first, take the two strings and twine them together. next, pull them apart so that they’re connected at the bottom. last, make the two strings do an intricate dance, until one of them is inextricably trapped in a loop that can no longer be fixed by tugging at it and instead you have to find the end and pull hard so that you can leave the situation, even though at that point you still have to untangle yourself from the original twining which is often harder than the initial tug.
Now your shoelaces are tied.
shoelaces, the perfect metaphor for toxic relationships.