Toxic relationships create ripples throughout our mind and our body. In a toxic relationship, our mind reads cues and our body responds in ways that are effective coping mechanisms for that relationship. However, these responses to social cues are often not effective or helpful in a new relationship or when trying to heal from a dysfunctional and toxic partner.
Our body responses, emotional regulation, and even the fear response to social cues are controlled by the vagal nerve. Depending on our experiences and the specific situation, we may have different responses than others around us, which is important to understand in healing after the trauma of experiencing a toxic relationship.