My toxic love story is a hard and painful subject for me to talk about. But I know I am not alone! Bringing me great comfort. This is something I have wanted to share for a long time, but I didn’t know where to start. To many of my friends, they saw me as an outgoing bubbly person. I was frequently referred to as the strong, confident chatterbox. So I didn’t want to shatter my fun, free-spirited image, to then become this ashamed, defeated shell of a person. I didn’t want to be judged and I certainly didn’t want to be that friend that you pity. So I stayed quiet and suffered in silence.
As I get older, I have been able to talk about this phase in my life. Life has given me the gift of reflection – which I am so grateful for. It has taken me at least 3 years to get to this point, where I can now look back at my past and not feel that dreaded sunken feeling in my heart. Today I have courage, to finally speak out about my experience. As each day becomes a little easier. I have come to realise that for me to grow and move forward in my life, I have to rid the damaging and painful memories I still carry with me. I will be putting them to rest, to start a new and positive chapter in my journey. I hope that me finally speaking up, gives others the power to also speak up about their painful experiences. I urge you to not feel ashamed of this encounter. Importantly, I want you to not allow this dark time to suppress your freedom of speech, as it did to me.
Sociality Has Not Helped
We currently live in a time where life has become so superficial. Which has no doubt accelerated in growth since the birth of social media. Our minds and everyday life, have rapidly been consumed with the addictive habit to spend endless amounts of time comparing ourselves to others. We are constantlybeing bombarded and you may have not even realised it. We have become so conditioned to see staged photographs of the perfect couple on Instagram and a wall of faces on online dating sites such as Happn. We have now lost touch with building real connections. Instead, we are a generation that seeks validation and self-promotion. But all this is not reality. It’s not real life! When did we stop talking about real life experiences? Why do we feel the need to present a polished version of ourselves? I say bring back the days when honesty was applauded and sort after.
Toxic Love Has No Boundaries
What comes into your mind when you think about the word toxic love?
Toxic love, unhealthy relationship, toxic relationship, and bad relationship are all different names for the same thing. Many women and men have fallen victim in their lifetime. Yet, some may know that they have been a victim and others are unaware of what they are have been exposed to. This turmoil is a haunting and humiliating ordeal. Toxic love is a union of unhealthy individuals, which create this kind of relationship. It’s difficult to think of yourself as unhealthy. Although, you may not have even comprehended how dependent you are on someone mentally or physically. This awful behavior thrives in using another person’s weakened spirit to survive. It is an emotional cancer that destroys the healthy parts of a person until there is nothing left except an empty shell– unless it is stopped!
I was 18 years old when I found myself in a toxic relationship. I had fallen for an older man, he was everything that I wanted; handsome, tall, driven and caring. Completly oblivious and lost in his charm, I was instantly romanced. He knew exactly how to portray himself to others, and how to manipulate me for his own gain. I was so unaware and lost in love for him, that I found myself unconsciously stuck in his sticky web. It was about 4 months into our relationship when we became more involved and dependent on each other. Looking back there were warning signs, and I chose to ignore them! That was my first big mistake. I pushed my thoughts and gut instinct aside and continued down the dark path. Months went by and I started to see the cracks in his character. He was actually, in fact, a troubled individual. But he disguised himself as a confident accomplished man to others. At this period of time, I had no idea how far I had fallen into his web of deceit. Before long, I too also began to believe in his lies.
Things only went from bad to worst, as our relationship became volatile and abusive. As his world started to crumble after failed work projects. No longer able to keep up his facade, he turned bitter and destructive. Within no time, it spilled into our relationship. I don’t know whether he was conscious of his actions towards me or not. But he switched from being my loving boyfriend into an aggressive maniac. I was not the same person that w entered the relationship, I gradually became very anxious, strained and paranoid. I became mentally weak from all the negative energy and constant barrage of insults. My inner shield was torn down and cast away, I was broken and vulnerable. Weaken by my partner, I sort out comfort in food – and oh boy did I eat lots of it! Going to work was an absolute struggle. Standing for hours on end in an artificial surrounding, pretending to be this upbeat happy sales assistant. Was making me insane! I continued my basic routine of going to work, eating and sleeping for months. My ability to function deteriorated, doing everyday activities was becoming more and more impossible. I knew I had hit rock bottom when the stress started to manifest physical symptoms. My eyes began to spasm continuously, I had severe acne breakouts and I fell into depression.
Why We Stay In Toxic Relationships
You may think why did you stay so long? Well to answer that, I didn’t want to give up on my love story – I am a hopeless romantic at heart. I could see he was also in pain and distress, so I wanted to help him. I generally thought things would get better and easier if I would comfort and help him through his dark time. I tried very hard to be supportive and keep our routines going. Deep down, I did keep a window of hope open. As I desperately wanted things to go back to how things were, at the begin of our relationship. We were so happy and in love, I dreamt of the day my boyfriend would return. However, I know now that this idea was delusional, a fantasy that I created. It took me a while for me to finally come to my senses, I have concluded that he was never the character I fell in love with. His entire personality was contrived, I believe that he truly did want to be the person he had created in his mind. Unfortunately, he couldn’t live up to his standard. He did have some great characteristics to him, but most times he would switch into this dark and oppressing character. To top it off, I didn’ t want to be the person to just pack up and run for the hills at the first site of difficulty. I wanted to be the role model girlfriend, that stuck by his side through hard times.
This Is My Life
It was 4 years into this relationship when I said enough is enough! My colleagues and family started to notice the drastic change in my character and appearance. I don’t remember the exact day or the thought process that made to come to my decision to leave this relationship. But I knew, that if I continued I would cause myself irreversible damage. I had to leave! I had to get out of this toxic environment. For weeks, I slept on the sofa in the apartment we shared together. I would cry myself to sleep, stifling my whimpering. I remember one night that I couldn’t cry anymore. I told myself from that moment onwards, I wouldn’t waste another moment crying myself to sleep. I created a hardened shell so that I could cope with my surroundings. It worked. I was no longer feeling like I was repeatedly being bashed, I had a shield again. I was protected. Soon enough, I gained the courage I needed to pack my bags and leave. I was out the door! I could breathe finally!
This whole traumatic ordeal taught me how strong I am, I coped and came out the other end. I can’t be broken – not completely anyway. NO one has that power to keep me down forever. My spirit came back fighting, as it wanted to have the last word! I am stronger than my suppressor, I have the drive that will keep me going in the darkest of times. I am a STRONG woman, who knows her own power. I will continue to grow and learn from this experience, as it has forever changed me as a woman.
If you have gone through a similar experience, or you find yourself trapped in a toxic relationship – know that you’re not alone. Let’s share our experiences and help one another through our difficult times. Please feel free to contact me via email or leave a comment below.