A look can say a lot, and when he looked into my eyes he wasn’t trying to see the most intimate parts of my soul. He was using my eyes to see his own reflection so he could fix his hair.
At that point I knew we were over, but it didn’t end there. I didn’t leave. I stayed because that’s what a toxic relationship does to you; it makes you depend on a person for love, when in actuality they only love themselves.
Here are six signs you’re in a toxic relationship.
1. He compares you to other girls.
Realizing he was toxic didn’t happen right away, it was gradual, and one day it just crushed me with the weight of the plates he was benching (so, yeah, not that much).
He’d put me on a pedestal only to knock me down in order to make himself appear better than me, and it worked. I thought he was too good for me. A big red flag was the way he would compare me to other women, especially his exes. I was dissected about everything, from my clothing to my body. My self-esteem was shot, and I felt like I had to maintain a certain image for him to find me attractive.
Instead of embracing the GRL PWR movement, I started comparing myself to other women and viewed every girl as a competition because he made me think I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough.
2. You don’t feel like you are a priority.
What really hurt me in my relationship was the fact that I was a second choice to him. He would never choose me if it somehow didn’t benefit him. No matter what I did to make him happy, I was never treated like a priority in return. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes, but in a relationship you need to compromise and make each other feel valued.
If your man isn’t making you feel like Beyoncé, tell him “boy, bye” because Momma didn’t raise a backup singer.
3. He gets jealous (and not in the cute, “protective” way).
It’s natural to get a bit territorial and sometimes a little jealousy even makes you feel valued. But when the jealousy goes from territorial to straight ownership, it’s not cute, it’s controlling.
My ex tried to control my every move and made me feel like I needed permission to live my life. He would read all my texts and needed constant updates on where I was and what I was doing. If I didn’t comply and give him the answers he wanted, he would flip the situation to make me feel like I was hiding things from him. I missed out on a lot of opportunities because I just wanted to avoid the argument. If I did decide to go out, he always had to join. I never had any time to myself, which ended up making me dependent on him.
4. He is all words with no action.
He would deliberately hurt me and then blame it on me or that he was being naïve. Instead of apologizing and working to better his behavior, he would just hand me a letter or gift to “express” his love for me.
It became a pattern. I would feel devastated and he would console me with his words, but his actions never changed. You shouldn’t be with someone who can’t keep their promises. If he constantly tells you what he is going to do to work on the relationship but never follows through, call him on his BS.
5. He disrespects your parents and friends.
It’s hard to believe, but your parents do know best. If your parents and best friends come to you with issues about your man, listen! Sometimes when you’re caught up in the relationship, you can be oblivious to red flags or emotional abuse. The people closest to you bring an outside perspective to your relationship and are more open to seeing bad signs.
My friends and family watched my confidence decline over the course of a year and I continued to defend him. If your man doesn’t respect you, he most likely won’t respect the people closest to you either. At the end of my relationship, my ex harassed my mom and best friends over social media, which made it clear he was just a disgusting human all around (like ever heard of brownie points!?).
6. He gets in a new relationship right away.
Narcissists and manipulators often seek out new relationships immediately after a breakup, especially a breakup where their true motives were revealed. It hurts seeing the person you loved (or maybe still do) move on, but understand his new relationship will end the same way yours did. He is only seeking out new love right away to make it look like you were the problem, not him.
Love takes time to grow, so don’t worry about finding someone right away because I guarantee by him clinging onto his next victim, he hasn’t had time to look within himself and improve. Narcissists don’t change. He might be on his best behavior with the new girl for a while, trying to convince her and even himself that he cares, but he doesn’t. He only loves himself and eventually that’s all he’ll have left.
How to move on.
After his facade pulled a Great Gatsby to reveal a narcissist, I finally ended things. I wasn’t heartbroken because we were over. I was devastated because I allowed someone to make me feel so insignificant.
During my depressed days, I came across this poem by Atticus:
“New love is the best cure for old love gone bad.”
At first I was like, “Okay, your girl is going to get Bumble. Let’s find a new love.” But I realized I didn’t need to find new love in a man; I needed to find a new love for myself.
For a while, I wanted to get back at him for manipulating me and making me feel like no guy would love me the way he did. But the beautiful thing is that, by losing him, I was able to find myself and THAT is the best revenge.
(The obligatory post-fuckboy glow selfie helps too.)