There are too many things that I had to learn the hard way.
When you’re in a toxic relationship for so long, the line between good and bad seems to blur into oblivion. The high you get one moment can get completely evaporated at the smallest inconvenience.
You can’t even imagine the things that’ll get thrown your way. Those insults creep their way under your skin, as well as the things that are physically flying your way across the room.
You learn a lot when you’re constantly surrounded by this awful anxiety and you can’t seem to get rid of it. However much you may try, it never leaves you alone.
That’s why I want to share with you all the things that I learned in this relationship. Some of them I didn’t even think were true until they hit me years later.
I hope you’ll get something out of this during your own healing process.
1. I didn’t love myself nearly enough as I thought
The first thing I had to learn was that I didn’t love myself as much as I thought I did.
You know that people teach you that you have to respect yourself and you’re the one who shows other people how they need to love you. Well, that’s why I thought that I really did love myself. I didn’t think that I was anywhere near as insecure as other people because I thought I could always leave a situation that was bad for me.
But I was wrong.
I stayed with him for such a long time because I didn’t know who I was when he wasn’t around. I tied such a huge part of my identity to that man that I didn’t know who I would be if I ever chose to walk away from him.
This was a tough one to admit to myself. I thought that I was filled with love and respect for myself but just the fact that I stayed for so long is proof enough that I didn’t. I was so insecure that to this day, I don’t know how I managed to get out of that relationship.
2. There are some terrible people in this world
One of the awful things I had to learn is that there are people in this world who will do horrible things to someone. That’s the group of people he’s a part of.
He lied, cheated, and hurt me physically and mentally. I never thought that someone could stoop that low but he did and he didn’t even seem like he was sorry.
Can you imagine being that conceited? The audacity that man has is astounding.
I always thought that there was good in everyone and that people would change if you gave them enough time. I thought that he would change as well if I only stuck around a little longer.
But I was so wrong and I had to learn this the hard way. I was in denial for so long that I didn’t even listen to my instincts when they told me to run.
3. Your friends don’t always want the best for you
Everyone always talks about how their friends got them out of an awful relationship. But mine never gave me the support I needed to walk away and they were one of the reasons why I wasn’t sure what to do.
All of them were in bad relationships, so they said that relationships were simply a lot of work. They said that it was supposed to be hard because two people have to learn how to live with each other.
At the time, something inside me tried to fight that but when more people tell you the same thing, you doubt yourself. That’s when I learned that real friends would do whatever it takes to protect you from such horrible people.
They wouldn’t tell you these things just so they could justify their own toxic relationship. But they did that because if I was in one too, they wouldn’t have to feel bad about their own.
4. It’s harder to forgive yourself
One of the things I had to learn is just how hard it is to forgive yourself.
I can forgive anyone. I could even find a way to forgive him simply to have peace of mind. But I could never forgive myself for allowing those things to happen in the first place.
Did I permit that man to treat me that badly? Did I genuinely believe that I deserve that type of treatment?
It’s so sad. It’s anything but encouraging when you understand that it’s mostly your fault for not leaving sooner.
But once you do forgive yourself, the world seems to get its colors back. It’s tiring to always blame yourself so one day you simply understand that you have to forgive yourself and not allow anyone to treat you that badly again.
5. I didn’t waste my time, even though it may feel like that
Everyone likes to remind me that I wasted my time with that man. They said that I spent years with him and it led nowhere. But I don’t think that anymore.
Of course, I did think myself that as well. I thought that I wasted so many years that I’d never be able to get back. But it wasn’t all bad, was it? There were some beautiful moments.
I wouldn’t say in this case that things happen for a reason because assault and abuse are never justified. But I learned a lot and I can finally say that I understand what I truly want from a relationship.
I even had to learn how to stick up for myself and how to truly love and respect myself. That time wasn’t wasted.
6. I’ll be fine but it’ll take time
The hardest things I had to learn were about healing. How do you stand on your own two feet after a relationship like this one? How does a toxic relationship impact you and can you ever truly move on?
Well, I can see that I’m getting better. I can see how I’m becoming the person I always wanted to be but it’s a slow process. It’s not something that can come overnight.
At the end of the day, the only important thing is that I got out of there. I’ll need time to piece my pieces back together and it’ll be a traumatizing process to uncover all the memories that I conveniently forgot but it’ll be worth it.
One day, I’ll be able to say that I completely moved on.