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”]



Be careful of these toxic people. Most of them love playing the victim. They will always find an excuse to play victim card and alot of women are masters of playing the poor little girl.

As a man i know now what i want after dealing with few toxic women


I didn’t really remember the date 6 months back when we guys got together, I cannot even call it a relationship. Later did I found out he was engaged back in his home country. I will certainly remember Dec10, 2020, when I caught him red handed. The moment i realised i tried to keep boundaries with him in the month of October. But nothing was working out, we were still the same, catching up and being there for each other. He is a nice person but this was wrong and I was living in the state of denial. I have used really harsh words for him later that night and i feel guilty though and I surely miss him. Somewhere, deep down I knew it was the right thing to do. Now I have tried checking on him, which I shouldn’t have but i have done it out of generosity since we are living away from family. He said a lot of things have been said and done, there is nothing left. I was always amazed with his manipulation and confidence, I tried talking to some friends and all of them have asked me to stay from this person.

I read this blog and stories and I was in tears and feeling a little confident that what I did was right for the three of us, otherwise it would have been so hard on me later, he’d get married as soon as the lock down ends.
Wishing you all strength and love!


Hi I’m 21 year old female and in a relationship with a 30 year old guy…we on Long distance relationship for 6 month….we live in 2 different countries….I dont know if this relationship is toxic or not even is dont know both side or 1 side…I will be fair here….he is loyal but he always controlls me and e if i dont want do something or try break up he threaten me like he will send my private pic to my friends and family and if not listen to him and argue he blocks me….he criticise me alot….calls me name alot even at littlest mistake of mine….gets angry at me and keeps thinking I’m cheating on him with my ex which i did for 1 day at start of his and my dating i know i did bad and regreat it….i love him but i cant take it and on my part I’m quick tempered like him too and cheated out of anger….i am sometimes rude to him like him I’m also lil bit possessive but i never thought lowly of him like he thinks of me calling worthless useless…and its my fault always and sometimes wishing me death…i do love him and i cant take it and try leave but i end up coming back to him on my own or when he contacts and says sorry…sorry its too long 🙂


I know how you feel. And yes you are in a toxic relationship. I am kind of in a similar one… I have been dating this guy for about almost a year. At first, we saw each other a lot and he was really sweet and everything. And then lockdown came and we barely saw each other at all. Like maybe three weeks in 9 to 10 months. So most of our relationship was on the phone. We had intercourse when I visited him and from there on our problems really started. He got really possessive over me and wouldn’t let me visit my friends. He became really ridiculous telling me nobody will ever love me like he does. Nobody could possibly deal with my anger the way he does. (yes I have a temper) making me feel like he is the only guy that will ever love me. When I got fed up with him he would cry and threaten me telling me he would tell everyone we had sex and he would send my private pics to people and take everything back that he gave me. I really do love him but he makes me miserable. I don’t know how to break free from this cycle. We will fight and our relationship will be really ugly then when I want to leave he makes empty promises and I fall for it and we have this short honeymoon phase and then it starts again. He always makes me feel like I’m the bad guy. When I’m only standing up for myself. I’m trapped… And I’m scared I’ll never be able to break loose


I found this article 3 years later and 2 months too late. It really is incredible. I see mostly women in the comments section, and as a 34 year old man who is ready to love and share my heart with a good woman, I found myself this year being emasculated and put down over and over by someone who “loves me.” We even looked at rings at her behest two weeks before she broke it off with me because her ex texted her and sent her into a tizzy. She was in an abusive relationship before me, always compared our relationship to what she had before in lackluster terms. I always always always sought to build her up, I never put her down or critiqued her and never said a bad word about her ex. But we broke up, and in the same breath she said it was her and it wasn’t me also gave me a few things to work on to be more successful with my next relationship. Toxic people are broken people, and she was never willing to do therapy, but I did to grow and heal. I cannot imagine how to fix a toxic person, but I now realize they have to want it and pursue it themselves, otherwise we are all
Cannon fodder for the roller coaster.


There are times when you really love a person and just blindly follow what he says and wants because you know he’s smarter and intelligent in all aspects than me. I used to consider my boyfriend as the smartest among the group and always followed what he said. Even with regards to my career! He did give good advices I thought then. Also thought of marrying that guy and making him my husband. But now I realised I was manipulated in a way that made me think he was always right and he knew all things. I would just follow him like a dumb person. And when I started giving my opinions on things is when he felt I started dominating! I started voicing my views and thoughts and that seems to be dominating to him. He’s an aggressive person who has broken a lot of things when we fought. I’m hell scared to break up with him because I tried once, a phone and a laptop was shattered. I feel this article to be very relevant to my case. But can’t just figure out how to break up with this guy and be at peace!


Just get the hell out of there. I’m a guy and just spent almost 2 years in a toxic relationship. Everyone around me saw it, told me how bad she was. I made countless excuses and blamed myself. Finally on Halloween the threats and violence and fear I felt. I called the police she ran from the apt and tried to return. I locked the door down and when she returned in the morning she tried the I’m sorry forgive me and started blaming me again it’s always my fault. I gave her two options I feared for my safety wait until I leave and get your stuff out today or I will have the police come and escort you out with your stuff. I offered to pay for her uber a hotel and a flight out back to where we moved from recently and she left. I was devastated left broke degraded feel I failed. But When I woke up today I felt safe no pressure actually happy and no fear. It will be stuff but I know I’m lucky I finally broke away and no harm or police. I hope she stays away and I’d would left everything behind to get away once I couldn’t live like this. Hope you have the courage you deserve better and get out now before it just gets worse.


👋 hey
I ended things with my boyfriend a week and a half ago… It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I feel like I still regret the decision. But I don’t think he can change. Practiced a lot of infidelity. And we’re kind of on a break, if you could call it that.. but all the things he did keep replaying in my mind and all he can say is , forget the past and how tomorrow isn’t promised so why should we reminisce the past and waste time. He told me that I should take my time and heal and we can resume things. But I don’t think he can change… I mean, he would have already right? Part of me keeps hoping that he’ll finally settle and choose me. And stop playing around with other girls… part of me feels like maybe this time he’s serious. I miss everything, my happiness revolved around him.He tells other people I’m the one who gave up on us… makes me look like the bad one.. yet he kept cheating and apologizing and cheating again.. can you really cheat on someone you love? He doesn’t like me hugging other guys or having calls or meeting them or going to parties, he always wants to be there.. and yet with him it’s okay… toxic huh? Thing is he had a troubled childhood, I want to be there for him. I just feel it’s wrong to just leave someone after they’ve opened up to you like that! Please correct me if I’m wrong. So it’s one of the reasons I’m scared I may go back after the break. I don’t want to go back to the heart that broke me… but I miss him sooo much. I pray continually for God to give me guidance and courage. I just wish he could change…


Pls baby.. tell me u didn’t go back to him.. it’s not worth it you can’t the hoe out of a man I promise, if he had the balls to cheat on you I promise he’ll do it again if you give him another chance because he thinks it’s okay and normal to do it if you take him back


Please leave him it will only get worse and worse.it will take away all your confidence self worth and it will get harder to leave.dont feel bad for leaving it’s all part of the game playing into your good nature.becsuse he opened up to you. I’m sure you opened up to about how he’s making you feel.has he stopped no.next he will start giving you STIs and all sorts I’m speaking from experience it’s a never ending cycle. Please run someone will love you the right way you just can see that now but I promise you. Self love is the best love xx

Anita J

They always tell you a story of troubled childhood bad marriage and so and so on. They will do what they think will pull you in. Stay strong


I been reading all this blogs doing my own research, trying to understand why this happened and even try to understand him. And I’m going through exactly the same situation as you right know. I feel hopeless without him. There’s nothing that I could tell to cheer you up. But I do understand 100%.


I’m the the same position but with my husband of 2 years, not just with infidelity but abusement, physically and emotionally. And now we have a daughter I thought he would change like he said but it’s just gotten worse it feels like.


You can’t fix them once there broken. You deserve better move on. Set some standards and boundaries and go slow. If they make your life better and positive and not all about them. Then and only then let them in.

J Denise

Listen to your gut. I was with mine and we were approaching 30 yrs. From experience if I would have continued I would not be here to write this. Honey I’m in my 40s and almost lost my life this last time. And this is someone that loved me more than anything. honey you have to love u. If someone loves u, they dont hurt u nor watch you cry, let alone be the one that makes u feel unworthy and cry. I was more or less a prisoner and no it did not start that way. Honestly we got married after 12 yrs and got divorced a yr ago he got worse thinking that paper made him own me. If you are having all these issues it will only get worse. they will tell you anything to make u stay. I won’t lie, I miss him every single day but my sanity and peace of mind is so more important to me. And my children are 16 and 21 2 step children also 32 and 31 so they are my number one reasons to not continue that horror story. They were so broken from how he treated me and them. Please listen to me they only get worse. U deserve better and I always look to god for guidance. Honey LET GO AND LET GOD. Take time to discover yourself. No alcohol no other influences and listen to what gods plan is for u. We all have one u just have to trust him and want better for yourself. The missing will get easier but until then u need to get some support i had to realize I’m not able to talk to this man right now. I’m not strong enough he gets in my head and I have to work on that and until I’m ready I will stay away its only best for me. Believe in yourself. you are worth it. U have to realise it. hope this helps


All I can say is RUN! Don’t waste your life in a guy or living like that. What kind of a future do you really want. Take my advise stay away and find a decent guy who’s got his shit together.

Kinza A

This article is incredible. It sums up all the problems into just a paragraph. Beautifully written.
Im going through something toxic my self.
I want to get out of it.
But im not able to get out of it yet.
I hope everything gets better.


I cry myself to sleep every night praying things will change, but they don’t. i don’t know how to leave as i love him so much but it’s literally broken me. physically and mentally.

Denise M

ID BET A MILLION DOLLARS HE WILL NOT CHANGE. I PROMISE YOU HE WILL NOT CHANGE. IF YOU STAY AND PUT UP WITH IT THEN ITS YOUR OWN FAULT THAT YOUR HURT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. HE IS A CHEATER AND A NARCISSIST. HIM TELL YOU TO TAKE TIME TO HEAL ,IT SO DAMN OBVIOUS THAT HES A NARCISSISTIC MAN. ATE YOU THAT DESPERATE ? I HOPE NOT. IT MAY HURT TO LEAVE BUT YOU DEFINITELY WILL GET OVER IT. BUT IF YOU STAY YOU WILL RELIVE THE HURT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. IF THATS WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE THEN STAY.But dont blame him for hurting you over and over again because he will. It will be you own fault if you stay. He dont love you. If he did he’d be devoted to you. Maybe your just in love with the thought of him changing and being true to you. But it’s not going to happen. I’m 55 year old female and I lived long enough to learn from my mistakes. It’s ok, Best that you move forward move on and remember and take what you learned from this experience. Life can make you smarter if you choose to let it.

About to be single... and happier.

Incredibly well written article, grateful to have come across it. My relationship with the father of my youngest has been riddled with problems. I am imperfect in many ways to him however know in the deepest depth of myself that most of the toxic behavior I did/do not deserve. He says to not beg and cry for him back, after recently trying to make me choose between he and my teen son and then telling me I am the one making the choice for him to leave. I want my son back in my life. I know he will be okay without me, us because his greatest strength is being self-involved. My parting gift to him is completing his Biology lab class with grace and not asking for anything else in return for it. I just cannot take the financial manipulation, the mean spiritedness, and controlling behavior any longer. Who in their right mind feels entitled to 80k of their partner’s financial investment because they decided to stay four more years in their partner’s home state for their partner in exchange for money … lots of money. Money comes and goes, it is the entitlement to my investment prior to our relationship that really gets to me. Especially since I am responsible for our rent because as he says I would have to pay for it anyways if I was single. Enough is enough. The toxicity is oozing. 😉


I need help and I don’t know how to go about this. I’ve been with my partner for almost a year he has a heart condition and will need a transplant in the coming year. The relationship I thought we had isn’t what it was. I recently found out he was sleeping with a women his mums age and he continued to lie to both of us promising forever ofcourse he denied this and told me that he only wanted to lift her up because he felt bad but he was trying to leave her. He had slept with her up to the time I found out so I started talking to her I got messages and all that state otherwise. He was never trying to leave he promised her forever and love and so much more. I did feel he was using her as she was taking care of him and spending on him which he also denies n feels like he only rightfully took what was given. I’m trying to leave but he turns into an absolute psycho n blames me for his illness or that I’m going to be the death of him when I pull him up about this he changes n apologised but yet I stil get blamed for a lot of it which I know isn’t my fault for speaking up. While I’m trying to leave it’s hard because I could very well be the death of him. I’m not a weak person and I basically no longer care as bad as it sounds I just want to go in peace without having to deal with the crap that comes after. He has also abused the other women threatened her and cut her off completely so she also is going through a diffficult time without him but at least she is out and I have tried to support her with it which he isn’t happy with and is trying to force me to delete her from my life because she holds a lot of truth to the lies he says and everytime I ask him about something and tell him to be honest he will sugar coat it and lie again when he can’t lie anymore about it coz there’s proof he will twist it to make it seem like it was just him trying to be nice or help or make her feel wanted and when that doesn’t work he gets verbal and physically attacks everything around me and threatens to attack the women he was with for telling me, although he has never laid his hands on me. He is now at a point where his been promising me the world n how he will change and his so sick and I personally just feel like he needs a maid. How do I get out since talking nicely and talking harshly and just noT being in contact isn’t working. Nothing is and he has stated that he will never go and I’m also fearful he will bring this to my family like he has threatened to many time’s.

Taheera O

Reading this bring me into tears . O been on and off with this man for 9 years. The last 2 years we got back together we said no bs we going to work on this. I found out he was dealing with someone else the whole time. Pictures and everything on social media. It’s been 6 months since it happened. He claims he nog dealing with her but i still see her posting him or her posting things pertaining to him. I’m hurting and tired of trying to make it work because of our history. I just want out already.


I was in a toxic relationship for two and a bit years. Reading this article has made me realise that how he broke up with me ensured I stayed connected to him. I have searched to try to understand why I did this. I realise now that he manipulated me into being “loyal” to him, even when I knew I no longer loved him or was with him.
I am constantly told by friends that I am a pleaser. I am not sure if this is a good quality or a bad one but I now know that he recognised this in me and ensured that I would stay connected to him by making me feel sorry for him.
I started a new and healthy relationship with a wonderful kind and giving man but I kept in touch with the previous man, even though very rarely and not in person. I didn’t tell my new partner because I didn’t know how to explain it.
I’ve asked myself a series of questions. Typing them into the internet to find something like my situation. Then I found your article, which has given me the understanding (a real revelation to me) although I don’t know how to put this in words to my new partner. How can I rebuild the trust in him now he has discovered my messages? I felt so ashamed that I denied, even to myself, that I was doing this. I have now set the record straight with him but I am so devastated that I’ve hurt him so profoundly.
I love him so deeply and completely. This love is like no other love I have ever experienced. As though we are 2 parts of one whole.
We think the same, love the same, live life the same and want the same experiences from life.
He deserves the peace of mind that comes with trust. So much so that I have considered sacrificing my happiness with him to give him this. He tells me that we will move on from this, that our deep love will help us but I feel I have caused a wound that will always leave a scar and I have no idea how to erase it.
If you have any advice for me I would be so very grateful.


soon the cruel words and actions, will turn into bruises and broken bones. and it will be all your fault. they expect you to say you were wrong and apologize. they will take all you worked for and have and never share what is theirs. i spent 17 years living like this and it took 10 days in the hospital and another beating when i got out because i cut off his access to my bank accounts (not that i have alot of money, social security/pension) and he refused to work, that he decided to beat me again. i called the police and he ran like the coward and bully he is and went home to his mother. i am old and never want to let anyone have that power over me again. i was told that if i had waited 30 minutes more to go to the hospital i would have died, this is a result of his actions which he knew were making me sick, and this is the stupid part. i miss him because i really loved him we were married 17 years, but i now realize i was just a meal ticket to him. i have to fight with myself to not contact him and beg him to come back, and it is hard, but it’s been 4 months and i am starting to miss him a little less each day and one day he will be just a memory because i will not let him be any thing more. i post this to let all of you who are going through this i understand, i feel for you and i pray for you that you can find the path you must walk to be at peace and find contentment in your life. it is very hard but you can do it.

Denise May

EXACTLY, Its a narcissistic game. She should look up that word on google and read about ppl like that. It’s very educational.


I’ve been married for 21 years. And have recently, I guess in the last 5 years found my voice. Discovering what is really going on in our marriage. My husband retired and I left a job that was extremely stressful to me. He’s not a bad man. He loves me the way he thinks I should be loved and I should appreciate. He says he’s “better than 95% of the men out there” but I feel unheard, unsupported, invalidated. I quit drinking and started attending Codependence Anonymous meetings. I’ve been reading and listening to different books about relationships, people, shame, vulnerability etc. I want our marriage to work. We’ve gone to 4 counselors and he holds on to the thought that. I’m the one who has changed so I’m the one who needs to do the work. When I tell him how I feel and would like support or empathy he gets defensive and says he can’t have his opinion. I’m definitely a different person than I was when we married. The things I have changed I feel are all good things. The changes shed light on past trauma that I’ve endured and growth for me. His “opinions” feel like covert criticism or judgement. I’m so confused because I feel it’s toxic but he does some nice things and reminds me that he never tells me no but then says I run everything. I feel stuck and can’t really think of anything else besides, should I stay or should I go….


Look up the word narcissist on Google. You will find a lot of your questions answered . I promise.


I know exactly how you feel. I felt things in my gut and heart but my mind always made me think differently. I let myself get extremely hurt emotionally and mentally. We were married 30 years, he never physically abused me. But he was very manipulating and had a way to make me believe him when I knew deep down things were going on. He was not unfaithful. We have been divorced for 3 years and I am just now getting to the point that I let myself believe what I knew all along, that he was deceitful. He would tell me I had it better than most women and things he did was to make us better but it was all for him. I am working on letting go and it is extremely hard cause we did have great times and a beautiful family. I’m making baby steps. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you like I did.


I have been married for 44 years. I have just read my life in this article. One day I had had enough. I took half of our life savings and got a beautiful apartment and bought all new furniture. I wanted to take the the life I have left and be happy and stress free. He wants me back and he got us a marrige counseler but I don’t think he can change after all these years. I have never been happier.


When your spouse ask you a question and you give him an answer and they tell you that you are wrong and state no that can’t be right.
When your spouse calls his family members to tell them what is happening in the relationship and only makes you look like a monster. Doesn’t state the truth
When your spouse always looks at the negative side of things and is never 100 percent supportively of the hat you want to do
When your spouse always blames you for everything that happens but states it’s his fault and I am never wrong and when you try to state allow you feel about the situation he walks away
And states it’s over
When his mother lies to him about me and he decides to attack you physically and verbally and will not listen to you
When he lies to people about things that happening in the past but doesn’t state the truth
When he tell you that the house is his and he will never leave
When he calls you a B but he is the only man you have ever been with kiss or loved
When he accuses you of cheating because his mother told him lies about you
Because she doesn’t want you together with him
When you go to marriage concealing and even the doctor tells him that he needs to look at his side and what he has done wrong and he calls the doctor stupid never again goes to marriage concealing
When he tells friends private things about your marriage so bad that you never want to go over again because is accord
When he tells you that if you get fat he will leave you
When he tells you that if you get old and loss your hair that he will leave you
When he tells you that everything horrible that happens is your fault
When everything you do or say is always a negative comment or negative reaction
When you try to scream for help so you can leave but you are scared that your kids will get hurt to
This is not a good marriage
I need to fine a way out
When my family is toxic my mom uses me for money and so did my brother
My sister is also not a good supporter she has her issues as well
I cry as I write this because I am trying to fine a way to leave and still make sure my kids are successful in life
I need a miracle
Take care all off you and thanks for listening


I’m also going through a similar relationship but I don’t have kids. I’m praying for u and lifting up ur family. Know ur not alone.


Please stay strong, you are not alone. Make up your mind to be strong, pack your bags and leave immediately and ask God for direction. Everything would be fine soon dear


Why did I feel this. With the exception of a husband and children. I pray that you find peace and love being that you dont seem to feel it now based on your post. The best thing I ever did was love myself, I surrendered and gave it all to God (depending upon your religious beliefs) after that I worked more towards meditations, reading material to help me. Even participating in some of Iyanla Vanzants daily affirmation and reading videos. She keeps hope alive for those of us that feel like we are alone and well. Vulnerable or whatever it may be, to toxicity and negativity. I started seeing a therapist before all of this because I was so lost but I am in such a great place now than I was 4 or 5 months ago. I feel like I’m beginning to live in my purpose and happy as because I took that 1st step of loving me first. I wish I had whatever answer you seek but I hope that you get through this situation and come out happier than you ever were. With your chin held high. Sending light, love, and blessing ????????❤


Hi Mary,

I cried with you as I read this. I hope you find a way out- nay, I pray you find a way out! The best thing I think you could do for your children is to keep strong and keep safe! Do whatever you can to work towards YOUR happiness. It will help your children immensely just to see you happy too

Anonymous Benefactor

Dear Mary,

Please know that you are stronger than you believe you are. You are a fighter. Split away from toxicity — it would be very hard, but we have one life to live. Let’s not spoil our life on people who don’t deserve us. Your kids will be better off in a peaceful environment. Whatever will be the hardships, you would have answers for them. Make sure that you become financially independent and have some savings before taking this step. I know of a friend whose mother split with his father when we was very young. Currently he is a professor in Computer Science Department of a very prestigious institute in my country. Everything turns out to be well — there will be ups and downs, but you will at least have the required distance from toxicity. Take help from your friends. Get a lawyer. Do something. Inaction would not resolve any situation.
Lots of love


I feel so sorry for you.. I wish I could help. I’ve left my husband a couple of weeks ago and some of your story described him. I’ve left him a few times but slept in family and friends couches. I eventually left him as my mums house is vacant.. I am very lucky.
I was so miserable it was effecting me… My happy go lucky self has disappeared.
He had a really bad upbringing, his mum beat him… He was put in a home, his dad was an alcoholic. His sister killed a baby and he lost him brother when he was 18.
I believe he is the way he is because of his childhood and I have asked him to go to a Councillor but he won’t, he says there’s nothing wrong and he’s over all of that.
Unfortunately he now drinks every day a vast amount and I have just found out he’s been taking cocaine.
I’m so relieved I’m out…. Now I need to find myself and find that fun person I use to be x


Ma’am, God wanted me to let you know that you are the miracle. you can do this. your children will be okay. No matter what happens, everything will be okay for you. Stop trying and start doing. I believe in you.
With all my unconditional love and support; take care.


Miracles are possible! You are strong enough to leave. Think of the kids, do you want them to grow up thinking that’s how a relationship works or do you want them to see mommy is strong enough to get out and deserves to be treated with love. I am in a similar situation myself, I’ve been put down all my life and just recently at 26 years old with 4 loving kids said enough is enough. I am grateful for finally believing in me. I know it’s a scary situation but please know I am here to support you. I’m sorry this has happened it breaks my heart. I wish you the best, you matter and deserve genuine uplifting love!

Billie Jean

This article blew me away. I have been in denial for a very long time and I strongly believe that this is it. This is the final eye opener to a better ME. I don’t want to be toxic to myself and other people because of someone else. The detachment is always the hardest, but it has to be done.


I recently made the decision to release myself from my marriage of 23 years. My husband was dysfunctional in all the ways mentioned, infidelity, abuse, lies, inconsistency with work, and addiction. I stayed because of my children. I thought they needed a two parent home, and I bought the fantasy and suffered through the reality. I try to figure out why it was so hard to walk away as I see other people do, or as he did, even during our marriage as he stayed out late, now I know with other women using my hard-earned money to take these women out eating, drinking, smoking, and partying. For the most part in our marriage, I paid all the bills–sometimes working two-three jobs to make ends meet. Many times at pay day he would ask for my debit card to go play pool only to find that he would spend hundreds of dollars even before I paid bills. We suffered by the end of the month just to keep gas in the car or food on the table. So, I ask myself, “Why would I want this?” The reality is I did not see a future beyond him, so now, I have started creating a future in my mind of scenarios to my happiness. As a Christian, I believe in a big God who can take me from pieces to peace in my life. I used to think that I had to be the perfect wife so that he would love me better or more. That was a farce. He only loved himself as he knew that he was not worthy of my love, so he tried to demean me to his level. He has destroyed, better yet I have allowed him to destroy my health, finances, relationships, and good name. At this time, I dream of my future with someone loving, living in peace and contentment. But, the thought creeps up that maybe he will change, and we can be together as a family. But, nope…I will not allow myself to go down that rabbit hole. I am nurturing me…watching funny movies, reading romance novels, and doing the emotional work to make myself well. Do I still think about him? Yes. I spent 23 years with him. My goal now is to be strong enough to stay away as I know he will be crawling back with a story about wanting his family…this is my trigger. He wants his family makes me feel guilty that I am withholding an intact family from my children. My other assumption is that he will go to the next victim, who he cheated with and wrote in a text as the only person he every loved. Either way, I have to create my own happiness. I have to rebuild a life without my abuser–husband. So, I ask, “Why would a reasonable woman live and stay with an abuser?” I realize that I am a people pleaser, or maybe just a nice person, who left my mother’s house and moved right into his. While I love my mother, her dominant personality makes me shutter. Both of these relationships are damaging at times to me. At this point, I am distancing myself from both. Well, zero contact with my husband. I deserve happiness. I will not die. I will prosper and create a new life on the other side of this. I must encourage myself as I have been so defeated that I could only hope for a life with a serial cheater, abuser, and liar. The familiarity serves some emotional need, but I am creating new familiar processes in my life like reading before bed, no social media, walks, cooking for my nephew, spending time with my family…I just have to be strong. I can only pray that he never comes back.


After two years of being in a toxic relationship, this article was the most helpful in me realizing I was in a bad situation and telling me how to get out of it logically. I fell in love with my boyfriend my junior year of high school and everything was perfect at first. He has had a troubled life and unfortunately, I told myself that I could fix him. I put so much time and effort into being everything he wanted me to be that I became addicted and needed his validation. Eventually things got extremely bad because when I had any complaints or issues in the relationship, he would never consider my feelings and nothing would change. Eventually things got verbally abusive and he would call me names, not being able to control his anger during arguments. I would forgive him every single argument we had and often times I would be the one apologizing. Eventually, when we both went to college, I discovered that he had cheated on me during our senior year of high school, and I forgave him even when he didn’t fully own up to what he did. Many incidents have led to me not trusting him and I feel like such an insecure and bitter person when I see a girl I think he would cheat on me with. When I become untrusting and he is being suspicious, he blames me for being insecure and not being able to let go of the past. Now when I bring up something that concerns me he says that me bringing up certain issues is a boundary for him and if I cross that boundary, he has every right to yell at me and call me names. His justification for this was that if he were to cross my boundary of him cheating on me, I would have the right to yell at him. Getting my point across and communicating with him is always so tiring and never leads to any solutions. I always thought things would change and now I’m so attached to him, only realizing now that this is a cycle.


Women and men can be extremely deceitful and manipulative.
I know a girl for 6months. I knew from the beginning it will never work. She was(is) taking drugs and stuff…
This woman is like a black hole. Needs money under all pretexts. Everytime something bad is happening and she calls/texts only when she needs money. She “loves me” very much. But her actions donmt match words and behaviour is not in accordance to what she says. Big red flag!
The bad part is I started to love her basically… But to be honest I love money much more. After about 3k pounds short I think is time to move on.
There is a big problem however: Im a very compassionate person and a very good hearted person and she manages to enter my head all the time. Funny fact is I know… i know when she lies, I kinda know everything. She even lied she will go to hospital to “heal herself”; and she thanked me so much for opening her eyes.. guess what: caught her lying, wasn.t in any hospital(I investigated it thoroughly…)
She swears she loves me and exploited my vulnerability very well. She always knows what buttons to push and she always tells me she knows me better than I know(this is a manipulation indicator; meaning exactly she knows what to say and where to say)…
I love her.. her blue eyes, her way of being etc. But I will not let myself destroyed by anything or anyone. I was a drug addict myself but quit all substances on my own after about 16years. I think thats why I attracted her in my life… I think that why I had sympathy for her etc.
U need to be careful regardless the toxic person is man or woman. Both can play the victim very well. The one Im talking about is a master manipulator. She got me even though Im a master manipulator myself(was a broker on stock exchange and fraud investigator). For me it seems was a joke.. liked “investigating”… So I suppose now I need to pay for my “sins”. Truth of the matter, I know is harsh but: we, as victims, we kinda choose to be and to stay in those toxic relationships. We don.t trust our gut and we choose not to believe in us properly, and guess what? The manipulator takes advantage of this.
Be extremely careful at behaviour. If actions don.t match words, run away. Life doesn.t give us too many chances, why we should give? I gave her several chances, more than to anyone but I cannot keep myself dragged down. Whats the fun being in a relationship with a woman who texts, calls only when she needs money? Whats the fun in being in a relationship in which u spend all ur money from minimum salary, u tell her u don.t have for food and rent and she doesnmt even give a f*ck??
Think about identifying things like this. Little things matters the most. For example, it was christmas and the woman who pretends to love me didn.t even call once. She asked for some money via sms even though she knew I have none. I was stupid enough to borrow 20quid to give it to her as shes poor… It was the saddest christmas ever. I was in my house, alone basically crying because Im so stupid.
When I confront her she always switches the topic or she swears “change is coming in time baby…”. No, change will NEVER COME. What is meant to work will work from the beginning. Now Im writing this but most probably I will not be strong enough to leave her…
Curiosity kills the cat! U know that saying? Thats what I basically did and now I regret it.
For all ppl who are in something which is not good enough. LEAVE! A long lasting and fruitful relarionship os not only about love. There are much more things needed. If you cannot trust love is insignifiant.


Wow. So much of this is so true to me. I just got out of a terrible toxic relationship. I look back now and feel a shell of the bubbly fun out going woman I was. After 2 months he was checking my phone and I felt constantly guilty for being me. I stopped seeing friends, hid my phone, would question me when work colleagues would message when I was off because they needed something from me. I still stayed another 2 years. I thought maybe I was too affectionate to others and the problem was me. we went to Athens and I ran the marathon, the day before he was checking my phone again, accusing me of wanting someone else… I had 2 hours sleep to prepare for something I had been preparing for before meeting him. He had a son before me and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it and when I confessed this feeling it was another stick to beat me with. He was terribly defensive about anything, any feelings I had were called criticisms and “you’re never happy” I found myself compensating, sending gifts and cards to let him know how much effort I was putting in. Stopped being intimate with me and said he felt uncomfortable… I started exercising beyond reasonable and became so skinny that he would find me attractive and still blamed me because I wanted affection. He would go out with friends and never contact me, leaving me worried or concerned and if he was with his son, I didn’t exist. I travelled back from home to see him after visiting my parents (200 miles) and he put on his headphones to play Xbox with his son even though he knew I was coming. i accepted it and believed because it was his son that i should accept things. He told me he was done with me and my sniping and that he didn’t love me and I should think about that and work on myself. I am a shattered mess. I can’t stop thinking of him and now I’m lockdown all I do is work and come home to me. I tried so hard and I think that’s what hurts the most. I compromised me to be with someone who never existed. That’s who he is and I’m not worth it to him. I know I’m doing the right thing walking away but it’s so hard to build worth when you love the idea of someone so much you lose yourself.


You’re so courageous! The last few lines of your comment really resonated with me. “When you love the idea of someone so much that you lose yourself…. And compromising yourself for someone who never existed.” I did the same exact thing, only to receive wounds and deception in return. It feels terribly regretful, but I tell myself that I’ve been humbled during my effort to love and I gave the very best of me, which is the best I knew how to do at that time. I forgive me for being a loving, kind human to a traumatized soul who didn’t know how to return the love..or as the article said CHOSE not to! I can be proud of myself for being loving even though I was hurt in the process. You can be proud of yourself for being loving and courageous too. You can be proud of yourself for loving yourself enough to walk away too.


I am so glad I saw this article and I couldn’t agree more.

Long story (????) short, I did not notice that even before we were in a relationship and just started going on dates, without making things official yet, she was already very demanding. We were in a relationship for a year and we were going way too fast for comfort. We argued over almost anything no matter how small or petty it was. We had very poor communication as a couple because once she gets mad at me for anything, it’s an all out war. When I try to explain, she doesn’t usually listen and I started walking on eggshells. Our arguments kept on cycling back and it was on petty things like not replying back to her dm’s during work hours! We could have handled it differently and the issue could have been resolved without having to have too much of a heated argument, but no we had to had a very, very, heated argument, almost. All. The. Time.
It was so exhausting to the point that I felt depleted, depressed, and anxious. I got nauseous at least twice throughout our relationship.

She said she would change and not start an argument without thinking if it was worth the fight or not. But that did not happen. We kept arguing and the pettiness kept escalating. I felt suffocated but let it slide which is a major flaw of mine. I did not stand firm on the boundaries I set and did not set up correct boundaries. Then she also wanted me to send nudes! Although that was very tempting, I explained to her the risk of it and worried for the both of us since it’s so easy to hack any information sent through the internet these days and be used for blackmail.

Our relationship was turning sour fast and I was becoming a toxic person myself. Lying to her (I am currently reflecting on my flaws, btw) so she wouldn’t get mad when I wanted time for myself and my hobbies. Because I knew she would sulk and get mad at me and we would fight again (I’m a blunt person, so I was honest in the beginning but that also ended with heavy arguments). That cycle kept repeating itself and I became a horrible person who got explosive once we started on an argument (no, I did not resort to violence just an angry voice. I was losing my composure more easily these days).

I feel horrible because I have my flaws too. And I’m scaring myself thinking that I did that to her. That I hurt her and that it was because of me that she is in the state she is right now.

I broke it off with her through text. I know that’s such a horrible thing for me to do but enough was enough. We then started messaging on the what, why, and how I reached to that conclusion. I opened up to her by saying that our relationship was toxic. That our arguments kept repeating and that we we’re so codependent with each other, leaving no room for other people and most especially for ourselves. That we we’re loosing ourselves and have started hurting each other by holding onto something that we should already let go of.
I also tried to personally break it off with her at one point. It was so emotional that we got back together just a few minutes after. I couldn’t stand seeing how hurt she was. I’m not perfect and she really is a very lovely person but I just can’t deal with the negativity that is our relationship. I had to be harsh and had to draw a clear and heavy line for both our sakes.

I’m still in the process of recovering and trying to believe that what I did was right. I’m still debating on whether or not I should talk to her in person, she said she wanted to meet, (we did text about the reasons why I broke it off with her before finalizing it) because I’m honestly scared that I would change my mind. And I am being cowardly because I know how weak I am against seeing her sad and would want to do anything, anything, just to reassure her. I am also very conflicted with myself because I know she’s hurting. But, when I think more deeply about it, I just know that there is a slim chance of us actually working out. And one of the reason is because I am also already scared . I don’t want a repeat. I just don’t want for us to reach the point where we would regret everything. I am praying for strength and that my decision was right.

To this day, I am walking on a very thin line between moving forward or going back. Wish me luck ????.

Well wishes and God bless too.

Kinza A

I just read your story.. what happened. How are you now? Are you okay? How’s that girl now?


I was in a similar relationship. I broke it off 2 weeks ago and I feel kinda guilty but still trying to convince myself I made the right decision. I wish both of us luck.


I’m in the process of getting out of a toxic relationship; my first. As this is new to me, I have / had no experience with it until now. She exerts so much control over me through fear, etc. I was a military officer until two months ago and have been deployed many times. You would think I’d be tough.. This is tougher. Thank you for the article. I keep re-reading it to help me understand what’s happening and what I need to do. Good luck and Godspeed to everyone else on here in a similar situation.


hey man, I feel your pain, been trough a very rough one, I suggest you read these two books, they helps me understand what happened, revalued myself and heal.

Psychopath Free- Jackson Mckenzie

Healing from Hidden Abuse- Shannon Thomas

best of luck on your recovery.

Filled with Light

Thank you for this article. It helped me cope with leaving my ex husband. For years I thought I was a house wrecker, that I should have stayed and coped with the nights crying myself to sleep. I was helping him raise his daughter. It was when I realized she was witnessing our fighting spells that I finally realized something was wrong. I was ok with my pain and suffering but I couldn’t rationalize away the affect we were having on her. I think I picked up bad habits from a few toxic relationships in my past as well as from him. So, I was probably contributing to the poison defensively as well. This article helped me to see my own toxic habits so I can remove them and perhaps if I ever find a husband again our relationship can be a healthy one.

I also learned about setting healthy boundaries. That will be helpful sense I still babysit his daughter regularly. I hadn’t realized I was already setting boundaries semi successfully. But now I will do so intentionally and I know I will have more success. You are such a blessing. You are improving lives. Keep spreading the word! ????♥️


A friend shared this article with me. I was blindsided. I cried with joy that I make sense; but, I cried with sadness because it’s so painfully hard to admit that my mother and sister have done this to me for years. We don’t hurt the people we love. It’s that simple. And it isn’t walking away from them that’s the hard part – it’s knowing that a ripple separation will occur because extended family members refuse to see and acknowledge what’s been going on. Two against one is always a losing battle. The fight was exhausting. I choose me. I choose peace.


Right choice,we can’t do anything about the past but we can have a barring on today and tomorrow.life is indeed a forward journey enjoy .

Anonymous Jr.

Anonymous, if it’s any consolation I’m having to do the same, essentially with my entire family (what’s remaining). Its weird for it seems at times they exchange notes. It all started with a narcissistic mother who was abusive and very unloving. It took so long for me to understand how deep the effect was. Now it seems that my daughters are on board as well. As you stated, standing alone is the hardest. I’m thankful for a small community of supportive friends and my faith in God.


I just ended my relationship with this guy I was with for a year. He was sweet at first but not even 2 months later, he would talk about my weight a lot and told me that he preferred to be with someone a little more “healthier”. I only weigh 130..he moved the relationship way to quickly and I often found myself crying a lot whenever he would ask for nudes even though I told him I don’t like the idea of sending it to anyone because it is risky. We broke up multiple times and tried to work things out but we were never compatible to begin with.Not going to lie, I think I was also toxic to him as well. I started to fall out of love with him and decided to end it.

"You Have Issues", they said.

A friend shared this article with me. I didn’t realize how much I needed to read it. Wow-very cleansing. And the final straw to make the decision to leave my lethally toxic sister and my mother behind. Two against one is draining and demoralizing. I can and will move past all of the insults, lies, ridicule and control. What will be hard to lose are the family members that refuse to acknowledge those same insults, lies, ridicule and control by both of them, directed at me. I choose peace.


I’ve been in a relationship I refuse to admit is toxic even though I know it is. I’ve repeated same relationship 6 times. And it just keeps getting worse, and I’m scared of getting into another relationship cos I feel he’ll change and come back to who I fell in love with.
Thing is, we started well, I tagged the relationship my “last bustop “ planed future and how we going to spend the rest of our lives together.
Not until the 8th month. Everything I did began to upset him one way or the other. We had issues almost everyday!. Anytime we get back he says he’ll change and he’s working on himself, and I shouldn’t give up on him, instead I help him get better.and I just stuck around,believing he will get better.Most times I take the blame for what he does, just to make things right.
We’ve been in this mess for the past 2years and he just came up with a new thing,saying “ he can’t cope,..I’m too dramatic and I stress him too much”.
And I just begin to think why I’m not good enough.
I’m too scared to move on, a part of me wants to pick the broken part and move on, but the other part says he’ll come back a changed person. Now walking away is the only option when what I want keeps breaking me.


I am in the same situation. Did you find help or peace that is working for you?


I am also in the same situation, I have had to learn the hard truth that no matter how many times they say that they will change, they never do and never will and this is NOT our fault.

It is difficult because it is now the time I have to walk away from it all because I deserve better, and so do you. It is hard but your confidence, self worth and general outlook on life and positivity will drastically change and you’ll realise that it is your partner that has been holding you back. It is difficult but it will get better, I promise.


I have left a toxic relationship for about the 5th time in two years. My issue is that even I logically know what he is saying is not true and that I am being manipulated, I still constantly question myself and think maybe he is right, it is me and he just loves me. How do you overcome doubting yourself?


Read alot about these toxic people. Every article I’ve read tells me I was right to leave and yes, it’s killing me. I miss the routine, I miss the days when he treated me well, I miss being with someone. But my self esteem has taken a hit. 9 months with a man who mostly sexed me but never really loved on me unless we were around other people. It got to be too much. I walked on egg shells and always tried to do what would make him happy. He never complimnented me and only let me know how wrong or bad I was and he NEVER apologized….because whatever I did was worse and caused him to do what he did….what a pant load. It hurts but get out and stay out….work on yourself. I’m trying to rebuild a little self esteem.

Leah S

Ginger, I swear I could have written your reply word for word myself. I am in the exact same situation, still with him though. I’m just now starting to see that it’s not me, this man is messed up and hurting me and will never change…could you find me on Facebook (Leah Summer) or email me? See, I left a 20 year abusive marriage a year and a half ago. I was also dealing with my closest siblings suicide…I was a broken mess. My first relationship back on the dating scene, I had found Prince Charming. We were great for a couple of months, I was growing and coming out of my shell. Then everything changed. He’s more volatile, everything I do and say upsets him. He blames his anger on stupid things I do or say, so then I get all inside my head of how I’m a failure, I’m unworthy of love because maybe I am just a stupid girl. When I mess up, he withholds sex as punishment. We’ve been together 9 months, but have only cuddled twice and one time he doesn’t even remember it because he was drunk. He’s great in bed and he knows it. When hes good hes great, but when he’s bad he’s Satan.


I just left one toxic relationship too, actually a few days ago. I think the best way to overcome the doubt is to remember what made you want to end the relationship. It may be the emotional abuse, the way he reacts or the way you feel so attacked by him/her all the time and ask yourself if you want to have another day, week, month or year in the same situation. And if your answer is NO. Then there is no reason for you to doubt. Trust me there are days when I want to take him back but fight the urge this will make you stronger. Remember the toxic cycle never ends and it will always be you adjusting cause they like the control. This to shall pass. Keep your head high and put all the love you have given that person on to yourself.

Amanda S

Hi Shauna,

I am in EXACTLY the same situation. We broke it off about 5 times (amongst the months in between of me trying to ask for more and just getting shut down) – He said incredibly hurtful things that resonate and reflect inside of my mind so often: ‘that I was useless, that I have nothing, that I am crazy, that I don’t have a choice better than him, that I’ll end up a nobody and with a nobody if I leave.’ on and on… from two years of this.

All I can say, is that I’m reaching out to every friend, family, stranger, online class and article, ANY spark of hope to build myself up and step away from this. Maybe I won’t be able to run as quickly as I like into a healthy mindset, but I am at least breathing in every moment as an opportunity to listen to my wise friends and family, and even the wise part of myself not to go back.

Also, not to believe the things he said. Because in truth, the hurtful things which I let resonate with me also resonate with some injury I’ve gotten as a child, or injured part of me I need to address. I have to find love for that child, and that past. I need to forgive that child and that part of me that I still hold accountable.
When I feel pain, I need to be with it rather than run away, to ask myself: where is this anxiety and pain coming from, why was I triggered, why does something seemingly insignificant make me feel so hurt? For two years not working on this has driven me back into someone’s arms who wants me to feel less than, unworthy of love, powerless and undeserving of respect and love.

FYI, 5 days ago he broke up with me and kicked me out, I live now DOWN THE DAMN STREET and have to fight not to go and beg forgiveness because I KNOW it is the same manipulation as always. Even if he would never take me back, and keep me here in this limbo forever – I have to find the home within me, the forgiveness of the guilt I have, I have to give myself what I wanted from him, and I have to take me back. You deserve love, respect, support, acceptance and forgiveness. FULLY> Good luck, – Wish me luck too! And always feel free to reach out for support!


I have read this article at least 20 times, and it was one of a handful of resources, plus the clear eyed support from a few friends that helped me develop the escape velocity to leave a 4 year utterly toxic relationship. It matched the description here perfectly. This man had lost all of his children and three prior relationships due to his toxic suite of behaviors- none of these people will talk to him. He accepts zero responsibility, says they are all assholes, blames them for what happened. Your own kids?
Sure, they are in the early 20’s, but where is the adult? There isn’t one. I should have asked better questions up front about him, once I found this out the attachment had started, and my confusion was already settling in. And he was brilliant – a genius artist making profound work that the world loves. He was my brothers best friend growing up, and I just did not scrutinize him the way that I should have, there was an unearned basic level of acceptance and combined with his talents, what a disaster. It is utterly frightening to think you are in love with someone who, once you get into it, only cares about what they can get from you – no thought of my needs. Just what he could get from me. I have never felt so alone with another person in the same room.
I also learned along the way that the drama of a toxic relationship with emotional highs and loves can feel like love to the brain, but it isn’t. Thanks for placing this resource out there for people like me to be able to find easily. Even though I am out, and will stay out, there’s a part of me that still thinks if I just did XXX, it could work. Crazy thought patterns. In reminding myself of why I got out by revisiting this article and other resources, I gain strength to march forward. Next time, I will be sure to vet who I am dating really, really carefully, kind of like buying a used car, inspect every detail and be sure I can live with the flaws if nothing changes. I have so much to offer, and won’t make the mistake of settling for another person who does not give an abundance of real love and support in return. I will pick someone who deserves to be in my life. That said, it will take me at least a year to get over the trauma of where I have been. It’s awful. This will take time.


I have been in a toxic relationship for 20 years. I was so in love that I convinced him to buy the house next door from my parents home. I manipulated the situation to move in with him. We had a daughter and I felt like he just needed a push because that is what he really wanted. I has been a complete nightmare for me and my daughter. I had no say in anything that went on in the house. His family would treat me as if I was nothing and he would allow it. I lost my job and he gave us nothing. the only way we ate is from food stamps that he suggest that I apply for. He cheated on me, he had friends that I didn’t know, he went out but never took me with him, he disappeared for every holiday. Our daughter still remembers him not coming home one Christmas. I would get so sick when the holidays where getting near for years due to the stress it would cause me. I began smoking marijuanas every day and drinking just to deal with the situation. I finally left 4 years ago. I am working and I had to go to court for child support. I moved back home with my dad. But, since he is next door, the cycle continue . He will be so kind to my dad and helpful in the house since my dad is 90 yr old and can’t get around as much that he pulled me back in. When he thinks I have fallen back in love (stupid me), here comes the lies the mean comments and when I say anything, here comes the remember you left me. You took me to court although I took care of you. He paid the same bills that he is currently paying. But it still makes me feel like I did something wrong. So I try to make up for it. I can’t afford to move and I feel like I am stuck in this never ending cycle. I feel weak and helpless. I went to rehab for the smoking, drinking and wanting to die. Then he convinced me after 2 months that AA was a cult and that I can drink in moderation. Told me I was a joy kill if I was sober. Got me drunk on halloween and here I am struggling to start all over. But I want to thank you for this article. I now at least have a peak inside his game book.


This article actually helped me IDENTIFY that I was in a toxic relationship. I was with the guy only for a year. We met in university.. In the first few weeks of getting to university. he quickly became my best friend. I knew he had feelings for me and I guess he used my insecurities to win me over because before I knew it , I was head over heels in love with him. Our relationship moved quick and within a month of dating , we started living together. I tried and tried to get him to go back to his own place but he refused saying that he couldn’t sleep if he wasn’t with me and that he had terrible nightmares so I gave in. Slowly things started to change. He was always loving but would get mad if I ever spent even more than an hour with any friend I had made plans with. He would get upset if i picked up a phone call when i was with him and he would absolutely hate it when i was on social media. He would get offended as if he weren’t enough. So I stopped doing so many things that I’d enjoy simply to avoid the hassle of an argument. Over the summer holidays we went back to our respective hometowns and he would freak out if I didn’t text him the entire day. He would get mad if I wasn’t attentive on video calls (I was super jetlagged in the first week) and if he knew I had plans with a friend , he would expect me to text through throughout and would accuse me of forgetting him if I didnt. So I started learning to do everything that would please him and ofcourse naturally I expected the same from him. That brought the toxicity in me out I guess and when he didnt do those things he expected from me , I would begin getting upset at me just the way he did. Those fight, he says, is what then lead him to cheat on me. After convincing me that him cheating was our fault , we tried to work on our relationship for months. This involved periods of time where he was distant, sometimes ignorant, hateful, angry and he would say it’s all because he fears me and my anxiety. After trying and trying so hard and begging him to work through our issues with me and hearing way too many times how my crying is irritating and how we should break up, I finally broke up with him. Now its again my fault, apparently I ended things so easily when he was going through a hard time and I wasn’t understanding enough. And that I should I have known breaking up isn’t what he wanted. That he was there for me through so much and I gave up so easily. Sometimes I do feel guilty , but I really need to keep reminding myself that I didnt give up , I actually already gave it my all


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The need to feel connected to, and seen by our people is instinctive. 

THE FIX: Add in micro-connections to let them feel you seeing them, loving them, connecting with them, enjoying them:

‘I love being your mum.’
‘I love being your dad.’
‘I missed you today.’
‘I can’t wait to hang out with you at bedtime 
and read a story together.’

Or smiling at them, playing with them, 
sharing something funny, noticing something about them, ‘remembering when...’ with them.

And our adult loves need the same, as we need the same from them.♥️
Our kids need the same thing we do: to feel safe and loved through all feelings not just the convenient ones.

Gosh it’s hard though. I’ve never lost my (thinking) mind as much at anyone as I have with the people I love most in this world.

We’re human, not bricks, and even though we’re parents we still feel it big sometimes. Sometimes these feelings make it hard for us to be the people we want to be for our loves.

That’s the truth of it, and that’s the duality of being a parent. We love and we fury. We want to connect and we want to pull away. We hold it all together and sometimes we can’t.

None of this is about perfection. It’s about being human, and the best humans feel, argue, fight, reconnect, own our ‘stuff’. We keep working on growing and being more of our everythingness, just in kinder ways.

If we get it wrong, which we will, that’s okay. What’s important is the repair - as soon as we can and not selling it as their fault. Our reaction is our responsibility, not theirs. This might sound like, ‘I’m really sorry I yelled. You didn’t deserve that. I really want to hear what you have to say. Can we try again?’

Of course, none of this means ‘no boundaries’. What it means is adding warmth to the boundary. One without the other will feel unsafe - for them, us, and others.

This means making sure that we’ve claimed responsibility- the ability to respond to what’s happening. It doesn’t mean blame. It means recognising that when a young person is feeling big, they don’t have the resources to lead out of the turmoil, so we have to lead them out - not push them out.

Rather than focusing on what we want them to do, shift the focus to what we can do to bring felt safety and calm back into the space.

THEN when they’re calm talk about what’s happened, the repair, and what to do next time.

Discipline means ‘to teach’, not to punish. They will learn best when they are connected to you. Maybe there is a need for consequences, but these must be about repair and restoration. Punishment is pointless, harmful, and outdated.

Hold the boundary, add warmth. Don’t ask them to do WHEN they can’t do. Wait until they can hear you and work on what’s needed. There’s no hurry.♥️
Recently I chatted with @rebeccasparrow72 , host of ABC Listen’s brilliant podcast, ‘Parental as Anything: Teens’. I loved this chat. Bec asked all the questions that let us crack the topic right open. Our conversation was in response to a listener’s question, that I expect will be familiar to many parents in many homes. Have a listen here:
School refusal is escalating. Something that’s troubling me is the use of the word ‘school can’t’ when talking about kids.

Stay with me.

First, let’s be clear: school refusal isn’t about won’t. It’s about can’t. Not truly can’t but felt can’t. It’s about anxiety making school feel so unsafe for a child, avoidance feels like the only option.

Here’s the problem. Language is powerful, and when we put ‘can’t’ onto a child, it tells a deficiency story about the child.

But school refusal isn’t about the child.
It’s about the environment not feeling safe enough right now, or separation from a parent not feeling safe enough right now. The ‘can’t’ isn’t about the child. It’s about an environment that can’t support the need for felt safety - yet.

This can happen in even the most loving, supportive schools. All schools are full of anxiety triggers. They need to be because anything new, hard, brave, growthful will always come with potential threats - maybe failure, judgement, shame. Even if these are so unlikely, the brain won’t care. All it will read is ‘danger’.

Of course sometimes school actually isn’t safe. Maybe peer relationships are tricky. Maybe teachers are shouty and still using outdated ways to manage behaviour. Maybe sensory needs aren’t met.

Most of the time though it’s not actual threat but ’felt threat’.

The deficiency isn’t with the child. It’s with the environment. The question isn’t how do we get rid of their anxiety. It’s how do we make the environment feel safe enough so they can feel supported enough to handle the discomfort of their anxiety.

We can throw all the resources we want at the child, but:

- if the parent doesn’t believe the child is safe enough, cared for enough, capable enough; or

- if school can’t provide enough felt safety for the child (sensory accommodations, safe peer relationships, at least one predictable adult the child feels safe with and cared for by),

that child will not feel safe enough.

To help kids feel safe and happy at school, we have to recognise that it’s the environment that needs changing, not the child. This doesn’t mean the environment is wrong. It’s about making it feel more right for this child.♥️
Such a beautiful 60 second wrap of my night with parents and carers in Hastings, New Zealand talking about building courage and resilience in young people. Because that’s how courage happens - it builds, little bit by little bit, and never feeling like ‘brave’ but as anxiety. Thank you @healhealthandwellbeing for bringing us together happen.♥️


Original post by @healhealthandwellbeing:
🌟 Thank You for Your Support! 🌟

A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for the "Building Courage and Resilience" talk with the amazing  Karen Young - Hey Sigmund. Your support for Heal, our new charity focused on community health and wellbeing, means the world to us!

It was incredible to see so many of you come together while at the same time being able to support this cause and help us build a stronger, more resilient community.

A special shoutout to Anna Catley from Anna Cudby Videography for creating some fantastic footage Your work has captured the essence of this event perfectly ! To the team Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre thank you for always making things so easy ❤️ 

Follow @healhealthandwellbeing for updates and news of events. Much more to come!

#Heal #CommunityHealth #CourageAndResilience #KarenYoung #ThankYou

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