The Honest Truth About Toxic Relationships

brandonwoelfel

If you ask me about toxic relationships I could tell you about the best person I know.

He’s handsome, loving, kind, and hardworking. I could tell you he got handed a lot of shitty cards and turned it around and made the best of the situation, using what would make a lot of us angry and bitter as fuel to succeed.

If you ask me about toxic relationships, I’ll always smile a little. I smile because I know the truth about toxic relationships and toxic people.

The truth is sometimes people are simply toxic for each other. They aren’t always bad people but they could be bad for you.

Sometimes two people with the best intentions and best hearts combine and combust like elements that just don’t match.

If you ask me about overcoming a toxic relationship I use the word love to describe it.

The love I had for an individual I didn’t want to give up on. Someone I wanted more than I wanted anyone. Someone I would have done anything for. Someone who got a hundred chances when I barely gave most people two. The same one who got away with a lot of things that wouldn’t have flown with anyone else. But the truth was with him it was different.

And the toxic parts of our relationship crushed me. I use the word toxic because that’s what it was.

I could tell you about the times I’d stare at my cell phone and I knew he put on the read receipt to fuck with me then not answer. Or about the conversations that escalated into fights and him dropping some line because he wanted to get to me and he knew exactly how. I could tell you about the screaming and arguments and how it always ended with an apology and I love you that made it feel okay. I could tell you, he probably took out a lot of things he was going throughout on me, simply because he could.

I could tell you about the night my mother picked me up drunk off the bathroom floor as I wept in her arms because I missed him during another few months we weren’t speaking.

I could tell you about the coy games of social media of adding each other and deleting each other so often.

I could tell you that there wasn’t a kiss that filled me with such fire and passion in the moments we were together. And I could tell you how every time he’d leave my heart would break.

I could tell you about the circles we ran in for years and every time he’d disappear and come back, I secretly hoped this time would be different. I could tell you I looked at my future and I saw him there. I could tell you about the fights I’d get into with friends as I defended him but what they saw was the self-destruction he was causing in my life.

But the honest truth about it was, I hurt myself loving him. I changed loving someone like that. I went from someone who demanded respect to someone who didn’t want relationships unless they had that toxic adrenaline rush. I went from someone who had expectations of how to be treated to expecting to be treated like shit because that’s what I was used to. I lost myself trying to love him and what happened was I ended up in a lot of similar relationships where I wasn’t treated the way I deserved.

So when I say love and toxic in the same sentence it is love but what you have to realize is, it wouldn’t have been toxic if the love was reciprocated.

And that was the difference. I loved him and he couldn’t love me the way I needed him to.

We each needed something of each other and we kept trying to find something that wasn’t there. We kept holding on and hurting each other because that’s what we were used to.

And people ask was there a breaking point?

And there were a lot of little things.

Sitting in my car outside his house because I wasn’t allowed in. Sneaking around and hiding because we were some secret. Meeting girls and I had to pretend like it didn’t faze me when in reality if I pulled out my phone and showed her a conversation, I could have ended things right there. Going stag to events I wanted him to be my plus one to and always being let down.

But the truth was there wasn’t a single moment where I had enough because, with every one of those moments that should have pushed me away, I was like a moth to light it attracted me more.

But after a while, I just got really tired. I couldn’t keep doing this to myself. And the truth was, I walked away still loving him. I walked away still thinking the world of him. I walked away still thinking he was a great guy.

Because the truth was, he was and is a great guy. And what took me years to realize was we weren’t good together.

Trying to force anything will just end in destruction. This so happened to be self-destruction.

And as years passed and we reconnected not at a level of intimacy but friendship. I looked at him and flashes from the past always came back to me looking in his eyes. But an even more clear moment was sitting across from him as we stared at each other and I felt nothing.

I was over him. The same person I never thought I’d get over, I did.

And we parted ways with a kiss on the cheek and him being the one to say I love you first and I knew this time he meant it. And I drove away listening to the song that used to be ours and it no longer hurt.

What I learned overcoming a toxic relationship and allowing it to be a friendship first was about forgiveness. Second, was about the love that didn’t fade but changed form. And third was sometimes the people we want to be with most are the ones we are best without. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not get what you want. Because it’s only then, you get what you deserve.TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

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