A Thank You Letter To The Most Toxic Person In My Life

woman standing alone, reflecting on a toxic relationship
Zachary Stains

Thank you for being so predictable that I can only blame myself for believing for a millisecond that this time might be different.

Thank you for introducing me to the brutal truth that some people do not—cannot, maybe—change.

Thank you for demonstrating the dangers of denying responsibility and forgoing self-improvement. The risks of refusing to get help. The massive downside of plateauing rather than growing.

Thank you for encouraging me to consider alternate perspectives, in search of an explanation as to why you might think, feel, or act the way you do. For prompting me to squint and squint until I can see a situation from a thousand different angles, many of which do not make sense to me, but which I must acknowledge nonetheless.

Thank you for helping me realize that two people are sometimes incapable of seeing eye to eye, no matter how hard they try. That for some people, every situation is an impenetrable maze of contrasting opinions and viewpoints. Every shaky agreement sealed with a mix of temporary concessions. Every disagreement sprinkled with contempt and bitterness. That sometimes, mutual respect is an unachievable end. And that that’s okay.

Thank you for frustrating me beyond belief. Because as irksome as it may be for my ego to fail, again and again, at explaining my way of thinking, it doesn’t really matter that we cannot understand each other in the grander scheme of things.

Thank you for challenging me to muster enough compassion and empathy to accept certain realities, however reluctantly, and move on.

Thank you for forcing me to recognize that some things are truly beyond my control. That I have very little power over others’ actions, but that I have agency over my response to those actions—and that there is so much power in that.

Thank you for revealing my weaknesses. For igniting in me an ugliness that might never be extinguished, but which I will attempt to beautify, little by little.

Thank you for empowering me to accept my humanity. For teaching me that I am so very imperfect, and that I can always do better.

Thank you for giving me the courage to seek out something better—to know in my heart that I deserve to be loved, and that I do not have to tolerate being hurt again and again. That I do not have to settle for someone else’s version of reality, in which I’m always the malicious one. That I can live in a world in which my good intentions are mostly understood, or at least not twisted into something incomprehensible.

Thank you for making me yet more grateful for the life I’ve built, and the wonderful people I’ve chosen to surround myself with. For making me yet more appreciative that I have the capacity to see the good in others and the world around me.

Most of all, thank you for the courage to love myself enough to let go. Finally. TC mark

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