GETTING OUT OF TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

July 22, 2015



I received a message today from a young lady telling me about her current relationship situation. She has been with her boyfriend for 4 years and has been [sic] "unhappy for 3 of the 4." She was seeking advice on how to help herself come to terms with the fact that he does not treat her well, and move on from the situation. I thought this would be a prime opportunity to make a post that I have been meaning to make for a while now.


This is a post for everyone. Usually my posts do cater to women/POC, however, this one has no age, no gender, and no colour on it. If you have been, are, or about to be in a relationship-- this post is for you. (When I say 'relationship,' I mean all types of relationships; friendships, seeing each other/"thing", marriages, etc.)

When I was around 15, I had found myself within one of the deepest infatuations I've had. I found myself wanting to do anything and everything for this boy. His happiness became more important to me than my own. My entire day from the first text sent/received in the morning to the last at night revolved around making this boy smile, making him think that his life was worth something and that he was valued. I would bend, twist and break to mould myself into his idea of 'perfection.' All I wanted was to be good enough for him. This went on for two years. And while this may seem so sweet and romantic, like love; it was so wrong. This type of relationship is emotionally manipulative.

Although, these situations are never black and white, bottom line, the relationship is toxic. At the point where you put another person's happiness and well-being before your own, and you are willing to compromise your happiness and well-being for theirs, the relationship becomes toxic. Especially, since in many of these instances, the opposing party is not willing to do the same. Your significant other (or sometimes not significant other) does not have to use abusive/insulting language towards you for the relationship to be toxic. It can be the little things such as, being unbearably inconsiderate, selfish or just showing a lack of concern for your well-being. There was a specific instance that used to drive me mad; I would ask this boy how he was doing and he would answer and not ask me how I was doing. Now, this is so minor, but it is common courtesy to ask someone how they're doing whether you care or not. This was a sign that he wasn't concerned with my well-being. He told me he liked me and a few weeks later was talking about how much he adored another girl. When he began dating said girl, he wouldn't talk to me again until they broke up. This was a sign he was manipulative and only wanted me around when it was convenient for him. And yet, I would reply with 'I'm so happy for you. I'm glad she makes you happy.' Even though it hurt me that I've been trying so hard to make him happy and another girl can just prance in, be a pretty face and suddenly, he's all sunshine and rainbows. This happening over and over was emotionally draining.

But maybe it's my fault, I'm not making them happy.

For a long while, I blamed myself. 'Well, I never actually told him I didn't like it when he did these things. Maybe, I just didn't try hard enough. Maybe, I am trying too hard. I'm smothering him. I can't blame him for losing interest in me. I'm boring.' These became things I said to myself every time he would change his mind about me. They became worse and worse; negatively impacting how I viewed myself as individual. I constantly compared myself to the girls he lusted after, and I was completely opposite of them. I was not skinny, I did not have long brown hair, I didn't have 'porcelain' skin, I didn't have tattoos or multiple piercings or listen to bands. I was not that. I tried to be. But I just wasn't, it was physically impossible and I began to resent myself for being me; because being me wasn't enough to keep him interested for more than a week at a time. And maybe some of these things were true, maybe I should have told him how I felt, maybe I was trying too hard; but regardless, I believe there comes a certain point where you shouldn't have to explain every single emotion you have to your partner. And explain why what they did to you was wrong, and why you still have a bit of resentment. You can't blame yourself for your partner's actions. Sometimes, you are not the issue. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their baggage; whether it be commitment issues, trust issues, having a cheating problem.. whatever it may be, there comes a time where they need to grow up and take responsibility for themselves. It is not your responsibility to make excuses for them. Keeping someone around for when it is convenient for you is such a self-centred and manipulative thing to do. Part of being a functional member of society is understanding that you must make decisions and live with the consequences. If your partner makes the decision to break up with you, for whatever reason, no matter how they word it, (I need space./Maybe, we should take a break.) They have no reason to be surprised when you don't welcome them with open arms, if they come running back. You have the right to reject them and do what's best for you and your happiness.

Maybe, they'll change. They said they love me and care about me. / Second chances

Maybe, they will. I've seen many relationships and friendships where there has been issues, such as dishonesty, infidelity, etc. and they've been able to work it out and they've been happy for years. I'm not going to sit here and tell you people can't change, because that'd be a lie. However, those relationships are not your relationship and this is one of those situations where you need to honestly consider the likelihood of this person changing. Sometimes people do change, but not always for you. In my opinion, if someone is not willing to, not change- but better themselves for you; try to be the best version of themselves they can be for you, they are not someone who deserves you. Change is more than just words.

I realized my relationship sucks. Now what? 

You can't force someone to treat you well. You can't force someone to want to be with you. It's an awful way to live in hopes that someone will "come around." The pain of them not coming around will be so much worse than coming to terms with the fact that you have just grown apart and you deserve better than someone that doesn't look at you and melt over your smile. You deserve better than someone who can't be bothered to concern themselves with your feelings and emotions. You deserve better than someone who doesn't think about how their decisions affect you.

(Especially, if you are not linked to this person in any way other than that relationship, [financially, children, lease on a house]), As quickly as you can, get out of the relationship. You deserve to be happy and you will not find that happiness linked to someone who makes you feel miserable. You can't get time back, but the more time you waste on someone who makes you unhappy, the less time you have spent on loving yourself, bettering yourself and spending time with someone who truly cares about you in every sense of the word.

It's not that simple.

It never is. No one is going to fault you for not leaving that relationship right away. These things are done when you're ready. We remain in toxic relationships for various reasons. In my case, I kept allowing him to treat me that way because I thought I was lucky. 'I'm lucky that someone wants to be with me, in the first place. I'm lucky that someone that attractive said they liked me. I'm lucky that I'm even an option for this guy.' And that's such a dangerous mindset to be in.Our insecurities can and will eat us alive. Plenty of us are insecure and we end up allowing ourselves to settle for whatever we can get because we think we are not worthy of anything else. Because of whatever insecurities I had, I believed that was all I deserved. That being someone's doormat, is all I was worthy of.


"Know yourself, know your worth, *****"

It's unbelievably hard to have to constantly remind yourself to stop being your own bully. To remember to tell yourself that you are worth more than your current situation; that you deserve more than what you are being given. It is something that we all have to learn to do, because that is the only way we will survive this world of heartbreak and horrible people. Sometimes outside parties will try and guilt you into staying this relationship because "You've already wasted __ years on them," "No, one will want you after you've already had kids." "All their friends are also your friends- if you leave them, you'll lose everyone!"  All this is complete and utter bullshit. Sometimes, the judgment of those around you can be skewed; this is common in longer relationships. Trust that you know what your doing, because you do. Your well-being is more important than the feelings and opinions of others. You should never have to stay in a relationship that makes you feel terrible. You deserve more than that. I can tell you a million times, but you need to be able to tell yourself and mean in. That is how you will truly set yourself free.






It's not easy, but you can do it.
(By the way, I keep using stories of when I was really young because people have this idea that you don't start to go through shit in your life until you're over 18. WRONG.)

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