Why A Normal Relationship Is So Hard After a Toxic One

God & Man

Toxic relationships are difficult because a lot of time they don’t start out that way. They start off healthy and good and make you very happy. And the gradual shift isn’t so much caused by the other person but sometimes two people together just stop being good for each other. And it’s hard to step away from that.

When you’ve grown with someone then suddenly they become toxic to you, it’s hard to accept “I’d be better off without this person,” when in reality so much of who you’ve become is because of them.

When someone becomes a habit it’s hard to just cut them out of your life.

Anyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship can look back at the person and they aren’t going to say they were these monsters who were horrible. There is a deep rooted love there that a lot of people struggle to understand. There is history. There is loyalty. There is these two people despite how bad they were for each other always finding their way back. So as much as they were fighting they also fought for each other.

But eventually the emotional toll it takes on you leads you to an ending you desperately need. And walking away isn’t the hard part. It’s everything after that which becomes difficult because you are comparing everyone and everything to this relationship that had so many levels and it was so much complexity.

So when you start dating again and seeing people it’s hard because immediately you miss them. Immediately you want to go back to them like you had so many times before but you know you walked away for a reason.

It’s the text you gotta ignore.

It’s snap you want to send but don’t.

It’s the unfollow that leads you to tears.

It’s the silence that screams I loved you more than anyone in my life.

Then you meet someone. And suddenly you’re feeling something again you’ve long forgotten. But with these feelings comes fear. You’re cautious because you don’t want to get hurt again. You tip-toe around their every move waiting for a red flag that will give you an excuse to take off. You question them even when they give you no reason to.

It’s only after a toxic relationship do you realize the negative effects it’s left you with.

You don’t trust anyone including yourself.

When you don’t even trust yourself enough to make the right choices how can you put faith in anyone else?

You don’t. And at first they think you’re playing hard to get or are just difficult to read but you’re doing everything in your power to avoid the pain you’ve endured in the past.

And the pain you’re still getting over.

They take one step towards you and you take three back. And you aren’t playing some coy game you are looking out for you and only you.

You question everything they say.

This person has no reason for you to doubt them yet you do. Does that complement come expecting something? Is this kind gesture I didn’t ask for going to be used as blackmail later? He says it’s only me and they are just a friend but how many times have you heard that before?

You want to believe the best in people but the last person you put your complete faith in destroyed you.

Slowly they work to build your trust but it’s something that takes time.

You pull away when they get too close.

What might feel like a milestone to them as your relationship develops and you get closer but with every layer they pull back it makes you want to run the other way?

You fear someone getting too close. You fear someone knowing you that deeply. You fear someone seeing you as vulnerable.

But your real fear is someone knowing you that well and being able to use it against you.

You pick fights.

The foundation of toxic relationships are built on fighting and making up and running in these circles. It’s ending just to begin again and people walking away just to come back. It’s unkind words you get used and you forgive but you never actually forget.

But in this normal new relationship suddenly you see how arguments are handled maturely. You realize you aren’t always the one who is wrong and needs to apologize. You find this person who meets you halfway and wants to solve the issue without having to make you cry to do so.

That first fight you have with this new person it almost feels like a wave of relief that it didn’t end everything and suddenly you’re looking at them a little differently. A little more confidently and it scares you but in a good way.

You apologize a lot.

The one thing that is constant in toxic relationship is this narcissist belief that the blame is always on the other person. And when you deal with it enough psychologically it does fuck with you.

Sometimes you apologize even when it’s not your fault because you just want the fight to end. You do end up believing you are to blame for everything. When the person tells you it is your fault you’re cautious with every word and every move you make.

If you didn’t trigger them this wouldn’t have happened.

This new person has to unteach you what you’ve come to learn and show you, it’s not your fault.

They teach you to stop being sorry.

You try too hard.

Toxic relationships taught you, this love you deserve you’ll never get in full. It was based on these blurry lines that were constantly redrawn. It was based on rules that would change at any given moment.

Toxic relationships teach you, you’ll never be enough so you have to keep trying.

Toxic relationships include these people who are so unhappy with themselves they need someone to love them in ways they aren’t able to love themselves.

They use you as a metaphorical punching bag and you take every blow because you think it’s love.

You watch yourself fall apart in their arms.

Everyone thinks it’s a weak person that endures toxic relationships but I think the opposite. I think it takes a really strong person to deal with the blows and stand there taking them and not giving up on someone even if this someone doesn’t deserve your loyalty.

It takes an even stronger person to walk away.

Then it takes the strongest person to learn to love again when they fear love and relationships.

But this new person breaks through everything and suddenly you trust them enough to let it all go.

You’ve been holding onto these things for so long and you haven’t flinched or broke down.

When pain becomes normal it no longer hurts as much.

You tell this new person everything and they don’t look at you as damaged or broken. They look at you even more beautiful for getting through it.

To love someone after they’ve been in a toxic relationship takes a very rare person. Because you have to be cautious. It might not have been physical abuse but emotional abuse sometimes hurts just as much. It takes someone who is willing to run their fingers over this person’s invisible scars and teach them they didn’t deserve that.

You learn to love again.

You slowly watch yourself fall but what is different about it is there isn’t any confusion. It isn’t some one sided love story where your love is the only one present. It isn’t falling with fear but rather confidence because the person is right there with you.

Not only does a normal relationship teach you how to love another person again but it teaches you about a love you’ve forgotten and that is how to love yourself again. 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.

This Book Is For You 👇

The cover and theme for my newest book was inspired by the concept of kintsugi. All that is dark or cracked within us has the capacity to be fixed, to be filled with light. We are never broken. We are always becoming. 

“Live a life that is driven; not by fear, but by love.” — Bianca Sparacino

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