Anyone who has been in a toxic relationship knows the after effect is what people struggle with the most. You’re used to getting treated badly. You’re used to the games, manipulation, and the control. It’s trying to appease someone who is never satisfied. It’s the want and need to win someone’s love so much, so you build them up while knocking yourself down in the process. It’s watching as your walls grow higher not trusting anyone, even yourself.
And the only person you let in is the one who caused you to be like this in the first place.
It’s a destructive relationship in which a person thinks love is supposed to hurt.
Then they meet someone else, someone who is so different and they enter this person’s life with caution. Initially rejecting the unfamiliar.
What’s hard about being with someone who has been in a toxic relationship, is the un-teaching you’ll have to do, as this person or many people brainwashed them into thinking a certain way.
1. Be patient.
You are going to notice how nervous they are. You are going to notice how they pull away when you get too close. You’ll notice how they look at you with questions filling their eyes, not doubting you, but doubting everything about themselves.
Take things slow. Don’t push them. Don’t pressure them. Because they will fold so fast under pressure in an attempt to appease you. They are used to trying really hard to make someone happy and never attaining that.
You’ll notice how soft they are. How gentle. How kind. And you are going to wonder how anyone could have treated them badly ever.
2. Listen when they speak.
Eventually, they will tell you what happened. And when they tell you, just listen. Take it all in. Don’t say anything. Just appreciate the fact they trust you enough to confide in you. Because it’s a story that has ruined them. I say ruined, but not destroyed, because here they are. But it’s also something that haunts them, and it’s something they don’t tell people about.
Everyone is who they are for certain reasons and until they trust you enough to have that conversation where every wall comes down and every raw emotion comes out, you’ll finally understand why they are the way they are.
3. Don’t feel sorry for them.
They aren’t looking for sympathy or pity. They overcame this toxic relationship on their own. They finally had enough. And the last thing they want is you feeling sorry for something they chose. Because that’s the hardest thing about toxic relationships, it’s after the fact, they realize they chose someone who was so horrible and stayed.
And that’s the tough pill to swallow and a tough part of anyone’s past to accept.
4. Reassure them when they have doubts.
They aren’t doubting you or questioning you. They are doubting things because of what has happened in the past. So when they ask questions and are insecure, don’t come back at them aggressively, understand that these doubts will subside when you fill them with confidence and trust.
5. Tell them everything is okay when they apologize.
They are going to apologize for everything to a point where it might annoy you. But they are used to always being wrong and trying to make it right. They are used to always being the one blamed. They are used to threats of someone walking away, demeaning them, criticizing them, and telling them they have to be different.
They will apologize because someone in their past has led them to believe they are wrong.
Accept the apology and just move one, even if they don’t have a reason to be sorry.
6. Build them up.
Remind them of their good qualities because all they’ve heard are a lot about their shortcoming.
Sometimes the best way to teach someone to love themselves is loving them first.
7. Appreciate them.
You’re going to notice after someone comes out of a toxic relationship how much they do for you. They will try so hard. And overcompensate. The truth is, everything they’ve ever done in the past has never been good enough. But what they didn’t realize then was, it was good enough but it wasn’t the right person.
You’re going to be overwhelmed with how well they treat you and how kind they are and how they never say anything bad about people. When you know what it’s like to be torn down by words, you choose yours very carefully.
You’re going to fall for this person and you’re going to wonder how someone didn’t see their value. But you count your blessings for it because then you wouldn’t even have met them in the first place if someone else didn’t lack judgment.
So you build them up and really show them how great they are, and there’s going to be a moment where they look at themselves differently because they are finally seeing themselves the way you and so many others have.
8. Be the example they don’t know.
Then suddenly they get to point where they can’t even imagine settling for less than this standard you set for them. They look back at the person they were then, and they aren’t filled with resentment as much as they are filled with pride for overcoming the past that was difficult even if they chose it.
And they look at you and it’s like finally, everything they’ve ever wanted in life is right in front of them and all they can say is, “thank you.”