You’re stuck. You’re going in circles. You can’t get out. Your brain is just wired to want this person. It’s been this way for too long. They’re the center of your world. You can’t imagine one week—let alone life—without them. You reach for them whenever you’re in pain. And thinking about living without them causes you the most pain—even more pain than they cause you every day. Because let’s face it, they’re always giving you something to feel bad about.
They don’t make time for you. They leave you hanging for hours. They make fun of you. They disappear on you. They never say your name. They make you feel bad for wanting them. They call you clingy. They only talk about themselves. They judge you, yet they say they’re open-minded. They tell you they care, yet they give their dog more appreciation than they’ve ever given you.
In terms of the toilet example—the relationship is quite clearly crap. So why are you here, making your 50th lap around this lonesome bowl, missing this person all the time, only to feel more lonely once they’re actually there? Physically, they’re all in. Emotionally, they’re nonexistent. Socially, they’re hot and cold. Communicatively, they’re MIA. And you? You’re a warm, glowing ball of love, oh-so-willing to be with them, not just for the sexy parts, but for the tears, the hopes, the past, the future, the beauty, the ugliness. You want something real, something special. They just want you to stay within their reach.
You’re probably racking your brain trying to understand why’re they keep doing these things—or more likely, not doing things. But you have to understand it’s not your fault. There’s nothing wrong with you. You just happened to give your affection to the wrong person. Why can’t you seem to let them go?
Perhaps it has to do with a deep need, a sensation they inspire in you, like the feeling of being safe or loved or thrilled or taken care of. Whatever it is, it’s something within you. This relationship has a lot less to do with them and a lot more to do with the thoughts and patterns in your brain, the habits that are trapping you in this slick prison, suffocating on their non-love.
Of course, this non-love is absent more than its present, much like them. Sweet but empty words, warm but empty arms, these things blind us and keep us coming back for more, hungry and thirsty and just wanting to feel this person. But this type of person is usually numb and estranged from their own emotions. That’s why they push you away every time you try to get close and instead leave you doomed to do eternal laps in this familiar yet so containing purgatory of the “almost relationship”.
And you’re the only one who can get you out. Because it’s all these daily patterns and habits that keep you where you are. It’s all these ways of thinking that have got you so fixed on this person, from swirling them in your thoughts, soaking up every scant text you receive from them, habitually going to the same places to see them, scheduling your outfits, your social calendar, all around when you’re going to see them next, so you can look good for them, attract them, connect with them.
You’re basically flushing yourself down the drain of self-esteem and self-improvement every time you repeat these habits that further drown you in someone else’s existence, even though in reality, they hardly exist in your life.
You’re completely submerged in the idea of them. Everything in your world reflects back to them in some way: the subway stop you kissed at that one time, their favorite restaurant on the edge of town where you got takeout for their birthday, that TV series that you binge-watched together one weekend, that kind-of-sketchy park where you sat together on that blanket one night drinking from plastic champagne cups while mosquitos bit you both to death. You can’t look at these things, be in these places, without thinking of this person. They’re constantly circulating through your mind.
It’s very difficult to change when our outer surroundings stay the same, when our thoughts are repeated and recycled, when each week brings the same stale goals of how to coerce your plans into crossing paths with this person.
That’s why people sometimes go on a trip or move to another city when they want to clear their head from a previous relationship. It’s a new perspective. When you go somewhere else, you feel different. You’re with different people. You break your patterns and your surroundings that you’d been drowning in before. Your thoughts take on different topics and textures. And when you come back, you’re able to understand in a new light and have a different perspective to go a new direction.
But a new direction doesn’t have to happen in a new city or even on a trip. A new direction can start right now, from in your heart, shooting outward, upwards, instead of in circles. The first step is to have a life goal that has nothing to do with them. You need to choose yourself instead of the person that’s hurting you.
You need to want to love yourself more than you want to feel the rush of seeing their name light up on your phone. You need to stop putting yourself aside to chase after them. You need to stop numbing and sacrificing yourself for this person, all in the name of “love”.
Now it’s time to feel. Now it’s time to be just as attentive to you as you were to them. What do you like? What do you want? What do you crave for the future? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to be? This is your chance to make yourself your own fascination. This is a training to delve into your soul to discover your roots, your dreams, and your desires and make those your habits instead.
This is your opportunity to cut out the habits that lead back to them. Don’t go to that cafe where they drink a latte on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work. Don’t go to that party next weekend that you heard they’re going to. Wear that awesome jean jacket because you like it, not because you think they do.
Make plans for yourself. Take a class you enjoy. Read self-improvement books that will build your future. Cry when you need to. Express your feelings and frustrations. Invest in friends who have proven themselves, who are there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold.
Don’t give up on yourself, because every drop of sweat, every tear, and every toil is progress. You’re finally moving forward instead of floating in circles. You’re freeing yourself. You’re taking responsibility for your own happiness.
This is called reprogramming your brain.
It’s also called overcoming toxic relationships.
Because you, my dear, are worth so much more than crap.