When you’ve been in a series of bad relationships, you don’t really see the full impact it has on you until you experience a good and healthy relationship.
It almost feels so unfamiliar to you. It feels like something is off. It feels too good to be true. And instead of that realization, ‘this is what I deserve,’ you question the person. Because so many people have deceived you before, you are more guarded and cautious than ever.
When bad relationships become the norm, what isn’t is something that is healthy and right. The only flaw you can find in that relationship is the thought that crosses your mind, ‘this is too good to be true?’
You meet a good guy and it takes getting used to. It takes him breaking down walls you’ve built high for a reason. It takes time and patience, not so much to heal you because I don’t know if people can do that but time to show you, you can trust someone other than yourself.
Time to realize you didn’t deserve a past that’s hard to look back at sometimes.
1. You expect the worst.
After a series of bad relationships, it’s your own judgment you question not everyone else. You wonder if there’s something wrong with you for picking these relationships that hurt so much. You hold your breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. Any shift that will justify thinking, ‘I knew I was going to get hurt again.’ That becomes a really sad expectation.
2. You analyze everything.
Girls who come out of more than one bad relationship are conditioned to read too much into things. Read too much into mixed signals and someone messing with their head. Read too much into words without actions that match that. Catching people in lies and asking for explanations only to get lied to again. You don’t just become more anxious and more cautious for no reason. Overthinking and overanalyzing are triggered by things that happened in the past that you fear will repeat themselves.
You fear getting left without an explanation. Getting used. Getting led on. Being told this isn’t what they thought it was.
But when you meet someone who is honest, someone who isn’t giving you anything to question, you start making things up in your mind and creating problems that aren’t actually problems.
3. You go from cautiously accepting this person to doubting them.
Because no one you’ve ever met is this nice and genuine and caring without wanting something. You expect the worst of him and you almost feel guilty but every time you had any sort expectation you’ve been let down. So you hope for the best but don’t ever expect it.
But he keeps trying. He doesn’t change his tune. And you want to trust him and you want to believe him but you fear anyone getting close enough to hurt you.
4. You’re guarded.
You push him away and keep him at a distance because that’s what you’ve learned you’ve had to do. You don’t expect someone’s best because someone in the past told you, you didn’t deserve it. Someone in the past continued to treat you like you weren’t worth their time. And when someone gets treated poorly for a long enough time, they start to believe it’s something they’ve done wrong to deserve it.
Kind of like an animal that’s been abused, they don’t trust people even if the person has the best intentions.
When you’ve been hurt enough and treated poorly, you learn to put your walls up and only trust yourself.
5. You apologize too often and expect a fight.
Unhealthy relationships make you out to be the bad person. They make you out to seem crazy. They make you doubt and question yourself. It gets to a point where the person doesn’t even need to break you down when you are doing it to yourself.
Emotional abuse. Physical abuse. Mental abuse.
These factors lead to relationships that are toxic. Relationships where the other person needs to tear someone down to feel better. And you, the victim of these relationships get manipulated into thinking it was your fault. You did deserve that. You should be sorry.
So when you enter a relationship that’s unlike anything you are used to, you fall into the habit of apologizing and just wanting to make your partner happy. You aren’t used to someone making you happy and you don’t know how to respond to it.
6. You get retaught what you deserve.
After bad relationships, the greatest task someone good has is reprogramming what you’re used to.
You aren’t used to constant kindness or someone looking out for you. You aren’t used to someone meeting you halfway. You aren’t used to being completely happy and someone who wants you to be.
You’re used to being belittled and ridiculed and knocked down time and time again.
Good relationships are unfamiliar. But different is good when what’s normal is toxic.
This person takes the time to understand what happened to you. Why you are the way you are. The greatest challenge of all comes in showing you, you didn’t deserve what happened to you even if you did accept it.
7. You don’t want to feel like a project to them.
You don’t want them to feel like they have to fix you. You don’t want to suddenly feel like a burden and you sure as hell don’t want to rely on anyone heavily ever again.
You’ll never see yourself through accurate lenses when you’ve endured a lot of things you didn’t deserve. So you’ll say things like they are better off without you. You push them away as a defense mechanism. You fear moments of vulnerability and sensitivity. You push them away when they are about to get too close because you are afraid of getting even more hurt.
But you have to understand not everyone wants to hurt you.
You’re strong and resilient and that’s what you don’t see.
It’s hard going through a lot of bad relationships and still believing in people and being kind the way you are. I think those who come out of toxic relationships are some of the nicest ones because they know what it’s like to get hurt by someone and they choose not to.
But you are also stronger than you give yourself credit for.
And it’s that strength that pushes toward something you deserve as you leave behind everything you don’t. That past you regret made you exactly who you are. You had an ability to love when someone hurt you. You found good when all they cared to show you were their bad parts. And now that’s come back to you in the form of someone you deserve. Accept it. Embrace it with open arms because there isn’t anyone who deserves a good relationship more than you.
8. You’re always going to try a little too hard.
That’s something that’s never going to change about you, the effort you put into things. You overcompensate because someone made you believe your best wasn’t good enough, so you kept trying.
The thing about toxic relationships is you’ll constantly be reaching for something that’s unattainable because they make it that way.
But when you meet someone and you enter the relationship giving as much as you did, it’s amazing. It just takes the right person to see the value in your effort. It takes the right person to appreciate it.
This person teaches you your best was good enough.
9. You learn the difference between what was a good relationship and what wasn’t.
You think back to the past and you wonder how you settled for some of the things you did. You wonder why you tried so hard and stuck around for people who weren’t worth. But even in moments of wondering, you become grateful.
Because had you not learned what the worst is you probably wouldn’t have appreciated this person who was their best.
Your standard of love changes. Your standard of self-worth changes. You realize love and pain aren’t supposed to be that close. You realize your heart isn’t supposed to break. You realize relationships aren’t about jealousy and games and who cares more and who controls the other person but rather something even.
You build yourself back up better than before to a point where you don’t even associate with people in the past.
10. Then you learn to heal and love again.
Your walls come down and he learns everything. And that fear you used to have of someone finding out your secrets and finding out your past and leaving, aren’t the reality because all these hardships and bad relationships make you beautiful.
You trust him with all of it. You trust him with your heart and you realize just because a few people hurt you in the past, it doesn’t mean you are unlovable. It just means you didn’t love people who deserved it.
And with time you give this person your entire heart and it’s okay.