When Someone You Love is Toxic – How to Let Go, Without Guilt

When Someone You Love is Toxic How to Let Go of a Toxic Relationship, Without Guilt

If toxic people were an ingestible substance, they would come with a high-powered warning and secure packaging to prevent any chance of accidental contact. Sadly, families are not immune to the poisonous lashings of a toxic relationship.

Though families and relationships can feel impossibly tough at times, they were never meant to ruin. All relationships have their flaws and none of them come packaged with the permanent glow of sunlight and goodness and beautiful things. In any normal relationship there will be fights from time to time. Things will be said and done and forgiven, and occasionally rehashed at strategic moments. For the most part though, they will feel nurturing and life-giving to be in. At the very least, they won’t hurt.

Why do toxic people do toxic things?

Toxic people thrive on control. Not the loving, healthy control that tries to keep everyone safe and happy – buckle your seatbelt, be kind, wear sunscreen – but the type that keeps people small and diminished. 

Everything they do is to keep people small and manageable. This will play out through criticism, judgement, oppression – whatever it takes to keep someone in their place. The more you try to step out of ‘your place’, the more a toxic person will call on toxic behaviour to bring you back and squash you into the tiny box they believe you belong in.

It is likely that toxic people learned their behaviour during their own childhood, either by being exposed to the toxic behaviour of others or by being overpraised without being taught the key quality of empathy. In any toxic relationship there will be other qualities missing too, such as respect, kindness and compassion, but at the heart of a toxic person’s behaviour is the lack of concern around their impact on others. They come with a critical failure to see past their own needs and wants.

Toxic people have a way of choosing open, kind people with beautiful, lavish hearts because these are the ones who will be more likely to fight for the relationship and less likely to abandon.

Even the strongest people can find themselves in a toxic relationship but the longer they stay, the more they are likely to evolve into someone who is a smaller, less confident, more wounded version of the person they used to be.

Non-toxic people who stay in a toxic relationship will never stop trying to make the relationship better, and toxic people know this. They count on it. Non-toxic people will strive to make the relationship work and when they do, the toxic person has exactly what he or she wants – control. 

Toxic Families – A Special Kind of Toxic

Families are a witness to our lives – our best, our worst, our catastrophes, our frailties and flaws. All families come with lessons that we need to learn along the way to being a decent, thriving human. The lessons begin early and they don’t stop, but not everything a family teaches will come with an afterglow. Sometimes the lessons they teach are deeply painful ones that shudder against our core.

Rather than being lessons on how to love and safely open up to the world, the lessons some families teach are about closing down, staying small and burying needs – but for every disempowering lesson, there is one of empowerment, strength and growth that exists with it. In toxic families, these are around how to walk away from the ones we love, how to let go with strength and love, and how to let go of guilt and any fantasy that things could ever be different. And here’s the rub – the pain of a toxic relationship won’t soften until the lesson has been learned.

Love and loyalty don’t always exist together.

Love has a fierce way of keeping us tied to people who wound us. The problem with family is that we grow up in the fold, believing that the way they do things is the way the world works. We trust them, listen to them and absorb what they say. There would have been a time for all of us that regardless of how mind-blowingly destructive the messages from our family were, we would have received them all with a beautiful, wide-eyed innocence, grabbing every detail and letting them shape who we were growing up to be.

Our survival would have once depended on believing in everything they said and did, and resisting the need to challenge or question that we might deserve better. The things we believe when we are young are powerful. They fix themselves upon us and they stay, at least until we realise one day how wrong and small-hearted those messages have been.

At some point, the environment changes – we grow up – but our beliefs don’t always change with it. We stop depending on our family for survival but we hang on to the belief that we have to stay connected and loyal, even though being with them hurts.

The obligation to love and stay loyal to a family member can be immense, but love and loyalty are two separate things and they don’t always belong together.

Loyalty can be a confusing, loaded term and is often the reason that people stay stuck in toxic relationships. What you need to know is this: When loyalty comes with a diminishing of the self, it’s not loyalty, it’s submission.

We stop having to answer to family when we become adults and capable of our own minds.

Why are toxic relationships so destructive?

In any healthy relationship, love is circular – when you give love, it comes back. When what comes back is scrappy, stingy intent under the guise of love, it will eventually leave you small and depleted, which falls wildly, terrifyingly short of where anyone is meant to be.

Healthy people welcome the support and growth of the people they love, even if it means having to change a little to accommodate. When one person in a system changes, whether it’s a relationship of two or a family of many, it can be challenging. Even the strongest and most loving relationships can be touched by feelings of jealousy, inadequacy and insecurity at times in response to somebody’s growth or happiness. We are all vulnerable to feeling the very normal, messy emotions that come with being human.

The difference is that healthy families and relationships will work through the tough stuff. Unhealthy ones will blame, manipulate and lie – whatever they have to do to return things to the way they’ve always been, with the toxic person in control.

Why a Toxic Relationship Will never change.

Reasonable people, however strong and independently minded they are, can easily be drawn into thinking that if they could find the switch, do less, do more, manage it, tweak it, that the relationship will be okay. The cold truth is that if anything was going to be different it would have happened by now. 

Toxic people can change, but it’s highly unlikely. What is certain is that nothing anyone else does can change them. It is likely there will be broken people, broken hearts and broken relationships around them – but the carnage will always be explained away as someone else’s fault. There will be no remorse, regret or insight. What is more likely is that any broken relationship will amplify their toxic behaviour.

Why are toxic people so hard to leave?

If you try to leave a toxic person, things might get worse before they get better – but they will always get better. Always.

Few things will ramp up feelings of insecurity or a need for control more than when someone questions familiar, old behaviour, or tries to break away from old, established patterns in a relationship. For a person whose signature moves involve manipulation, lies, criticism or any other toxic behaviour, when something feels as though it’s changing, they will use even more of their typical toxic behaviour to bring the relationship (or the person) back to a state that feels acceptable.

When things don’t seem to be working, people will always do more of what used to work, even if that behaviour is at the heart of the problem. It’s what we all do. If you are someone who is naturally open and giving, when things don’t feel right in a relationship you will likely give more of yourself, offer more support, be more loving, to get things back on track. 

Breaking away from a toxic relationship can feel like tearing at barbed wire with bare hands. The more you do it, the more it hurts, so for a while, you stop tearing, until you realise that it’s not the tearing that hurts, it’s the barbed wire – the relationship – and whether you tear at it or not, it won’t stop cutting into you.

Think of it like this. Imagine that all relationships and families occupy a space. In healthy ones, the shape of that space will be fluid and open to change, with a lot of space for people to grow. People will move to accommodate the growth and flight of each other. 

For a toxic family or a toxic relationship, that shape is rigid and unyielding. There is no flexibility, no bending, and no room for growth. Everyone has a clearly defined space and for some, that space will be small and heavily boxed. When one person starts to break out of the shape, the whole family feels their own individual sections change. The shape might wobble and things might feel vulnerable, weakened or scary. This is normal, but toxic people will do whatever it takes to restore the space to the way it was. Often, that will mean crumpling the ones who are changing so they fit their space again.

Sometimes out of a sense of love and terribly misplaced loyalty, people caught in a toxic relationship might sacrifice growth and change and step back into the rigid tiny space a toxic person manipulates them towards. It will be clear when this has happened because of the soul-sucking grief at being back there in the mess with people (or person) who feel so bad to be with.

But they do it because they love me. They said so.

Sometimes toxic people will hide behind the defence that they are doing what they do because they love you, or that what they do is ‘no big deal’ and that you’re the one causing the trouble because you’re just too sensitive, too serious, too – weak, stupid, useless, needy, insecure, jealous – too ‘whatever’ to get it. You will have heard the word plenty of times before. 

The only truth you need to know is this: If it hurts, it’s hurtful. Fullstop.

Love never holds people back from growing. It doesn’t diminish, and it doesn’t contaminate. If someone loves you, it feels like love. It feels supportive and nurturing and life-giving. If it doesn’t do this, it’s not love. It’s self-serving crap designed to keep you tethered and bound to someone else’s idea of how you should be.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but a healthy one is a tolerant, loving, accepting, responsive one.

The one truth that matters.

If it feels like growth or something that will nourish you, follow that. It might mean walking away from people you care about – parents, sisters, brothers, friends – but this can be done with love and the door left open for when they are able to meet you closer to your terms – ones that don’t break you.

Set the boundaries with grace and love and leave it to the toxic person to decide which side of that boundary they want to stand on. Boundaries aren’t about spite or manipulation and they don’t have to be about ending the relationship. They are something drawn in strength and courage to let people see with great clarity where the doorway is to you. If the relationship ends, it’s not because of your lack of love or loyalty, but because the toxic person chose not to treat you in the way you deserve. Their choice. 

Though it is up to you to decide the conditions on which you will let someone close to you, whether or not somebody wants to be close to you enough to respect those conditions is up to them. The choice to trample over what you need means they are choosing not to be with you. It doesn’t mean you are excluding them from your life.

Toxic people also have their conditions of relationship and though they might not be explicit, they are likely to include an expectation that you will tolerate ridicule, judgement, criticism, oppression, lying, manipulation – whatever they do. No relationship is worth that and it is always okay to say ‘no’ to anything that diminishes you.

The world and those who genuinely love you want you to be as whole as you can be. Sometimes choosing health and wholeness means stepping bravely away from that which would see your spirit broken and malnourished.

When you were young and vulnerable and dependent for survival on the adults in your life, you had no say in the conditions on which you let people close to you. But your life isn’t like that now. You get to say. You get to choose the terms of your relationships and the people you get close to.

There is absolutely no obligation to choose people who are toxic just because they are family. If they are toxic, the simple truth is that they have not chosen you. The version of you that they have chosen is the one that is less than the person you would be without them.

The growth.

Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy, but it is always brave and always strong. It is always okay. And it is always – always – worth it. This is the learning and the growth that is hidden in the toxic mess.

Letting go will likely come with guilt, anger and grief for the family or person you thought you had. They might fight harder for you to stay. They will probably be crueller, more manipulative and more toxic than ever. They will do what they’ve always done because it has always worked. Keep moving forward and let every hurtful, small-hearted thing they say or do fuel your step.

You can’t pretend toxic behaviour away or love it away or eat it, drink it, smoke it, depress it or gamble it away. You can’t avoid the impact by being smaller, by crouching or bending or flexing around it. But you can walk away from it – so far away that the most guided toxic fuelled missile that’s thrown at you won’t find you.

One day they might catch up to you – not catch you, catch up to you – with their growth and their healing but until then, choose your own health and happiness over their need to control you. 

You can love people, let go of them and keep the door open on your terms, for whenever they are ready to treat you with love, respect and kindness. This is one of the hardest lessons but one of the most life-giving and courageous ones.

Sometimes there are not two sides. There is only one. Toxic people will have you believing that the one truthful side is theirs. It’s not. It never was. Don’t believe their highly diseased, stingy version of love. It’s been drawing your breath, suffocating you and it will slowly kill you if you let it, and the way you ‘let it’ is by standing still while it spirals around you, takes aim and shoots. 

If you want to stay, that’s completely okay, but see their toxic behaviour for what it is – a desperate attempt to keep you little and controlled. Be bigger, stronger, braver than anything that would lessen you. Be authentic and real and give yourself whatever you need to let that be. Be her. Be him. Be whoever you can be if the small minds and tiny hearts of others couldn’t stop you.

[irp posts=”1602″ name=”When It’s Not You, It’s Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships”]



It is said that you find what you need at the right time – I am so thankful to have found your article. I am printing it out so that I can reread it over and over.
I’m in a toxic relationship with a man that you could have been writing about. I am trying to get the courage up to tell him to leave, again, but he is being the good cop (of the good cop bad cop scenario) at the moment. Although I know that this is what he is doing and it a form of control, I can’t seem to summon any strength out of my place of depression and ask him, clearly, to leave.
He just won’t go.
I’m working on myself, through therapy, but I feel desperate right now that I’ll always be in this place.
Your article has helped me to see that I’m not alone and understand the mechanics of this relationship. Thank you so much.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

You’re so welcome. I’m pleased the article has been helpful for you. It sounds as though he might stay until you are able to tell him to go. This will come. Keep reminding yourself that you are worth it, and that you deserve to be loved in a way that feels like love – because you absolutely deserve that. The strength you need is in you – it really is. Now for you it’s a matter of trusting that.


I needed this too too. I didn’t detach with love. I stayed in too long, just trying to make to Valentine’s day when I could give him a funny card and articles on emotional withholding. Sad. My advice, get out while you can still do so with love and grace. But then, for me, as long as there was love and grace I thought there was hope. Maybe sometimes there is grace in disgrace.


That’s an fantastic article. I am exactly in this situation and it is so hard to go through. Thanks for the great words.

Cariel Castillo

This really had me thinking..

In my current situation – I messed up. After being in a 5 years relationship with an older guy, and going through a tough break-up, I believe I have never fully healed. It’s been 2 years since our break-up. I can honestly say I don’t want to be with him, but I’ve always longed for love. November 2016, my neighbour who was living in Miami for a while, came back home (Belize). I never thought we would hit it off the way we did. He is younger than I am- but he makes me feel so alive. He challenges me in ways I’ve never been challenged. However, being that this is my first love after my previous relationship- I became toxic myself- always jealous- always picking a fight with him – scared that I may lose him. & now I think I have… the hardest part is that both of us don’t want to leave, but we know it’s the ‘better’ thing to do. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so helpless, lost and confused. Broken all over again. My heart hurts. I just want answers!


My opinion is that he has come into your life so that you could see this about yourself, work on it, and be a happy person. People who are jealous and create drama are projecting. Now that he has seen this in you, it may be difficult to recover, but it is possible. If you havent run him off yet and you think he may be someone worth keeping around, consider this to be his purpose in your life. Speaking from experience, the jealousy will only get better when you do. This is not about him. Its all personal especially if hes not giving you a reason to be jealous. A lot of times, we create unnecessary fears and anxieties that have no basis. If you ever want to have a happy stable positive flourishing relationship with anyone, you have to get yourself there first otherwise you are just spinning your wheels and wasting everyone’s time. Ask yourself what changes you need to make in your life so that you are at peace and then ready for a relationship. And btw, it goes both ways. One thing I do know is that when you take to emotionally unstable people and put them together, you are asking for trouble and the integrity of the relationship will be threatened. I wish you peace and prosperity in your journey of self exploration and truth seeking.


LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! I was actually searching for self help books when I stumbled upon this. As my new insurance doesn’t offer a large selection of family therapist.

My mother. Looking back as I was growing up, all the signs were there but I seemed to just make excuses for her since she was my mother. I was not a bad or unruly child or teenager so she had to control other things in my life. For instance, her brand of deodorant she used that she bought for me broke me out. She was so mad I wouldn’t just use it, she made me buy my own since it was different. The same way with feminine products. Other times she wanted to just be a “friend” amount my group of friends and would be outraged that we wouldn’t invite her shopping with us, dinner or a movie. I mean, at 16 years old, you didn’t really want your mother hanging around like one if your friends all the time. She’s put the guilt trip on, saying how I don’t love her and just out to hurt her feelings all the time. I mad the cheerleading team, she wasn’t excited, she made me quit because she was never a cheerleader in school. I started to question that she had some type of mental illness, it’s the only thing that made sense. She’s call my brother worthless and fat and most of his childhood was spent being grounded to his room because of little things that shouldn’t had mattered. Then I graduated, and was accepted to a school a 4 hour flight away. So excited! She guilted me into staying and I enrolled at a local college here. But just before it began, she decided she was going back to college and couldn’t pay for mine, so I was forced to take out student loans, no big deal, lots of kids have to do it. It was just a constant walking around in eggshells so the littles thing wouldn’t cause her to snap. You just learn what to do and say and not to. And you always had to agree with her, rather you really did or not.

Then it’s time to get married, she was all about that. Oh the attention SHE got! My husbands family got together once a week for supper. She was so jealous over that, even though we were always at my parents house for cookouts and such. She didn’t think it was right, she accused them of taking me away from her and tried to always make plans knowing we had dinner with his family. Then the guilt trips would start, I quit giving in to her. As much as she loved my husband before, she hated him now. She would constantly tell people lies about how he was not good for me. We just overlooked it, I’m still thinking she’s just jealous and has a mental issue. We built a house. Instead of being excited for us, she tried telling us about houses that would be perfect for us, they were literally dumps! We tried explaining to her, it was cheaper for us to build, as that’s what what husband does. She was so jealous, she straight refused to come to my house. Even later for my children’s birthday parties. It’s like she never wanted me to have anything she didn’t have and never wanted me to have anything nicer. Heck, even my wedding ring! She went and bought a CZ to try to upstage mine.

Then it came time for babies. She was on cloud nine, with the attention she was getting as a new Grandma, she was just overjoyed. My daughter became very ill at 11 weeks, went into respiratory distress, we almost lost her. My mother watched her so we wouldn’t have to put her in daycare. The first 2.5 years, she was hospitalized 12 times, nearly losing her life 2 of those times. As she got a little older, some of her meds changed. It was at this time when I noticed my mother was not giving her the medicine. She would swear she was, but I could prove with the dosage she was not. So I contacted my aunt, who would see over my daughters medication. By this time my youngest was here, just a baby. After he was about 6 months, I would pick him up from her house and he would be soaked to his neck and down his legs from urine. She’d make the excuse that the diaper must have leaked. So I started putting a little dot with a marker on the inside of the tab. Sure enough, same diaper!! I was livid. My husband, even after the awful stuff she said about him tried making logic of it. He thought maybe I was over reacting and maybe there was another reason. I mean, her own grandchild, nobody would do that. She was constantly posting on Facebook how much she loved them. He left work early and made a surprise visit to pick them up, he saw with his own eyes. He came home and told me I was not to go back to work, until we could find someone else to keep them. Daycare was not an option, too many germs for my daughter. The were actually testing her for CF at this time because they could not figure out why she had been so sick all the time. Then it hit me, could she have not been giving her the meds on purpose? The attention my mom got from people for my daughter being so sick, she was feeding off it. She always posted her “fake” life on social media. We cut her off, not allowing her to keep the kids unsupervised. I couldn’t accuse her of this, she’d never admit to it. But we made the excuse, my job was cut so I was just going to stay at home for a while. My daughters health did a turn around.

My mother would try to get me involved in starting family drama, which I would not partake in. But she continued, when she got called out, she would blame ME! My husband and I went down there one evening to try to talk to her, try to calmly let her know what she was doing was wrong and hurtful. She went on a rampage, throwing stuff, we left, upon leaving I stepped off the porch step wrong breaking my foot. She told everybody I had tried suing her after I came over and attached her! Which I never tried suing her by the way, nor attacking her. She was trying to get everyone she could to hate me. Most of the family knows how she is, of course it didn’t work on her part. We didn’t have any contact for a while. I was very angry at her but also had a little guilt because she was my mother. So I’d apologies, even though I did nothing wrong, she always thought she needed an apology to try a fresh start. It literally would take just weeks before she would start her stuff again.

My uncle passed away, my mothers brother. I was extremely close to him, talked daily. She hated him. He was actually in the hospital, she refused to let my brother go see him. She was furious at him for wanting to go. Just because she didn’t like him, she wanted my brother to hate him too. Mind you, my uncle was a good man, huge heart. The only thing he had done was call my mother out on her drama and lies, and that just fueled her to make him out to be a liar and bad purpose. She was accusing him of doing exactly what she actually does! When he died, she used his death as another attention seeking moment for herself. Playing the crying sister who lost her brother. After the funeral, she told his fiancé, they’ve been together for 14 year, that she would make sure she didn’t get a dime of his money. And started in on any other family members that tried to intervene. It was sad.

My husband and my family members had suggested I go to counseling to learn how to fully accept cutting her out completely. I think I’ve done rather well but I don’t know, maybe there is a deep underlying problem or hurt I don’t realize because she is my mother. She never called to check on the kids or make any attempt to try to see them. I don’t think she’s capable of actual “love” so I have no problem protecting my children from her. Rather she’s just a very toxic person or maybe truly mentally ill. There is no stopping her from destruction I couldn’t image harming my children, I’d die for them. I think I’m okay with letting her go, and I’ve actually felt better! I didn’t know I had stress over it until I did accept that fact that I did not need her in our lives and the fact that she was my mother, well that’s ok.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

I’m so pleased you found the strength to let go. It sounds like it was a difficult decision to make, but one made with great clarity and love and concern for your children. Keep moving forward. Perhaps one day she will change and perhaps she won’t. Either way, the needs and safety of your children will always deserve to come first.


I saw something in my soon to be ex that helped things really hit home and to maybe help me finally and truly believe that this phase of my life is really and truly over. They say we always have a choice in life and I suppose there is one here, I just don’t like the options. It’s such a little thing, but it finally drove it home to me that there is no hope of saving my marriage, it is beyond my control.
I’ve been holding on to a small hope that he could change and realize that he really does care, I can’t help it, I don’t understand how I can care about someone as much as I do knowing that it’s a one way thing. It still doesn’t make sense to me that I can love someone that much, do much that I am willing to overlook everything to be with him,
He is still on the property here, living in the shop, and I guess I’ve been lying to myself thinking that maybe he really doesn’t want to leave. But yesterday I went up to talk to him for a bit and he was playing his music and seemed in such a great mood. As I was leaving he said I was welcome to stay and enjoy the music if I wanted, and I thought, hmm, why not. I walked outside for second with him and saw him reach down to pick up an old cigarette butt on the ground, and I saw him look at it, realize it was probably one of mine, and the look that came over him was just so obvious, He was actively looking at it and using it and the fact that it was there to give himself another reason to hate me. It was like I could see right through his mine and watch how his mind was working, and when he realized he could either just throw it in the trash and forget about it, instead he took it as another reason to reinforce his hate. His whole demeanor changed and for just split second I saw so much anger and hate and disgust in his eyes for me, it almost knocked me over. And I realized that he actively had to do that in some sort of effort to avoid any good feelings about me. It was in that split second that I realized that there is no hope anymore, he isn’t going to change, because he can’t. It’s his only protection and his fears have made it impossible for him to live any other way, it’s built into him so deep that he no longer can change it, even if he wanted to. I can’t fix him, I can’t help him, even if he reached out to me for help, I would be the very last person that could do anything for him,
Such a profound sorrow that realization is, it’s so sad that someone could have hurt him so badly as to cause this horrible damage in him. I can’t make myself hate him, but I do know I have to let him go now. I have a choice, yes, I do. I can stay and live out my life in this misery and sorrow or I can leave it behind and try to live some semblance of normalcy. And I choose the latter. They say all things in life lead us to where we are now, and our experienes are our foundation to build our lives on. And I truly believe that one of our jobs in this life is to look for happiness. To find peace in our souls, and to leave this world knowing we somehow left it in better condition than we found it. So I am not going to look at this experience as a waste of the last 16 years of my life, but only as another leg of my education. And i will use what has happened to me to help educate those coming behind, and maybe something i do or say will prevent this from happening to someone else. It’s really the only way I will be able to let him go and to honor his life like it should have been. He didn’t ask to be the way he is, But he can’t stop it either. God help us all.


Wow this article was so helpful to read. As I write this I just broke up with my boyfriend but only because he wouldnt take me back. I would have begged even though he has lied, dismissed my feelings and turned it around on me anytime i was hurt or mad for the past two years. I think of myself as a strong woman but can’t stop thinking about how this must be my fault. I didn’t try enough and was too nitpicky. How do you know?

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Terry it’s so normal to be wondering what happened and wondering your part in it. It’s through having a curiosity and an open heart like that that we all learn and grow and open up to a different way of being next time. Sometimes it’s about the combination of people, not about blame. Nobody is perfect and in any relationship, there will be problems along the way. For a relationship to survive these bumps, there needs to be a commitment to being honest and open when there is a problem, so the other person has the opportunity to fix it. Not all problems can be fixed of course, but they at least deserve the opportunity. If you were doing something wrong, it was for your boyfriend to let you know, so that you could work on doing things differently if you were able. The problem is that without this communication, we don’t always know when we’re getting it wrong. Keep moving forward, take the lessons and be ready and open for what comes along next.

Mia- Alexander

Thank you.
This has helped me I think. I am pretty young and have been in a relationship for almost a year … it just ended and sadly I am now realizing tht my friends were right but I believe I am still in denial. Because of all our problems and him flirting with other girls and saying it doesn’t mean anything ive self harmed and been depressed all in less than a year. He’s caused a lot of emotional pain and has led me to believe tht he’ll never leave no matter what. We’ve been on breaks and each time he did beg to come back so I guess that’s probably what fuelled it and led me to believe him. Hopefully now everything will get better for me and I do wish him the best and tht he doesn’t come back because I need to go back to being the real me, the person I was before I met him . Hopefully I’ll find a way to eventually get there … and again thank you.

Stephanie Radcliff

I too have found this article right when I have needed it the most. I live with my mother and sister. I once thought they were my only family and friends.
It took me almost 27 years to finally see their actions for what it really is. In my sister’s case, it is the victim becoming the abuser. She is constantly putting me down by telling me I never do enough, that she does more, and that I am cold hearted. She also abuses me financially. I pay most of the household bills with a part time job. I can’t afford new clothes or even to save up. She has a full time job and only pays the two car bills. I have nothing in my savings, but she has thousands of dollars in hers. I live from pay check to pay check while she goes out and splurges on things that aren’t needed.
This article has helped me to see how much I truly need to get out. I am to the point of considering suicide because of how toxic it has gotten. The only reason I haven’t is because I found someone who gives me the love that this article speaks of.
I plan to move out in March. I get my tax return around then, so I am going to find an apartment and move away. How far I go has yet to be determined, but I will be leaving. I plan to tell them when my fiancee comes over next. I know it won’t be easy. They will try everything to keep me from going, but I know I will die if I stay. I’m terrified of how difficult it will be, but I’m not giving up.
For too long I’ve given up my happiness for them. Now it’s time I chose my happiness over there’s.
I do plan on telling them I will be there if they want to talk and patch things up, but until they actively change, I will not be having them involved in my life.
Thank you for this article. It has helped me greatly.


I find myself wondering lately if I really have lost my mind, am I just paranoid now and thinking that the world is out to get me for some reason. Or am I really so unlovable that no one can take time out of their lives to help me. And if so, what did I do that is so bad, so maybe I can try to fix it? Or is it me that is really the toxic one and they are all staying away because I don’t know it.

I find it so odd that not one person that I thought cared about me has even once taken the time to see if I am ok. No one. I’ve gotten a few texts, and I’ve told them what is happening in my life, at least about the divorce and how devastated I feel. And how lost. but so far, I haven’t had a soul to talk to since this all started. 3 months now and not one visitor, not one phone call, no one asking me how I’m doing. I’ve even asked my best friend to stop by, please. She knows me perhaps better than anyone, she knows I have a hard time asking anything from anyone, she knows I would never ask her to come if I wasn’t in real need. And she has made a million excuses why she just doesn’t have time right now. I finally confronted her about it, I told her that I felt she just really didn’t want to come here and that I thought maybe it was too uncomfortable or something and told her I was okay with that but I really just needed the truth and not more excuses. I honestly tried to be tactful with her, not accusing or demanding, just that I needed to know the real why she hasn’t been here. And she returns an email to me telling me that as usual I think everything is always about me and how some people actually have to work to earn a living and just more or less an all out attack on my character and how selfish I am.
You know, she is the last person I thought would turn on me like that. And in a way this hurts me more than the thought of losing my husband. It’s like the very last person I really thought I could count on has turned her back on me now too and frankly, I’m just lost. I”m terrified anymore to reach out because I honestly don’t know if I can take much more hurt. I know I need to try to find some counseling, someone I can talk to..but the thoughts of that scare the hell out of me too. What if I tell someone and they try to shush me or to tell me I’m imaging things, or ask me what I did to start all of this? I’m barely hanging on right now, I don’t know from one day to the next what is going to happen. I know I need to start thinking about when or if this is over, what will I do to survive? How will I support myself, how will I be able to live out here if I do win my life back. Or will they decide he deserves my home more than I do And will I be forced to leave or worse yet, to sell my home so he can “get what he deserves” from it.
And I’ve been told to put this in Gods hands and I have tried, but how can I trust that even God could care about what happens to me. And is this all happening to me because of some karma? Something rotten I’ve done in a past life that deserves this kind of payback. And I know I need to quit dwelling on all this negative stuff, but right now, there isn’t anything else, I have no distractions from it, I don’t know how to make myself go out and make new friends or get a life, I’m scared most of the time to even go out the door, let alone go meet people. And if I did, what’s to stop others from seeing how easy I am to use up? How can I ever trust anything in this life again? I have less than a month to go before this divorce is hopefully over with, and I am doing the best I can to get to that point without losing it completely. Will I ever be able to function normally again? Or is this my life from now on? And is it really worth it? Am I really worth it? Is there anything left of me worth salvaging? Do I still or have I ever had anything good to offer this world? It gets tougher and tougher to think that I do. And I know I need help, but I don’t know how to even begin to do that.
Is this a normal reaction to what has been happening to me, or have I finally just gone off the deep end and don’t know it? Is there any hope for me?


Hi pam. I found myself in a similar situation with feeling where did everyone go when I needed them the most family and friends.. In short I had a baby.. at 4 mnth old a one off incident left me suddenly with a broken neck a man inside and a baby and not one person offered to help me. I sat and cried to these ppl I’d dun so much for in past and was just brushed off… I can go weeks without conversation with anyone other than my kids and work related things.. They seen me sink break down and even beg for help with my son just an hours break please…no is all I got… I too asked all those questions. Is it me? Why? What did I do to deserve it when I’m a good kind person that would go out her way for anyone… he’s nearly 2 now and I’ve dun it all on my own no support no day off no help… its upsetting to except when u thought u had a big support system only to find you don’t. ..I to have a best friend who shud knw me better but did a similar thing except she screamed in my face at my home when my 5mnth old was in bed stormed out and didn’t talk to me for weeks… I eventually went to her to say yano let’s forget it to find she had been self harming for awhile had lost a baby has a mum with lung cancer…. its then ya realise ok yeah ppl have there own shit too.. I in the end came to the conclusion that im in this alone I got me and only me to rely on so I’d better pick up and crack on with it… I too find the prospect of goin to make new friends dawnting and find no time bein a single working mum so I turn to self development and personal/spiritual growth. Ultimately no one else can make me happy I have to do that for myself. Perhaps they don’t knw how to approach the situation with you maybe they are struggling with there own journey in life it took me along to to not take it as a personal attack on me but more like bad timing sister is battling to save her marriage other is tryin for a baby best friend as I said above yano I’m just not thought of because they are too busy tryin to cope with there own lives. The sooner you stop believin it’s you the better you will feel even if your friends have seemingly great lives we never knw what goes on behind closed doors there’s still general stress of day to day life without tragic events. Before this I was with someone 9 years engaged mortgage he left me when the house we did up was finished for a 19 year old I had to move out my beloved home and she moved in… gettin out of a mortgage was stressful enough so I feel for you with a devorce alls I can say is there is a new life to be had after this.. took me a long time to settle to my new surroundings but I have and you will to whatever happens… a great saying I heard was you never know how strong you are until being strong is all you have… you are strong and you can make it through this without help from anyone and I figured well if I do it alone then I have no one to thank for my success at this journey in life…giving up isn’t an option hun and why would you want to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing you broke because you wasn’t strong enough to cope alone..no… you are! You just have to believe in yourself. When you are all you have loving yourself first becomes the most important thing. No matter how scary the road ahead seems your guna walk that way regardless so may aswel do it with a smile on your face. Try focus on the positives.. you have more time now alone to focus on you and what makes you happy I found art and being creative helped me alot and passed the time. I hope in someway this helped you. At the very least hun you know you are not alone in the experience of being lonely but lemme tell ya loneliness and being alone are not the same thing Noah elcrief on youtube on loneliness he’s beautiful to watch and listen to and explains that. I wish you all the best pam xx


Thank You SO much Thea, Your response is exactly what I needed to hear, and the timing is perfect as well. First I sat here and bawled for a minute as I was reading, it felt so wonderful to know someone heard me and actually understood. It’s been a while and I felt your love all the way here.
Lately I have been more or less doing okay with all the being alone, it’s given me time to think about a lot of stuff and to finally realize that perhaps it isn’t so important to “understand” what is going on anymore. I understand enough to know it’s happened and I didn’t like it and I don’t have to keep doing it. That’s enough for me to know right now and just that knowledge gives me hope for the future. I still have my meltdowns as you heard but they are farther apart and not always so heavy.
When you told me about having a tiny baby to take care of and all of this was happening to you, and no one was helping I actually could almost see you and and certainly could feel the pain you were in, and I just want you to know, I would have helped you. Even with not knowing anything about you or what was going on in your life at that point, I truly think I would have helped you, and I do not understand how someone can turn their backs on us like they do. I guess maybe that goodness we have built into us, although it’s beautiful, it sure can get us in some bad situations at times. I can’t be the one to stand by and watch another human being being treated wrong, I will help without thinking, but I’m beginning to see why people can be so cold and seemingly uncaring. I think it all boils down to fear, they are afraid of getting involved, they don’t know what could happen and they are afraid. And it’s their way of protecting themselves from the unknown.
And I think you nailed it on the friend thing too, it sometimes feels like they don’t care, but maybe they are barely hanging on too, in their own lives. I wrote back to her a day or two later and told her I didn’t want her to try to fix me or to help me, I just wanted to see her. I thought maybe it would feel real good to just sit and talk and laugh again with someone and the last thing I wanted to do was sit there like a helpless baby or a poor waif begging for pity. And I sure didn’t want to spend time with her rehashing all that had been happening with me. Mainly I just wanted to know that someone still liked me enough to be around me once in a while.
A nice word or gesture would have helped a lot. Her reply to me was just unreal, the things she said to me were just so wrong and it just blew my mind that she thought so poorly of me. Told me to quit whining and that I was emotionally manipulating her and I dug the hole i was in and I could just dig myself back out of it, but I was too much enjoying the self pity and wallowing in it using it to get attention, and on and on that way. It was so far from the truth, and so hurtful and completely toxic, I wondered if she had the same problem as the husband. I haven’t seen her for so long, she has not a clue about what is going on with me. It’s like she painted this picture of me and decided that it was real. I still don’t know why she turned on me like that and my first reaction was to return a note to her right away and just hurt her right back. But I didn’t, instead I walked away from it for a while, and then I studied it and tried to be totally honest with myself, trying to figure out if maybe I was just not seeing those things in myself. I took a deep honest look at what she accused me of, and I finally think I understand it now. I think that is how she would have reacted in the same situation, and she put it on me, thinking that was what I was doing. I admit I have had days when I felt so lost and hopeless and sorry for myself, you witnessed it in my post the other day. But that is not how I live every moment of my life. And when that happens, I sure do not take it to her or to anyone else in my life because they just don’t get where its coming fro or why. The very last thing I want from her is pity. I couldn’t stand to see someone looking at me with pity in their eyes. And as far as manipulation, no, I was not doing that. IN fact, it was the total opposite of that. I just wanted to know why she didn’t come around anymore, I just wanted to know what she was feeling and if she was okay. I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me or to feel bad for me or to feel they have to stay away from me or avoid me. And I wanted her to know that if that was the problem then it was okay. But to be honest with me because I am so tired of dancing the dance of figuring out what I did wrong. I am tired of banging my head against the wall trying to make someone feel better. Only after giving up to hear all the bad things I’ve done, over and over and over again. I
I finally wrote her back and told her that all I wanted from her was friendship. I didn’t need her to fix me or be my personal critic or to tell me what was wrong with me or judge me. I told her I do all that very well myself and nothing she could say could be nearly as bad as what went through my head. And I told her if she wanted to face me as a friend and wok this stuff out I would try but warned her that I wasn’t allowing anyone to talk to me again like she did and if she could deal with me as I AM, then ok. And I said, the ball is in your court now, can you deal with it?

And I got a reply today. She wants to meet me somewhere neutral and try to fix this, but warns me that there will be boundaries put in place and we will have to both be nicer, blah blah blah. lol. And I’m thinking to myself that maybe I have changed a whole lot because it seemed so silly to me that she wants to have boundaries now and lay conditions on our friendship. And what she really wants is to get her control back over me. And I realize that she is as toxic to me as can be. And she is feeling the changes in me that are no longer that helpless easy to walk on girl she knew before. The dance is changing, and I get to play some of the music now. It’s not me that is screwed up, it’s her. What a realization, yet another one and I didn’t even see it til a few days ago. She started that long list of all my faults and weaknesses to set me back, to get control. I guess I’m not quite as easy as i used to be, but she had me for a while there. Whew! She thinks the trap is set and I will walk right into it, and Thank You God, I spotted it this time.

And I’m an artist too Thea, and that is what is keeping me going these days, being creative, allowing myself to get lost in it and to be able to feel the Spirit flow again, well, Hallelujah. Thank you, thank you , and Thank You again for taking the time to reply to me, you are awesome and you are strong and you deserve all the happiness this world can give you Thea. And all the rest of us do too.


Hey pam.. awe your very welcome hun yano I cried while writing back to you the first time because I felt your pain I too would be there to help if I could I think it’s an inbuilt thing for empaths to feel.. the want to help and spread the love..And yes because of that we are easy targets for toxic ppl… We all have our what I call a wobbly days hun I don’t beat myself about them no more it’s like you say it isn’t everyday and I’m certainly not a poor me person nor want pity from anyone I consider myself quite a strong person as a rule but some days you do just want a friend to WANT to see me see if im ok. But over time that feeling got less and less for me… I was always the one to make all the effort when I stopped it all stopped but I’d rather be on my own than with ppl that don’t want to be round me. The last time I had a friend round was mnths ago it was my birthday and thus the only reason for a visit for the 3hrs she stayed not once asked how I was it was all her life her drama to which i listened…helped…afterward I felt drained and realised as you that this person for whatever reason was toxic for me at this time in my life I havnt seen her since and I’m actually ok with it…I cut anyone now that’s toxic to me without a second thought because I’m so use to being alone with my kids my art my books my poetry my Lil world that I realise I’m happier without people especially toxic ones… being alone I feel ppl consider an awful thing society has it pinned as being something strange if we don’t have a partner at a certain age or that we are odd or horrible people if we don’t have a 1000s friends on fb (I have no social media) it’s the world we are surrounded by but on my journey I’ve discovered that as long as you put your own happiness first non of that matters. People’s opinions are just that…an opinion. ..don’t make them right… always put you first hun if you don’t like any given situation. ..leave with your head held high and don’t look back… friends with conditions are not friends and your better off without. I go about my days in my own world and take little notice of the negatives of the world and the people in it I havnt even watched the news in over a year I couldn’t tell you what was going on its all to negative for me same with fb and other media outlets I stay away and now same with negative people cut gone bye… no remorse. If you don’t allow it into your world then it can’t effect you in a bad way… If people chat to me and have positive things to say il engage I’m easy goin and nice to talk to and give almost anyone a chance…but if your toxic your gone… its how I deal these days and it seems to work for me I have many more happy days now than I did at start of this journey and the more you take control of your own happiness you will too… you were right not to give your friend back a load of things to upset her back… There is no talkin to toxic people doing that to them only justifys there behaviour. Kill em with kindness and walk away… invest your time in things and people that make you happy or add positive things to your life and cut the ones that don’t it’s really that simple..I find alot of people don’t do this out of fear of being alone but as I’ve said it really isn’t that bad.. I’m glad my msg helped you in some way and thankyou for the reply it is comforting to know your not alone in the experience and yano sometimes it can feel the only people us empaths meet are toxic people so it’s nice to chat to others that are just genuinely caring even if they are complete strangers 🙂 stay strong hun…We may not be in same part of the world but we are under the same sky if you have a wobbly day just look up remember there’s a whole wide world of people not all are bad you just gotta get more cut throat on who you keep around. Put you first. We wobble hun but we don’t fall down 😉 xx


Thea, the way it sounds you and I are on the same wavelength and we could probably sit down and write each others stories and not miss much. I only got online to drop you a quick letter, I wanted to tell you what I did today, and you’re going to love this i think. I told you my friend wanted to fix things between us but only if we were on neutral ground and there were going to be boundaries laid in place. And yada yada, blah blah. And I wrote her back finally and told her I would agree to that but I thought it was sorta silly, two old women who’ve been best friends for about 16 years, and now we can’t even meet at one of our homes. So, I did agree to try it and after I sent the email to her I took my dog and we walked around for a while in the desert just rehashing in my mind what was going on and some of the things she said to me and wondering what made her even think she was competent enough to diagnose me and what gave her the right to begin with, and it hit me again that this ploy of hers just didn’t sit well with me and I realized that once again I was bending over to please and this was another way for her to control the situation and me, or so she most like thought. And I made up my mind at that time to head back to the house and write her again. I again explained how silly that all seemed to me and that I was still stinging from her last attack and realized I just don’t want to play that game anymore. I asked her what would be next, would we have sign contracts and hire lawyers so we could feel safe again? Where would it end? And I tried to be nice, but did let her know that if she actually believed the things she said to me than she didn’t know who I was at all and if she didn’t mean the, what would make it okay to even say stuff like that. Either way, it was wrong and hurtful and she totally didn’t even try to apologize or even acknowledge that I was hurt. So, I told her I still cared about her and if she ever needed me, I was here but I wanted to leave it like that and just go about my own business. And I said that I was getting used to being alone and I actually like my own company and found myself to be very entertaining and I liked what I had to say to myself, that I was “now get this, thea, I said I didn’t need anyone to tell me my worth or to validate me, because I am proud of myself and I like what I see in the mirror these days, and I can walk with my head held high, knowing that I was a good honest person, and that although I make mistakes along the way, I was never afraid to own them and if I knew I had hurt someone, I was more than happy to say how sorry I was and to learn from my mistakes, that’s how we grow. And so why would I lower myself so you could put boundaries on me, when I just got rid of that sort of thing in my life And I told her that she was no longer allowed to tell me how to live or that I should get a job because unless you are having to feed me or support me in any way, it is none of her business what or how I live.
Yes, and I was so afraid to do that before, to be honest and not afraid that I would lose her or she would give me more grief, and I thought it would hurt me a lot more, but instead, it makes me want to stand a little taller and feel a lot stronger. And Iam going to continue take care of my heart and my life because I can. But for now, I fill my days keeping as busy as I can doing the things that make me happy. It’s funny too because I always had to put my work projects away in the evening before and not leave nothing just sit to make it easy to start back on and I was looking at my house today, it is clean underneath more or less, but my art supplies are everywhere I look and I just happy as a little clam, getting more and more inspired and just allowing myself that freedom to create without restrictions or snide comments, it’s amazing and I’m finally starting to see what people were talking about, it is worth all the fears you have to face and the insecurity that has to be overcome and to start to see what life is really suppose to be. It’s making me feel bold and strong and Yes Karen, like Superwoman! 🙂 I’m finding joy in so many places where before a shadow lurked and I feel almost peaceful in my heart. Thea, I know we are far apart, and don’t ask me how but I figure you aren’t in the US, but I so much feel your heart and your strength and I appreciate you so much for already feeling like a long lost sister to me. I hope we can stay in touch, either here or email. . I am kind of nervous to post me email here but if we can’t figure out aother way to share thm I will do that. Okay well, I’m worn out and ready to fix something to eat and go get rest. (hugs) pam


Pam.. I too only came on to see how you were and I have a smile from ear to ear 🙂 it’s the end of a long day for me here and yes not in u.s although I somehow new that’s where your from I’m in the UK. I have a chat app called kik doesn’t require showing your num or email just a username mine is cozybean my profile pic says “be yourself. People don’t have to like you and you don’t have to care 😉 ” hopefully we can make contact that way. Ya know what you did today… you took responsibility for your own happiness 🙂 it’s an empowering feeling right!! Hope to hear from you again pam…stay strong xx


Hi Again, It’s me, and I”m having another sort of tough day and I’m wondering what you all think about some of the hype we get at times when trying to find clues about your life and how to be happy and the stuff that they all seem to want us to believe. It makes me wonder about the people that say all that stuff that is suppose to be so helpful. For example, here is one about happiness. “We all have choices in our lives with everything we do. And you are the only one who can make those decisions. It is your choice if you want to feel happy or sad. ” and another, ‘Think positive thoughts so your day will be positive.” There is all that stuff about mindfulness and how to change yourself in order to be happy and feel good. They give you five ways to be happy, or 10 tricks to live a positive life, and they promise that if you think only positive things you can find abundance and peace and joy and on and on. And it’s not just the normal lay person like most of us, it’s the “experts” a lot of the time, or the old Wisest Yogi on earth. They tell you the trick to finding Nirvana is easy, one simple truth, and you will be there, and it goes on and on. And it makes me wonder sometimes if they are saying all this stuff to impress us all with or do they really believe this stuff? I mean, how is it possible all these people know all these answers and I haven’t yet seen any proof that any of them are actually all that happy. It would be easy to walk around spouting all that so called “profound” wisdom, but is it the truth? And if it is, how do they stop the negativity in their minds long enough to practice it. And are these people living on the same planet as I am? Do they just not see what is happening on our earth? And do they not live much like I do with the ups and downs of reality? I mean, unless you go live on a mountain top high in the Andes and become a total hermit, you would have to see all the bad stuff going on in this world and it makes me wonder, how would a person go about being positive 100 percent of the time if they have any kind of heart at all? How could you be happy and think positive thoughts all day long if you were really paying attention to your own life even. They say you have to live in the moment, please, does that mean, never think about the past, never wonder about the future? How would that even be possible? All this tells me is that those people are either lying or they really don’t feel anything ever. Or they are wishing it was true. And if you could live a life totally without pain, without feeling anything but good thoughts, where would learn anything? Because without the experience of sorrow, how could you feel joy? How would you know?
I know most of them probably mean well when they are spouting all their wisdom, but to me, it’s only a way to avoid facing reality and true life. Human beings aren’t made that way or if they are, how come I don’t know anyone who has ever succeeded at finding complete joy or bliss or whatever it’s called.
I’m not saying we need to wallow in the sorrow, far from it, but to try to convince me that I can choose happiness and I’m the only one stopping myself from finding it, it’s crazy. If I chose to go through all this stuff I’ve been feeling lately, it sure wasn’t conscious thought. And if I all had to do to fix it was to think positive, and “choose” to be happy, if that was all there is to it, I must have missed something somewhere because I’m not just not “getting” it. I think it’s a lot more complicated than what they are trying to tell me. I think when you feel sorrow or pain, you have to let it follow its course, you have to think about it and you can’t help but dwell there at times, and we don’t choose to stay there and keep feeling the pain in a million ways because we like it and we are hoping for sympathy, it’s because the feelings are legitimate, and it really does hurt and it’s okay to feel them and sometimes we get lost in them, but however deep you feel things only means that this is how much you cared to begin with. And no two people are the same, so how can one person say to another to “just” get over it, or to “Just” let go?
And they also say that we don’t need other people to “validate” who we are, but in a way, that is a wrong statement as well. We do need other people in our lives sometimes, to somehow show us that it’s okay to feel the way you do, that you aren’t totally alone when it comes to feeling the way you do. And maybe we can’t let others define us, and we can’t let others idea of how to handle feelings and such, control how we feel, but all the same, we do need others to help us along the way. And until you have actually been in that situation, of just not having one soul you feel safe to talk to, you won’t realize how much you do need people in your life. Humans are not made to be alone all the time and we do need others to validate us at times. to share our feelings with and to let us talk even though they don’t agree with the way we deal with things, they are still there to “Hear” you. And just the fact that they know you are alive will give you the strength you need to go on living.
And that’s what is so scary for me these days, because once my divorce is done and he is finally gone from here, it is only me left. And I know that I need to get out there and find a friend or two or I will go crazy, but I am terrified to try because what’s to say they wont be as bad? It’s not that I don’t trust others so much, it’s that I don’t trust my own self to know the difference anymore because my track record has pretty much been 100 percent wrong. And I am not sure I could handle even one more person doing what others have done already. I can’t take much more loss and I feel almost paralyzed with that fear. I lost my Mom and my brother a few years ago and they were the sum total I had left of family and anyone I’ve even depended on has either died or faded out of my life. And it’s not easy to deal with any of it anymore since the last person i really thought I could depend on has more or less tossed me in the trash bin and doesn’t give one hoot one way or another what happens to me. I’m sorry to make this so drawn out, If you made it through all my musings well, thank you.


Wow! Incredible how detailed and true your feelings are about all you’ve spoken. I read every last word and nearly was brought to tears. It’s deep and honest everything you have said. It’s ok to feel negative sometimes, it’s part of our human nature to see things that might scare us or even make us doubt and hurt us to our core making us feel at times not good enough or doubt how strong we are. Everyone says “you don’t need anyone to be happy ” and “you need to love yourself first”! Ok! I get it and I push myself everyday to let go and push forward and understand myself more and love myself but why can’t we want and desire someone so much in our lives that not having a person who cares and listens and loves you be the main reason you feel sad? I push myself everyday to be positive and give the son I’m raising a good example. Yet my loneliness from human contact with a woman can make me feel so undesired or wanted let alone alone cared about by someone who is your backbone and will be there through it all? Family will always care and love you but it’s not the same as your person. I haven’t had much luck with finding that person nor am I desperately looking for her. Although I try and put myself out there and socialize when I have the opportunity. It seems nearly impossible to find someone these days, someone who is similar to yourself and maybe even dealt with similar experiences in life to truly understand one another. And of course that will never be 100% but everyone seems so inconsiderate with their time or even giving someone truly special a chance to make that connection. Loneliness alone can cause psychological damage I believe. Anyways….. I’m rambling on about my feelings to all I’ve read and it’s hard to just be happy all the time, to think positive thoughts and your life will just be perfect? It’s impossible due to everything that’s happened in our lives and those who’ve hurt us so tragically in our hearts. I have been looking at life as this huge giant enormous wave that is coming at you and everything and everyone that’s has played part or will play part in your life is in it, from your emotions to your thoughts to every single detail and aspect of our lives down to the car we drive and dealing with it when it breaks down lol . It’s all coming at you at 100 miles an hour everyday you open your eyes. Sometimes we are just cruising the wave and dealing with it all nice and easy but sometimes it gets choppy and at times even pounds on us taking us under where things get dark and there is no clue which way is up or down and it can get quite scary. We loose our breathe under and feel we won’t make it but then you pop back up on the surface and keep riding this wave. Pretty intense stuff ladies and gentlemen. That’s life! That’s real! Not this social media crap and how to impress all those around us trying to keep up with everyone else in a sense being a follower? Ride your own wave and soak it in and face it without hiding with your $ or your drugs or whatever other escape you choose. Remember how to be a human being again! We are emotional, loving and caring creatures who need others At times in our lives to feel how amazing we truly are. God be with us in this chaotic place and with our troubled souls trying to just find peace within ourselves. It’s all we want is to feel peace inside our souls no matter what we’re dealing with.


Back at you Mike, it’s an insane world out there and every once in a while those waves do get almost more than we can handle. And every time one of those real bad ass ones get you, you may make it out finally and still be able to float a while but each time you feel more beat up and just a touch weaker. I’m still on that wave tonight, but it’s not as bad. Now I have been sitting here feeling like I just woke up in the twilight zone and I’m realizing that the last several years of my life have been spent living with some kind of soul sucking monster wearing human skin. Lol! And thinking of it like that makes it somehow easier to handle. The only problem now is how to deal with this anger I feel. For all those years spent trying to please someone who never even acknowledged you were there most of the time unless you bothered him. Never did he share the slightest hint with me about how he felt inside, except to be sure to let me know how much he didn’t like something about me, could be anything depending on the day. And anger at myself to think I let that happen and even worse, that I still catch myself thinking that maybe he will just miraculously change, will realize finally what he losing and beg to stay. And if he did, what would I say? I know there is no going back now that my eyes are open, and if I did, I’d be going back into the same stuff as before. And why do I keep lying to myself and getting myself hopeful?
And the way friends have turned on me, it’s just mind boggling how they can do that. And in a way that hurts almost as bad as him doing it.
I try to understand where they are coming from, but I can’t see it as anything but pure selfishness. The kind of funny thing about it too is I understand that people don’t want to be around others who are sad and sort of lost, they don’t want to be brought down, that makes sense to me in a way, so then they stay away and what happens? I feel just that much more sad. It’s sad because I couldn’t see how they really were, I thought my best friend sort of had my back, I’ve always had hers and been there through some hard times with her, and she didn’t even have to ask, I just knew she needed a friend and I was there. I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust my judgement again.
Which brings out another thought I had. They say that when you give someone something, it’s not really a gift if you expect something in return. And that makes sense in a way and I’ve tried to practice that thought, but when you give so much of your self and your time and your love, and they keep on accepting it, wouldn’t you think that they would want to do the same for you at some point? We can’t always be the givers, and they can’t always be the takers or eventually something has to change in that relationship. And the sad part is that I don’t expect the time and effort that I put into it at all. Just some little acknowledgement that I am worth someones time once in a while. And you know what is keeping me together through this whole sad ordeal? It’s the thought that when one door closes, another one opens, and wouldn’t you think the new door would just have to be better? Dang, I sure hope so.


The person I’ve let bring me to my worst is my sons mother. She’s an addict and has been to prison twice since his birth and yet I’ve given her countless opportunities to come home and be with us. She’s still stuck and I now haven’t lived with her in nearly 3 years. But she has manipulated me many times with sex and me feeling I can’t do any better. She know my physical attraction and lus for her are my weakness and has used it many times through these last few years. It always leaves me diminished and broken when I realize she cat give me anything else but that. No emotional connection with me or her son. Just would want to sleep and never give back the love we show her. This time it’s been months and I said to myself that this will be the last time I let her in. But my loneliness is hard to deal with and I feel that I will never find anyone that will love me for me or that I will find as attractive and beautiful as I see her. Her green eyes and her soft skin I lust for. I have raised our son and he is now 10. I feel lost at times not knowing if I will ever have the wife my heart has always desired. People say don’t look for it it will come, but in the society and in this day and time it’s extremely hard for a single dad regardless of been good looking and taken care of himself and having his life well in order even owning a home that you will find someone to be part of your life and see you for the amazing person that you are. I have everything and I’m a great amazing man and father yet I feel unwanted and undesired even though I see women looking at me all the time. this woman broke me inside as a man and left me diminished and small full of insecurities and doubt. I’m 42 now and feel I still have plenty of time, but the days pass in the years to come faster and I start to believe I will be alone which is my biggest fear. I deserve someone amazing as I am Beautiful inside and out as me loving and caring and humble ready to love and give and live a life together full of ups and downs as it should be . I lose a little more faith every day and that possibility. It makes me sad but I push on for my children. The other being in college. At least single moms Will always have a better chance of meeting someone for them I believe. Women will always get hit on more than men. So I suggest you let go and be vulnerable once again to possibly finding another partner in this life I can maybe give you everything that this other person never did. I hope the same for me.


PUT YOURSELF FIRST. Your inner peach will thrive every single day once you’re out. Cut the toxic people from your life if you can. Cut all of them right out. Now if it’s on the job you can’t-but do that with all you can. Don’t stand for one ounce of abuse. Your self respect will reach new heights and keep on growing for the rest of your days. Better to be alone and at peace if need be. Take care of you. Guess what-it sends a clear message-your silence-to the toxic ones that they have zero power over you.


i cannot thank everyone enough for the messages. i am 8 days out of a 3 year toxic relationship and it is hell because of the immense guilt i feel over leaving him, but all of your uplifting and positive words make it a tiny bit easier. thank you!


I feel like I sat down in a roller coaster and now I am stuck on it just praying for it to stop soon so I can get off. Some days are almost good for me now, I start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know I am making some headway and can maybe even have a somewhat normal life again one of these days.
I’m slow but sure gathering all the tools I need in order to survive this ordeal and it’s looking like I’m getting closer to the day I will finally feel free.
I see the day when he finally decided to throw me away as a gift now, because it took that total devastation I felt and still feel, to make me open my eyes. I can finally see that I was headed down a one way street that lead only to a dead end, and I realized then I wasn’t ready to be done living. And I didn’t want to finish my life never knowing what true peace could feel like. And I started this journey I have fondly named, “My Journey to Hell and Back”.
Since the day this all started I have been searching and and reading and studying everything I can find about Toxic People and the more I read, the more I know I will never be able to help him, change him or make him understand me. I know today that he is becoming a part of my past and I know the only answer to the whole thing is to just LET GO of it and of him.
That is part of the journey and possibly the toughest part of it all. It doesn’t only mean to let go of him, it also means to let go a huge part of my own self. I have to change parts of me that have gotten me though this life and still feel comfortable.
Part of this is the overwhelming desire to understand it all. I keep thinking if I could just understand what happened it won’t be so tough to move on. But now I know I don’t have to understand it all. I only need to know that I am being destroyed by it, and I need to stop allowing it. It doesn’t matter if I know why, it only matters that I know. I don’t have to justify it, I don’t have to explain it to anyone, and I don’t have to wonder if it is right or wrong, I just need to do it. f And I know now if I can stop this finally, it will allow me to figure all the whys and ifs when I am safe, if I still want to. I hope this makes sense to you all, it barely does to me yet.
There are so many questions I want to find the answers for and I discover more of them everyday and really, at this point, I can’t let myself get bogged down with all the details, I just have to keep moving the right direction, and that is OUT. It’s way to easy to lose my direction if I start questioning it. I am in a fight for my life and I am the only one on this earth right now that can save it. And all the sorrow, the pain, the regret, I can deal with that stuff later. When it’s over. I feel like I am living on the edge of a cliff right now, one wrong step and I”m a goner. And the only thing keeping me fro going over is my gut instinct telling me not to stop, not to slow down and to pay attention. It’s so basic yet so tough and if I slow down or get distracted it will all be over. And this website is a HUGE part of my lifeline right now, seeing what you all have to say is helping me to keep my focus, it is reinforcing my awareness and keeping me alert to what dangers I might be facing. It’s like a harbor in a storm and it gives me a safe place to stop and take a deep breath so I can finish this journey finally. At this point, I am so totally looking forward to the end of the story. 🙂 My love to you all.


My mother iis insane. The most toxic manipulative Parent I have ever encountered. She lives in this toxic box and has driven me down into this toxic situation with her. How can someone destroy their only child. I Hate her. She is disgusting to look at or even breath the same air. Being on the same planet with her makes me sick. Hate, Hate, Hate………


I have finally found this article to reassure the decision to leave/walk out the door was not wrong without any remorse. It was a really long story and I really thank you for publishing this article. Without this page I couldn’t find hope, strength or a greater sense of understanding to have a much clearer insight to the man who has hurt me deeply and what he’s done to me with reviewing his actions. He’s done every single action to make me feel hopeless, to crush my values and brutally mind wash me by believing that what ever he says is truth. It was hard to distinguish his true identity without understanding a person’s behaviour and their appealing words that can control your worth and own values. Theres so much of what I faced and I cant explain everything and how hard and complex the situaton was and I really appreciate the wise words of this and the support within this page. Triple thumbs up for sure without doubt. No individual should ever feel worthless, I guess confidence is all we need and to prevent intruders from changing our opinions and precious values.


I just walked out of a toxic relationship of 2.5 years with a man who battered my self esteem, manipulated me, and tried his damnedest to keep me in my so-called place while all the while insisting that everything he did was for me and that I always got everything I wanted.
He would accuse me of not meeting his needs yet every single time I’d ask what they are he would reply with a version of “what’s the point in talking about it now, like it’ll change anything,” or “if you really loved me you would just KNOW.”
Conflicts always turned into fights, which would never be resolved because the most he ever did was apologize or promise to change but never followed through. He even accused me of cheating all the time… His reasoning? Because I had sex with him frequently and enjoyed it. Therefore I must be a slut.
The final straw came 2 days ago when my refusal to mope around due to his poor treatment of me, and instead visit with my mother exploded into an epic fight.
He wasn’t home when I got back but upon his return he called me an asshole and went to bed early. I was floored again (commonplace in our relationship by now since I was beginning to see through his toxic tactics)… Basically it became an easier option to just accept his bad treatment than to stand up for myself because he would just turn it around on me to make it seem like I wronged him for speaking up rather than addressing his role in why I had to speak up for myself in the first place. It all became too much for me to take for even one more day so I moved back in with my mother and haven’t looked back, yet I feel a deep grief over our split even though I know it’s the right thing. So it’s 4am and I’m trying to make sense of this long, drawn out, horribly negative experience and can’t thank you enough for posting your vast and empowering knowledge online. It’s a godsend to someone like me who’s searching for what went wrong and how to put the pieces back together. I’ve learned more from your website alone than I have from years of costly therapy.
Again, my deepest, most sincere thanks.


This truly spoke to me as this describes my last relationship. I actually looked up this article online today because I ran into my ex today at school. We had a nice conversation and caught up for a few minutes. I am the one that walked away, and though I tried to many times, I finally did it. I was okay after seeing him today, but then I needed to read an article like this to reassure myself that I made the right decision. It was brave, hard, but brave. And I know one day I will look back with no regrets. Thank you for this article, it is nice to know that I am not alone.


I have been married for 14 yrs but together with my husband for 20 since I was 18. I thought we were growing up together. We have two kids. I paid my own way thru college and became very successful. I worked my way up. Climbed vey high and he never graduated high school or got his GED. I built the house he wanted, bought the cars he wanted, always meeting his needs. I worked all the time. Then my Dad died and I fell apart I began drinking too much, way too much. All the time. I had a breakdown. I got DUIs and went to jail, I resigned from my job. My husband said he loved me and would be there. Who was I kidding. He lied to everyone. I ended up going to prison which saved my life and he told all my family he was working. He wasn’t he got laid off from his menial job. Started having an affair with his brothers wife’s sister who is 15 yrs younger. Then he stopped paying the mortgage. He only paid the utilities but he paid it with my money. He brought the other women to my house and had the affair in my bed. On the day he picked me up he told me he needed a break to figure things out and the house was 4 days from foreclosure. The kids needed to stay with me because I was more financially capable of taking care of them and he did not love me anymore. He wanted to see if he could make it on his own. He was going to stay with his mom. The house was not in is name so what did he care. Not thinking about me but you getting laid off from your job a yr before and not trying to find a new one with 2 kids, I asked him do you not care about what could have happened to these children if you were out out. He said I knew you were coming home and would figure it out. You always do. I should have let him go then but I didn’t. I did know about the affair yet. I found out about the girl and I called her. I then told her the truth about him. That the house she came to was mine, and I had to file bankruptcy to stop foreclosure, he had no job. The car she got picked up in was mine. And he has not worked in over a year. So he came back wanting to work things out. Well it’s been 9 months and he has not looked for a job. He does not love me or these kids. He uses sex as a tool for what he wants. I need him to leave and he says he will but he also keeps saying I can come back anytime I want and that scares the shit out of me. I am now sober 4 years and officially disabled because drinking almost destroyed my body. I drank a hole in my stomach. I am selling my home and moving out of state. He keeps saying I will be down there when you get there. I say not with me and he says I know just to visit the kids. This is not healthy and I don’t think it will ever get better. I just think I woke up. I have taken care of him our entire marriage and the one time I needed taken care of he jumped ship. It showed me I will never be able to be vulnerable with him which I think I knew all along I just buried myself in work. I am a pleaser and I got burnt out trying to make everyone happy.


This is exactly what I’m dealing with in every way and I don’t want to hurt anymore! I don’t know how to walk away, I love him, I just want it better! I’m 30 yrs old and we been together for 12 yrs.. But he’s lyin checking out women in front of me and very secretive.. Locks the phone and gives me no attention.. He doesn’t work I work 40-50 hrs a week to support him and our daughter.. He gives me no attention calls me names and blames everything on me!! Famous words I’m not doing anything!! It’s been like this since early November or last yr when I found emails from an another woman .. It’s killing me.. The pain is so real and it’s breaking me.. I just want to be strong and be able to be happy.. I don’t understand.. I feel so little AMD I hate myself.. Why am I such an idiot and stay.. PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME AND HELP ME UNDERSTAND… I HAVE NO ONE TO TALK TO TO OR WHO UNDERSTANDS.. Thanks Tiffany…

Karen - Hey Sigmund

It’s never easy to leave a relationship, but when you leave a bad relationship, the pain of that will eventually end. Staying in a bad one means the pain just keeps going. Ask yourself what you’re scared of happening if you leave. Are you scared of being on your own? It sounds as though you are already on your own – this man doesn’t sound as though he has your back and the way he is treating you doesn’t sound loving or nurturing at all. Are you worried about what your new normal will look like without him? What it won’t look like is suspicious, angry, sad, lonely. Are you worried that you will leave and miss him too much? It sounds as though you have been missing the man you fell in love with for a long time now. The key is finding out what you are scared of, and really having a look at that with an honest, open heart.

Tiffany C

How do you approach the breakup? I am living just like you said in fear. I keep putting t off. Im sared he is going to go crazy like he always does. Im afraid he will hurt himself or others. Im afraid he might come to my house or my job. We have 2 year old togeher o I mmunicate and let her see him. How do I do that with a crazy man who think Im ruining the family. IDK what to do i feel stuck

Sue F

Mine was my sister and my mother. My sister learned this behaviour from my mother at a very early age. It is a power game for them. It took me years to break away from the sibling: that was 10 years ago. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. I grieved for the loss but I knew that to have any sort of peace in my life I would have to walk away. I have no contact with the sibling but still have contact with my mother who is now in her late 80’s. I think the worst thing about all of this is that nobody intervened. There was no accountability on behalf of the abusers. There were no boundaries. They thought that because we were related they could do and say what they liked to me. I read lots of books on shame, co-dependency, emotional abuse etc and these helped me. I also joined blogs such as this and realised that I was not alone. I think having an understanding of why people behave as they do has helped me also. This is in no way condoning their behaviour. I do not feel sorry for myself and I can’t say that it’s been easy but I think I would have had some sort of breakdown if I continued in these relationships. I do not hate the abusers but I no longer carry the burden of anger or resentment towards them. To anybody embarking on this journey all I can say is to have some other support around you when you make the decision to walk away. Other friends or family or some sort of group you can go to. Also, be kind to yourself because you deserve it.



I went through exact same thing with my mom and sister.
It starts young.
My mother passed away in a nursing home and my sister made everything difficult.
Stay no contact and be at peace. We have no control over others but we can protect ourselves from abuse.
I understand your pain.


I have been there!
I married 9 years ago and I am finally free.
While dating 11 years ago he was wonderful!
I was everything to him.
We virtually came from different sides of the tracks however, I was happy and excited for this new venture.
We moved into a home and things were amazing.
I felt pure love
We married a year later and he started to treat me like a piece of furniture in the home.
There was no physicsl connection and I kept trying harder and harder to be a good wife.
I dug gardens, painted and did everything I could to make him happy.
Nothing!!! Absolutely NOTHING.
I was perplexed and very ipset since I work so hard at staying in shape and my appearance was always at the top of my game since I had modeled for several years in my past.
He had no interest in me at all.
I cried and begged for affection. To no avail
I left.
I hot in my car and left him.
10 months later I returned because I did love him.
He said he would change.
Three years latetr still absolutely no affection.
I was even open to the fact that maybe he was impotent.
He told me it was because he did not know my family????
I barely knew my family.
I came from an upper crust family who had means.
This was a poor excuse.
Love is love.
I found myself drinking wine every night.
Self medicating yet still having dinner on the table every night with a clean home and a spectacular lawn and gardens.
Btw this was all provided w my money.
We are talking years and years of my support
My Father was sick and I did not introduce them since I came from wealth and he came from a struggled background.
It was my Fathers wishes not to be involved
I would move mountains gor my Father
Well he died and in my deepest grief I was in court fighting my non sisters for our family trust
I flew to Colorado to my best friends for a repreve i fell ill and found out that I had breast cancer.
I underwent 8 surgeries in the corse of 18 months.
I expressed this to my husband on surgery one
He was so angry w me that he said I had undergone a reduction??
I gave him the address where I was and he said he would come see me
He never did
3 months later our dog fell ill so I went home to be w him
My husband acted as if I were there for him
This honestly was not my intent at all
He had crushed whatever I had for him
I left a month later
And I tried to ho back to make it work 7 months ago
He shut the door in my face
What he does not realize is that he did this to us not me.
I loved him and tried so hard
No affection for years no anything
I felt broken and cried for months
I picked myself up and have moved on
His family is toxic and so is he if he continues to be this way
I am not the first woman he has fone this to
I feel so free now
I gave an amazing man who loved me whole
I do not hate my husband
I ferl sorry for him
I could crush him in court yet I am to kind
I tried my hardest yet he is toxic
He came from toxicity so he knows no better
I have found MY peace
I hope all of you will
Moving on is hard yet acceptance is key
My heart is deep as well as my soul
I wish no harm on him
I just hope he can break the pattern!!


3 years ago a dear friend of mine that is a psychologist told me that the person I was with was toxic. I believed her and tried to end the relationship. But I was sucked in, over and over and over – all the while feeling like I could do more, be better, try harder. The good times were far and few in between. The bad times were VERY BAD – with repeated reminders of how horrible and insensitive and uncaring a person I was. It was like being in a fun house at the carnival. You know who you are but these distorted views of you are all over the place and that is what you see – and you start to believe it. I have left this person and I feel relieved that I will no longer be in the grasp of his cynicism but I feel so guilty because I know I have hurt him. I’m on the road to recovery – thank you for this article. It really did help to see things more clearly.


I couldn’t have come across this at a better time in my life. Everything I have read here about toxic relationships has been so true and it’s like I’ve finally woken up to my ex partner’s behaviour. I’ve been on the receiving end of drunken late night calls, where it’s all been about him, his achievements, what a great guy he is, etc, etc but the reality has been he’s been constantly undermining me with references to the way I act, look, eat, and I could go on. The following day he cannot remember a word he’s said but somehow it’s supposed to be my fault. Even sober the constant crisicism is wearing. I’ve had two attempts at salvaging this rubbish but finally he walked out after telling me that all the time he’s been enjoying my hospitality that he’s always thinking of another woman who dumped him before me – nothing like making someone feel like a consolation prize but what made it worse is that she shared my name! The strange thing is that I should be feeling desperately hurt but find that I have an overwhelming sense of relief that he’s gone and I can get my life back on track. To all those out there experiencing this type of a relationship – have faith and get out of it – be yourself and learn to love yourself again when you’ve been so undermined, enjoy the peace it brings – it is far better to be alone than endure such toxic behaviour.


Thank you all for your message, am in this 13 year relationship I love him but now he is getting his own place. Am trying to leave that door open to let him know am here but the only powerful thing that happen in this relationship is the sex. It’s 4:00 am and am ready to talk get my life back on track stop hurting because my toxic friend is wanting his own. I will keep reading this.



I read this and it explains everything I’ve been experiencing over the past two years. I think, “why didn’t I see that?”

Thanks Karen You are indeed awesome.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Thanks Jamie. I’m so pleased this has helped to give you some clarity. The reason you didn’t see that is because toxic behaviour can be so subtle, and the people who are targets of toxic behaviour are often open-hearted, generous and work hard on relationships.


So I have a slightly different situation I guess. I made a mistake, a big one. I mislead a guy and lead him on for a very long time. I liked the attention. But it was wrong, and I know that. I lied. And I hurt him. But I tried to come clean, I tried to walk away so many times but he would use drug use and manipulation to bring me back. I never could make a clean break. Now, after way too long, I tried to be more honest with him. I tried to just rip off the bandaid and walk away. But now, he won’t let me move on. I think things are going better, I’m being a better person, and then he sends me messages or leaves phone calls suggesting that I’ll never change, I’m shitty, and I don’t deserve anything I have. It feels toxic. I know that I was initially in the wrong, but for months I have been trying to move on with my life and get pulled back. I want to block his phone number, but I’m scared of the repercussions. I’m scared that he’ll find some other way to harass me and it will be worse. I don’t want to be caught in this cycle anymore.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Your fear isn’t a stop sign, it’s a sign that you’re right up against the edges of what feels comfortable, and that’s okay. You sound so clear about what you want for yourself. You don’t have to keep paying the price for whatever mistakes you may have made initially. Be honest with yourself and with your partner, and then be brave. Everything you need to do what you need to do is in you, don’t let your fear try to tell you that it isn’t.


Thank you, he’s not even my partner anymore. I have moved on and am happy in that relationship but being held back by the fear that he’ll try and mess with what I have now. But I can’t live my life like this, it feels abusive to have to rehash everything all the time when I really am being a better person and partner. Thank you


I could not have found this at a better time. A wonderful & impactful piece that I very much needed to read tonight.

My tale of woe is… 6 years ago, after surviving cancer and being left by my husband, I met and moved 2500 miles from home to be with someone. Things were good…not great…but pretty good. then my mom moved to be nearby. Life was better. My SO and I got engaged. We had a big happy family.

Then his mom was diagnosed stage 4 cancer and died 3 months later. This was 3 years ago. Since then, it’s been a downward spiral. His family fell apart. He started spending a LOT of money on things. He started hoarding. Then, more recently, I discovered the drug use and a serious gambling addiction.

I moved out a year ago and we have been limping along, but he is now in a seriously desperate situation (lost his job and home and has literally pawned or sold everything he has). I told him he can come here to detox and plan his next steps.

Instead, he has hoarded my garage (it was promised that it would be only 24-48 hours) and is being terrible to me because I have told him tomorrow is the deadline to get it out (it’s been over 2 weeks). I don’t have expendable cash but I’ve been putting gas in his truck and buying things that he needs. I am going broke.

For years now, he has cursed me, walks ahead of me when we go places, plays on his phone on the odd occasion when we DO go to dinner… my mom doesn’t hate him but she won’t have anything to do with him because he is disrespectful. He only comes over when he needs food or sex. My needs are, and have always been of no matter, though he would tell you I always come first. Whatever. Why oh WHY have I stayed in this for so long?!! Because I LOVE HIM. Because at first it was that I’d moved. Then it was because of his mom. Then it was financial. Now it’s rock bottom. BUT I LOVE HIM. Love love love. That stupid word. I have stayed under the guise that it was to help, but I have only hurt myself. Now he is furious because I have a bottom line with the garage and tonight, when I said, “Tomorrow,” he threw the house key at me and basically said, “Thanks, I’m homeless now.”

Your line, “The choice to trample over what you need means they are choosing not to be with you. It doesn’t mean you are excluding them from your life,” could not be more true. COULD NOT BE MORE TRUE. I so needed to hear this tonight and it is going to be my mantra now.

Tomorrow, if the stuff isn’t moved, I am throwing it in the dumpster. Tomorrow, after work, I am going to a NARCANON meeting. I am worth more than how I am being treated and I’m tired of longing for “normal.” He has bullied me into supporting his lifestyle and habits for too long and I’m done. If he ends up on the street, that’s not my problem. I am sad but ready.

Thank you.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Vera you sound clear, brave and strong. You can love someone and not like them at the same time, and just because you love someone doesn’t mean they are good for you. Sometimes it is that love that means they are able to keep getting close enough to cause breakage. You make so much sense and you deserve to be happy. I love that now you are fighting for you. Keep moving forward. You’ve got this.


I have been in a toxic relationship for almost 4 years now we have a two-year-old together and I feel like I am in jail almost every day . We do not live together anymore because the last incident the police were called and I realize we cannot live together but he comes all the time on announced he will not let me go I have told him I don’t love him he said he will never let me go so sometimes to make my life easier because I have another child to I give in and I make myself think things will get better he might change it’s easier to just not argue but then it gets worse and worse and worse and it’s a cycle over and over at this point I can’t take it anymore and I need to know how I can break up with him without him going crazy I can’t move and we live in a small town I’m so scared to do this but I know what has to be done Help

the toxic avenger

Love is dog food to some selfish inhumane people kick them to.the Kirb don’t feel any emotion for them.cause they care not so why should you waste your good.headedness on them leave them to there misery and pray that don’t find another victim to.prey.on


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Melbourne, Adelaide … Will you join us? 

The @resilientkidsconference is coming to Melbourne (15 July) and Adelaide (2 September), and we’d love you to join us.

We’ve had a phenomenal response to this conference. Parents and carers are telling us that they’re walking away feeling even more confident, with strategies and information they can use straight away. That’s what this conference is all about. 

We know taking care of the young people in our lives is up there with the most important thing we can do. Why shouldn’t there be a conference for parents and carers?!

I’ll be joining with @maggiedentauthor, @michellemitchell.author, and @drjustincoulson. We’ve got you covered! And we’re there for the day, with you. 

For tickets or more info, search ‘Resilient Kids Conference’ on Google, or go to this link https://www.resilientkidsconference.com.au/conference/.
We have to change the way we talk about anxiety. If we talk about it as a disorder, this is how it feels.

Yes anxiety can be so crushing, and yes it can intrude into every part of their everyday. But the more we talk about anxiety as a disorder, the more we drive ‘anxiety about the anxiety’. Even for big anxiety, there is nothing to be served in talking about it as a disorder. 

There is another option. We change the face of it - from an intruder or deficiency, to an ally. We change the story - from ‘There’s something wrong with me’ to, ‘I’m doing something hard.’ I’ve seen the difference this makes, over and over.

This doesn’t mean we ignore anxiety. Actually we do the opposite. We acknowledge it. We explain it for what it is: the healthy, powerful response of a magnificent brain that is doing exactly what brains are meant to do - protect us. This is why I wrote Hey Warrior.

What we focus on is what becomes powerful. If we focus on the anxiety, it will big itself up to unbearable.

What we need to do is focus on both sides - the anxiety and the brave. Anxiety, courage, strength - they all exist together. 

Anxiety isn’t the absence of brave, it’s the calling of brave. It’s there because you’re about to do something hard, brave, meaningful - not because there’s something wrong with you.

First, acknowledge the anxiety. Without this validation, anxiety will continue to do its job and prepare the body for fight or flight, and drive big feelings to recruit the safety of another human.

Then, we speak to the brave. We know it’s there, so we usher it into the light:

‘Yes I know this is big. It’s hard [being away from the people you love] isn’t it. And I know you can do this. We can do hard things can’t we.

You are one of the bravest, strongest people I know. Being brave feels scary and hard sometimes doesn’t it. It feels like brave isn’t there, but it’s always there. Always. And you know what else I know? It gets easier every time. I’ve know this because I’ve seen you do hard things, and because I’ve felt like this too, so many times. I know that you and me, even when we feel anxious, we can do brave. It’s always in you. I know that for certain.’♥️
Our job as parents isn’t to remove their distress around boundaries, but to give them the experiences to recognise they can handle boundaries - holding theirs and respecting the boundaries others. 

Every time we hold a boundary, we are giving our kids the precious opportunity to learn how to hold their own.

If we don’t have boundaries, the risk is that our children won’t either. We can talk all we want about the importance of boundaries, but if we don’t show them, how can they learn? Inadvertently, by avoiding boundary collisions with them, we are teaching them to avoid conflict at all costs. 

In practice, this might look like learning to put themselves, their needs, and their feelings away for the sake of peace. Alternatively, they might feel the need to control other people and situations even more. If they haven’t had the experience of surviving a collision of needs or wants, and feeling loved and accepted through that, conflicting needs will feel scary and intolerable.

Similarly, if we hold our boundaries too harshly and meet their boundary collisions with shame, yelling, punishment or harsh consequences, this is how we’re teaching them to respond to disagreement, or diverse needs and wants. We’re teaching them to yell, fight dirty, punish, or overbear those who disagree. 

They might also go the other way. If boundaries are associated with feeling shamed, lonely, ‘bad’, they might instead surrender boundaries and again put themselves away to preserve the relationship and the comfort of others. This is because any boundary they hold might feel too much, too cruel, or too rejecting, so ‘no boundary’ will be the safest option. 

If we want our children to hold their boundaries respectfully and kindly, and with strength, we will have to go first.

It’s easy to think there are only two options. Either:
- We focus on the boundary at the expense of the relationship and staying connected to them.
- We focus on the connection at the expense of the boundary. 

But there is a third option, and that is to do both - at the same time. We hold the boundary, while at the same time we attend to the relationship. We hold the boundary, but with warmth.♥️
Sometimes finding the right words is hard. When their words are angry and out of control, it’s because that’s how they feel. 

Eventually we want to grow them into people who can feel all their feelings and lasso them into words that won’t break people, but this will take time.

In the meantime, they’ll need us to model the words and hold the boundaries firmly and lovingly. This might sound like:

‘It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay not to like my decision. It’s not okay to speak to me like that. I know you know that. My answer is still no.’

Then, when they’re back to calm, have the conversation: 

‘I wonder if sometimes when you say you don’t like me, what you really mean is that you don’t like what I’ve done. It’s okay to be angry at me. It’s okay to tell me you’re angry at me. It’s not okay to be disrespectful.

What’s important is that you don’t let what someone has done turn you into someone you’re not. You’re such a great kid. You’re fun, funny, kind, honest, respectful. I know you know that yelling mean things isn’t okay. What might be a better way to tell me that you’re angry, or annoyed at what I’ve said?’♥️
We humans feel safest when we know where the edges are. Without boundaries it can feel like walking along the edge of a mountain without guard rails.

Boundaries must come with two things - love and leadership. They shouldn’t feel hollow, and they don’t need to feel like brick walls. They can be held firmly and lovingly.

Boundaries without the ‘loving’ will feel shaming, lonely, harsh. Understandably children will want to shield from this. This ‘shielding’ looks like keeping their messes from us. We drive them into the secretive and the forbidden because we squander precious opportunities to guide them.

Harsh consequences don’t teach them to avoid bad decisions. They teach them to avoid us.

They need both: boundaries, held lovingly.

First, decide on the boundary. Boundaries aren’t about what we want them to do. We can’t control that. Boundaries are about what we’ll do when the rules are broken.

If the rule is, ‘Be respectful’ - they’re in charge of what they do, you’re in charge of the boundary.

Attend to boundaries AND relationship. ‘It’s okay to be angry at me. (Rel’ship) No, I won’t let you speak to me like that. (Boundary). I want to hear what you have to say. (R). I won’t listen while you’re speaking like that. (B). I’m  going to wait until you can speak in a way I can hear. I’m right here. (R).

If the ‘leadership’ part is hard, think about what boundaries meant for you when you were young. If they felt cruel or shaming, it’s understandable that that’s how boundaries feel for you now. You don’t have to do boundaries the way your parents did. Don’t get rid of the boundary. Add in a loving way to hold them.

If the ‘loving’ part is hard, and if their behaviour enrages you, what was it like for you when you had big feelings as a child? If nobody supported you through feelings or behaviour, it’s understandable that their big feelings and behaviour will drive anger in you.

Anger exists as a shield for other more vulnerable feelings. What might your anger be shielding - loneliness? Anxiety? Feeling unseen? See through the behaviour to the need or feeling behind it: This is a great kid who is struggling right now. Reject the behaviour, support the child.♥️

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