How to Identify & Release Toxic Relationships
As wellness seekers, we’re constantly looking for ways to find harmony on our plates, in our bodies and throughout our lives. Yet sometimes, that harmony comes from making tough decisions about our relationships. Some folks boost our energy reserves. Others drain us dry.
In reality, we each have choices. We get to decide who we allow into our inner sanctum (the space where our spirits replenish, our hearts open and our being renews). Not everyone deserves an all-access pass. That’s why today’s post is a meditation on moving on. Gracefully ending a toxic relationship or one that no longer serves you might just be what the doctor ordered.
Life has a much bigger plan for you. Happiness is part of that plan. Health is part of that plan. Stability is part of that plan. Constant struggle is not.
While I’m not a breakup expert, I’ve done it many times, and it’s been done to me. Friends, boyfriends, fiancés (yes, I’ve had a few), work relationships, family members—you name it, it’s fallen apart. It’s often more comfortable to stay in the broken places rather than risk the glorious (and terrifying) unknown. There are countless rational excuses that keep us stuck. One of my favorites: timing. “This is the worst time to make a change. I’m too busy, too tired, too broke, too needy, too not-enough.”
But, there’s another side to this story—the one that takes your well-being into account. Is it ever a good time to stuff your feelings and soldier on? To exhaust yourself mentally and physically? Is it ever a good time to operate from a place of shame or guilt? Or, continually repeat the same behavior that created the problems in the first place? Habitually attempting to fix the unfixable is crazy-making.
How to Identify Toxic Relationships
Let’s get brave and tell the truth.
Start by observing the thoughts running through your head. How do you honestly feel about the person in question? When I find myself in a pain cave, I crack open my journal for some good old scribble therapy. I write, uncover, release, write, cry, write, rage, write, sigh, write, nap… write. Try it. Ask yourself any of the following sample questions and then write freely. Do your best to stay open and receive. After you’ve gotten it all out, sit back and reflect on your words. Guess what? Your soul said that—loud and clear. Really take it in. You may need to do this exercise for weeks or months before you’re ready to say sayonara.
Questions to ponder:
- Is the pain too great to stay the same?
- Do I constantly picture an alternate reality?
- Do I need a translator to be heard?
- Is it impossible to make boundaries?
- Am I the only one that is willing to meet in the middle?
- Is getting an apology (when it’s truly deserved) like pulling teeth?
- Does this relationship take more energy than it gives?
- Is blaming and complaining getting really old?
- Am I completely fatigued when I’m with the person and energetic when they’re gone?
- If it’s a romantic relationship, are the sparks dead—end of story?
- Do I smile when I want to yell, and then yell at the wrong people?
- Is the only thing holding me back my fear of newness?
- Am I afraid of what people will think of me if this relationship fails?
- Does this person make me feel like I’m lost without them?
- Do I find myself missing the old me?
- And so on…
If you find yourself nodding “yes” to any of the questions above, you might be in a toxic relationship.
How to say Goodbye to Toxic Relationships
Deciding to end a toxic relationship might not be the same as actually leaving or creating boundaries (physical or emotional). The more entangled you are, the more logistics might have to be worked out. It’s OK to take your time and plan the exit and the next phase.
I’ve found that the hardest relationships to get out of are the ones that are the most dysfunctional. The stress definitely takes its toll. That’s why you might need some help. Seek guidance from a coach, therapist (here’s a resource to help you find one) or a really grounded friend—the kind who loves you unconditionally and isn’t afraid to help snap you back to reality. If you fear for your safety in any way, please consider seeking support from the resources below. Remember that no matter what’s going on, you are not alone.
Whether I’ve had a breakup pit crew or gone solo, the best outcomes have always started from a place of honesty and humility. Zero BS. Zero finger pointing. Zero manipulation. And, no last digs. I apologize when needed and try to recall what was once wonderful. There’s no need to force the other side to see my point. If they were going to see it, that would have happened long ago. It’s over. Finito.
Is it always this clean? Nope. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a red hot temper! In my 47 years, there’s been broken dishes, shattered hearts and some serious soul searching. In some cases, I wish I had more compassion and better communication skills. In others, I wish I’d gotten out sooner. Clearly, it’s not always simple. But these days when my bones tell me to pack my bags, I listen.
Grief is good. Feel it. Heal it.
Will your life really fall apart when you move on from a toxic relationship? Maybe. Mine has several times. And, maybe that’s exactly what it takes to build the life you were meant to live. For the most part, it’s rarely that dramatic.
Remember the real you beneath your fear. If you’ve forgotten, let me remind you. You are resilient. Awesome. Inspiring. Worth it. Spectacular. Creative. Funny. Kind. Strong.
If this post resonates with you, but you’re not ready to change, just let these words swim around and wake up your consciousness. That’s more than enough.
What’s on the other side of change?
Relief, freedom, authenticity, true love, nourishing relationships (with yourself and others), fresh starts and smarter beginnings. Follow your true north. The coordinates on your internal compass read like this: Honor your uniqueness, listen to your heart, appreciate your rhythm, know and be loyal to yourself. When we follow those directions, it’s easy to understand if it’s time to take a turn in a new direction.
Your turn: Have you ended a toxic relationship or one that no longer serves you? Share your story to inspire others and so that we can support you!
Sometimes, hearing about someone else’s courage helps us overcome our own fears. Let’s get real in the comments below.
Peace & bag packing,
I literally broke up with my boyfriend Saturday night and the the chronic stiff neck that I had for nearly 2 years, for which I went for weekly acupuncture and massage for, DISSOLVED within an hour and a half of the breakup. As sad as I am (we met under fairy tale-like circumstances and I believed (hoped?) he was the one), I am relieved beyond measure.
Thanks Kris for a timely and well written (and insightful) post~
Blessings to you!
Isn’t it amazing how our body knows what is toxic for us?!
The body definitely knows. As sad as I was after a 7 year relationship and crazy breakup, my anxiety went away and I never once lost sleep. There was even a time he came back around 2 years later and I felt a huge knot in my neck. Insane…
Hello I have been in this relationship for eight long years now it’s so toxic I’ve tried removing myself I’ve tried rehab and things are still the same still doing drugs and can’t get away from the control that is over me she’s always competitive and jealous I want out of this relationship and she knows that I want out of this relationship but she’s doing everything in her possible way to keep me here I am at my Wit’s End I don’t know what to do and how to get out can someone please help me I need someone that supportive of this and this not judgemental my family and friends they’re not going to be there for me honestly I really don’t have much friends but the friends I do have used drugs and I want that out of my life to my family has heard it all so many times I owe you will just go back as what they’ll tell me please I live in Shreveport I really need this help in the support so I can remove myself from this relationship she doesn’t even care that I’m unhappy she doesn’t care that she’s unhappy she just wants control and anything that I have
Whatever you do, get out of the relationship if your gut, heart and mind (your intution) feels there is something not right. The longer you are in the relationship, the longer it will take you to recover. Speaking from experience I waited two and a half years while my wife was with a ten year friend (now X Friend) of mine. She told me I was a liar and blind when I told her I watched her get out of his Cady SUV and get into the Camry I got for her. Google the “cheating gene” and it will give you the info you want.
Sounds like she was gas lighting you. My soon to be ex-husband does it to me all the time. One would think that facing a 24 year failed marriage would prompt honesty. Not so… sigh.
Hi Nina. I can relate although my circumstances are totally different. My romantic partner if you can call it that is a man. I do not really have family support either. I never imagined that I would get into an abusive or controlling relationship as I was always so strong and independent. I do not take drugs I do not drink And I do not smoke. I will be 65 years old next week believe it or not. Well when I was 49, I lost part of my vision in a cataract surgery and I became legally blind after raising a daughter by myself and working as a real estate agent and paralegal. When I was 60 years old, I signed up to take classes at a place for blind and visually impaired people. I do have some vision but it is very blurry and I am considered legally blind. I made so many friends at this place and then one day in the cafeteria at breakfast time I met this man and we developed a friendship and then started meeting for lunch in the cafeteria once a week. I was not looking to meet anybody or to have any relationship. It just happened. After six months he invited me to get together for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and he came and stayed here and he was very respectful and did not try anything. He is also legally blind with VisionpSungla that is a little better than mine. He does not drive of course. So he use that as an excuse to stay overnight on New Year’s Eve and again, he did not try anything so I thought he was being respectful. I thought it was a one time thing and that if we got into a relationship maybe he would stay here once in a while. But he gradually started coming and that was five years ago and he basically moved himself in here even though he has his own apartment. I receive more money than he does and I end up paying all the bills here While he pays for this other apartment and is here five days out of every week. It is a small one bedroom apartment but it is much nicer and newer than his apartment and I feel like he knew that maybe I had some money and lived in a more comfortable place and that he pretended to be interested so he could move himself in here. Now my dog has gotten used to him being here and she barks all the time when he Goes back to his apartment for two days every week. I adopted my dog as a puppy and she loves me very much and she never did this I know she still loves me but whenever he leaves for two days I think she is protecting me and just barks all day and all night. This man has disrupted my whole life and has moved into my home and it is very crowded and I have no privacy and there is no intimacy at all we sleep on the couch . It is basically like having a non-paying roommate. Gradually after he started coming here and started coming more often without my consent, he started acting condescending to me and ignoring me and having very poor hygiene like not taking showers or baths and putting on sweaty clothes that he has worn for a day or two and also passing gas and burping in front of me all kinds of offensive behaviors and also interrupting me And ignoring me or not answering when I say something. He has interrupted me in front of other people as well. Sometimes he talks to me like he is my father and because his vision is a little bit better than mine he acts like I am not all there. This is my home and I am paying all the bills here. I am just so in Barris Nina because everybody knows we got together at this place and I am so embarrassed to break off the relationship for social reasons and embarrassment. Just like your partner, this man does not care that I am not happy and if I ever try to talk to him about things he immediately shuts down and becomes combative and tells me that I am just imagining things or that I am to blame and he turns everything around. Like I said I was never in any abusive relationship before. I don’t understand how I got into this relationship and I don’t know how to get out. Like I said if I try to talk to him he becomes combative and blames me for everything Orr says I am imagining things. I have tried to say a few times maybe you should not come as often and I’ve even use the excuse that my little dog needs to get used to just being with me again but he pretends he does not hear me and just changes the subject. I do not know how to get him not to come as often or not to come at all. Every week when I order groceries let’s say I spend 80 or $90 and if I dare to ask him even for five or $10 because I know he gets less money than I do he acts combative and says he has no money. I have told him many times I am not your mother and where do you get the idea that I am supposed to support you? But he just brushes it aside. He has a lot of his things here so it is a very awkward Situation. I really do not have family support. My daughter lives in another city and so does my brother and my step mother is elderly with Parkinson’s and I don’t want to upset her. I really don’t have any support network to help me with this. Do you have any advice or suggestions?
Change the door locks. Don’t give him a new key. It is not his place, it is yours. Take it back
Great tip, Ann, and while Victoria’s at it (changing the lock and putting his stuff outside), she can call the police and get him thrown out for trespassing as well as put under a restraint order.
Ditto Ann. Put his things in a box outside your front door. Leave for a few days if you feel threatened. If you continue to make up excuses he will just argue & gaslight you. Just claim your power & your desire not to be in a relationship with him anymore. No explanation needed–it’s what you want! Blessings & good luck!
Kick the POS user out and dont for one second feel bad for him!…Call the police if you feel threatened by him. Your not alone, you have a support system right here.
Hi Nina –
Your goals are good ones. Get out of the relationship and walk away from the drugs. I’m not familiar with your area of the country but I imagine if you googled resources to help get off of both the drugs and out of the relationship you will find many resources. If you have a healthcare plan maybe start by calling them. I know there is help out there if you seek it. Be strong and have confidence to do what you feel in your gut is the right answer. It may not be easy, but I believe in you and your resilience. You can do this. Sending prayers and hugs to you.
You have not because you asked not. You should trust and believe in God. Have some Faith, and ask him to heal your mind and take those drugs away. Just continue to Pray.
Don’t tolerate this abusive controller manipulator,do as the others have suggested change the locks,get a restraining order play hard ball safely,you don’t really know this gross intruding manipulator God Bless just have all your bases covered for your own well being mental health and above all personal SAFETY
I can relate to your pain, disbelief, frustration, anger and heartbreak. I too have been in an 8+relationship with a narcissist./psychopath. The crazy making that a person can create along with smoke and mirrors is in itself CRAZY. I have felt every emotion along the way. I do not know why i give my bf/ex- bf the time of day. He has hurt me in every possible way using my insecurities and integrity against me. In the beginning he treated me like a queen. Believed in me , complimented me, protected me and in time he gained my trust and devotion. Somehow its those things that keep me stuck and going back. Its those things that i think are the “real” him and im just sure he will “come around” and want me again. Its a hell like no other A roller coaster ride i want to stop riding. And can for about 6 months and find myself missing him. What i miss is the fake version of him that will never be. I wish i could tell you I found a way out for good and give you the “recipe”. to get out. But what i can tell you ja that when you get so tired of feeling so ripped apart and have had enough you will find the strength to walk away and not look back For me i have to quit him cold turkey like a drug. You are stronger than you realize and DESERVE so MUCH better
Your situation sounds identical to the situation I’m currently in. 11 years on and off again relationship. I inow I need to walk away for good.
My boyfriend of 1 1/2 years and I just broke up. It’s a lot of feelings, but relief is in there. There was a lot of breaking up and making up on both sides of the aisle in our affair. I believe we were really in love but it became painfully toxic since about 7 1/2 months ago when he broke up for no apparent reason and I think left me feeling a little too casual in the relationship. Of course we made up, but you know what? God (and I’m not kidding about this) took me out of his world to have a much needed surgery. Just as I recovered enough to see him 5 weeks later, God (seriously) took him far away out of my world to a new job in Florida. We saw each other only 3 times from September to february and he finally broke it off for lack of seeing each other. It hurts—a lot. But the back and forth is over, I’m learning a lot, and I’ll be ok. I’m trying really hard not to pathologize my affair partner, though I could. Instead I’m trying to be honest about both our participation in our toxic affair, which I will never do again. It’s just not worth it. What really helped me was 2 particular exercises. I got out my calendars for 2019-20 and listed our breakups and makeups. It helped me to see where the end really began for me. Then I’ve revisited places that were once special to us to say goodbye to them, as I don’t think I’ll be going back. I’ve cried, remembered with fondness, said goodbye, left. You know, I feel better—relieved, happier than I have since we broke up nearly three weeks ago, and am beginning to make sense of everything I put myself and each other ( if I’m honest). The honesty feels good. Honesty for the responsibility of both people. Just my thoughts.
Ouch! I felt this. This experience is so difficult and makes us feel immobile. I really hope you are ok and I hope you continue healing and never look back. It’s exactly what you said. We are in love with the version of them that is not and has never been them.
Im in the exact same situation. Maybe we can help eachother nina. Idk when you answered on this post i forgot to check but if you got away already will you help me
Hey Liana, this is Jennifer from Team Crazy Sexy. I just wanted to reach out and offer some support. One thing we recommend to anyone who is in a situation like yours is to get some professional help. It’s so hard to see things as they are when you’re neck-deep in a bad situation. Getting help from a therapist (here’s a great list of therapists at Psychology Today), a religious professional, or even the police are all wonderful resources. Please stay safe and put your beautiful self first. You’re worth it, and we believe that 100%. The whole team is rooting for you, Liana. Xo!
My fiancee broke off the engagement 3 weeks ago, the realtionship has been toxic for a while, super highs and mega lows, over all really good, but i have been in a deep depression for the last year, im finally almost out of it now, my fiancee couldnt take it anymore after i have had some really crazy wild out bursts and eneded it, he clearly still loves me but says he feels different about me and knows its over for good. Dont get me wrong im not entirely to blame for it being toxic, he has done some awful betrayals over the past 4 years that took me too long to get over. But the ultimate demise was my doing, he really did look after me and gave me the world, as i said high highs, mega lows. Now im filled with loads of regrets, remorse, what ifs. Im scared, im lonely, i really dont know how i can get over this. Any help or words of encouragement would be great
Hi Becky, it’s good to hear you are coming out of a depression. We highly recommend you find a therapist to help you with your next steps so that you are able to have beautiful and healthy relationships that you deserve. You are worth it!
Yes, how much we can learn from this signal!
We actually met…i went to drop his clothes off….it started off ok, although i there wasnt much to talk a bout, then he said he was going to bed…i asked to stay, he said no, and a big argument ensued which ended in me storming out/him telling me to leave, it was a disaster, i feel embarrassed i was so pathetic, im in the begging/bargaining stage maybe….but as soon as i got home o realised how silly I had been to ask to stay, i have now initiated the no contact rule! The thing im really struggling with is all the memories of the amazing times we had, they keep creeping in which then gives me anxiety, any tips on managing these thoughts. I try to think of all the bad times but they dont creep in as much as the good times
Amazing how our body has a way of telling us how toxic stress is literally eating away at us. Sounds similar to my story Barbara. I learned to use my back and neck as my barometer. They literally tell me if the rhythm and relationship of my life is/is not serving me. Learning to listen to your body is an amazing tool that can be transformational!
i agree that our body’s can indeed tell us whats up and I feel Yoga helps us to bring awareness to these subtle energies that help us to recognise these areas, as it did for me the more and more aware I became of my responses to this toxic relationship I would notice that i felt I always had to have everything done before he got back from work or i noticed that i would always be feeling anxious when he would come near me when i was on a device computer or phone because it wasn’t about being near me but about seeing what i was up to as if i wasn’t to be trusted due to his own reflective trust issues…and anxious to be myself, and as i sit here writing this knowing that it has ended as gut retching as it is as I know that in these very moments he is poisoning our children with stories from his dysfunctional perspective I can only pray that they can one day know the truth and are able to release the dysfunction that would have surely been transfused : (
I can’t believe how much your post sounds just like what I deal with. We’ve been married for 20 years and just like Barbara posted about the stuff neck, I have dealt with that off and on for years. The doctor says is related to a tension headache. Well, for the last few weeks.my husband and I have been going through yet another down in our relationship. He’s always been controlling and can’t stand when I want to do something that doesn’t involve him but he can go off hunting and on work trips whenever he wants. I actually love when he’s gone because we don’t have to walk around on eggs shells and wonder what kind of mood he will be in. And just like Steyne, I have always found myself feeling the need to have all the chores around the house done before he gets home, mainly during the summer since I’m a teacher and off and feel like I can’t let him have a chance to say I’m lazy. It affects our kids too, we have 2 boys ( 15yr old and 8 yr old) and a 3 year old little girl. I find myself telling them they need to do whatever chore they need to because daddy will be off at whatever time. Whenever I’m in my phone, he asks what I’m doing. He has always thought I was “up to something “. I’ve never cheated on anybody in my life, haven’t ever given him a reason to not trust me bust because of past relationships he doesn’t trust people. It’s been 20 years, together for 22 years. And he still doesn’t trust me? He has narcissist tendencies. I tried to leave him about 6-7 years ago but he begged be not to and said he would do better and change. That lasted a few months. I’m tired of being depressed, unhappy, stressed. I’m a happy person, I love life, God has blessed me with so much. But when I’m around my husband I feel the life being sucked out of me. I want to leave but I’m afraid of the reaction and I don’t want him to beg me to stay or sadly plea with me to stay and I’m afraid he will use the kids against me even though he knows I’m their primary caretaker and he’s never had to take care of them without help.from me or his mom. My parents know what I’m going through, I think his mom knows how he’s been to me. I keep praying that God will provide me with the right way to get out of this even though I know divorce is frowned upon in church, I know this isn’t what God would want for me and my kids. My husband isn’t violent, he’s never hit me or the kids but he is very manipulative and puts me through so much mental and emotional abuse. I just want to live a happy life with just me and my kids. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. This is the first time I’ve talked about this to others.
God wants you happy he doesn’t care if you get a divorce. Leave … you aren’t doing your kids a favor if you’re not happy. You will heal and find love again. God is with you and doesn’t judge you… now move on.
Good for you! I broke up with mine 2 Saturdays ago. Then I blamed myself for not leaving sooner and I promptly made myself sick and somehow manifested expensive computer problems. But I recognize that now and am giving myself permission to heal fully.
We got back together last year under fairy tale-like circumstances too… but he broke his promises as if it were no big deal at all and as if it shouldn’t bother me. When he broke another one 2 Saturdays ago, I called it quits, no questions, no regrets. But it’s still so hard.
I’m proud of you and me and everyone else who leaves toxic relationships.
I understand what you said, its never easy but if you see it from the outside, no one deserves to live like that! Hugs for you..
You know… when I read this, I started to think about how much easier it is to breakup with someone who is not blood. I kept thinking: “Oh, that’s easy! The hard part is with blood family.”
But it wasn’t until I read about Barbara’s stiff neck that I realized how much physical toxicity my body is under when it comes to both blood and non-blood relations. My body is sick for days after speaking to some people and I realize that I lack taking care of myself and just go into “survive” mode.
Now I will start listening to my body as it’s the original “toxic meter”. That’s just brilliant! Thank you… to both Kris and Barbara! 🙂
Family is the easiest to let go of, as after 44 years of experience with dysfunction
But with family I feel there is more external pressure to make it work, no matter the cost… If you cut ties with your family people assume you must be quite dysfunctional/weird/odd. Plus, family are supposed to be the ones who are there for you always, the stability when other relationships might be failing. So if you don’t have that, you really are totally alone…?
Just some thoughts I’m struggling with atm. Some words of advice would be much appreciated <3
I agree, Charlotte! My relationship with my mother is toxic, but she has a lot of health problems and needs me to run her to the doctor etc. If I end this relationship, then I am the cold and heartless one ignoring my familial obligations. We moved away from home when I was just out of college (my parents and I) but my sister stayed and so lives hundreds of miles away. So there is no one else here to help her out. Her church friends used to assist some but I think she asked way too much of them and none of them are ever available anymore. I would love to end this relationship but would feel like I’m abandoning her and my dad. He gets the brunt of her issues (narcissism, manipulation, prescription drug addiction/hallucinations); how can I leave him to deal with the situation all alone? He is a good man…
Let her use Uber. Take breaks from her. Being 1 out of 5 siblings, I was the only one who cared for my mother in my home for her last six months of life. I suffered guilt when I put her in a home for her last week. I could not be with her as she would get physically combative if she didn’t get her way. She was too obese for me to help her when she fell. After she passed, my ovarian cancer came back.
Unfortunately Uber isn’t an option out in the country where we live, but I do work on my boundaries daily with her. I’m sorry you went through that…it had to be terribly difficult. My hope is that in living through this with our mothers that we are more sensitive and self aware humans. The last thing I want to do is become a burden to my children. Sends lots of love and light your way!
I also have a toxic mother, and she has become more so in the 9 years since my dad died. She is the worst version of herself. At the end of the day, I have to do what I can most comfortably live with, which is to stay involved. That being said, I set better and better boundaries, mostly around when and how much I interact with her. I don’t always answer the phone or respond to emails. And I do a ton of personal work – journaling, tapping, meditation, shamanic practices. It never feels like it’s quite enough because interactions sometimes throw me right back into a deep hole. We do have choice, and there are lots of self care practices that must become priority in order for us to survive and eventually thrive despite the horrible, toxic, abusive behaviors we endure in their presence. Today I am recovering from an awful day with her yesterday, but tomorrow I will be better, this toxic hangover will move on and I will rebound. So will you.
I agree. I have taken a similar path. I eat clean, practice daily yoga and meditation, and engage in gratitude journaling. I do have a lot to be grateful for and I hope that in making good choices for myself that I can avoid her path and forge my own way. I think the boundaries you mention are key as well. I require at least 48 hours notice for doctor appointments except true emergencies, won’t loan her any more money, and won’t sacrifice my Friday time with my granddaughter for her drama. It is a constant battle though, as you well know. I can meditate on forgiveness and be in an okay place with her until she says something or makes a demand and I too spiral back down. I just have to focus on the journey & the coming rebound. Wise words, Kate. Thank you!
I met my partner under fairy tale circumstances too. Thought he was the one. I ended it a couple weeks ago. I’m ready or some me nourishment time!
I don’t know how old this post is but today is the day I have had enough. I have been mentally and emotionally abused, made to feel and think as though it’s my fault, I’m a crazy person and I’m to blame. The fighting has gone on for so long. I have constant knots in my back, my forehead has wrinkled tremendously in one years time and I’ve pulled out half my eyebrow…..yes….pulled out half of an eyebrow. It’s hideous. When I first started hanging out with this guy I wasn’t looking to date. He was such a swooner, took things so far so fast..told me he was in love within 3 weeks and we were living together by two months. How silly of me to think it was all real. I soon saw his true side. I am emotionally tormented everyday. Falling for false promises over and over. Ignored when I try to have a real conversation. My thoughts, opinions, interests and desires do not matter. It’s always been about him and what he wants. Since we’ve been together I have abandoned some hobbies b/c he thinks they’re stupid. Yesterday I was completely set up to look like a fool…..and why? Because I cared about him? Because I was practically his free maid and housekeeper? Why does he hate me so bad? I used to ACTUALLY think there was SOMETHING I could to get the love I knew I deserved and needed…..why did I have so little respect for myself for so long? Because I’m 30 and afraid to be single? Afraid if we break up, there goes my shot at marriage? To this guy? Being single can’t be worse than what I’ve been putting up with. I am done with this mental abuser.
Oh my gosh Lynda… I felt like I was reading my own words. Thank you for sharing your story – I find solace in knowing that my story is not unique. May we both continue on a forward going trajectory. Nothing but peace, personal sanity and prosperity ahead for us m’dear!…
WOW yes Maria I feel likeI’m reading my own words too and its just so sad that they are usually coming from a wounded place,, but no excuses we all need to take responsibility for our own lives and who and what goes in and i agree only peace from now : )
They definitely are coming from a wounded place but as adults it is crucial they and we take responsibility for our own health and healing of unresolved issues. I am at a turning point right now, today. At the end of my rope. Needing change one way or another or I will shrivel up and die. That is how I found this posting. I am searching for support and validation. I am with a narcissist with borderline personality issues. He swears he will work on things but has made those promises for two years. What is hard is I have seen a drastic change in his behavior over the course of our relationship for the good. But there are some things he continues and has asked me to point out when he does them. But when I do he gets worse. Once we are separated for a time, sometimes minutes, sometimes hours or days, he apologizes. Its making me crazy and I need at the very least, a break from him to decide what is best for me. It isnt fair to either of us if we aren’t happy. Here is a link to what I read recently that explained not just my relationship with my SO but with 95% of the males in my life up until now. Peace and blessings to you all for healing. http://gettinbetter.com/fiftyways.html
Thank you for this link.
I am a 24 year old male in similar circumstances. We’ve been together for 5 1/2 years and we’re blessed with a beautiful little girl 2 years ago. At first we were great together, then I started feeling smothered. Next came the fights. Then we had our daughter and it was like I fell in love for the first time. Nights were little rough with the little one waking up and me having to go to work early in the morning workin ten hour days on a jobsite an hour and 15 minutes away. So I would get home sometimes about 7 o’clock at night and would barely get one boot off before having our crying daughter being handed to me. But our sex life almost increased during this time for about a year then almost all together stopped. As her feelings began to fade, mine basically started increasing even more. So I would try to do more and help more but eventually started getting accused of only thinking about one sex. So I backed off which eventually led to rarely sleeping in the same bed and not even kissing each other. I started getting suspicions and started snooping through her phone to find convos with guys. When I brought it up, I was scolded for going through her phone and for assuming things. But the distance between us grew bigger and I started finding her convos were starting to get more than frindley. But somehow it was always turned around on me and there I was being pulled back again into a relationship with hopes of it changing only to be left with disappointment again and again. I still love her so much and want to make it work mainly because i don’t want my little girl growing up with separated parents like I did. I feel guilty and miserable when I try to end it and leave, and I’m miserable when I’m there. The thought of life without my girls in it makes me sick to my stomach. But almost my whole relationship personality has changed so much, I don’t even feel like me anymore. I’ve even contemplated ending it all but have been straightened back out as my daughter gets older and our bond grows more and more every day I’m with her. With how long it has taken me to build that relationship with my little girl, My biggest fear is how fast it may be lost as the days increase that I go without seeing her.
i was in a relationship with this guy that i thought i loved but then slowly i came to realize that i just felt sorry for him it was hard for me to leave him and i think its because we had two little ones we have gone through alot he was a drug user and i was the only one working after loosing apartment cars and jobs i just kept thinking giving it another shot but i was just sad to put my little ones through this after i finally decided i cant anymore i told him and he just went and tried od in the room and i wanted to leave but i felt like i had to stay because i didnt want to be blamed for being selfish i thought i was in love but i was just trying to help him get out of the drug use and i think of it and now glad im out after almost 7 yrs thanks to my sisters and family my kids and myself are better than ive been in seven years even though i still regret everything i did for that one guy who i thought was the one and he was using and abusing my kindness and love im so greatfull for my family and for having a closer relationship with god because idk what would have happened if i stayed with that man that i thought loved me but was just taking things from me and not let me be myself after supporting him for so long i got fed up with him and loosing almost everything im glad that i had the courage to leave and become a better person for my little ones i couldnt be happier didnt put to much details because im embarresed after everything im thankful for having another oppurtunity with my babies
I can empathize with your pain, and thank you to you & everyone for sharing your heartbreak. Breaking up with someone regardless of who that person was you, is a process. I know all the advice given to me during the first year, seemed shallow & oddly didn’t help. I had to grieve the loss first, and learn to love myself first and foremost.
I met my husband at age 33. I had been single a year from a 7 year abusive relationship. Although I wasn’t ready for this man because I hadn’t worked through all the past garbage, He waited for me. To his credit, I kept pushing him away. I had really never had someone that genuinely cared about me before. I was in another extremely abusive relationship before this last one, which took me year’s to leave.
If you don’t take care of you, you will continue to repeat your patterns. My husband is an amazing man, for me. I didn’t get married until I was 43. Take Care of yourself first. It’s painful, it sucks, it’s lonely. But, wouldn’t you rather be alone and feel this way than in a relationship and feel this way? You have taken the 1st step in realizing this because you said it yourself. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. I wish all of you well!
Thank you for your sweet reply. Since I last posted, I gained the strength and courage to move out on my own. It was not fun going from a big, new beautiful home to a small, dumpy apartment but it saved my life. I am so saner now. I am at peace. I no longer wake up angry . I no longer call my mom screaming and crying. My eyebrow has grown back. I can hang out with whoever I want to without being in FEAR – I literally FEARED hanging out with my friends when I was with my ex, I was not “allowed” to interact with anyone but females, and I have guy friends too, which he would all threaten of course. He always had a way of finding out everything, and the punishments would last for weeks. The games, the manipulations, the “dangling of a carrot” as I call it….he had SO MUCH power and control over me. Everything was about power and control for him. I would spend my weekends cooking, cleaning and doing all the chores while he had fun with his friends – ( he never lifted a finger to help with the house chores, even down to cleaning up after his un-house broken dogs) – he would never take me out in public or take me on fun trips. We never did anything together. Only when I had a fun trip planned with girlfriends, he would pout, promise me a BETTER trip if only I stayed home…and we never go. Towards the end of our relationship, I got so tired of it, I would speak out against him, argue and rebuttal….and it just got scarier from there. I could write a book. BUT – the good news is – there was literally no sadness when I left him. There was no post-breakup heartache and eating ice cream on the couch. I felt ALIVE, FREE to BE ME. I am working out again, eating healthy, going fun places with friends and not FEARING for my life b/c of it. Sure, I have lonely nights. I am 31 years old – I am in a stage where of course I wish I had a house of my own, a husband. But I do not spend too much time thinking about it. I’m too busy “doing me”. Life will happen for me as it should. Thank you for reading my story and your kind words. I am happy for you that you too, left an abusive relationship and found happiness. Cheers to us both, and to every woman who has endured what we have.
Reading this was like listening to myself word for word. It’s been a painful and tormenting last 14 months but know the journey ahead will bring me so much more happiness and soon be at peace.
I love this post Kris. Thank you! It came at the right time. To Lynda, and anyone like her, read the posts on Esteemology.com too.
Run don’t walk!!!
Read “men who hate women and the women who love them” You’ll be out the door fast!
Your guy sounds like a narcissist. Read up on them and how to heal. Best of luck.
Omg… we had exactly the same experience. Free maid YES!!! I was madly inlove with my ex bf of almost 6 years. It was too late to realized I deserve better. He was such an as**** .
Listening to your stories bring tears and gives me courage to leave the toxic an 8 years plus relationship that I’m currently in. I hasn’t been as easy, but I’m trying my beast to mentally prepare myself to walk away. I’m 32, almost 33 and the idea of being single once again scares me. I’m tired on constantly crying out of frustration and making things worse. We’re trying to work things out, but it’s has turned into a weakly thing, at this point I’m tired of feeling lonely and sad. I need to feel alive and feel wanted once again.
I know how you feel. I’ve been with someone for 5 years and I knew from the beginning that it was trouble. But I soldiered on and fell for her and adore her kids. I’ve learned she is a narcissist and, in her eyes, she does no wrong and I am “cruel and selfish.” I’m usually called that when I try to talk about my feelings and “communicate” with her. I’ve stayed for as long as I have, because she tells me she will have to move and uproot the kids if I leave…and I will destroy them. Let me note..she was out on worker’s comp for years and was released back to work, but says she can’t because she’s still in pain. Funny tho, she can volunteer, bake all the time, and pretty much is always on the go. I do all of the cleaning and I feel like nothing I do is enough. She hasn’t told me she loved me in over 2 years and always throws it back on me, as to why she hasn’t. I’ve also never gotten an apology in 5 years. She truly feels she is never wrong and it’s all me. It’s toxic but I’m having a hard time leaving because of the guilt she inflicts, and because she has torn me down to the point where I have little self esteem. I’m trying to get out of it..but not sure if it’s worth the guilt and emotional beat down I will get.
I know how you feel im stuck in this situation myself right now. Only difference is i have a one year old daughter. No car. And my closest family and friends are 1500 miles away. I feel like I have to apologize for everything and im pretty much a maid. I tell him my feelings he will say sorry sometimes but most of the time I get told to quit blubbering.
I can relate to you soo much. I moved to France for him tho. I’m 35 and I feel so lost and alone. I quit my job sold my car and gave away everything. It was a fairy tale at first. Now I feel so lost and alone. He’s hovering over me now gotta go…
My boyfriend of six years left me for another woman. My feet had been so swollen for years that I the I had developed congestive heart failure, but doctors could find nothing wrong. My feet and ankles were enormous and very painful all the time. I stopped wearing skirts, shorts, and sandals because I wanted to hide my feet. I gained a lot of weight and couldn’t lose an ounce no matter what I did. My stomach was so locked up that I had bowel moments only a few times a week. Since he left, my emotions have been a wreck, but ALL of those physical symptoms disappeared instantaneously. My feet and ankles are normal, I’ve been losing weight, and my stomach is functioning normally. I am amazed!
hi nice one here
Hi Kris, Perfect timing as usual with this post. I have recently decided that I want to end my marriage of 14 years. I am taking my time detangling our lives and it feels good and scary simultaneously. We haven’t been happy for a long time so I am hoping that this move is the right one. My only worry is the effect it will have on my two early teenage kids. Whenever I read advice about ending toxic relationships recently they never mention kids! My hope is that if I am calm and loving through the process it will keep damage to them to a minimum and we can all move forward in a more positive way. Thanks for being an inspiration, keep up the awesome job you are doing! Luv Lee
I want you to know I was a child who lived in a house where they stayed together for the kids. It is a better teaching to show children when things aren’t working…..you make changes and find something that does work. There is a lot of silent guilt when you know you are the reason the two people who brought you in to the world are miserable.
It’s never easy and when you add kids to the split it’s heart-wrenchingly difficult. I left my 1st marriage of 26 years. My son was 6 1/2 years old. Although there wasn’t a lot of fighting, my son told me two weeks after I filed for divorce, “I miss daddy living here but it’s so much calmer since he’s been gone.” Kids absorb the tension between their mom and dad. It keeps them in a perpetual state of unrest . . . I know, it’s how I lived my entire childhood.
There is still a stigma about kids of divorce Marcia but if you look at reality, the criticism typically comes from either from strict religious beliefs or people who themselves are afraid to leave their unhappy marriages.
In the end I left abruptly because of domestic violence. It was a horrendous, drawn-out divorce. It sounds like you’re doing things in an even-handed way Marcia. If you haven’t left yet I would not dally as it’s tougher on the kids playing the waiting game. All kids want to know is that they are going to be OK. If you’re strong and grounded they will feel taken care of. Make sure you take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Counseling with a good MFT is the best advice I could give. Don’t burden family and friends with the drama and upset as it will keep you in that place far too long. You’ll be OK and your kids will too. My son is now 17 years-old and he’s great. He lives with his dad and now understands why I left the marriage. Kids are far more resilient than we give them credit for being. Love your kids, stay grounded, get into counseling, get your kids therapy too so they have a safe outlet (schools provide free counseling), make sure you all laugh and play together, and keep a close eye on the kids. Remember to breathe through the stressful times and appreciate the good ones. Be strong and stay compassionate.
Thank you Darris.
Omg. Currently going through this with my ex wife. I haven’t seen my kids in over two months. It made me cry. She lied about domestic abuse and the only person who questioned the story. Was the judge. Everyone else laughed and said I must be like the hulk. The judge looked at me and said he believed in me. And that he thought I could pull it off. After 15 years. I thought I knew the woman I loved and married. Was I wrong. Turned out I had no clue who she was. And she got a no contact restraining order. Took what she wanted from home. Left me with a pile of memories outside of the home I worked so hard for. We ended up loosing the house. She had moved out. Still she got the house. Only used it to get me arrested. Never used it to sleep or just to hang out. 11 years we’ve lived together. And she managed to leave with everything she wanted and without giving explanation about anything.
But there needs to be something said about learning to communicate and work things out, with the efforts made by both parties. If this is not possible at the moment than something needs to be said about examining one’s self and their role in the state of things. We are always to be quick to blame and point out the splinter in someone else’s eye and completely ignore the telephone in our own.
Marcia, I spent the last few years of my toxic marriage staying in it only for the kids. I had been taught that that was the noble and right thing to do, it’s what my parents did. I can tell you that after that scary first year of unraveling and re-defining, we are all happier people. My kids have a better relationship with both their father and I than they ever did during the marriage. Being true to yourself is always the answer. Looking back, I am so proud that I was able to model idea that for my children, they will need all their lives.
Blessings and courage to you!
This is how i am feeling – everything I read about narcissists (i am married to one), and about toxic relationships seems to overlook how hard it is to let go when you have kids (and the no-contact rule can’t apply)! I think the impact of my marriage on my kids is negative overall. But somehow I am really struggling to let go. It’s like an addiction that I need to get over. And when I read stuff like this (thanks Kris!) I think it is time for me to acknowledge that MY authentic self and my feelings matter. But it’s really hard for me to maintain that belief when I’m in the toxic soup… Every time I pull back from him (and he ignores I’ve tried to end the relationship), I fall apart. Reading this kind of thing might help me do it… Fingers crossed and all the best to you all!!
Hi Faye, from what I have experienced and also learned from reading up on narcissism, it is particularly difficult to deal with the mixed emotions. You truly do feel like you are overcoming an addiction, because of the expert mind-game skills that comes from narcissistic behavior. You are emotionally addicted and spiritually bankrupt, from the overdose of madness that comes from this particular type of relationship. But it can be done. If you need support, I would definitely seek out a support system. One benefit from coming through on the other end, of a relationship like this, is that your spirit is listening–and after you make it through, you shine brighter than ever!
Lee, I would like to commend you for the courage in what you are doing, as I know it is a difficult situation. I agree with Faye…you are showing your children compassionate life skills in knowing how to move through difficult situations. The worst thing would be to stay, and for everyone to remain unhappy, which also sends the message to the kids that this behavior is normal, which it isn’t. The sensitivity in which you are approaching and dealing with this situation will help equip your children with valuable life skills in the future. This will be a process that will continue on between all of you. I send you and your family blessings!
Healing takes time. Emotional, spiritual growth. First you need to get the negative people out of my life. Take the lead and carry on without me.
Read my reply to ‘Marcia’ Faye. Don’t stay too long . . . I did and it ended VERY badly. Everyday you stay makes it more difficult to leave. And you think it’s difficult for you? It’s twice as hard on the kids. The day I filed for a DVTRO (Domestic Violence Restraining Order) was the most frightening and most liberating day of my life. After 26 years I felt free. It wasn’t easy. It’s been 10 years and we can now speak civilly to one another (we communicated through a journal for years because he was so verbally abusive and angry).
If you’re not seeing a therapist get to one ASAP. Interview them to make sure it’s a good fit. I went through several before I found someone that really had me do the work.
Staying in a bad marriage is harming your kids. It’s not fair to your kids, you or your husband. It’s been 10 years and I would never change a thing. I am now remarried (at 58 years-old) to a wonderful, loving husband. My son is 17 years-old and doing well in life. You need to get grounded, get strong, be compassionate and move forward. You can do this. You’ll be OK. Breathe . . .
Are you guys Dr’s. My doctor says run lol shrinks, I do not believe in. I like surport with asolutions . The ones I have met they messed up on their own if they don’t live in a solution my own and opinion from experience from being forced to go as a child
Thank you all so much for your comments it helps so much to know that I’m not the only one dealing with this!! I’ve been in a 27 year marriage with an alcoholic emotional abuser (also am pretty positive he is a narcissist) … been struggling for years with this marriage, constant verbal abuse, having past mistakes thrown in my face every single day, constant negative attitude, it literally drains me just to be around him – I would rather work late every night than go home – its that bad. Nothing that I have ever done is the right thing – he literally finds fault with every single thing I’ve ever done. He goes to the bar every single day – most days, comes home drunk – sleeps on the sofa, and mutters drunk loud bs loud enough for the entire house to hear (and we all have to get up for work) … as does he – I guess you could say he is a “functional alcoholic” … but I feel that there is too much damage done – as he refuses to meet me half way to work out our differences – I’m constantly accused of cheating on him (which I HAVE and AM NOT) – and actually have been accused of that our entire marriage, sporadically. In the last couple of years I’ve lost 75 lbs, gotten back to work full-time and become much more independent again – and he cannot stand it … I think he feels like he is losing control, and sometimes that makes the verbal abuse and name calling, and accusations that much worse. I know I’ve got to get out … we have a 19 and 26 year old sons who have lived with this their entire lives – I feel SO guilty for them having to witness the fighting and abuse. The worst thing is that my husband also verbally abuses our oldest son – because he is a lot like me. Any words of wisdom or what type of therapist I need to find, would be so helpful – I’m just beginning to plan my exit – but it is coming – this year.
Michelle, your situation sounds like what I lived through. But I’ve been divorced 7 years now and my kids are on the mend and we are all doing great. I’m in a fantastic relationship and my kids see how it was and don’t blame me. It took over 2 years to finally get the divorce from my ex because he was so crazy and also had health problems and needed my insurance. But I could not have done it without our family therapist. Each person in the family went to see her individually, and monthly as a family = with my son seeing her weekly (for his ADHD – but then for his self esteem issues), my ex seeing her weekly because he was always trying to blame his problems on everyone else, and I saw her every other week because I was going broke from all the therapy sessions and couldn’t pay for more. But I tell you, I recommend that anyone trying to get away from a toxic relationship enlist the help of a professional (who will most likely give you reduced rates because they want to help you.) I was married 20 years to this dude who at first was my soul mate. Frankly, he may still be my soul mate, but that doesn’t mean you have to marry the person if you have a dysfunctional relationship with them. Marry the person you get along best with that you love very much. That is my advice to my children. You can love several people, but you should not marry all the people you love.
Oh, and of course, I kicked myself for not having gotten out while the children were younger and I was younger and had more opportunities to remarry. Doesn’t matter how long you wait, you will always be older and it will still be difficult to do. Put one foot in front of the other and take the steps to get out. Get a good therapist who sees the problems and support your own gut feelings. My ex and I did weekly therapy for 2 years at year 15 and he still blamed me for everything, would never take any responsibility for his actions, could not get a job, and couldn’t keep a job when he managed to get one, drank us out of house and home (literally, we lost our home and declared bankruptcy while I worked two jobs.) Then when he started telling me that he married BENEATH him. . . oh really? REALLY? So long. I’m exhausted from you. I need an operation for a tumor in my uterus and you won’t get the kids to school for me to be able to take off work to have this procedure, and you want sex??? Oh no, no, no. This is a complete nightmare and I’m getting out.
I’m telling you. Get a good therapist. And then get a good lawyer. It’s worth the money. People will help you help yourself.
Hi Faye, just reading your post, I wish to direct you to a name to google. Melanie Tonia Evans . I think it will help x
Thank you SO much for this name. So many questions answered, can’t believe this…
When I hear about people getting divorced, like it’s no big deal, I used to be floored. For me to make the decision that my happiness, my opinions, my needs were actually significant was a VERY terrifying process to go through. It took me a year of intense therapy to understand that I didn’t have to sacrifice myself for my marriage. The entire process was still terrifying, but once I realized that it was the best thing for everyone involved, I pushed past all my fears and did what I needed to do. Your husband won’t consciously understand why you are doing this, but his heart and soul will know. You can’t give to your children or anyone, including yourself or your husband from the state you’re in. You have incredible gifts to give that you will only be able to share if you’re taking good care of yourself and you’re not doing anyone any favors by enabling abusive behaviors to proliferate.
I am still growing, of course, but am SO much happier now, have a wonderful life and my kids have a relationship with their Dad they didn’t have before.
You could try a GOOD therapist that will empower you to grow, not one that will let you sit in your muck. Jon Gabriel promotes cellular release therapy: http://www.thegabrielmethod.com/emotional-release-therapy-2, and Psyche K is a great transformational method, too. There are many others that will present themselves to you if you ask the universe for help.
Many prayers, love and peace! You know what you need to do. Just listen to your body and your heart.
Just came across this website and I have to say that I was always wondering how to put it in worlds what I am going through adn you just did. I hope 8 months on, things are looking better. So much harder when you have children.
i feel exactly the same….im so afraid of the change…how do i live? without him? without my regular days…support myself…im so confused…i dont know what to do ive lied in ORDER to keep him…i ve admitted to stuff i would never think of doing…now what ?
As a woman who got divorced after 23 years of marital unhappiness (a majority of the years we spent together were disconnected, angry, alone), I can tell you that divorcing my husband wasn’t simple, but it changed my life and the lives of my kids for the better. Like some of the other women commenting here, I also grew up in a family that was highly dysfunctional. My parents finally divorced when we were all out of the house. I was 28. They didn’t do us any favor by staying together.
With my kids, who were 13, 16 and 19 at the time of the divorce, we had a continuing conversation over many years. Within an hour of telling them that we were divorcing, my oldest, who was 16, told me that she understood. She knew how unhappy I was. Through her tears, she sobbed, “I get why you can’t be with dad. I’m just being selfish right now, because it’s hard for me.” I knew they’d be okay if I kept an open dialogue with them, willing to hear them and all they were going through. We are very close, and they have good relationship skills. They know how to form healthy, dignified relationships. That’s the most important thing to me.
Best of luck to you. Kids are resilient. Be there for them, and I think everything will be okay in the end.
All of the postings on ending toxic marriage is very timely for me as I’m currently been debating with myself whether I should go ahead and file for divorce after contemplating for the last three months since separation. I caved in several times to my husband… mostly about power and manipulation. To come back or to end the marriage. To him to come back is to do my duty as a wife by having sex with him. He doesn’t want to wait and give me the time and space I need to decide what to do. It will be 14 years of an unhappy marriage next month and the kids are the only reason why I’m stalling. I even had thoughts of staying for another 5 more years for them until they reach 16 and 13 years old. Now I’m thinking what good would it do to them if they are to know the pain I’m in and to live in that pain for several more years.
Relationships are not so complicated unless we make it out to be and right now it’s the confusion and guilt that make me stuck and going in circles. I hope to get out of the spirals and be free but it’s not linear. I have to go back a few times unsuccessfully and tumble a few more times before I untangle myself. It’s a mess and the only torture is the one I’m giving myself with all the confusion running through my head. It’s nice to know that some are going through the same thing and to have support. Right now none of the people in my life are going through this, so it’s good to see what others are doing in similar circumstances. I learned from reading about what others are going through and agreed with the shared point of views. Yet when it comes to my situation, it seems like I’m in turmoil. I have to get out of my own head and just keep going knowing that it’s ok to fall back but I’m moving forward somehow and having the victory in the end….to be whole and free.
I, too was a child whose parents stayed together for me and my sister. It didn’t help us. We both knew they were miserable together, and now I don’t have much trust of relationships. I have always wished my mom would have left my philandering father years earlier instead of staying out of fear. You sound very grounded and prepared to handle anything that happens. Show your kids what real self care is and they will be fine.
My 17 year marriage has also ended (I have a 12 year old) and I wanted to recommend the virtual course, “Conscious Uncoupling” by Katherine Woodward Thomas. I can’t recommend this highly enough!! She is a marriage and family therapist, wise woman and has been there (with kids). I have had a wonderful therapist for the past 3 years and this program has been incredible. There are segments that deal specifically with divorce and children. This program teaches how to truly heal and move through a breakup and beyond consciously, lovingly and learn how to manage and heal the “big” emotions of anger, pain, sadness, grief, and the core fracture at the root of our pain. This program is beautiful, profound, healing. I have found it immensely helpful. Google it….there is a youtube clip as well. 🙂
What if the person that is being labeled as toxic is act not and he has been mental abused and made look like a narcissist but The people who really know him know this is untrue but no one will speak up because it’s all coming up he was told things to make him believe this girl was no good and coincidences didn’t add up when is the innocent one that literally loves her and has been through hell and friends of 20 years I made still to this day try make him believe To be her she’s no good Marie why is this so
Thank you for your courage to share with us your thoughts and feelings. My parents, specially my mother was the one who decided to stay. Even though it was really hard for her to handle the atmosphere of living with my father. My childhood living with their constant discussions and bad humor made me feel so insecure and miserable. I said even at the age of 4 “I prefer to live with my grandparents because they don’t shout”. I always thought they would be happier if they got divorced. But they didn’t because of their “children”. As a child (you are truly emotion) I though all their fights were for my fault, I always thought it was something wrong with me and sometimes I still have this feeling in my adult life. My parents didn’t split up and they are still together. It’s such an insane marriage and I still have the same feeling that they would be better apart. That’s why I really appreciate your courage and I think the best lesson you could teach to your children is through your example. If you feel free, take care of yourself and do not prioritize others before you. I think it’s the best present you could ever give to them. A mum who knows their strengths and flows and is able to live the life she always wanted to live. This is the way I would like my mum to feel. Best wishes for your new life warrior XXX
I have just left a toxic 16 year marriage that I have tried to leave a few times with no success. It took everything out of me to leave and I even waited until he went away on a trip and moved out. I just kept falling into the I’m sorry I will change trap or the crazy person who thinks she can fix something that is not worth fixing. It has been two weeks and I cannot tell you how different life is. I am getting my joy back for life and wake up feeling amazing. Yes, I have some challenges to overcome, but I also have the possibility of amazing happiness. Much better than knowing that you are acting for the world when inside you are sad, lonely and wishing for tenderness. Thanks for this article…..it inspired me yet again.
this inspires me. thank you
Now this is a great subject, saying goodbye to circumstances and making the move into the new and unknown.
As we unfold our true potent potential and open our thoughts and attitudes to life stepping into the unknown is perhaps “THE” challenge.
Our occidental culture of desperately holding onto our homes, jobs, partners, and general stability just does not promote or provide for free willed and wild changes. But is this the fantastic opening in consciousness now available to us in our time? Stepping into oneself and the unknown.
And then bang, comes seemingly the most unwanted obstacles of economic and environmental instability.
This is to me one of the most important topics and challenges. I love my partner, living and working circumstances. I do not have pain or unpleasant things going on, but I do see or know I could walk out into the new and develop another life. At what point does one say ok lets bring on the new and take a new route??
Much love, and thanks for raising the subject and the great advise, build and plan for the changes has got to be good, a swat support crew if needed, Fantastic.
Take your love with you on the new journey!! She may be feeling the same way. Share your thoughts in a loving way with your partner and ask for what you want.
I just spent four months building castles in the air around a relationship that I hoped would become something more, he would flirt with me and I kept getting triggered and releasing lots of old stuff but I was too much in denial to actually check on the reality of what was going on. When I finally did share what was happening for me I sat opposite a man who was completely cut off from his heart and obviously living in a delusional world of his own where he did not see the consequences of his behaviour. Even then it took a lot of writing and meditating and soul searching to finally let go of him, the truth is that it was a lucky escape! When it comes to romance I always seem to come up against the belief that there might never ever be another so I better hang on to what I’ve got, feels so much better when you honour yourself and let go of the toxicity whatever form it comes in! Thank you Kris, love and blissings, Kerry
I know how that feels. I spent 1 1/2 years building that castle. While we don’t talk anymore, it is still “painful” when I think about him.
You told my story so simply. I also am a castle builder, and I grasp onto my 7-year dysfunctional off-on-off-on relationship with the fierceness of a hungry tiger. It’s my last meal, and I won’t let go until we’re all shredded.
He was my first love interest following a very painful 11-yr marriage to a cold hearted, narcissistic rager. After a year of drama, we had a good committed 6-yr run. Then the world turned upside down and he is now back in a cycle of manipulation, commitment phobia, lying, and trying to pick up women wherever he can – while telling me I’m the best thing that ever happened to him. I am the best lover, best friend, etc. etc., and he is just “confused”.
He is also drinking a lot more, and quit his high paying job in a huff – only to struggle to land a new one.
I beg him to get back to where we were. I manipulate him with sex, with emotion, whatever it takes. When he really crosses a line, I rage. I get good and mad and walk away. Then he chases. I fall for it. I think we’re good again. Before long i find him evasive, pulled back, and non-committal once again. And the worst part is, it shocks me every time! I always believe him, and am so crushed when I discover it was all passing bullshit.
He is a good man, at heart. But he is broken. He is the only man who has ever truly liked me as a person; made me feel drop-dead gorgeous; spoken to me with utter respect and admiration; been a good dear friend. But he is broken, he is self centered, and has become a big fat liar. And I apparently have a wicked codependent streak.
Today I in so much emotional pain I can barely breathe. Yesterday he offered me the chance to do a “trial” reconciliation for one week, which we culminate in me and my daughters joining him, his son, and his friends on a camping trip this weekend.
I almost took the bait. Then it hit me. This week would make him feel less guilty, And the camping trip would appease his crew who were expecting me. But the one we clause would allow him to continue to pursue some women he met at singles meet ups. Somehow I knew it deep in my gut; this man who loves me was stringing me along and would very likely dump me again after the week was up.
I gathered my things, kissed him goodbye and told him no. Not acceptable.
Last night he starts texting me random things like all is well. Crazy freaking making! When I told him I was still upset, he said he misses me.
I still can’t figure out if he’s intentionally playing mind games or if he’s really just that f’ed up. But I can figure out that I am the biggest part of my problem. I am allowing this to happen, in many cases instigating it. I desperately want to hold onto him and believe in the fairytale I created for us. I desperately want to boyfriend and my best friend back .
I am 45 and terrified of never finding someone else – someone good for me, and actually attracted to that person.
And on top of that I really do love this man. I have a great deal of compassion for the struggle he’s going through. That is actually making it much harder.
When I walked away from my marriage I had no remorse except for my girls. I was totally done. This is way more painful because he has kept me hooked, wanting more.
Thank you for indulging this Uber long post. The blog and all of your wonderful comments so resonated with me I felt compelled to share.
Thank you and I wish you all peace love joy and most of all serenity.
Check out Natalie Lue’s website: http://www.baggagereclaim.com
This is verbatim what I am going through.
Thank you for sharing and making me feel not so alone!
I completely understand and feel your comment. It needed to be long this is exactly what I have been through. We do not have children together. I feel like I lost my best friend but I felt that way before we broke up. Now I see I lost me in him. Many many things you said were here then add in addictions and a little more narcissism and telling me everything I ever needed or wanted to hear. While looking at the wall.
He left me recently for a much younger woman who could and will idolize him.
I was devastated.
I am strong as I can tell you are I love truth I love finding and fixing things and I think I thought I could do that with him.
Anyway I can’t fix him and I will not fear being without him.
We just had a big blizzard and I was home with my girls and my mom and grandma live here as well. I cried for so many reasons. It was scary but it all worked out. The lies became more and more my gut instinct was constantly triggered and I lived for almost 7 years in a denial blissful anxious tired state trying to be what would be enough enough for him.
Now a clean break
It’s like he died. It hurts but the bandaid was pulled off and fast. It hurt very very badly but really quickly now I am examine the wound and healing.
This is identical to my life and struggle right now. Thank you for sharing.
I broke up with my boyfriend this past Thursday so this post really resonated with me. He was verbally abusive and really cut me down about my physical appearance (especially my body) but I had a hard time leaving because our good times really filled my soul. I’d been single for so long before meeting him that I relished being a couple and all that came with it.
I knew I deserved better but I kept believing he would change as he promised and then suddenly, it was one insult too many. I no longer felt the same when I was around him. Instead of butterflies, I felt pangs of anger. Instead of wanting to cuddle, I wanted to put miles between us.
When I finally ended things, I did so with the strength & support of my family, friends, and therapist. I wasn’t an island–far from it, I was a loved individual who knew, because of the amazing people that surrounded me, that any man I was with had to rise to their caliber.
I learned so much from this relationship so to say it was a waste of time would be wrong. I learned: I have a deep capacity to love (the right person), I am incredibly strong, I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for, I have a rockin’ family, and I will be able to go back into the dating pool that much stronger.
Sav, I have been in the situation before where I have stayed in relationship with someone because I’d been single for a long time before them, and didn’t want to be single again. Gradually it becomes more than you can bare. If it isn’t working, the pain of staying is worst than the pain of moving on. Bravo to you, for seeking the support you needed to move on! I wish you the best!
I always have a fear of change. A fear of being alone. A fear of newness. And like you, I cling to the good memories, the good times…and I always had hope things would change, although I ignored my sensible side that knew it was a doomed relationship. It has gotten to the point where the pain of staying is so more unbearable than the pain of moving on, as TL Parks mentioned above. I feel like my soul has been beaten down. A lot of my personality has gone. I am no longer the funny girl, the girl who made people laugh. I am always sad. Always mopey. I haven’t had fun in months. Literally , months. Not one day of fun. Not one day of waking up feeling like it’s going to be a great day. Most days I wake up and cry. not sure how to date at 30, where to meet men. It was much easier in our 20’s….and this has terrified me into staying. How ridiculous. I’m finally at a point where I don’t really care if I meet a man. Being alone at this point would be so much better.
I’m divorcing my husband after 26 years of marriage. We’ve been separated for a year and I have to say that I was hopeful that things might work out…until I realized how happy I was to be alone! I had totally lost myself to a relationship that clearly was not working, but for some reason, I just couldn’t believe it. Last week, during a long discussion with my husband, we came to the realization that, due to childhood circumstances, he simply can not commit emotionally to anyone and he is unwilling to seek help to overcome this huge obstacle. That was enough for me to realize that it’s time to move on. I have a lot to give to the right guy! I have some work to do on myself… but then, I’m going to head out to find him!!!
I can relate to dating a man who, because of childhood abuses, had issues that made being in a relationship with him very toxic and he was unwilling to address them with a therapist. I was able to see the connection with his past because I myself had worked though my own issues in therapy, he continues to think he is managing just fine. The fault is with everyone else.
I realized that you can make someone get help, es
(Continued from above) I realized you *can’t* make someone get help, especially with therapy, they have to want to get help and change. So much of what drew me to him was my ability to see the little boy inside who was in pain, and a part of me wanted to give him the love he never got but deserved….but woah boy. Not healthy.
He is no longer that little boy, he is man who is responsible for his actions. It will be tragic if he doesn’t get help because there lies so much potential in him for love, but he must see and want it.
I’m in the exact situation. Very hard to turn away from someone you care about and see the best in – even when they are behaving horribly.
Gah! My army for a temporary lack of empathy!
Yes yes and yes!!!
WOW! So great that you’ve both figured this out and you chose to face it and move on!!! I too left my 26 year marriage.
I actually had a male friend/neighbor tell me that the odds of me finding someone at my age (I was 48) was practically nil. He was dead wrong. A year after filing for divorce I met my current husband. That was 9 1/2 years ago. I knew what I didn’t want but never focused on what I DID want. When I wrote out my list and then narrowed it down to my 5 ‘must haves’ my dream guy literally knocked on my door two weeks later. I not only met a dream of a man, he’s 3 years younger than me and thinks I’m the cutest thing since sliced bread ; )
You go girl!
From above, “I realized you *can’t* make someone get help, especially with therapy, they have to want to get help and change. So much of what drew me to him was my ability to see the little boy inside who was in pain, and a part of me wanted to give him the love he never got but deserved….but woah boy. Not healthy.
He is no longer that little boy, he is man who is responsible for his actions. It will be tragic if he doesn’t get help because there lies so much potential in him for love, but he must see and want it.”
Hells Bells!!!! I am in a relationship right now because I saw an abused little boy who had missed so much in life, who had endured pain beyond my comprehension and I just wanted to fix him up and make him whole. Now I find myself living with a 43 year adolescent (emotionally) and I can’t handle it. He’s nice, he’s gentle, he loves me, and he loves the kids but he cannot be the man I need him to be. I am however doomed if he leaves because I don’t (at the moment) have the finances to pay my mortgage and stay there with no roommate. So, I am looking for a second job that will allow me to bring in the extra cash I need so I can say “good-bye” and not be terrified.
On the other hand, he also recently started working again. (I was sudo-supporting him, and trust me, it sucked) So, I won’t have the guilt of sending him off when his only option is to take Welfare assistance. Yae!
I still don’t know when I’ll do it, but it for sure will be done. I like him very much (how wierd to say that while contemplating breaking up with him) and he’s not violent at all, so this is where the problem lies. He thinks I want too much, I think he dosn’t give enough, etc. I know however that I’m far from satisfied and while I see his effort, I don’t see enough to make me satisfied either. 🙁 (I have children, he dosn’t and he finds it hard to be the step father. I want to be with someone who wants that role, or to not be with anyone at all.)
Thanks for letting me vent here. Happy Wednsday to you all.
Same and same. I have raised children and he hasn’t any. Also an abused child / adolescent.
He tries but we can’t seem to understand one another. I don’t want a step father figure but just a man to me. He has never had to be. Always just about him. I would love for it to work but he refuses to get help.
This resonated me with me so much. 2 weeks ago I ended a 11 year relationship, which should have ended 4 years ago. It was not easy to end it especially after all the time I had spent with this person. But I decided memories should not be a reason to stay with someone. It should be how you feel now. Walking away was the hardest thing I have done and I felt so much pain, guilt and sadness. The guilt was the worst, the idea of hurting someone I loved (even though I knew he wasn’t right for me) tore me apart. Now though I can’t believe I left it so long. I truly believe I have done us both a favour and I am ok. I felt hurt but I’m still here. Life seems just seems so easy now too. I’m finally listening to myself and my heart and living a life I love. The grief still comes in waves but the gaps between that and the good times are getting bigger and bigger. I remember only 3 weeks ago how I had felt so tied to this person almost out of duty and how unaware I had been of myself. If I can give any advice trust your instincts and go for it. I loved this person but deep inside I knew we weren’t right for each other. Believe me you really will be ok.
Remember life will be there to catch you or make you fly. xx
From your username I gather you’re of Indian descent like me and I resonated with your sharing that you felt a lot of guilt for hurting your ex when you left. I think all women, regardless it ethnicity, feel guilt when leaving a relationship but I think our Indian culture specifically add an extra dollop. Our culture dictates that we take care of our men, both emotionally and physically; we are often portrayed as an extension of their mother’s in that we are in charge if feeding and caring for them. Even in these modern times where males and females, especially in the Western world, are largely equal and split in chores 50/50, I still find that guilt monster rearing its head as if my ex were a helpless child I had just abandoned.
I may be reading too much into your entry and you may not relate to this at all, but I do think our Indian culture uses guilt a lot to shape our behavior so we are “good members of society”.
Ms Chris Carr – Yr education has been an inspiration, BE free for U to choose a LIVE for yr own LIVE for UUU 🙂
Thanking U for yr info over the years
When I first saw the title of this post, I got very frightened…..I thought you were getting ready to break up with us!!!!
I recently had a devastating break-up with my husband of 20 years. We didn’t always get along, as a matter of fact, for the last 6 years or so, we both thought we would be better off without each other. I’m here to tell you now, we were wrong. What I learned during the time that my husband got sick and his process of dying, is that I was very selfish in just about all aspects of our lives. He was as well, but I can only take care of “my side of the street”. As I looked over our life together, I could see all the times I was so self concerned, and didn’t behave the way I should have. Love is an action word, not a description of a feeling. I got to learn so very much. We had the opportunity to talk about our failings right before he passed away, and I so very grateful for that opportunity and the courage it took for us to talk about those things. I was able to apologize…and mean it…and today, I wish like crazy that we had the chance to do it over. But we don’t. But, boy oh boy, did I ever learn alot!!!! During this process, I discovered that even though I kept thinking HE was the toxic one, I had a significant contribution to that toxicity!!!!! I was the toxic one, too……
Thanks for sharing this Connie. “Love is an action word” – I hope you are loving your self too now. Bless you and good luck in your future happiness 🙂 xxx
Hi Connie, thanks for sharing your story and also how you got honest with yourself and what you were contributing to the relationship. It takes a lot of guts to admit this. I have no doubt that this was a learning and healing journey for you both. Peace and blessings!
This is awesome! You are taking responsibility for your actions! Power to you!
Wow, wow, wow, Connie . . . you are one courageous woman! AMAZING story and absolutely one for anyone wanting to leave a relationship to read.
Even in my circumstances (domestic violence) I had to take a hard look at my responsibility in the dissolving of my marriage. Only when I realized that I was getting significance from being ‘the victim’ did I move to change. It took a while to make the shift but it was dramatic. My marriage was not salvageable but I was able to take responsibility for my part.
What a gift you gave to your husband and to yourself. Thank you so much for sharing your story . . .
Thank you Connie for bringing me back to earth. I will be looking at me now, perhaps it’s not all him. Perhaps I do have unrealistic expectations, and I am human so it’s absolutely true that I do contribute to the feeling in the house. Thank you.
Jeez.. exactly what I needed to read right now. I’ve been hanging onto issues around this topic for the last few days. Relationships + NYC = difficult. That’s all I can say.
There are sunflowers waiting to be found, got find them!
Life simply has a way of jolting us onto our new pathways. Embrace it, rejoice in it. The jolt is necessary and in the end, rewarding.
It took me three months of writing and crying and writing again and asking those exact questions to finally make a decision to leave. I was so afraid to answer them honestly, but I did live in an alternative reality where my ex was not present. None of my dreams included him and that was difficult to ignore. And there was other stuff too, of course. I think I exhausted myself into leaving. Was the best decision of my life, although it took some serious healing afterwards.
Thank you Kris for this inspiring post, I actually look back now and feel proud of myself!
Almost 1,5 months ago I split with my business partner. Because my business experience is shorter than hers, I accepted many things she wanted to do, even though I knew deep inside they didn’t serve me right. Her power spread into the relationship like a cancer… I gained about 20 pounds, started having some weird allergies (my earring holes are closed now because I couldn’t wear ANYTHING in them that they’d bleed), retained plenty of liquids… every time I wanted to say my point of view, she had a quick and effective reply to shut me up.
The decision to call it quits was made in my mind quite a while ago, but it took my parents and boyfriend to help me really saying it to her. She called me names. I couldn’t answer the phone without feeling sick. She didn’t pay my part of the society quotes (and I guess she never will, but my lawyer says it’s better not to mess with the situation).
And yet, I still feel I’m the one in debt.
Also, an ex dumped me a year ago by phone, claiming I had to “fix” myself before seeking him again. See, there was something weird about him not answering his cell in front of me, nor letting me share my relationship with a friend in common, and I knew it, and it let me torn apart. And yet, we stayed together for a year, in a short but exhausting distance relationship.
I felt relief when he dumped me, and I now have an awesome guy by my side.
BUT… still once in a while, even though my feelings for my ex aren’t love and I’m pretty sure about it, there is doubt in the air still.
How can I deal with unanswered questions? How do you deal with them anyway?
This could not have come in a better time… Yesterday I had to face that situation with my marriage of 12 years…
I know I’ll be a Phoenix but the transformation hurts.
WOW Kris – soooooooo real, so poignant and so helpful. I never post comments, but this time, had to say “thank you for being so real.” But beyond that, your “real” resonates with me in a very personal way. Thank you for your amazing self awareness and courage in all that you do. It is truly refreshing in a world of folks that are so afraid; afraid to really look at themselves and even more afraid to let others see who they really are. I so wish the world had more brave souls. Ok, I know I’m a bit idealistic. But anyway, thank you for all your great work including this very timely article…
Thank you, Kris, for this post. Unlike many who have commented I am in a happy marriage but your comments resonated with me concerning friendships. I have had a long-term friendship with someone who is very confrontational and sees life in black and white. She has strong opinions, is very articulate, and quick with a response. When we are together I feel as if I am constantly on my guard, being careful not to bring up topics that I know she feels passionately about (and is unable to see opposing viewpoints). It can be exhausting.
On the other hand, this friend has many lovely qualities. She is loyal, compassionate, and creative. She was by my side throughout my cancer journey. She is a good listener.
I sometimes think I need to cut my ties with her but then am reminded of what I have treasured about our relationship. I wish you had spoken more about how to deal specifically with how to deal with friendships that may have reached the end of their journey. What is the best way to let go?
Grace I have done just that – left a toxic friendship. It has been painful, nasty and protracted. Here is what I have learned and what I would do differently . I would speak my truth gently …. instead of keeping quiet and simmering about her hurtful comments, snide barbs etc. For so long she had no idea she upset me so regularly – if i had been able to speak that truth gently it may never have developed to the point where I had to end the friendship . Big lesson for me !
I can share what I did in a very similar situation. I started to distance myself from her–turning down invitations to do things together with the hope that things would automatically drift. When that proved too passive aggressive for our friendship I told her straight out that I needed space. It was hurtful to her but in the end it was the healthiest decision for me. It was also healthier for her–no one deserves a friend who doesn’t appreciate and love you. Cutting things with you friend opens a door for her growth as well.
You completely reflected my own thoughts! “Friend breakups” can be worse in some ways than “relationship breakups”. And the timing for this post is weird, as I just had a friend breakup yesterday and am looking at having a couple others.
My approach is the “taking space” one. Perhaps it’s weak, but I’ve noticed that the friendship will slowly fade, without big drama and lots of “She said” “She said.” Sadly, women tend to be worse backbiters than men. This also leaves the room for reconnection, as people do grow and change. And sometimes, even if the character traits/opposing lifestyles/emotional draining which initially caused you “break up” with a friend has not changed; time/distance can teach us a new way of relating.
Either which way, it’s painful.
Growing often is.
Grace, I had to end a similar relationship 18 years ago. It felt like our friendship had run its course, we were in each others lives when we both needed the support. Then we didn’t. I felt drained by her, screening her phone calls, she was confused and I wasn’t strong enough at first to tell her how I felt. I eventually did, though. She died unexpectedly 13 years ago. I see the friendship now as a chapter in our lives, it wasn’t meant to continue forever, it served its’ purpose at the time. People come in and out of our lives, hopefully we take away something valuable from each one. Good luck.
I have had to do this throughout the years with friends and boyfriends. It is always something difficult to face because you keep thinking one more time, chance, but in the end you must create space for all the beauty and light you offer the world. Thank you for the reminder to keep yourself surrounded by those who uplift and support you, the rest can be like free radicals zapping your energy. Make a change for the better- don’t be a bag lady!
Not so long ago, my relationship of 3 years ended with the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. It was a fairy-tale(yes guys believe in that too!) beginning, love-at-first sight kind of relationship. Just the last few months she became distant and not wanting to be any kind of intimate, even kisses or holding hands. The finger pointing and arguments became more frequent, and she ended it before I had decided to. Now she still texts everyday, and wants to spend time together, but what I am afraid to say out loud is I feel like I’m being held hostage. She has gone on and is happy with her life, and here I am still silently holding onto something that is over with. Tied to that she still tells me she loves me. I am at a loss for words, because she still gives me that hope that maybe we can reconcile. This article definitely hit home, but I don’t know how to let go.
Your ex continues to be a toxic presence in your life and the only way for you to fully move on is to cut her out of your life. She may be still texting you but I’m assuming you’re responding to them. Remember–you deserve a relationship that is completely fulfilling, she is someone who is using you over text–not even in person. The longer you continue to entertain her texts by responding, the longer you will pine for a relationship that hurts you. Tell her that you can no longer communicate with her bc of your own need to move on from her. She will undoubtedly still text you (as she’s already shown to have questionable boundaries) so at this stage you must ignore her texts. It may feel “mean” to do so but you have already told her you need to stop exchanging texts, you are merely following through. Best of luck.
In my experience, when someone continues to contact you after a break up, especially if they ended it, it’s usually because they feel immensely guilty in a very selfish way. They can’t stand the thought that you might not think so well of them (read: worship) anymore and their ego can’t stand not being the most important thing in your life. Her texts are strictly HER EGO. She needs people to pine for her. You don’t have to be one of them:-)
Focus on your peace of mind, spend time with animals, help children learn something cool, play a sport, let her project her needs on someone else. As L’Oreal says “(you’re) worth it”!!!
End all contact for 6 months. If it’s meant to be you both will make it happen. Allowing her to keep in touch has her feel secure that you’ll always be there for her, an anchor. An anchor that has you drowning. Relationships are about commitment. Everyone is mad about one another in the beginning. Typically this ‘honeymoon phase’ last for one to 3 years. If there is no commitment, there is no relationship. Read Susan Forwards book, ‘The 8 Essential Traits of Couples Who Thrive’, it’s one of the best books on relationships that I’ve ever read in my 58 years . . .
It’s never easy moving on . . . you’re not alone Mike. Someone out there wants someone just like you.
The author is Susan Page not Susan Forward . . . but Susan Forward’s books are good too ; )
Mike, I had a very similar experience about 2 years ago. I was in love with a man I thought I was going to marry. We met in a fairy-tale like fashion, states and years apart we reconnected and fell in love again. Within a year he became distant, not answering my calls, being short with me, talking down to me and making me feel worthless. He finally ended it. I was devastated for months and months. It still hurts today, but after more than a year of him continuing to text me, call me, telling me he wanted me in his life, I never knew if I should move on. No, I never let myself heal and move on, because I held on to that hope that one day he would realize that we were supposed to be together. I tried numerous times to cut ties, but he would always tell me how much he cared about me, dragging out my hope for the future. When I would tell him I loved him still or asked if we could work things out he refused and grew distant again until a few weeks would go by and he would “miss me.” One day it finally clicked in my head that he was only keeping me around, popping in and out of my life to keep control of me and to know that I was still single and still missing him. For almost a year and a half afterwards if he would have called and asked me to be back together I would have in a heartbeat. I kept putting the few happy memories before all the bad times. This man and your ex are too concerned with their ownselves to care and commit to someone else. They are toxic! You have to let go, I finally did. I finally cut all contact and yes it still hurts now and then, but it was the only healthy thing for me to do. I was physically and emotionally broken for so long. I finally took control. (Only a few months ago) I’m still in the healing process and not ready to love again yet, but I have hope that someday the right man will come around. I hope you the same happiness and healing!
Bless you! Wow, that is so courageous and yet I know it must have come from a place of having no choice but to end the torment.
I’m currently in the midst of just such a yo-yo game. I get my hopes up when I take his bait, only to be crushed again when he pulls back. I pray that I can do as you have and gain enough strength to end it and move on. Thank you for your story!
Bless you! Wow, that is so courageous and yet I know it must have come from a place of having no choice but to end the torment.
I’m currently in the midst of just such a yo-yo game. I get my hopes up when I take his bait, only to be crushed again when he pulls back. I pray that I can do as you have and gain enough strength to end it and move on. Thank you for your story!
This is great advice to apply to all types of relationships, romantic or otherwise. 10 months ago, I took the decision to end a friendship of 26 years standing. It was not an easy decision, and I felt horribly guilty about the potential hurt to the other person, but I had been feeling resentment and frustration around the friendship for a number of years and feeling utterly drained by the endless demands for emotional support that were never ever requited. By the end of the friendship, I was quite literally developing migraines every time I had contact with the person, from the stress of the internal conflict of guilt and not wanting to be unkind vs the irritation, frustration and stifling the overwhelming urge to shout, “It’s not all about you. Back off and let other people have the mental and emotional space to have their own feelings”. This friendship was quite literally doing my head in, physically and emotionally! My body was certainly providing guidance on the fact that it was time to let go. As humans we are in a constant state of change and growth, and this is reflected in our changing needs particularly from relationships. Sometimes we just have to accept the fact that certain relationships can no longer give us what we need, and that by holding onto relationships with toxic energy, we are continuing to attract that toxicity into our lives. Ending a toxic relationship of any kind is an open invitation to attract more constructive, supportive, joyful energy into our lives. It’s like the Feng Shui principle of friendship – clear out the negative energy to channel more positive energy into your life.
To cut a long story short, the relationship did unfortunately come to a messy end full of bitter recriminations from the other side. It seems the other person was not ready for the relationship and its dysfunctional dynamics to change, and indeed, end. Perhaps in later years we will be able to have a calmer conversation about the wider picture of what went wrong. As stressful as the last contact was, all it did was to confirm that this was the right decision for me.
In closing, I would just reiterate what many commenters have recommended – to be true to yourself and what you need (you have no obligation to house or take on another’s conflicting energy), and to remain calm, kind and clear by speaking your truth clearly but kindly. Once you step out of the quagmire of a toxic relationship of any kind, the sense of relief and possibility are the endless reward..
Well said Kate and having gone through almost the exact same thing over two years ago I can attest that it was the best decision I made. Hard but good. I am finally able to be ME.