“I can’t sit here and watch you completely self-destruct. It hurts too much to simply stand here and watch other people hurt you and watch as you hurt yourself choosing them,” those were the words my best friend said to me as I held back tears.
I don’t think we realize the affect anyone has on us, in the moment. Especially when we think it’s love. When we mistake a toxic relationship for love, what we’re really doing is associating love which is the kindest, best emotion, two people can share with something that is painful, ugly, and mean. It’s easy to love half of one person but when our judgment gets clouded and we dismiss who they are in bad moments, what we’re really doing is saying, “this treatment is okay as long as you treat me well sometimes.” But healthy relationships are only that. Healthy. ALL THE TIME.
So when you find yourself in a toxic relationship, you find yourself running in these circles of mistreatment. And whether you see it or not, everyone notices how you change being in a toxic relationship. It’d be impossible not to.
You expect the worst.
You learn to appreciate the good moments and the times when the relationship isn’t toxic, but suddenly you begin to expect the worst of people. And you then question yourself wondering is it you that brings out the worst in people?
You suddenly question everyone.
You think everyone has a motive and is using you to gain something. Because when the person you claim to love is taking advantage of you and using you, you think everyone will. You enter relationships not trusting anyone. How can you trust anyone when you don’t even trust yourself to choose the right person?
You don’t feel like you’re good enough ever.
You question everything about who you are because in your head, you think it’s you not the person you chose. You think if you were good enough, the person would treat you the way you deserve all the time, not just some of the time. You think if you didn’t trigger something, he wouldn’t have lost his shit on you. You think it’s you that’s the problem. So you tip toe trying to make every right move but when you are involved with someone toxic, no matter what you do, it will never be what they want.
You keep overcompensating.
It’s like you are trying to prove you are worthy of love and affection. Toxic relationships teach you that you need to work to earn love when normal relationships give it to you freely. But toxic relationships give a little then take it away because it all comes down to power.
When someone is toxic, they try to control others because they lack control in parts of their own lives.
And your friends watch as you’re trying so hard for someone who doesn’t deserve your time and attention, and they struggle understanding why you can’t walk away.
You become paranoid as fuck.
You jump when your phone goes off wondering if it’s them. You know to answer right away or you’ll get yelled at. But then you watch as those rules don’t apply to them. They answer just to make sure you do, but then the conversation ends.
They say things to set you off and they know exactly how to.
Suddenly you’re comprising your own self-respect. Because you think this is love, so you do anything they ask of you.
But love isn’t crying yourself to sleep at night wondering why your best isn’t enough to make them stay. You watch them come and go like you’re so easy to leave and you think it’s your fault.
You attract the same type over and over again.
Even if you end a toxic relationship, it takes such a long time to heal from the emotional abuse and the after-effect it has on you. You find yourself dating again or trying to, but you’re looking for everyone that reminds you of that person. Regardless of how destructive those qualities might be, oddly they defined this standard of love you had. Even if it’s a toxic relationship, the intense feelings that came with it no matter how hot and cold they were, became this is a standard of yours. Even when you don’t want to admit it, their impact influences the way you feel about everyone else in your future.
You lose yourself.
When you define self-worth by what someone else can give you and it isn’t a standard of being treated well, you completely lose yourself to this relationship or these series of relationships. Next thing you know, all you are trying to do is to cope and fill this void that you don’t even know made you so empty.
You want to numb this pain someone caused you, only you don’t even remember what it’s like to be without it.
Your friends are your rock.
They endured it with you. They were the one drying your tears every time you got hurt. They were the one watching painfully as you went back to him.
They hate him for you because your heart can’t seem to. And they know you loved him, but it was him who couldn’t reciprocate it or realize the value of something so rare.
And it’s your friends who are there picking up the pieces of the chaos he created in your life, and they remind you what you deserve.
You have to reteach yourself self-love.
In time, you do begin to learn from it. You learn it wasn’t you that wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. It was them who didn’t realize what they had when they had it. You learn to talk to yourself differently. Even though sometimes you catch yourself being negative. You learn to stop beating yourself up for flaws you used to hate.
And even though it’s a long road to recovering from a toxic relationship, once you begin to and once you learn to love yourself more, you don’t tolerate for a moment someone ever treating you like that again.