The Dark Side of Gossip Girl: A Closer Look at the Show's Toxic Relationship

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Serena, Blair, and Chuck: a hilarious love triangle or a toxic mess?

Chuck and Blair were one of the most lovable couples on Gossip Girl that many fans related to and cheered for, even as their relationship constantly teetered on the edge between love and hate. Despite all the problems they faced, we believed they would overcome all the obstacles, outgrow their issues and manage to be happy together.

Childhood Trauma

Children of wealthy parents, Chuck and Blair had very different upbringings. Chuck was raised by his dad, a businessman who spent all his time running his company. Chuck’s mom died when he was 3. The kind of home Chuck grew up in had a huge impact on his personality. Chuck’s struggling with intimacy issues throughout the series. Whenever he develops feelings for someone, his instinct is always to push that person away. For example, after Blair tells him she loves him, he never says it back to her, primarily because he is emotionally crippled and was never close with his parents.

Blair seemingly had a happy childhood and was even a bit spoiled, but she always sought approval from her father who left the family and was hardly ever there.

Karpman Drama Triangle

Certainly, Chuck and Blair's relationship is not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. There is codependency, abuse, control issues, abandonment issues, you name it.

Over the course of several episodes, Blair cheats on Chuck with uncle Jack, so Chuck cheats right back on her.

Chuck and Blair walk all over their own feelings and get involved with other people just to annoy each other. Both of them are master manipulators and whenever one tries to build a relationship with someone else, the other intervenes and ruins everything.

So is this just codependency? Not really, their relationship fits perfectly with the Karpman Drama Triangle of Persecutor-Rescuer-Victim, in which our characters are constantly changing roles depending on the situation. Once caught in the Karpman Drama Triangle, people can be shifting between the three roles indefinitely. Chuck usually plays the persecutor, cheating on Blair, dumping her but still controlling her. Blair, meanwhile, acts as the rescuer, helping them find a way out of seemingly hopeless situations.

Both are constantly suffering in the relationship. For starters, their personal boundaries are completely destroyed. To add insult to injury, their toxic relationship is fuelled by constant manipulation with the two forever putting each other down, and gaslighting each other. So it’s no wonder that they eventually decide to take a break from each other and sort out their lives.


Throughout the series, Blair and Chuck are having an on-again-off-again relationship, forever stopping short of full commitment to each other. It’s like they’re swimming on a pendulum that never stops.

In the series, they do, eventually, manage to take things to a whole new level, leaving abuse and toxicity in the past.

We know from the start, the two are very similar to each other: both are passionate, emotional, flamboyant and bossy. However, their raging passions keep them apart, but raw physical attraction keeps bringing them back together. The problem is that toxic relationships like that can only work in fiction, in reality they’re just never ending ugliness.

The lesson we all need to learn here is that you don’t want to trample all over real feelings, you want to value people that really love you.