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”]

1,089 Comments

danny h

I’ve just come out of a toxic on off 20 year relationship . over the years i have had lying stealing, manipulation , controlling ways, gaslighting stonewalling , showing no signs of empathy ,.i brought up her 4 year old son for 20 years who called me dad, i no longer have any relationship with him due to him now turning against me and blaming me for everything, she has never once taken any responsibility , i was away form her for 10 months she came to me saying sorry for how she treated me and she loved and missed me , then after going back and her being the same way again for months , i leave again for me to beg her to take me back, i left 3 months ago, again i left due to my feelings being ignored , i again begged her to take me back, in between this time after 7 weeks she has now met someone new , makes me sick how she moves on without any care in the world and I’m like used toilet paper, i am now having counselling for the second time . hopefully will get better for me soon, i still reckon she will contact me in the future when no doubt her new relationship will fail , but i have blocked her now and never want to cross her path again

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Toni

Hi, I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of this. I can really relate, only I’ve been through it with 2 men, ex’s, both narcissists. I’m so glad that you blocked her. It’s really difficult, too, if you still love them. I remember reading that a relationship should be effortless. There will be times of arguments, etc, but things will be resolved quickly because both love each other so much, they don’t want to cause the other one any pain. I never had this. I’m so glad you’re going to counseling. That is a great gift you’re giving yourself. I can tell you’re a great guy. Praying that you’ll heal and find a lady who will treat you right. You deserve that!

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G

I am so thankful I found this. In the process of leaving a toxic partner. Afraid to go to sleep in case my resolve has diminished on awakening 😑

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Brittany

My husband I believe is very toxic just like his mother is. He won’t stop with the drugs. His mother also does them and pretty much anyone they know and associate with does them. It’s so hard to walk away though. They are living in a tent (as far as I know)… He hasn’t had a home for us in 6 and a half years now. He told me last night he may go back to his dad’s which is 2 hours away from me. We should be together 13 and a half years and our 10 year wedding anniversary was on the 5th. These drugs have destroyed everything. Everyone else still has the life and the family and spouses they have had

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Cindy

Is it possible to be partially in love & feel scared of your partner if he threatens you at the same time?
That’s how I feel right now.
I am in a relationship with a so-called “psychopath” & am not sure if I should cut him out of my life altogether & move on or try & make up with him & start afresh. Everyone I’ve spoken to about how he treats me reckons I should leave & bluntly cut him straight out of my life, but it’s not that simple as I still have feelings for him. He doesn’t live with me which is good, however, we did trial a living arrangement for 3 months, but it didn’t work out, so he is back living with his elderly mum. When he was living under my roof, it was I who did everything for him – washing, ironing, cleaning, prepping meals etc because that’s what he was used to as he had always been married up until he was arrested & charged for stalking & attempted murder of his estranged wife back in October 2015.
He is also currently serving a parole period up until April 2025.
I’m quite certain he also has narcisstic traits because on one occasion he told me that “he was right & I was wrong”. Didn’t do much for my self esteem except put me down & make me feel awkward & small.
He is also very intelligent, smart & surprisingly fit for his age of 65. It shocked me one day when he told me he could pick up on people’s body language & could tell straight away what sort of mood that person was in. This really concerned me & made me more aware of my emotions.
We aren’t talking at the moment due to a failure in communication. He was supposed to pick me up from my place & take me out for my birthday tea. However, because he failed to read a text message I’d sent earlier in the day saying that I would meet up with him at the restaurant in town, he failed to read the text, so then he rang me later that day to say that he was out at my place & wondering where I was. I told him I was already in town & I would either drive back home so we could go in together or I meet him there. He reacted nastily by saying, “no, I don’t think I’ll bother with tonight, hoo-roo” & that’s the last conversation we had. I haven’t had so much as an apology in the form of a text or phone call from him since. Seems to me like I have to say sorry to him when I know full well I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m assuming he had a shit of a day at work & decided to take it out on me.
He’s also a social butterfly (extrovert) & can’t help but get himself to parties & other social gatherings & meetings, whereas I’m the opposite (introvert). I’ve noticed that when we go somewhere where there’s people gathered, he gets up to talk to others & leaves me alone to basically fend for myself. Apparently, he used to treat his ex-wife the same (she was an introvert too). My social skills aren’t that great & I do find social interaction with others quite daunting & challenging due to my upbringing. However, he automatically thinks that I need to come out of my shell, so by taking me out to meet other people will assist me with this issue, but it’s not that easy for me. When no-one pays any attention to me, I simply get up from my chair & head outside so I can ring someone I know to talk to. Then he wonders why I take off & get emotional because he doesn’t care enough to ask me what’s wrong. What sort of a bloke treats his girl like that? A very disrespectful one who doesn’t care about her feelings!
His mum told me a while back that he only thinks of himself. I didn’t believe this until a few weeks into the relationship that I noticed this trait & that’s when I picked up on the upkeep of his appearance (constantly inspecting &/or picking at his fingers) & impeccable clothing. Typical narcissistic behaviour that nobody should have to put up with, no matter what sort of relationship either sex is in.
I have just been advised by a close aquaintance that I should not be in the relationship, so as of a few minutes ago I have just sent a text to my ex’s phone telling him to come & collect his stuff out of my shed & I’m through with him. No response as yet.
It’s scary knowing that I’ve just spent the past 12 months in a relationship which I was fearful for my life.

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Grace

I have been married to my husband for less than a year, together for nearly 2 years. During our relationship we was verbally and physically abusive to me, chocked me, punched me, destroyed me property. Over the last year at least once a month, constantly accusing me of cheating and bringing up my past. I was always apologizing and going back to him. I ignored my friends and family stopped talking to everyone. I believed in being loyal to this man against everything. In January I was pregnant I lost the baby in March, would have been my first child I was excited. a month later he beat the hell out of me I stayed. I was no angle I said nasty things back to defend myself started to become break things around the house I was changing. Constantly depressed and sad, lost my sense but I wanted to make my marriage work.
Then there was a rumor that his ex girlfriend was pregnant and it was his child. He swore up and down it was not, refuses to take a DNA test. Claims she is trying to ruin his life, his father is claiming the child as his grandchild. The police showed up at our house with a warrant to arrest him. I have no idea what the outcome of that situation is. I feel bad but I left I drove 3 states away from him to get away. I cry every night it’s only been 3 days. Did I do something wrong I just wanted love. My family say I’ve lost a part of myself maybe I have I can’t see anything right now.
When I read this article a lot of things outlined in the article reflected the life I have been living. He would monitor who I spoke with how I spoke, wanted my passcode to my phone. Called me a whore often and a cheater. Blamed me for his life going down the drain. I kept trying I really have.
I feel like crap because I was willing to stay with him even thought he was abusive to me I wanted him to heal. But I was so scared of him, knowing that he had two children with 2 different women possible and I don’t have any children made me leave. I’m sorry I know I have grammar errors and I’m not sharing things story in order I’m just typing away.

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Raul

Very insightful and heartfelt article. I can really relate to the feelings expressed, as I’ m currently in a relationship I’ m not happy with. I’ ll keep this short and sweet, as for some reason the whole thing’ s hard to write about, but I do feel a need to get the emotional anguish off my chest.
It’ s an on again, off again relationship that got started about 5 years ago or thereabouts. I allowed myself to get caught up in the relationship—not sure how it happened. I wasn’ t thinking.
I’d recently broken up from a long-term relationship when my sisters introduced me to this recently divorced lady. I initially just wanted a casual thing, little more than an overnight fling. However, I allowed her to draw me into a sentimental entanglement… I knew it was a mistake from the word go, but she seemed a bird with a wing down, and I felt a need to help her. She seemed very outwardly confident, but I could sense a fragility, like a void at her core or something.
Long story short, I wound up buying her a car and spending a lot of money on her, but she won’t even have sex with me, in spite of my buying her expensive lingerie which she refuses to wear for me. I’ ve cats and she hates them. Says she won’t have sex with me because the cats sleep in my bedroom and she says she can smell the stench on me.
I don’ t even insist on the sex anymore, as I just want the relationship to morph into friendship. She kind of scares me because she can be very mean and belittling, in spite of her saying she cares about me. She’ s got her hooks into me and won’ t let go. I just want us to be friends so I can turn the page and return to going out with other women again.I know I’ m leaving a lot of gaps here, as the whole thing’ s hard to explain. I know I must sound like an idiot… sorry.

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Kristle

Dear alll,

I am currently in a such a situation, or not. It is the confusing part. I got in a relationship about a year ago, he seemed like the most perfect guy and I realized what I desire and need in a relationship. He opened up new sides of me and I thought we were a perfect fit. However, it turned out he had lied about so much, and I found out more and more lies. They continued one after the other, then he turned out to be an alcoholic too, and while in the beginning he seemed so emotional mature, he turned out to be the opposite. And yet I still don’t understand how, because I feel if he could be this great man, that should be somewhere inside him?
Eitherway for months he put me through emotional abuse, he would say horrible things to me, let out all his emotional rollercoasters, he refuses to appologize for e.g. lying and having to appologize is making me the bad person? He will tell me I am playing a victim, that I treat him like a dog, that I am crazy or insane, that no woman ever demanded my crazy things, that he never had to appologize before, only for me and my crazy ideas and rules. And it made me doubt everything about myself. There is so much gaslighting too and it makes me all the time having to remind myself that cheating, lying, manipulating etc. Is not oke, and that I am not having crazy high standards for not wanting that. Everytime I stand up for myself he will “punish me” in some way. And it works because always the roles will reverse, and even though I am aware I am somehow stuck in it and I don’t know how to get out of it.
Everytime I think he is changing and he did, as he is so much better then before. Which gives me hope. But then on the other hand… last week he started lying again, said some horrible things to me. Then started to make things right and then didn’t, lied again, got so mad at me for calling him out on that, said horrible thing and I just flipped and now it is all my fault, I am a hypocrite and not a good person making him do bad things, he says no matter if he gives me the best of himself it is never good enough for me, which isn’t true and now he has been punishing me for days by ignoring me. But the worst is, I needed him as we are supposed to go to the doctor because I am pregnant and there are complications and we need to make decisions. And I don’t feel strong at all, I used to be so strong, and he always blames me for not being the person I was. But that person broke by all the lies and all the crap and he says always he will make things right but then he actually never did, thereby he owes me a large some of money on which I am dependent too, especially when being pregnant with complications and being alone. It’s just very hard and even though I see how I don’t deserve it, how I am played and manipulated , I feel so stuck, I feel so much love while my heart physically hurts so badly. And I don’t dare to talk about it with people because I feel so ashamed for not leaving, which should be so easy, but it is not and I keep finding hope and love and hope and “loyalty”. Which as written in the article is more submission as it is breaking me apart. I’m not sure how to get over it and out of it. But maybe it is already over as he has never ignored me for this long, but the worst part is that it makes me fight for him so badly. And I feel that is really making me crazy. Why fight for someone that treats you so badly? I don’t understand it and I don’t understand how to let it go or get out of it.

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Chuck

Well, the love of my life and I recently split, mostly as a result of her toxic teen daughter – I accept my portion of blame too.

The daughter had it in for me from the moment we met. Over time, I moved in (which was a mistake). She was manipulative, insulting etc. etc. but mostly directed to her younger sister and Mother. I can’t repeat the names she called all of us.

Over my 4 years of living with them, she progressively worsened. We were working with a therapist who said we could kick her out when she is 18. That is how bad it was.

Mom did little to try to change things in the house. I took the time to research any way we could help her – even offered to pay for it as her biological father would stop paying when his benefits were dry.

So, it ended in a huge fight, I left and only went back to get my things. I know since I left older daughter has worsened….skipping school and failing. Mom either ignores the problem or doesn’t know what to do.

I still love her and want to help, but I think Mom needs to recognize there is a problem that she needs to manage. I suspect older teen is running the house by now.

I am very sad, as I looked forward to spending the rest of my life with this woman. I am hoping her eyes will be opened one day

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Chuck

About 6 months ago, my fiancé and I broke up. I have never loved or been so connected to anyone my whole life. We were together for 9 amazing years.

She has a teenage daughter that I met when she was around 11 years. From the start I could tell this daughter had it in for me. Her sister started out loving me…she was about 8 when I met her. She loved me so much she wanted me to come to her birthday party!

Well fast forward to 4 years ago…I moved in with them. For the first while, things were ok, but slowly the older daughter turned her younger sister against me – even tried to get her younger sister to report something nasty about me to get me in trouble.

The only time my fiancé and I fought, was when her older daughter was there. I could go into a lot of detail, but I left after as I couldn’t take it anymore.

I know blood is thicker than water, and wonder if Mom will ever admit how toxic her daughter is. She has turned her own sister against her, the home is tense whenever she is around, and I lost the love of my life.

I do feel bad for what happened….but sad at the same time. Sadly, we all have to live with the carnage created by a toxic teen.

I pray for her daily….and Mom and sister too.

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dana

I love this piece…especially the values of space. I recently left a 14 year toxic relationship where I was was in the state of constant frustration. Best thing I ever did was to stand up and walk away without a word. He did not deserve the explanation of my leaving as my pleas and wishes were met with manipulative lies – time and time again.

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David

This article saved my life…I am forever grateful to my friend Andrew who sent it to me and to the author, Karen Young, who wrote it and shared it with everyone. Many thanks!

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Henry

Thank you so much. I was in very place. Dated this girl and then she lied about being pregnant then a miscarriage and it was only the first. Then later on she lied to me that the protection so she got pregnant again. She said she loved me and that she will learn my language to talk to my mom, she never did and every time I asked her to say something in my language after me and she refused. When I decided that I needed to end thing, she lied about pregnant with twin and even sent me a twin ultrasound scan and later lied about being hospitalized for food poisoning but lost the babies because the doctors got mixed up with two people with the same name who went for an abortion. She then talked shit about my mother for bullying her despite we treated her with utmost love. I then decided to break up for real this time and yet again she was pregnant. Here’s a messed up thing. The entire time she has the Nexplanon inserted. She messed up my mental health so bad because of her negativity and keep threatening me about wanting to die. She even lied to me about having her tube tied because she said she doesnt want me to stress out about having kids and I told her in the past, i wanted kids but i wasnt ready then later told me that the doctor didn’t do it to see if she regretted it. I felt so dumb for believing those lies because I didn’t expect she is that shameless. She went so far to even fake a belly of 16 weeks pregnant to a friend of mine despite she told me wasn’t pregnant five weeks earlier and at that she has no reason to lie. Reading through this got me realized that even though my intention was to improve the relationship but only because I was manipulated to believe shit happened was all my fault. Thank you so much

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Mercy J

This is me right now after several breakups and makeups but this time I’m not making no confrontations or explanations. We have done all the communicating, reassuring and what not for far to long already to no avail. This time just like you I’ll silently just leave. No words. Just up and leave. Hopefully this is my way out of this horrendous connection. This article has saved me countless times. Thank you.

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Cathy

Thanku for this. I was about to try and contact him, even tho we ve blocked each other. This had strengthened my resolve

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E.

I really appreciate this article. It was what I needed. I am currently leaving my husband of 8 years because I have become a completely minimised worst version of myself, and I know I can be better. For years now he has been gaslighting me together with his mother to make me believe I am crazy for always fighting with him. For the whole 8 years I have caught him talking to other women online and when I confront him he invalidates my emotions by saying, ‘Oh don’t you start again with this b**t. I have had it with you going on about the same things now all these years. Don’t you get tired?’

Alright, alright I will stop doing it, only for him to go and do it again a week later. He always always tries to make mean comments about my image. If I gain weight I am fat. If I lose then my legs are weird and too thin. If I work it’s not a big deal as his salary is higher. If I don’t work then I am lazy and lame. If I cook I didn’t do anything special, I just cooked. If I didn’t cook then I am not taking care of him properly as a wife – and so on and on. Nothing ever is enough.

I voice my concerns to him and when he dismisses me I start a fight and I am just in rage. By this time he tells me life is a living hell with me and stonewalls me. He withholds affection and acts like it’s me doing something wrong. This then triggers something in me and I am the one ending up apologising to him.

I finally got the strength to ask for a divorce and say its enough. We still live in the same house and I am still afraid that I will be manipulated again to believe I am in the wrong and never escape.

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Anya L

To the author of this article:
Your writing is amazing. You have a way of expressing yourself… that makes wisdom poetically sink-in to the soul. Thank you.

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Shannon

THIS article confirmed a ton of what I’ve always known about toxic people. I had to read it because I just recently left a toxic relationship. While I do still have feelings for this person and want nothing but the absolutely best for them, It was imperative that I chose myself over my feelings him. I refuse to be taken backwards to things that I’ve already leveled up from and that includes dealing with toxic, selfish, self-centered and narcissistic men. Thank you for writing this article, it is truly a great reminder!

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Deborah

I have had this article saved forever and just stumbled across it again! The author wrote in such a connecting way doing what was intended, speaking to the reader helping us realize there is a peaceful way out! We are in control! A light bulb moment for me. Exceptional piece.

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L

I have come up on this knowledge,because I am going through this did a Google search because I needed to understand more and why ??? The questions within this relationship always been why and I don’t understand even through myself to you be having some some of these characteristics as I proceed in this relationship always blaming myself for his action s and questioning myself asking you I deserve this it’s very hard I love this person with all of me and don’t know how to let go. I don’t choose to wish things were different but it seems because the lack of supporting insurance and money there isn’t help available to save us and we need help. Just tonight I got off work been planning to bake 2 cakes for my employees for the birthdays of the month and I’m doing so and he hates egg’s but decides after I use the eggs we had that he needed them to make bread rice that he never said he was making in the first place he has been home since about 3:00 and I didn’t get off until 9:00 and was never told about any eggs so I had enough to make those cakes but I got one really yelled at and told that my people didn’t matter and I was cut down and I was talked to I was garbage for no reason excuses for him I make thinking I should have bought more eggs but in my heart I know that even if I did he would find something else I failed at . What do I do how to save this this isn’t the first time I never do anything right. But it really stop and dealing with this after 5 years

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Shilpa M

I came to read this article after reaching a realisation that I seem to be surrounded by toxicity and the culprit seems to be the woman playing the role of my mother. And now in form my husband and sister too. Speaking to them siding with your own self and feelings seem to somehow trigger them to such amazing extent. It has caused me such immense pain and strength to reach and see this conclusion for I see them going berserk at the thought of I defending myself against their verbal, mental and emotional abuse, taunts, comparisons and put down statements for which they hold me only responsible rather than look at their own roles and behaviour. It is definitely painful, even the thought to create separation in order to protect my sense of self, but I have learnt some humans may never change ,not because they are incapable but simply because they are deeply and mindlessly unaware.

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Preksha

I met a guy and we instantly clicked it was magical and he lives far but I thought we could have a future so stayed in touch …but staying in touch has been the most exhausting thing …everytime I try to communicate with him his answer is bye everytime I tell anything he tells me I’m wrong I shouldn’t act like a child …that I don’t understand him …whereas he doesn’t listen to what I’m saying at all … he tells me goodbye and messages me again …he tells me that he doesn’t want me to move on but also wants me to forget him I have tried to fight for me and him until yesterday that he blocked me and I sent him a message from another account telling that he hurt me …he said I broke myself and I need to grow up and I will text him in few years and thank him …I didn’t do anything wrong all I did was be kind and care about him …every step of the way …he told me that he cannot teach me things and I should grow up …all I did was care and be myself…today I realised that maybe he’s just trying to push me away and make me hate him but it’s toxic it’s hurting me making me think things about myself about who I am as a person questions me my values …but I’m deciding to let go of the ideas the hopes I had to see him in the future I am letting him go and to focus on myself and my life !
I don’t think I deserve this chaos

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Quinten

I barely recognize myself anymore , i was so excited and ready to be his boyfriend , and when i became that , he punished me for it … he gaslights me so hard , i’m starting to question every little thing about myself … i’m the only one who cries and the only one who is noticing that our relationship is going nowhere … i just don’t wanna be alone .. but tbh i was happier when i was alone ..

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Jackson

It’s time for you to begin now to grow and learn. To become strong enough and comfortable enough with yourself to be alone. Then you can begin to reject these jokers who prefer to stand on top, instead of respectfully and strongly beside you. You must accept being alone, if not, the game-players with have their way with you and the worthy mates will not desire you for being too needy.

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Raye

I know I’m seeing this many years after it was published, but it just gave me the peace I needed to sleep. My ex has broken up with me 4 separate times and blamed me each time, and I always came back because he was my first love. He tried to come back again tonight and it was my first time telling him no. His begging and manipulation made it one of the hardest things, and I hate seeing people hurt. I always ask myself “is this toxic or is it just love?” But then I realized I shouldn’t have to ask myself that. I’m beginning the process of walking away now and I know it’s gonna be hard, but for once I feel proud of myself. Reading this made me know I made the right decision and I’ll be okay.

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Stephen

I know how you feel. I’ve broken up several times with mine. I think we’re done, this last time was just horrid. But, between two therapist, friends and family they all say she’s coming back. I’ve taken her back every time. We ended this last May. I’m doing everything I can to say “NO!”. I’m afraid, the woman I thought was the most beautiful woman in the world, will corrupt me, one more time. I’ve got to have to courage to say no more. The only way it could happen, she’s gone to counseling, wants us to further that. But, both therapist say that ain’t going to happen. I’ve got to find the courage to say “NO!”.

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Stephen

I ended a relationship this last May. I still love and hurt losing her. I’ve researched so much and currently doing therapy to why this all happened. Many would say she’s codependent, she’s borderline, she’s bipolar, she has anger issues. In reality, she’s toxic. She used our love to control me. She’d often claim we were soul mates, we were meant to be. In reality, she was doing everything she could to control me staying there. Even though she had assaulted me twice. Was fully convinced I was cheating on her with my ex wife, women that I looked at, or women I had a conversation with. Though inside me, there was no woman in this world could have taken me away from her, except her. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I still love her, it breaks my heart, but she’s toxic and she has already replaced me. And we were together for over 8 years. It hurts, but I had to end it.

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Stephen

I know how you feel. I’ve broken up several times with mine. I think we’re done, this last time was just horrid. But, between two therapist, friends and family they all say she’s coming back. I’ve taken her back every time. We ended this last May. I’m doing everything I can to say “NO!”. I’m afraid, the woman I thought was the most beautiful woman in the world, will corrupt me, one more time. I’ve got to have to courage to say no more. The only way it could happen, she’s gone to counseling, wants us to further that. But, both therapist say that ain’t going to happen. I’ve got to find the courage to say “NO!”.

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Jackson

Good for you! You’re stronger than you thought! Now…forget it and move on…

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J. H

I am in my 70’s. I have struggled all my life with depression and anxiety. I knew it was family related but felt guilty blaming someone other than myself for my life. In the last few years I decided to look back. 90% of my problems were family trying to fit me into something they could control. It’s too late to go back and get the confidence I was lacking because of family shaming. They diminished me and shamed me to raise themselves up. They didn’t want me to bring confidence into the mix of their low self-esteem. So the put downs were continual. They fit me into something they could control and diminish. Because I trusted that they loved me I couldn’t see the evil manipulations used by my mother and sister. I now see that they dissolved into alcoholism from low self esteem and couldn’t deal with a family member having confidence and making it in life. This is the ultimate destruction a narcissistic family will create to safe face.

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Jill

Love your story. My toxic family member has been my sister. She has done everything to try to control me. Starting with criticism, judgment and unsolicited advice giving.

She has extremely low self-esteem, so I know where all of this is coming from. But it doesn’t make it acceptable for me to take her calls and feel beaten down after working so hard to gain confidence in my adult life.

This confirms, the boundary setting I have been doing that has been creating peace in my life is something I need to continue.

I think the devil comes back and tries to create guilt in me because she’s a family member. But taking her calls is so damaging to me that it’s not worth it.

I need to continue to love her and pray for her from a distance.

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Jim

Wow, I had not one but two toxic Ex Wives when i was married twice. I will never ever do that again. Then again, i have people in my family that really lucked out when they met their loved ones. And are still married today as i speak.

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Stephen

I know how you feel. I’ve broken up several times with mine. I think we’re done, this last time was just horrid. But, between two therapist, friends and family they all say she’s coming back. I’ve taken her back every time. We ended this last May. I’m doing everything I can to say “NO!”. I’m afraid, the woman I thought was the most beautiful woman in the world, will corrupt me, one more time. I’ve got to have to courage to say no more. The only way it could happen, she’s gone to counseling, wants us to further that. But, both therapist say that ain’t going to happen. I’ve got to find the courage to say “NO!”.

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Robin

I hate toxic people. I’m immediately disgusted by anybody who isn’t almost exactly the same as me and just avoid others if at all possible, now.
I’ve been through too much with others dictating what I’ll eat, what religion I’ll be, have had relationships assigned to me, have lived under the roof of various dictators had many male stalkers who were entitled to my company and now I have the world’s worst “PTSD” and self-harm, constantly. I guess you can “do it to yourself” instead of having them do it to you.

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Deborah

This is where my life is..nice to know these men picked me because I am soft and open.. I really was starting to feel like it had to be ME since it happened twice. My mother died when I was very young (almost 10) and we were extremely close..I have NO doubt that any good in me comes from her. My father remarried pretty much immediately and to someone completely unlike her.. I don’t say she was bad only totally different and with my step siblings I would generally say the same (one always introduced me as ‘Bruce’s Daughter’ not even step sister (remember this was from 10 years old).. my biological siblings were all younger by a couple years and I feel easily fit the ‘new family’ dynamic. I was scared to death both physically and mentally of ever disappointing my father and always tried my best to be Perfect, which of course wasn’t possible and the ones that always acted like they could care less got all the praise and respect. Mine you I was about an A- student etc..so not a problem child… they were A+ and I was never allowed to forget that… some got in a little trouble but nothing big. I just tried to be quiet and out of the way..did every after school and church activity I could to stay out of the house.
Then at 18 I went out on my own and felt like I almost fit in and was happier than I remember being since my mother.. I found out not everyone thought I was a loser and started to slowly get some confidence as a person, and the girl who always thought she wasn’t ‘good enough’ actually even did some runway modeling, nothing big but a paycheck. Found out I actually have an IQ of 140..who knew?! I had some very good years, making my own money, military and had a decent amount of nice friends. Then I fell madly in love and got engaged ( I still want to believe he was a good guy that just had his own issues ) and I got pregnant, something we were both happy about, with my upbringing timing was a little off not being married first but I wasn’t concerned too much.. until we ended up not getting married..then it was a tap dance, I even lied to my family and said we were married.. we were in the military so I figured they wouldn’t know for the time being and was hoping to be back together and married before they even knew..wasn’t to be.
Anyway long story short my family acted like I would be ‘no good’ until I was married. Never mind that after 12 years of marriage to this Wonderful person who had a great job and let me be a stay at home mom , with 4 more children, he went to prison, 20 year sentence, served 19, for abusing under age girls. Nothing was in my name because that wasn’t how I was taught growing up, but I did the best I could raising 5 children on my own from 16 down to a 2 year old with no help…I didn’t go to the state, because I didn’t grow up that way, even though other siblings did with no recriminations from family..I worked full time when the two year old was still home and once he was in school worked 2 jobs and my ‘loving family’ did nothing but stab me in the back at every turn (acted like it was somehow MY fault that wonderful provider was in prison) . I did divorce him because I didn’t want myself or my children even connected with him.
A long and lonely 10+ years, I was 40 at the time and looked younger so I had ‘offers’ but didn’t trust any man around my daughters .
After all of that I still felt strong and confident in my abilities for the most part because I knew in my heart none of it was my fault and I actually made it through…even though I spent plenty of nights crying myself to sleep then.
Again I’ll skip a few years again… all my daughters grown and son being 14. I felt like maybe it was time for me to be in a relationship ‘for me’ again and met someone on a chat line…not thinking of a serious relationship AT ALL, just a friend/date whatever… on the phone we had a lot in common and even though it was obvious immediately that he had lied about one thing important to me..but it was a height issue, so even though I had told him was a huge thing to me that a man was taller because I’m tall and feeling feminine, wearing heels and all of that was a big part of me and I just felt more secure with a tall man, he lied to me on purpose and when I brought it up later he said it was ‘ok with him because he likes tall women’…I’ve been told that since I was at least 16!!! But by the time we met we had talked on the phone for months and seemed like we had EVERYTHING in common…so I convinced myself I was being ‘shallow’…( I later found out a lot of things were lies..but of course not everything and he was on the road for work about 3 weeks out of the month so by the time I could hardly Stand something he’d be gone again ) but he was always knocking down my confidence and going out of his way to make me feel stupid… but NOT in front of others, like I hear a lot of people say, he acted like I was great then …to make me look like the ‘bad guy’ if I left I think .
I left twice before we got married..the first time I felt wonderful on my own and felt like I was comfortable in my own skin again…this was about 2 years of being together..then he begged me to come back and swore to change…I don’t have to tell you what happened, and he seemed to try for a couple weeks and quit as soon as I was comfortable again…but there was even a different change…he got Worse! He was killing any respect I had for my abilities and called me names even more etc…also he had Never wanted me to work …everything that should have been a Red Flag so why am I so stupid??? A big part of me knows this is sooo toxic…but my self esteem is so low…even though guys still look at me no problem..although I just want to be happy and content on my own, not looking for a man for a very long time! I’m so afraid that people don’t see what he really is because he can be chatty and nice in public for awhile and is careful NOT to put me down in front of people…how do I stop caring about that to save my sanity???

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Diane

I think I’m a magnet to toxic people . I’m in the worse marriage ever and have finally realized that’s it’s over . The most selfish manipulative man that I ever known. Never again

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James

It’s amazing to see how many kind hearted people end up with a toxic partners.
I try my best to treat people with respect even though they can make you feel worthless. Personally I need to understand myself more, why do I get involved with nasty people? Maybe it’s because I want to see the good in them, or that I see them in pain and they need help.
But I now realise that some of these people can only live by being like this. It’s like I need air to breathe, they need to cause heartache and misery to live. All they are, are bullies.
I have just ended a relationship with a girl, because it became unhealthy. We had been seeing each other for 6 months and the first few months were great, but as we started getting closer, she started to change. Causing arguments so she could use it as an excuse not to see me. Whatever I told her in confidence she would manipulate it and use it against me.
Example: I told her I couldn’t have children. Medical reasons, (for background she is a very senior nurse and is 51yrs old and uses contraception ) she told me that she might be pregnant. There is no why on this earth I would be dad, but she new that I always wanted a child and said if she was pregnant she would get an abortion. When I asked her why she thought she was pregnant, her answer was, “I felt sick one morning “
She has a couple of children from her previous marriage, 24 &13. She never introduced me to her 13 yr old son. I accepted that due to his age and what happened with the break up. But each week she would tell me that I will meet him then cancel at the last minute.
One week she hadn’t seen her son for about 5 days as he was staying with his father. We had arranged to go out the following weekend. So I suggested why don’t you take him away for the night and spend some time with him. And we can go out next weekend. The answer I got was abusive, “don’t you tell me when I can see my son and what to do. If I want to take him away I will. If you don’t want to see me then don’t“ so we didn’t speak for a few day, and yet, that weekend we sent her son to her fathers and she went out with her friends and even told me she was staying out.
Texting became sparse, I found that if I didn’t text her then she would not get in touch but then blame me for not being in contact.
I have confronted her and said she is a controlling person, she laughed and said I’ve not heard that before.
The hard thing about all this is that she is a senior nurse, who can care about everyone else except the people that love her. Her son will grow up seeing him mother out all the time, her daughter is such a beautiful girl and who knows what she is thinking?

It’s been heartbreaking walking away, but if you are in a toxic relationship then, that’s the best thing to do.

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Karen

I would like to ask to ask the question, How do I know if iam the toxic person or is my partner ?
We have been together for over 20 years, we both have children to previous relationships, we have had many issues over the years.
I share my needs with him and he seems distant.
I find that he is able to cope with material thing but I feel he is emotionally close off.
He never askes anything of me and never shows a vulnerable side.
He always agrees to help if i require anything materialistic, when I bring up emotions he says I am over acting and there is nothing wrong and these are my thoughts and not his opinions, which I can agree but I am left feeling flat and at some point I should have paid for his help, he does not say as much its just a feeling I have.
We had a good sexual chemistry in the past, but as years go bye his interest has almost gone, I don’t feel he is seeing any other person. He does drink a fair bit, but also functioning he has a full time job and takes care of all his needs.
When I feel Iam suffocating him I back off and tell him I will give him some space and wait until he initiates contact, as we don’t live together, which I will always respond to.
I have tried sending emails to explain how I am feeling, to which I get no reply, and when we do see each other and I bring up the subject he will say “there were no need for a response, as he did not see a question.

I never know if it is me or weather its him
Am I over reacting ?

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Paul

Hey Karen not a great place to be you deserve much more, this is sucking the life out of you it’s like accepting nothingness.
Make the years you have left in your life the best years you ever have hope you find the strength to accept a better life dare I say it’s time to be selfish !

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Janet

It’s not you, it’s him. Sadly he’s making no effort to meet your needs, including listening to you and responding. You’re not toxic! I don’t think your partner is either, but he’s short-changing you. You deserve a partner who won’t dismiss you in the way your current partner does, and someone who will be loving and kind to you. Your current partner doesn’t seem good at relationships or love!

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Deborah

Trust me it is not you I felt the same way that it must be me and I’ve read a lot of articles and I still found myself wondering if it was even partly me but I finally started seeing some articles that were more in line with how I feel and I know when it comes down to it what I’ve been through and that I’m a strong person and that he just hates that and even with
That said I still am having a hard time wrapping around leaving him because I know a lot of people see him as a good guy I am his fourth wife so there were so many red flags I should’ve seen and I know I blame myself even for that how am I so stupid when I know better? So it’s one thing to know something and it’s another thing to be able to act on it and not worry about what anybody else thinks my worst nightmare is to wake up in 10 years and still see him next to me .

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liz

It sounds like a nightmare. !0 years toooo long… Do whatever it takes to regain your life and self dignity.

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Emily

I’ve suffered from depression for a very long time but work very hard to manage it with meds, therapy, diet, sleep and good routine. I am in a complicated situation with my husband who vascillates among approaches of being dismissive and oblivious to my issues to talking to me very condescendingly and pedantically to expressing frustration and rage about it. Unfortunately, our teenage daughter inherited my challenging genes and suffers from depression, anxiety and has some anger issues. Usually, she and I are very close and I work hard to support her in any ways possible but, when I disappoint or upset her, she shuts down and refuses to speak to me about it and goes to her Dad and tells him how terrible I am (despite the fact that in typical circumstances, she and I are very close and he is often a bit jealous). He weaponizes these instances against me and tells me I am not doing enough to take care of myself and situation. And my daughter refuses to speak to me at all for days and even weeks and then further refuses to discuss what happened and they both just seem to blame me. If I could afford to leave, I would, but I often feel gas-lighted by both of them and sort of like I am losing my mind. Meanwhile, I have a successful career and close relationships with others. But at home I feel like a lunatic.

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Nene

My partner is toxic he’s even admitted it we argue nonstop every day because he just won’t own up to none of his BS he’s abusive physically mentally and it’s draining and I’m always there for him everything I just don’t know what to do

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Rach

I am in the same boat, I’m only 8 months in and am now 6 months pregnant with a toxic narcissist. Argue every day because I stick up for myself thankfully I never allowed him to move in. We barely see each other but pretty much breaking up every week , I’m on yet another mission to make that break as I fear my anxiety will leave me with an unhappy child wen she’s finally here. Just so hard wen they are sayin I love u, care about u so much , please don’t leave me etc etc but each time the relationship breaks down more and more . I’m hopeful I’ll be free of this crippling anxiety even tho I know it’s best for us to be apart it still hurts like hell !!

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Abby

When kids are involved it makes everything even harder. How do I just let it go? He tried to flip it all back on me making me feel like I should be the one begging for him to come back as usual. This is the hardest thing I have had to do.

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Anon

My Partner has shown serious sign of toxicity, these signs were apparent even when we were just friends, she’s a hypocrite, she’s constantly putting me down and trying to fight me physically, she’s constantly starting drama with people over nothing then dragging me into it, and when i don’t do anything about it, because its either something so minor that if i step it’ll make the problem even worse, or its something that she started, and is clearly in the wrong about, she’ll get mad and try to fight me over it. She’s acts like a child always spouting out fowl nonsense and fighting others for absolutely no reason. She threatens me randomly, like we’ll just be chilling and she’ll come out of no where with some crazy f*cked up threat that she’s clearly serious about, i don’t feel like I’m in any sort of danger because I’m much larger and stronger than her, but it hurts to think that someone who says they “love me” could just turn on a dime say that they’re gonna hurt me, I’ve told her many time that I’ve been abused in the past too, but she continues to raise her hands toward me and threaten me, its really starting to get out of hand. anyone have any advice on how to get out of this?

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Paul

The clarity you need has just happened for you , writing your feelings down and posting them onto this site is the start of your cleansing.disengage and walk away you are a beautiful person who has a future to enjoy find yourself before finding someone else and then you can search for love it’s out there just waiting on you .

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Harley S

Everything you are is not true, toxic people can change and it’s not unlikely. You make all people who have toxic behavior sound evil and we mean to do what we do. No we don’t.

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Brittney M

I’m in a toxic relationship. He had a bad childhood growing up. he always uses his “hurt” to be the reason why he puts his hands on me and I love him so much so I fall back in his trap. He doesn’t let me hang out with friends and when I do see friends he says I’m “cheating”. He has my passwords and my location. Not all days are bad, thats why i stay. But I feel so drained and unhappy. I do everything for him, I’ve stayed by his side through everything; everytime I tell him how I feel he would cuss me out and say I’m “trippin” I’m “sensitive” or I’m “insecure”. I’m so sad and tired of this relationship but
I don’t know how to leave him. I love him too much. Help please?

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JR

You have power. You have to wake up one day and feel your worth. We are on this planet to enjoy our lives if anyone or anything takes away from that basic necessity of the human experience, let it go. Do not have a conversation about why are are leaving. It will give them the space to continue to make excuses and make you feel bad. Just go. It will be hard, you will doubt yourself but as time goes by you will feel more centered, empowered and free. You are worthy. Don’t risk your life for “love.” Love is kind and wonderful. It does not hurt.

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Minka

Hi,
I’m reading this article and all comments and stories and I cry – I’m the toxic person. And I don’t know how to stop it. I know all of you have been on the other side – but I do struggle with myself and what I do.
I have been in a relationship for a year (we are both in our mid 30s). We met before the pandemic in the UK. It started slowly, also he was going to leave as his contract was ending 7 months later, so I wasn’t convinced he wanted anything serious – but he did. We tried to spend a lot of time together, even during lockdown. There were occasions that whenever he didn’t do what I wanted or was expecting him, I was getting upset, or blaming him for everything. But still we enjoyed each others company, and had feelings for each other, tried to talk and everything was good, until it happened again and again. I thought that’s because his work contract was expiring and he had to go back to his country (USA), and even though I had feelings for him, I tried to suppress it because of that reason. After 7 months he left. It’s sad and heartbreaking – he was always open about his feelings for me, and he wanted us to carry on. I wasn’t sure, mainly because I had long distance relationship before and the guy found someone else where he was living, so probably the scar stayed, but we tried to call each other and text daily. After about a month, I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to be with him, and asked for a space. Of course, he was heartbroken but he knew if he gave me what I was asking for, that would make me realise what I really want. I missed him during that time, but tried to focus on myself. He texted me occasionally to tell me he misses me or loves me and I reacted with anger and my responses were snappy – as if I wanted to punish him for texting me. We had some arguments and during that time I could belittle him, telling him everything was his fault, bringing some things from his past (which really shouldn’t matter as I was not there), that because he pays child support (he’s divorced and has kids) he has no money and I don’t want to have poor life with him and so on. Some of the things that sometimes come on my mind during my anger are ridiculous and don’t make sense. After a few weeks of the break, I told him I wanted to be with him. I also became jealous as in his group of friends was a woman who was paying him a lot of attention – they (as a group) hang out regularly, and she posts on SM a lot of pics or videos and she’s always next to him. He said he doesn’t care about her and he doesn’t see her as the person he could potentially date – he is not interested in her because I’m the love of his life. All that woman presence around him was making me jealous and was causing outbursts of anger. (Again bringing his past as he had affairs during his marriage- however he got married very young, and he says I’m the true love of his life, and that I shouldn’t punish him for his past, as people change).
Because of my jealousy, I could call him and make a scene and talk down on him, disrespectful, almost belittle him, and tell him that he is nothing – doesn’t have any interests, doesn’t read, that he doesn’t care about me, and the fact that he says he loves me it’s just words lacking actions, I also called him a liar. I know he is faithful to me and he wants me in his life. Having long distance relationship is hard as we live on different continents, in different time zones and pandemic and travel ban doesn’t help. I get upset at him for small things – like that he didn’t call me but texted “I’m leaving work” (and then he says that I could have called him, as why is the one who has to call me all the time – he says that he also wants to see me wanting him) – I can then go on and on about how he doesn’t care about me, chooses his friends, that everything’s his fault, even that I don’t care and don’t see the point of us being together, and that he doesn’t bring anything positive, and so on. It’s like a circle that when I start – I can’t stop myself. I know that whatever I’m doing is toxic, and I’m ashamed of it. I love him, but I also hurt him badly. I’m attending a therapy (started a few weeks ago) as I don’t want to hurt him, and I want to understand why I’m doing this (I do trust him and I know he wants me in his life and he tries his best, but whenever I get upset/angry – I can’t stop, sometimes it feels like I want to punish him for not doing what I wanted, or that he didn’t read my mind). Therapy is a long process and it will take time but I hope I will improve. Currently, I’m struggling – my behaviour is something that I can’t explain, but I know that I don’t only hurt him (the person I love) but myself too by being toxic.
Is there anything any of you can suggest – what can I do to stop it? Please don’t say there’s no hope for me. Thank you in advance.

Reply
KA

Brittney, the best way to leave someone like that is to literally create an escape plan. Find someone you can stay with that won’t tell him. Start a new bank account if he’s got access to yours and slowly funnel some of your money that way, whatever you can to not get caught. Get a new phone number. Hire a civil attorney if you can’t claim common-law marriage (for a family attorney) to help you navigate some of your legal rights. Then, when you leave, do it when he’s not home. Get as much of your things as you possibly can. Leave when he’s gone, have your phone turned off, and work with your attorney to file a restraining order. I had to move states to get away from my ex and his toxic friends and family who all made me feel like I was horrible for trying to hold him accountable for his actions. Do what you have to do to remain safe, away from his hands, his words, his stalking, his fear tactics, his control methods. A man who says he loves you but hurts you does not respect you, and a man who does not respect you can never truly love you. Save yourself.

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Julie

I have been in the same position as you with him, bad child hood etc. I’ve tried to leave many times and I’m trying again now! You’re not alone, you can do it! And so can I!

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Se R

Hey,
I am a bi-sexual 25 year old female from Korea but living in Germany and I just got out of a toxic relationship 3 days ago and it’s really the hardest thing ever.
I have never experienced that before since I only had relationships before where I had to leave my ex-partners for circumstantial reasons and was able to maintain a friendship because they were never any hard feelings.
I need to tell the story since I am new to this and it feels good to let it all out.
This girl found me on Instagram through some shared contacts and we started to get in touch really quickly. She was (like my friends call it now) bombing me with her love and affection so I really believed in a genuine connection. She was into females but still got a boyfriend for quite some time which confused me from the beginning but she said they agreed on the fact that she can date females .. at first me and him only connected slowly since we were a bit scared of each other but I was able to help them in their relationship issues since it was clearly shown that these significant issues existed already before I came into the picture. She showed herself as supportive of the connection between me and him and wanted to start a triad relationship. I was really sceptical since I don’t really believe in these kinds of relationships but I wanted to try.
She convinced me to move in with them but I noticed really fast that she has no empathy (which everybody even agreed with) and has really big anger issues since she would punch or hurt him, scream extremely loud, break things and would pull out death threats during fights (which would last several hours). She would also not let you leave. This behaviour is nothing new to him. Mine and his connection grew stronger since we had to go through her tantrums together, we really formed a very strong bond and we both never opened up to somebody else that extremely before (and really on every possible level.) I really wanted to help her since my feelings for her were genuine but she used everything against me and really was extremely mean and manipulative but I couldn’t get mad, I was just always really hurt….
Being at home was like walking on eggshells, since she would explode for minor things and the intensity of the fight would grow every day. He has nobody else than her for years since she wanted to be his everything. She wanted to do the same with me, so the contact with my family and friends unfortunately decreased. You need to follow her orders so otherwise there will be a massive fight. Our mental and physical health decreased as well but he and I helped each other, supported each other and our love grew stronger and stronger. In every fight we always tried to find a new way to help her to not explode that much. She never saw consequences I. Her life before so we started to not always say okay fight is done, everything is fine after these huge fights. We researched help and eveything but nothing helped. The relationship with her was getting worse while our got better and all our surroundings and even herself agreed that they never saw such a perfect soulmate love relationship like me and him. Since we wanted that it works out the 3 of us, we said that she should maybe take a step back and focus on herself and getting healthy again. And we would wait for her and support her along the way. I really did my eveything, risking my own mental health to help her.
We did this for 3 months and focused on supporting her from a distance (still living in the same house but only interacting on a friendship level) and also on forming our bond which got stronger everyday and it was so overwhelming that we seem to be so made for each other on every level (which really everybody around us was able to see and feel)
We wanted to make the best out of it. The fights didn’t stop but we were still hopeful even tho we got some sort of ptsd out of it so I said I can’t do this anymore since 3 days ago it escalated so extremely again that I got such an extreme anxiety and panic attack(I never had these sort of things beforehand) (I said often that I wanna leave but she never was letting me leave )
I was so scared that I contacted people so they could pick me up and he was also so scared and shocked that he decided to drive to his family to take some time apart. We often really thought our life is in danger without her aggression… She stayed there. She hates me extremely of course since she said I ruined eveything for her since I left…
Me and him actually even planned to get married and made plans to somehow get through this. I said no matter what he chooses I support him and he should really take all the time he needs to find himself. He said I helped him to find back to himself and his personality and because of me he feels self confident for the first time in his life (since she was mainly talking down on him) But I don’t think that he can ever let this behind.
It’s so hard for me since I often stayed for him and vise versa.
Imagine you are in a relationship with your soulmate and you say to each other that it’s this one true once in a life time love of your life thing but also with somebody who is toxic like her.
I don’t know what to do, I give him all the time to focus on him since I always sacrificed myself for his well being since I really want him to be happy. I never manipulated him or pushed him into something . But I really believe he wants to be abused in a way.
It’s hurts so much to think about all the precious moments with him since him and I never got any trouble .. this is tearing me apart and I don’t know how to get over this.
I hope he decides to make a fresh start (even not with me but completely alone) and maybe there is some hope in the far future.
If he goes back to her ofc that would be a major heart break and I don’t know how to cope with this because I never experienced so strong feelings… my friends and family support me and I wouldn’t survive this without them but as soon as I am alone for a bit I think about all these moments and I am breaking down.

Reply
colleen

so this dude i like very much, i’ve known him for a couple years but only recently started being good friends with him. we literally talked all the time but i realized he’s in a toxic relationship and he even understands it. he’s gotten out of it twice know and i’m always there for him whenever he does but he has to cut me outta he life and everyone else and is always told that he’s the wrong one whenever he’s done nothing wrong. she always give him these promises and he believes it’s true even though it’s absolutely 100% not true and he always gets hurt and comes to me. i’m tired of him going back into that relationship and then always shutting me out whenever he does. j need help plz help. help me give good advice so this guy never goes back to her

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Jro

There is nothing you can say to convince him he deserves better than abuse. All you can do is be there for him as a friend. We all have our own path and journey. He will come to that realization or he won’t. You can also decide that this isn’t the type of friendship you want or stay and support him.

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Mo

I have read most of your stories and it just tears me up. I feel like I’m currently in a toxic relationship. So I met this girl 2.5 years ago. We really clicked right from the start and I fell for her. So we were just hanging out and One day she told me about her ex. turns out that she had recently been dumped by this guy. I didn’t feel anything sus because I had already fallen for her. so I thought I should help her. I gave her everything I ever had. I cared for her everyday. from being her go to driver to cooking food for her and what not. couple months inn, and I start noticing that she’s upset for undisclosed reasons. she would always say it’s just her periods. her mood swings and all that shit. Anyways, fast forward 2 years.. we are still in a relationship. meanwhile,I caught her talking to different guys who she mentioned as cousins. only to find out later that, he has a crush on her. okay soo whatever. right. I thought what’s the big deal, she still loves me. ok.. then she started taking me to places she visited with her ex. little did she know that, I still remember all the details she told me about her ex when we met. this shit ( re living the memories) happened a lot of times. I would just keep letting it go. so one day I finally confront her.. we were having sex and she starts crying. so I asked what’s wrong.. she would never say what’s going on in her head. she would just blame it on periods or mood swings… and then one day when we were drunk, she told me that her Ex had apologized by sending a text. I never brought that up when we were sober.. and when I try to get away from her, she would visit my place frequently, calling me 100s of times saying she really loves me. but she would never spend her important days with me.. meaning.. birthday, new years, or any occasion where people people would normally meet their significant other. And here I am.. totally broken. I am unable to get away from her. whenever I try to go away, she would cry and somehow I melt and I am back with her again. But I don’t want to be with her. I can’t be with someone who never apologizes for their behaviour. now I feel like she just used me to get over him. please help me out over here. idk what to do. feel like I’m just trapped in this shit man.. I’m hurt . with or without her. something about me… I am an honest man, never cheated even though I could have cheated many times.. my last relationship was 3 years before I met her. I healed completely and I thought I’d never love again. but here I’m. trapped in this toxic relationship. please help me out. let me know how to get out this situation. it just hurts a lot to stay or to leave.

Reply
JP

Brother I’ve been there. Like an idiot after my divorce( my wife had an affair after 18 yrs of marriage ), I dealt with a much younger woman that said she loved me but did nothing but bring me and my children down. So 2 years later I dated a woman for a year that was an acholic and I figured it out early on but I fell for her and it took me over 12 months to finally end it with her. At first she was only mouth and degrading when she was drinking, then even when sober she was terrible. Every time I’d try to break it off, she sob and cry until she pulled me back in. Speaking of ex’s , this girl had tons of ex’s and she talked about them all the time, even in detail of “everything ” they did together, it made me want top puke. I finally got to the point where I knew I was better off without her, I had to ask myself what did she really bring to my life that I couldn’t do without ? And that answer was nothing ! The only reason I feel to have a significant other in ones life is to bring positivity into your life, we all need someone to uplift us and be a true partner, being dedicated to each other. There’s nothing worse than having to worry about your wife or girlfriend cheating or thinking about other people. I know it’s a hard choice, I’ve been there before, but you have to do what’s best for you and you only. Good luck, just remember you enjoy all the happiness in the world !

Reply
Adam

Mate word for word I am with you on this journey and I can tell you for sure you need to let go! I have finally done this and although I do feel bad at times it’s the most refreshing feeling I’ve ever had but it did take me to get to breaking point before I finally did this! I know how you feel bro but you already know what you have to do. Do it and stay strong!

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Faith M

Hi. My name is faith and am in a toxic relationship. I hv bn with him for two yrs but they hv bn the most painful yrs of my life. When I had my first heart break in 2011, wc tuk me so many yrs to heal, I vowed to myself never to fall in love with anyone again. I won’t lie, there were some heartaches along the way but nt as the first one, so it was always easy to let them go. Wen I met my toxic boyfriend I was jct from another toxic relationship, so I knew I wasn’t ready for another relationship. My nw toxic boyfriend was the sweetest I had ever bn with. He cared for me so much that I forgot abt all my previous heartaches. I told him everything about me and my previous relationships, little did I know that I was falling from a frying pan into the fire itself. I told him about all my insecurities bse I wanted him to understand my pain en nt hurt me, so he promised he wud never hurt me.
He kept up to that promise for a while until he jct changed out of the blue. He started flirting, I remember him calling some chic on most occasions after 11 with me in bed. But she wasn’t the last. Others kept on coming even nw as am writing there is one he has told he loves her. He is buying them expensive gifts in the guise that they r his friends. I hv always told him hw painful it is for me but he sims nt to care abt hw I feel. He has tried to breakup with me on so many occasions en every time I hv to cry out my brain for him to give me another chance, all bse am scared of losing him. My hrt aches so much. He doesn’t want me at his place unless he hs invited me there wc is never cos I always hv to force myself at his place for him to c me. I want to let go so badly but then am so scared of nt being with him. How do I leave him without hurting???

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The point of any ‘discipline’ is to teach, not to punish. (‘Disciple’ means student, follower, learner.)

Children don’t learn through punishment. They comply through punishment, but the mechanism is control and fear. 

The problem with this, is that the goal becomes avoiding us when things go wrong, rather than seeking us out. We can’t influence them if we’ve taught them to keep their messes hidden from us. 

We can’t guide our kiddos if they aren’t open to us, and they won’t be open to us if they are scared of what we will do. 

We all have an instinctive need to stay relationally safe. This means feeling free from rejection, shame, humiliation. The problem with traditional discipline is that it rejects and judges the child, rather than the behaviour. 

Hold them close, reject their behaviour. 

This makes it more likely that they will turn toward us instead of away from us. It opens the way for us to guide, lead, teach. It makes it safe for them to turn and face what’s happened so they can learn what they might do differently in the future.

Rather than, ‘How do I scare them out of bad behaviour?’ try, ‘How do I help them to do better next time?’ 

Is the way you respond to their messy decisions or behaviour more likely to drive them away from you in critical times or towards you? Let it be towards you.

This doesn’t mean giving a free pass on big behaviour. It means rather than leading through fear and shame, we lead through connection, conversation and education. 

The ‘consequence’ for big behaviour shouldn’t be punishment to make them feel bad, but the repairing of any damage so they can feel the good in who they are. It’s the conversation with you where they turn and face their behaviour. This will always be easier when they feel you loving them, and embracing who they are, even when you reject what they do.♥️
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#parent #parents #mindfulparenting #gentleparenting
Kununurra I’m so excited to be with you tonight. I’ll be giving you super practical ways to strengthen your kiddos and teens against all sorts and all levels of anxiety - big anxiety, little anxiety, anxiety about school, separation, trying new things - all of it. You’ll walk away with things you can do tonight - and I can’t wait! Afterwards we’ll have time for a chat where we can dive into your questions (my favourite part). This is a free event organised by the Parenting Connection WA (I love this organisation so much!). The link for tickets is in my story♥️
Hello Broome! Can’t wait to see you tonight. Tickets still available. The link is in my story. 

Thank you Parenting Connection WA for bringing me here and for the incredible work you do to support and strengthen families.♥️
What a weekend! Thank you Sydney for your open hearts, minds and arms this weekend at @resilientkidsconference. Your energy and warmth were everything.♥️
I LOVE being able to work with early childhood centres and schools. The most meaningful, enduring moments of growth and healing happen on those everyday moments kids have with their everyday adults - parents, carers, teachers. It takes a village doesn’t it.♥️

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