Have you experienced a relationship where you feel something is off but you’re enjoying their company? I mean, you’re having fun but there’s that little inside voice that says maybe you should run the other direction.
It took me years to realize I was in a toxic relationship. I was in a vulnerable state at the beginning and had a hard time distinguishing bad behavior from good. I was exiting a relationship where my partner exuded bad behavior that wasn’t disguised as love and this one was more subtle than that. In some relationships, it’s very clear that you’re in a toxic situation. This one wasn’t clear. I was like a lobster put in water that was turned on to slowly boil. At first, everything is fine, but eventually the water gets so hot and you end up getting cooked and eventually devoured. This relationship was like that.
Here is a journal entry of mine from recently:
Our journey has come to an end and it’s a decision I am firmly committed to but it doesn’t feel good because I mourn the good times, even great times. I find myself shutting out the bad moments that were more than I’d like to admit because I was confused as to what was actually happening. Was I overreacting? Was my intuition steering me wrong by telling me to run?
What exactly was I to do?
I want to be around people who charge me up, not drain my battery. Since my battery was so low, I craved time with people who charge me up. For some reason, I allowed this person to steal all of my time so opportunities to charge up were few and far between. I didn’t recognize that the relationship was so unhealthy until I was almost fully numb: numb to thinking I could feel something great again; numb to believing time with friends wasn’t important; numb to the fact that my needs weren’t important. I just felt life sucked out of me slowly. The numbing was so slow and subtle that I didn’t even recognize it until I was no longer communicating with that person.
Since then, I’ve regained joy, peace, and solitude. I found true love and I remember what it feels like to truly be in control and have my boundaries respected. My words and meaning were always clear but that person ignored them for their own gain.
I feel like this person purposely misunderstood me in order to confuse me so they could remain in my life and play a victim. I have a huge heart and they knew it. I feel like everything I confided in them was leverage in order to control me for their own gain. This behavior has led to me removing them from my life.
I feel bad because there wasn’t one particular instance that led me to this breaking point, just small, slow, calculated decisions that led to mass confusion and unsettled feelings. Our time has come to an end and I will love you from a distance. -Beth
I’m sure many of you can relate to this and have had a toxic relationship with a family member, lover, ex-husband, friend, and so on. It’s a journey and hard but keep going in the direction that is right for you and only you. I went through a lot of stages such as denying the fact the relationship was a problem at all. Some people would then talk to me privately about the relationship and their concern for my mental health. I decided to be less forthcoming with the issues and to try to hide the fact that there were problems and mental games being played. I finally accepted that the relationship wasn’t healthy and took the steps to get out of it. After a while, I completely removed myself from the relationship. It was hard because of the influence and small nuggets of kindness I received from this person that ended up being used against me later on. I had enough and was ready to move on.
How do you know you are in a toxic relationship?
- You are constantly irritable and uneasy.
- You aren’t spending time with friends or family because when you do, you receive constant texts and calls.
- Your boundaries are getting pushed to the point of breaking, regularly.
- You are exhausted from pushback and are so beat down you just give up on boundaries.
- You feel like there is no way out and are stuck in a situation that is out of your control.
- You have lost your passions, friends, and life.
- You may feel bad because you are the only one that knows their deep secrets and they know yours. Unfortunately, they might be keeping your secrets for later use when you try to leave.
- They constantly need you for something such as help with cooking, they want to show you something, or can you go with them to fill in the blank?
- You listen to them complain how everyone else in their life is the problem. I wanted to say “have you looked in the mirror lately?”
How to get out of a toxic relationship:
- Set boundaries and hold them.
- Hire a therapist If you don’t have one.
- Go over tools with your therapist.
- Sounds silly but you may need permission from your therapist to get out of the relationship. (I needed that permission.)
- You may need to remove them from your life completely because the message might intentionally be misunderstood and your boundaries may not be respected.
- Have conversations that are clear and concise.
- Journal and document.
- After you’ve had enough distance, you may want to reflect and truly see how toxic they actually are.
- Have a safe place to stay or have someone stay with you in case they retaliate.
- Block them if you must.
I feel good about my decision but feel bad because I do care about this person. I remind myself that this is my life and as much as I tried to convey my truth it wasn’t landing for them. I now realize in order to move forward, I need to have people in my life that support me and respect my boundaries, not toxic people that steal all my energy and spark for life.
Just know it’s okay to love and care for someone that isn’t good for you. Just don’t allow them to stay in your life. You got this!