Everything I Learned From Leaving A Toxic Relationship

A man puts his hand around a woman in jeans, sitting on a white bench outdoors
Loic Djim / Unsplash

Leaving a relationship is never easy. It makes you feel like you lost your other half. It feels like your world comes to screeching halt and you have to spend the time to figure out where the hell you put the remote, cause Lord knows you live alone now, right?

Leaving a toxic relationship was the best decision I have ever made for myself. A toxic relationship can have many aspects that make it harmful to yourself, most notably is emotional and/or verbal abuse. The subtle abuse that slowly erodes your own identity and replaces it with a tainted inner critic that compares what you are doing and who you are to what the other person wants you to be or how they want you to behave.

Leaving the relationship taught me self-respect. It taught me that I had sunk my own personal value, my wants, my needs, and my opinion of myself to a level that was closest to zero. I had spent years trying to gain the approval of another person and gave up on giving myself my own approval.

Leaving taught me how to stand up for myself and how to choose to respect and value myself first and foremost.

Leaving the relationship taught me self-love. I learned that I had been giving so much energy to loving someone that couldn’t reciprocate it, that I was neglecting myself without knowing it. I had given up on the small things I wanted to do for myself but wasn’t allowed too without some form of verbal ‘lashings.’ It taught me to cherish myself, my thoughts, my own time, and my passions. By spending time with myself, and on myself, I was able to begin to love myself, flaws and all.

Leaving the relationship taught me self-compassion. It taught me to be kind not only to others but to myself. It allowed me the ability to learn how harsh my own inner critic was being. My thoughts were tainted by the opinions of someone else and the internal guns were aimed at shooting me out of the sky. We grow up being told that we should be compassionate to those around us, but we really need to be taught to be kind to ourselves first. Become your own best friend, give yourself slack on the mistakes you have made and strive to be a better person in the present and future.

Leaving the relationship taught me true strength. As men, we’re taught that strength means not showing emotion, being physically strong, and that asking for help is the call sign of the weak. I learned that true strength is showing your emotions. True strength means acknowledging when you’re hurting, asking for help, and allowing yourself to feel the emotions. It allowed me the space to heal from wounds that were deeper than I ever knew, from events I felt didn’t mean anything, and to discover my true self. It gave me the ability to recognize that I wasn’t a victim, but I was operating out of old wounds and giving power to someone else.

Most importantly, leaving the relationship taught me that I can carry on. At the end of each relationship, you feel your world shift. You overanalyze, overthink, and ponder if you did things wrong or could have tried harder. It taught me that even after something that felt detrimental, I can carry on with a positive and healthy life. I learned how to pick up the shattered pieces of my heart and mend them to being one that understands myself on a deeper level. It allowed me to see my own flaws, give myself the time, love, and compassion I needed and become a better, more whole person.

Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’ve been through, there is always something much more beautiful on the other side. TC mark


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