and I were both living and working towards at the time, was toxic shame and guilt.
My fantasy of leaving my Chiropractic Practice to teach people how to truly heal what’s causing their health issues — her fantasy of a “Power Couple” relationship dynamic that legitimized a breakout role from her underground life as a “Madam” who exploited women (she always wanted a way out of that life and hoped I would be the bridge).
This shared fantasy had me completely (and purposefully) ignoring MASSIVE red flags.
Toxic shame and guilt that runs in the background of our shared fantasies cause us to COMPLETELY step over all the early red flags that a healthy, securely attached individual would see — and both of us used and manipulated one another as a means to achieving our goals: Sex and services, in exchange for safety, security and credibility from a dark past and present– looking for a way out.
I couldn’t see it at the time, but in hindsight, it is abundantly clear that we were also bonded by unresolved childhood trauma. I *thought * we had done the deep work needed to resolve our pain but, despite all our best intentions, the moment that we both triggered each other, we would regress into our child-like protective states — her anxious attachment would activate my avoidant behavior, and that’s when things would get abusive and volatile.
When it all came crashing down, the police were involved, a scandal ensued, leaving me wondering:
How could I have been so blind?
Why did I not see the red flags?
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO MAKE SURE THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN?
It was the catalyst I needed to put aside the false image of “hero to others” I was putting out there in my community and on social media, and make space to RECEIVE GUIDANCE on finding the blind spots I was missing, to go inside and heal myself.
I let go of trying to be “the sage on the stage” and became a student again (Not easy for a “know it all” to do.)
I began studying Breathwork, the Poly Vagal Theory and Attachment Theory. I learned how to connect to those dark, hidden insecure parts of myself, to take off the mask that success & ambition was using to avoid feeling — the parts lurking in my shadows.
I learned how to connect with little Nima who was separated from his mother and twin brother at the age of 2 — desperate to be seen and heard and understood even before he had the language to express it.
As it turns out, I didn’t see the red flags because quite frankly, I didn’t love myself enough to.
When I finally got this, I was able to look in a mirror and see a young man who was searching the world for the connection, validation and recognition his parents didn’t have the capacity to give, and I was finally able to give it to myself — and actually mean it.
With this new revelation I was set on an entirely new path I couldn’t ignore. I retired from Chiropractic to become a Specialist in Interpersonal Trauma and begin my training as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner helping others who were a few steps behind on the same journey towards breaking their Trauma Bonds.
It wasn’t long before an intelligent, self-aware and beautiful blonde walked into my life with a smile so genuine that it melted my heart. From the get go, it felt completely different. As we got to know each other and shared what we wanted from a relationship, what our vision was, what our past entailed, I realized that for the first time, I was relating to someone who wasn’t looking to rescue or to be rescued: The “Holy Grail” relationship I had dreamed about.
It became clear to me that what I had before was NOT love.
It was Co-Dependency.
I was 44 years old — and I was experiencing real love for the first time. Love that isn’t covertly transactional.
Love that is based on who we are BEING instead of what we can GET or CONSUME from each other.
Diana and I married on April 18th of 2020 and welcomed our son Dominic to the world in September of 2020. I thought being a father just wasn’t in the cards for me. Not my cup of tea.
He has turned out to be our greatest gift.
None of this would be possible if I didn’t go deeper to find the truth of why I ignored the red flags.
The truth is, under the effect of our trauma bonds, like actors, we take on these roles unconsciously. We become both victims AND perpetrators.
We become both Narcissists AND Codependents.
What we are — is under the effect of cycles of trauma re-enactments that started generations ago, and there is no one to blame.
Right now, we are surrounded by unprecedented levels of anxiety and mental health issues that are spilling into toxic relationship patterns and being passed down to the next generation through family systems without us even being aware of it, and NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US.
Our planet is in desperate need of people willing to take a stand to break this cycle.
This is the path of the #CycleBreaker — And this is why it inspires me to support (and challenge) people who are ready to break free from the complicated web of the Codependency trap….
People who are finally ready to end the blame game and realize it’s not about assigning who’s at fault… People inspired to heal through taking OWNERSHIP of the roles we are unconsciously playing and take RESPONSIBILITY to Break the cycle so that we can find safety within ourselves, and recreate relationships and family dynamics that ensure that the next generation doesn’t become at the effect of these unresolved complexes, feeling sick, stressed, lost, purposeless and emotionally alone.
I WAS blind, but now I can see.
I have a vision of communities where authentic leaders are committed to educating people on how to HEAL instead of divide, label and cope, and to self-regulate through uncomfortable triggers. Communities inspired to learn skills that can turn conflicts into deeper intimacy, anxiety into self-trust, and dysfunctional family systems into workable ones. When this happens, we will be able to recreate a world that is currently divided, into a place where we are able to pause, look inside, and know how to use whatever is in front of us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other.
I stand for healed families and communities breaking Cycles of Intergenerational Trauma.
It didn’t start with you. But it can end with you.
Dr. Nima Rahmany