This Is How Tough Love Saved Me From You

A woman dressed in white is tying her hair.
Matheus Ferrero / Unsplash

Tough love was the beginning of the end of us. She silently swooped in on a rainy day in June, when I found out you’d cheated. And it wasn’t the first time either.

She put a blinding mirror to my face, and forced me to begin to find the self-respect I’d long since thrown away. I couldn’t remember what it looked or felt like, but I was now on a soul mission to revive it from its burial.

Tough love saved my life.

Tough love was the relentless, air gasping grip on my throat, as I stood up in front of you and somehow managed to speak my truth for the very first time, instead of what you wanted to hear. And as I watched your expression turn to darkness, tough love silenced my tongue from tripping over itself, rushing to take all of it back.

Tough love made me recognise all of the hurt, lies, and heartache for what they were: self-inflicted. I was the only one in control of who I let in, and who I shut the door firmly on. And so I took back control. You don’t get to walk in here anymore.

Tough love saved my life.

She gave me the strength to let your endless calls ring out. The strength to then pick up my phone and not call you back. Instead, I hit delete. And the next time, and the time after that, too. The sorrys that used to make everything okay again are falling on deaf ears this time. Nothing about me and you was okay. It’s not okay.

Tough love wasn’t kind to me. She poured gasoline on me, on you, on everything I thought I loved, and lit us all up into raging, scorching flames. But from the pile of black, lifeless ash, I rose again. This was my rebirth. My chance to start all over again.

Tough love saved my life.

She came like a thief in the night, robbing me of compassion, pity, and all the love I ever had for you. I realised it was never really love anyway. It was infatuation and naivety, mixed with a whole lack of self-worth. But now the storm has passed; now I see clearly. I know my worth, and never again will I settle for less than I deserve. And you? You don’t make the cut – not even close.

Tough love changed something deep inside of me, transforming me from a victim into a survivor. You didn’t ruin me. I fought back. I’m still here. I survived you. And I pray that tough love finds her way to any woman who finds themselves under your spell, and calls them back home.

I pray you return home.

Tough love still lives here, somewhere inside of me. Dormant, but ready and waiting to strike again if ever I should need her. Like a guardian angel, tough love saved me from you. And she would gladly step up and do it all over again.

Tough love saved me from you. TC mark

Shani Jay

I hold a mirror to your soul, so you can see how beautiful you are

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