Any girl who had anything to do with a player at some point will know how painful it is to make realizations that the person is toxic, and that the whole vicious cycle must stop.
It took me ages to stop. I just kept running back to him.
But when I did stop, I was faced with a big “marathon-of-the-people-moving-on” lying ahead of me; the marathon any girl will have to conquer when she makes that choice. When I actually made the decision to stop with the player, I asked my friend for advice. I told her:
“How can I not run back to him this time?”
“He hurt you tremendously. Remind yourself of the pain every time you think of going back.”
“What about my fantasies? What if I fantasize about our times and I give in to them?”
Friend sighs. “Look, every time you fantasize, remind yourself of the bad, and only the bad. You just keep covering up the bad with good. He’s a ruthless player and everyone can see it! Don’t reminisce about the good times.”
This conversation left me feeling a lot lighter… Sort of like I finally had a plan of how to approach the damn marathon.
And it actually worked for the first few weeks. I taped notes all over my room, had them in my phone, in my agenda.. Notes were everywhere. And they were telling me things like “He’s an asshole! Don’t give in! He’s an idiot! He only uses you! STOP COVERING UP THE BAD WITH GOOD!
Reading those notes gave me boosts of energy and a feeling of surreptitious comfort. However, it’s like they were screaming at me. Like a master scolding his dog, or parents telling their kid, “don’t do drugs!” but without an explanation.
On one bad day, a wave of extreme nostalgia washed over me. I spotted him smiling to his friends, and later on when I came home, it hit me like a slap in the face.
The notes added to that slap. I resented myself for missing him, for wanting him back again.. I felt weak, naïve, idiotic, dumb.. I can’t put it into words. And the notes made me feel like I’d made no progress on my marathon. My friend’s advice kept ringing in my head. FOCUS ON THE BAD.
But I just couldn’t.
Weeks had passed and I couldn’t help the random invasion of nostalgic thoughts. Anger will simply fade over time. It’s nature, and I don’t think there’s anything one can do about it. And I felt like my notes were forcing me to remember the anger, which puts a lot of strain on a brain where the anger’s diminished almost completely.
It felt like I reached 5km at my marathon, believing that would be the end of it all, when in reality I found out the marathon would be another 25km. I felt devastated.
This devastation led me to seek advice from a different friend. She gave me some wise words. She listened carefully when I was complaining about my “no-progress” in the marathon. I told her I resented myself for wanting him back and thinking about him so optimistically again. I told her, “my positive thinking will lead me to the same black hole I was in before!”
Then she told me, “Hey! Listen! Don’t hate yourself for this. You made those 5km up to now, and you should be really proud of that! Stop hating yourself for thinking about the good. You have to let yourself think about the good, and admit to yourself that at some point in your life you loved this guy, be he a player or not. Accept that you loved him, and reminisce as much as you like. It’s natural and necessary in the process of moving on. Focusing only on the bad will leave you to have illicit thoughts about the good.”
I realized just how right she was. I’d compare this to a woman who goes on a diet and doesn’t allow herself to eat certain things. We all know where those diets end up. First you’re okay with ditching ice cream or cakes, but then at some point you have a massive craving and you indulge in all the “bad stuff” that you didn’t allow yourself to eat. That’s how I felt.
If I’d just allowed myself to think about the good, I wouldn’t have had the illicit thrill you feel when you’re breaking the rules.
So I learned an important lesson:
Let yourself think about the good too! Don’t focus too much solely on the bad. Let the bad make you stronger, but don’t let it dictate the way you view your past.
After all, you loved this person. They only had the power to hurt you this bad because you loved them at some point. And that’s okay. You should feel blessed for having experienced what you have.
Bad experiences shape us, make us stronger, and bring about amazing realizations.