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”]

1,022 Comments

I'm hurt

I loved this article, thank you! I have been in a relationship with married man for over two years. I am married to. When we met we were both unhappy with our spouses. After dating for some time we decided to be together and had some kind of plan (what’s needed financially) to be together. With time I disattach more from my spouse that I was living with ( which included not sleeping in the same bed, not going anywhere together, no family vacations, no trips, no social events) I totally ended any family activities because I was so committed to the person I love, while waiting for us to finally be together. He the opposite, continued his family life with his wife and kids ( I have a child too), went always on trips, family vacations, social dinners together with his wife. All these things that he was doing ( not mentioned that he continued sleeping in the same bed, using excuse that he moved to a smaller apartment as it was part of the plan and there was no where to sleep ( he didn’t want to sleep on the couch) were hurting me and making me jealous. I became more careful with him and more reserved ( more reserved in sexual aspect). Time was passing by, nothing was happening,in felt that we just kept seing each other like lovers. I got so down and depressed and didn’t know if to believe that he really wants to be with me. We had talks when I was concerned and not feeling well about life that we living, I was complaining that it was so painful for me…all the time we spoke he was making me feel that I don’t “give enough love “, that I should look into myself and give more love. It worked for sometime, I was feeling bad feeling careful with him, but I found it very painful living this life and giving all myself to someone who is living the same family life and sleeps in the same bed with another woman. Passed two years, we still living the same life. It’s been such emotional Rollercoaster for me because I love this man and want to be with him, but he’s still living with his wife and kids. I became so miserable and hurt, when I see him in try to be positive, but when I feel more down we talk and all we talk about is that I have to change the way I was at the beginning of the relationship when I believed him and wasn’t hurt so much by his unchanged lifestyle with hisfamily. He says that I need to fix the situation and “put the love back ” that I took away. I told him that it’s painful knowing that he’s living with another woman and doing things with her and kids, but he said that we started that way and if I really loved it wouldn’t be in pain and focused more on love and not the negative part. I’m so lost and feel bad and guilty, but at the same time I’ve been faithfully waiting for this man for two years, sacrificing my time with my child, going on the dates with this man and hoping that one day he decides to be with me. When we are together, feeling good he’s telling me that I’m amazing and he loves being with me and how I make him feel. But when I feel sad because of the life we living, he tells me that I don’t love him, that I pulled away love. Please help to understand what am I doing wrong? Should I “fix ” and accept pain?

Reply
Debs

keep strong.

keep this in mind. You are the victim not him. As the article said.

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.

Last but not least again quoting the article

The cold truth is that if anything was going to be different it would have happened by now.

If you keep giving him what he wants he will never make a move or change. Why should he change when he is perfectly served by his wife and lover? He’s living a “great life”, why should he give up any of you.

Why should he give up his spouse when you both treat him well and it’s “working” well for him. Why should he give up his spouse and having to go through financial and emotional turmoil and probably be forbidden to see his child for a while and face the shame from the families when by saying nothing and keeping you there his life is just perfect pampered from both sides?

Get out as quickly as possible. if he truly loves you he will follow you. if he doesn’t than good riddance unfortunately he just used you.

Reply
beanz

He doesn’t intend to leave his wife and why would he? he has his cake and eat it right now. The fact you would rather sacrifice time with your child for any man is beyond me! I d say leave your husband who your stringing along and probably hurting because you clearly don’t love him to be having an affair for two years.. dump the lover who clearly doesn’t love you because if he did he would be with you already I’m sorry if this is blunt but I feel u need it. Your being used!! Stop.. be with your child who loves and needs you… when the right guy comes along there will be no need for secrets and lies from either end. U really need to see this married man is using you as side sex. You should take time out to be alone and figure out what makes you happy without a man. The alternative is to stay this needy and insecure forever.

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Stephanie

I’m in a huge confusion! Idk what to do I’m in a dilemma where I don’t know if I’m the toxic person in my relationship or I just blame myself for everything! I had an ex boyfriend who I can say wasn’t toxic I felt trapped I Felt like I couldn’t breath! He was really insecure I couldn’t step outside the door without him thinking I was gonna cheat on him he controlled everything I did clothes my friends and family I wasn’t aloud to leave his side I stuck around for 4 years because I thought I loved him and I had 2 boys with him so it would scare me to live I thought I couldn’t live without him! When I decided to leave I felt such a big relief I felt like a big weight had been lifted and I could breath! I cried for the first 6 months but eventually found myself again and was able to move forward. I met a guy couple months ever who treated me the total opposite he was nice kind everything I had never had yet I couldn’t stand him! I wasn’t used to that kind of treatment he fought about 2 years for my love I repeatedly would tell him he wasn’t for me he was to nice for me we would never fight and to me that wasn’t normal he never told me I couldn’t go to certain places or control anything in my life and I couldn’t understand why! I finally gave him a chance and started falling in love! We recently had a daughter 3 months ago but since I got pregnant I’ve been really controlling over him! He changed so much with me he was loving understanding caring I felt like I was loosing him and me being scared I wouldn’t want him to go anywhere! He started getting into drinking a lot would come home blacked out! And would cry saying he felt suffocated but I didn’t know why I started reading a lot into relationship and how they worked I stumbled across your article and I’m afraid that I might be the toxic one I beg him to be himself again but last night he told me it wasn’t that easy! I told him I miss the old you! But he says he does everything to make me happy and that I control his whole life I don’t know how! OR why he thinks that I’m really confused but I’m scared to loose him I love him but I don’t know what to do and if I’m the problem here.
Help please

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Stephanie it sounds as though both of you might be doing things that are hurting the other. The only way through this is to talk about it. It’s important that when you do, you are willing to listen to each other. Ask your partner what you can do to make it easier for him to love and support you the way you need to be loved and supported. Also do the same for him, and be open to hearing what he has to say. When you talk, stick to the facts as much as you can without getting emotional. Hopefully your partner will do the same.

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beanz

Hi sorry you find yourself in such a confusing place hope this helps…
Because you spent 4 years with someone controlling you had it programmed into you a negative association with what constitutes as love and affection you hated it because you yourself was not that way… In meeting someone after the oposit of your ex albeit what you wanted and likly a great match because you are both the same (non controlling) the relationship starts great but because of the programming from previous relationship you attach his non controlling behaviour as meaning he doesn’t care about you and in turn you become controlling because one it’s a behaviour you learned from your last relationship as a way of making someone stay much longer than they should as you did and two you self sabotage it all wondering what the hell am I doing this isnt me how did it get this way… I suggest less self sabotage and more understanding that you was a victim of a controlling relationship but it’s down to ou to break the cycle. Hugs x

Reply
KK

Its the family heres the summary……I don’t enjoy spending too much time with the family & just want to do what I have to and return to my space. I realise I have been heavily conditioned by the family & expectations level being high & I am resenting that & want to put a stop to it by finally living my life
My family consists of my widowed mother who lives in another state with a domestic help n a sister overseas who is forceful n authoritative, I am the only daughter here ( I am single) & have made it clear that I am there in any emergency.I have been there for my family for the last 30 yrs whilst my sister “lives her life” The family now thinks I’m “cranky” and that I am mixing with a wrong group of friends, They bitch about me behind my back and somehow it always gets back to me. I have accepted this nor will expectation level stop, no matter what I do. As long as I do what they want , be the fall guy they are happy ….I am not, I just want to live my life and not have expectations of me hence I maintain my stance. They are “superficially happy” for me but its so obvious they dont like it as they prefer me to be on a constant “standby mode” and available at all times. It is a sad state of affairs as it involves a parent & sibling, but its the truth unfortunately. Theres a wedge between me and both of them…but so be it. I am so very tired of constantly pandering to their requests. I will be heading to Australia with my mum to celebrate Xmas (3 weeks in total!!!!)with my sister which is a nightmare for me (4th Australian trip in 3 years….overload!)and God give me the courage and strength to remain sane & calm. I had no choice but to accompany my mum (she refused to go alone and either way I wuldnt have heard the end of it…damned if I do & damned if I dont!) At times I am so strong and at times I fall off and have to work hard at getting up again and detching myself from them…..surely theres more to life than just family???? I never thought of them as toxic , but after reading the above article , theres so much of truth there.

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blackrose

Thanks all for sharing. I’m currently in a very toxic relationship with a girlfriend of mine. She is a person that treats people as friends for a season, she is 29 and never had a permanent friend in her life. Her friendships last 3 months, However when it comes to rships she sticked with the same guy for 13 years.
For a very long time i thought that something in the past happened to her and it’s not her fault that she is unable to trust people and push friends away.
It all started two years ago when i started working with her. She befriended me and told me personal things (she said no one else knew) and i knew she was very a very cautious person so i felt special that without knowing me she took an interest in me and confided in me.
It only lasted 1 and a half month. The past 16 months i spent them running after her trying my utmost to make her see that she is not alone and that she has me and she can trust me.
Needless to say most of the time i was pushed away harder than before. But i stayed cause there were cases were she said i was the only one that knew her and that cared enough to be around her.
As someone mentioned i love the good part of her and every 4 months or so she would pop back into my life and accept my help only to disappear (sometimes 48 hours later sometimes 3 weeks later). it never lasted long.
She makes me feel so bad! She makes me hate myself. I am not able to hate her. I love her as a sister and i feel for her cause by time everyone realizes what she is and if they don’t, they eventually get turned down by her. She is the most lonely person i know.
Once she said that she is jealous(in the good sense) of me that i have good long lasting relationships and if she ever broke up with her bf she would end up alone. I just wanted to go over to her n hug and reassure i would be there for her when she said it.
She left my place of work in april so finally i was able to move on altough it took me some months to get her out of my system. In the meantime her ex bf contacted me cause they broke up and said i was the only friend she had so i contacted her and offered my help. We met once for 3 hours and then it was back to giving me the total silence treatment.
I tried getting through to her with long detailed emails,calls,fb, whatsapp. She turned down every attempt i made. she never bothered reading the emails (she said she doesn’t check em often) fb and whatsapp she logs in various times a day but she rarely or never bothers to check my messages let alone answer.
I feel guilty of letting go of her cause i know i’m the only one who cares. Last time we met she confessed that I’m the only one who knows her better and she only feels comfortable opening up to me. However i feel as if i am some rechargeable battery. She comes to me recharge and then leaves. Plus she never gives me the opportunity to help. She just drops these bombs of statements then she leaves my life and leaves me dead worried for her.
I tried various times telling her how much her attitude hurts. Sometimes she ends up apologising and her apology really seems sincere but then she just forgets all about it and goes back to ignoring me.
I’m trying my utmost to move on. I sent her long detailed email explaining her how these 2 years have been for me and what i had endured. I explained in detail so if it’s a question of trust she would realize that she has nothing to fear from me. I also told her that its maybe bit my fault for her to treat me like this cause i never stood up to her and made her think her behaviour was acceptable. I gave her an ultimatum. I told her thta if things will not change this year I will not take it any longer.
My plan is to block her from whatsapp and calls/sms so even if she sends anything i will not be able to see them and fall for her.
I’m tired of feeling this miserable. She needs help and i know i could be of help but she doesn’t allow me to help her so my feeling miserable is not helping any of us, on the contrary it’s making me feel as my best is never good enough and never will be.
Sorry for venting but i really need to talk to someone about it.

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Ren Ren

I have been with my boyfriend for six years now. In the first few years everything was good but now its horrible he cheated on me on mamy occasions he always tries to make it look like i am the one in the wrong doing he doesn’t want me to go out with friends or use any social networks. He insults me he curses me he doesn’t carry me out he always wants me to come home by him we have sex and that’s about it. I caught him with a secret phone and lied directly to my face and said it was a dummy fone. I cook i clean i wash and sometimes I feel like he is using me for hid needs. He always accusing me of cheating or seeing other people. The first time he cheated i cheated then I realized it made no sense. If i have male friends it is a problem he wants me to speak to male colleagues or even my female friends but i love him so much he is my first and only bf I don’t know where to begin to try to leave he always makes me cry calsd me a whore a bitch and he runs me and tells me I am sickening and he fed up of me i i like to much man He always accusing me of some man I am starting to feel depressed and stressed out completely…….. HELP

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

As long as you are with someone who: cheats, blames, controls, insults, uses you for sex, lies, accuses you wrongly – it is very likely that you will continue to feel depressed and stressed. This man has shown you what a relationship with him looks like. Believe him.

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Paul

Many of us were Never meant to find real love the way that i look at it and most of the time we put ourselves in very bad relationships unfortunately. Been there and done that.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Paul I honestly believe there is a love for everybody. Sometimes it’s about looking for love in different people to the ones who have hurt you in the past. It is very easy and very understandable that people keep repeating the same relationship habits, but if you can step outside of different habits, there will be different people, different potential and new opportunities for the love that you deserve.

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J

When I searched this topic I didn’t expect to get an article that really hit as close to home as this one does. Due to past childhood abuse I am like a magnet for toxic relationships; and being an empath, it only makes it worse. Ever since I can remember I allow people in my life to treat me like garbage, all the while I am the one apologizing and wondering what I have done wrong. I am happy to say that I now recognize the behaviors of other’s as toxic, but I am still working on trying to move on from/let go of them. Here’s hoping 2017 is the year for that!

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Ken

Hi, just as u I am also an empath, and it is true. We are a magnet for toxic people. I am myself escaped a bullet there. But I also feel guilty anc that I was the one that did wrong. And of course the saying sorry part. I feel sorry that at a certain point I stood up for myself. I did what I could for that person cos she is really ill. But her ilness didnt stop her of blaming me I did not care for yer, starting to involve other men in it so I would bow. Telling me I am no man at all, many cursewords anc treats.

I took all of that for a short while, I m building bit by bit my ownlife so I didnt have much. But I bought food, small medicin and other small things. Till one day after 2 days of insulting me, she asked me to come over cos shd feels bad. She was on the insulting spree one hour earlier, I tried to explain that I m not really in mood to do that after all she said to me. Buuuut what does empaths do, exactly. I went with some stuff at midnight with bike, 1h in snow. Once arrived she didnt even open. I drove back home, angry of course. To read from her that I dont care for her.

Now I m trying to let go and try to understand why toxic do things like this. And doubting myself if I was not the toxic one.

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Lisa

I am the child of narcissistic parents, as a result of some incredibly toxic behaviour, there has been very little contact with them over the last year or so. My health has been seriously affected as a result of the emotional stress. They recently sent an apology letter. The “letter” was a small card with the following…”we would like to write to you to apologise for the hurt that has occurred. We love you and miss you and want to move forward to have happy times like we used to”. That is it- this letter has taken over 3 months to write ( I heard from a family member that my mother was writing it ages ago). My dilemma- do I continue to with no contact or do I write back and explain that is no apology. After the hurtful things they have done ( threatening legal action to see their grandchildren saying such nasty things to me about who I am and what they think of my husband) I know that a reply would probably fall on deaf ears, but no answer will make them so riled up and angry- other family members are pressuring me to speak to them.. but I have absolutely no interest. Should I just stay strong and say nothing? keep quiet?

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Bo

On target and to the point! A very helpful article that has reinforced my decision to let go of a family relationship that became toxic and disrespectful. I’m at peace with my decision-and more importantly am calm and joyful. Will only allow uplifting people to occupy my the remainder of my life now. Plan on a tranquil existence for the rest of my days. Thanks for piece.

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Athena

Thank you, Karen. This is just what I needed to read. I finally took a step towards letting a toxic relationship go and it felt really good for the first few hours. But then it got back to tears rolling down my eyes while at work and just the general feeling of sadness and loneliness. It’s all so hard, but I know this is the right thing to do. It just bothers me more because it comes combined with losing a couple of close friends too. Plus I’ve never been close to my family due to my parents getting separated at a young age. The friends and the relationship was a huge part of my support system and I’m finding it really difficult to cope. I don’t know what to do. 🙁

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Letting go of any relationship is difficult, even if it is a bad one to be in. What you are describing makes a lot of sense. You are adjusting to a new normal. In time you will see how much better, stronger and healthier this ‘new normal’ will be, but it takes time. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You will have good days and bad days and in time, the bad will get less and the good will get more. When you feel strong enough, start to look for social groups to join – there will be plenty that would love to have you. This isn’t easy and again, it takes time to feel comfortable, but a big push at the beginning to meet new people will be worth it. Your loneliness is understandable, but it isn’t the reason to go back. It is a sign that you are in transition, and the change will be such a positive one for you. Keep moving forward and stay strong. You have all the strength and courage you need inside you to find a happier version of yourself and your life, you really do.

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Iris

I’m hoping if someone can help me with what I’m going through right now, Is it I who’s not a good wife or my husband is a toxic person.

We’ve been married for 6 years and we have 2 kids – 5 and 3 yrs old. Early in our marriage, I’d put so much into making him happy. I’d stay up late at night ironing his clothes, taking care of our baby so he always has a full sleep, even though I have to wake up at 2 am to go to work. I did that because he had a job that he doesn’t like (but I do) and I thought that me taking away the tiredness will help him reduce his stress. He never once had to wake up in the middle of the night to help me with any of our babies.

Then we moved, he changed his job, I still did it. Woke up at 4 am to make him lunch, went back to sleep to wake up in an hour to go to work. The 2nd baby came, the same thing happen. It’s only me who had to stay up at night with the baby, every single night. This time I asked for help but the answer was “I’m tired” and my job is stressful. He started to berate me more.. if the kids’ face were dirty with chocolate, he would say “Really? Are you going to let the kids walk around with that dirty face?” Something like this happens a lot, if the kid’s clothes get dirty and we didn’t have a spare in the diaper back, it’s automatically become my fault that I didn’t prepare it. Yes, he never had to do it. He didn’t help me clean the kid’s room. I only have a driver license for a short time and when I’m struggling with parallel parking he’d get mad and yell “What the hell are you doing?”and started to steer the steering wheel himself., left me frightened from his yelling and I never understand why he’d use that kind of language with me.
I don’t use a swear word, not at all. Even when we fought, he’d never hear that from me because I think it’s very rude and disrespectful. He uses that often and he said that because he worked somewhere that people use it a lot and he has a lot of stress.. so he has a good excuse for his anger and language. I always try to understand that and keep telling myself things will be better once he finally gets to work at the job he likes.

But when the time comes, he changed to the job he likes, it doesn’t stop there. It still happens. And a lot of time when I wanted to hang out with my friend he’d say something like “You do whatever you wanted but if it was me, I won’t go.” Or “I don’t want you to go, but you can do whatever you want”.. then when I insisted I wanted to hang out with my friends, it came back to me as ” you didn’t care for my feeling”…

The kids are closer to me for some reason. They often cry if they didn’t get to hold my hands while we’re walking somewhere.

When we fight and I tried to express my feeling toward what he did, he will “you’re too sensitive”. Recently, he made a joke that’s insulting to me, I got upset and then he mad at me for getting upset. He said I should be able to know that his joke is a sarcastic and I shouldn’t be upset.

These are just some part of things that happen. We’ve been seeing a counselor but it’s not going anywhere. I questioned myself a lot, I tried harder and harder to make him happy in the past 6 years, but he’s still not happy. I was at the point where I have a suicide thought but I couldn’t do it because of my kids.

I feel worthless and scared of myself, scare to have new friends. I started to convince myself that I’m bad, I’m manipulative ( that’s what he told me) and no one will like me. I started to think I might have a mental issue. Even now when I read this article, I still question whether it’s actually me who’s not a good enough wife and I shouldn’t be asking this question. Nothing was his fault. Yes, he apologized after he snapped at me but it never stopped. He blames his anger on his childhood and his stress. Stress that caused by work, the kids, family and me.

I don’t know what to do, I feel like my mental is messed up and I second guess every single thought I have. I don’t feel like we have any hope. What am I suppose to think?

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Jessica

This is the life I lived for 19 years. I encourage you to look up the term gaslighting. That’s when they make you feel crazy with their manipulation. I posted earlier and really have gained insight into my situation. Look at Karen’s response to me (right above your post) and ask yourself those same questions. Good luck to you.

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Fiona

Great article! I have found for my own sanity and wellbeing I have had to walk away from certain family members in my life. I don’t feel bad for doing so but I feel for what they are going through. I can only help so much but decided the more I do for them, the more I am enabling them so I have had to walk away to let them figure things out for themselves. I am not perfect either and I can identify with some of the behaviours in myself. No one is perfect but it takes a big person to walk away when the situation is not improving and that’s what I did. I am so much happier…. The door will be open when they learn to respect my boundaries.

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Jessica

I was married for 19 years to a man who had me on an emotional roller coaster as well. He did have his great qualities. He was a great provider, he was faithful, he was handsome. When things were great, they were awesome. However, when they were bad, they were really bad. He never physically abused me but the emotional turmoil was more than (at the end) I could handle. Everything I did was wrong and he constantly was belittling and criticizing me. Eventually, he became sexually manipulative. I lost who I was and was in a horribly unhealthy situation. I was depressed, lonely, and sad all the time. I’d beg him to communicate and let me be part of his life. He’d come home from work and as I ran to greet him with a kiss, I’d be met with a cold shoulder and a cheek at best. It hurt more than I could stand to be constantly ignored and rejected.

He left last December. That was the point that I decided that I would never let someone treat me like that again. He has asked me to lets fix things and to let’s work on us but I have something inside that will not allow me to do that unless I see some changes. He says he has changed and that he is trying to be a different person.

When he learned that I was involved with someone else, he became very jealous. He once sent me over 80 emails (email bc I blocked his calls and texts) in two days. He says he loves me and wants me back and that he is changed. Part of me wants to go running back but something is holding me back. Something won’t let me get back with him. I guess deep down, I know people like this don’t change. Thoughts? Help.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

I can’t tell you what to do. This is your relationship and your life and you are the only person who has the detail of what this relationship is like to be in. You have 19 years of knowing what this relationship is like and what it does to you. This is your time to do what is right for you, rather than looking outside of yourself for the answer. You say you are confused, but in your comment, you sound very clear about how damaging this relationship has been, compared with the good. Knowing what to do doesn’t mean that it suddenly becomes easy. It’s always easy to become hopeful again when you hear the right things from the people you want to love. It sounds as though you have a lot more evidence of the harm that comes from this relationship, than the good that can come from it – but again, only you can know the truth about that. Use the history of this relationship – because it is a very long history – to inform your decision. Has it been loving, close, supportive, nurturing? Or has it been hurtful and damaging? Act with self-love and self-respect, and with strength and courage. Use the wisdom you have gained from 19 years of knowing this man – his behaviour, what the combination of you has been like – and let that guide your decision.

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Georgie

One of the best articles on the subject that I’ve found. I came to the realization after distancing myself from a toxic diminishing family member just how much better I felt as the weeks went on. After months, they tried to enter my life again as if nothing had happened. Drew the line saying not interested unless they are interested in knowing my terms of the relationship. Haven’t heard from them which reinforced and made me realized just how right my choice was-just wants control or some other self serving agenda. Let it go with peace and in my gut it feels right. Hopefully now again as time passes I will continue on the path to feel better and stronger than ever.

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Angie

I believe I was in a toxic relationships but sometimes I’m wonder if I was or am the toxic person. However, I tend to always say sorry to people first or only even with things that are not my fault because I don’t like arguments or anyone being mad at me.( this being pointed out by friend and by sisters). Here’s my story. That’s changed me. I met this guy at my job I had for 11 years. He courted me, came by my cubicle at work everyday to visit me and was or seemed sweet. We had things in common one being both lost a brother when they were 19 and we were tweens. It started off as friends really going out to eat, movies, texting and calling everyday. And then a relationship. Physical. He had told me he dealt with depression and I assumed it wasn’t that bad because one he’s a police officer and he was generally nice. He did say he had a commitment phobia later on. Which I didn’t care about because I then wasn’t looking for anything long term. Now to try to make this long story short. He started to get irritated with me, for instance I text him one time what are you doing and he saying driving to D.C. I don’t remember what the next thing I said was but he blew up at me called me screaming that I shouldn’t be texting him and do I want him to get in a car accident and die. I was taken back and hurt because I never seen him this way. And it hurt. I had a fear of driving for one my brother was killed in a car accident and he knew it. I left him a lone after that but he came back to me. I don’t think I ever got an apology he was smooth and I think he made it look like my fault. After a while I noticed I was always afraid to voice my opinion because it might offend him. And when I did he would ignore me for a long time and not come around. He would come back. Say he depressed but then say, he cares for me and I am number one. i ended up pregnant, lost the child and this is how he comforted me. Hugged and kissed me, slept with me one last time. And on the phone later on he told me it takes more than that for me to love someone. I was crushed. It’s been a while since but this has hurt me bad. He recently told me he lied he did love me and still does and possibly wanted to work it out with me. God knows why but I was hopeful. He then ignores me and when I say hey what up he tell me look, it’s not going to work for me, I love you still but not in the same capacity. And that’s it nada. I was sitting on my porch with neighbor about a month later and he drives by my house staring me down twice up and down road and I text him. We can be cordial you can say hello or wave in not mad at you. Which at the time I was feeling optimistic and he text me back don’t call or text or emAil me ever. I will get a warrant and have you arrested and anprotective order served. Yet he doesn’t patrol my area and he was riding up and down my road and parked at the corner of my daughter school, two street behind mine a day or two before and also doesn’t patrol my area. i am a recluse now. I stay inside and I’m afraid of even the smallest conflict and timid. He said I lash out but I never hurt people I love. I have told him he’s hurt me and how. And I’ll admit after his meanest I have said f*** you and go to hell. However was I in a really toxic relationship or was it me?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Angie the most important thing here is that the combination of you didn’t work. It sounds as though there were many things that happened that were cruel and hurtful for you. Don’t keep hurting yourself by assuming that the world is like this and that other relationships will hurt you the way this one has. There will be someone there who is looking to love someone like exactly like you, and who will have the very same ideas of what a healthy relationship should look like. You will have emerged from this relationship with greater wisdom and insight into what works and also the warning signals that should send you running. Use this wisdom to strengthen you, and to open yourself up to the love you deserve.

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Angie

Thank you. I’ve been punishing myself for years. I’ve never met anyone like him and it makes me fear men. I even deal with depression now because of this relationship. I was vibrant, outgoing, and full of life. For 6 years now, I’ve been a homebody… So much so I’m vitamin D deficient. I do wonder one thing, it’s seems he keeps popping up in my life. He’s been popping up since 05. Would it be wise for me to move out of state or town? I really want to though I’ve been here in VA my whole life.

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J

I’ve been in what I feel is a toxic relationship for going on 13 years now…..3 kids ….living above his family and I don’t keep in contact with mine ….we kinda went our own separate ways…..our relationship has always been a rollercoaster of emotions ….it was either really bad or really good ….when we had gotten together I had just left my ex to whom was cheating on me after him and I had just lost a child together…then I met this guy……I was 20 so was he …he was going through hard times and I was too….we were there for each other….i had found out 6 months later I was pregnant ….both happy and scared….we both left and moved in together …not even a month later physical and emotional abuse started and escaladed….then it would calm down it was like that for years …. after time the physical stuff stopped and things were getting better….so I thought…..now I Find myself sitting hear in tears again….he just recently got promoted and I understand it comes with a lot more responsibility but now he works all day and on his days off….then the little time he does make he goes out to the restaurant with his co-workers to eat and have drinks… doesn’t call …he said he doesn’t need to check in that it’s not necessary ….he no longer Finds time to spend with the kids and I ….he said his mind is on his money….I recently walked in on him in the middle of him texting his co-worker…he started deleting it…but the previous text said…”I don’t know why I’m feeling this way ?” And she had wrote back why? It’s just me ….he had no response but to say it was an accident and he should of never hit on her…..then another time he came home so upset….I had asked him why and he has said because this one girl he works with is so sweet and she’s with this guy that is such an ass….go figure … really????…. he’s been critizing me about everything and making me feel crazy for having feeling ….. I don’t know why I stay I know where to go or what to do …that’s just a bit of what’s going on ….thank you for letting me vent ….am I the toxic one in the relationship ? Idk….thanks for any advice

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

The important thing here isn’t so much about who is the toxic one, but that the relationship is hurting you. Whether one of you is toxic or both of you is toxic is irrelevant. The point is, the relationship doesn’t feel good for you. When there is physical and emotional abuse, the relationship is in trouble. I understand how difficult it is to let go of any relationship, but the truth is that sometimes staying is harder, more painful, and more damaging to the person you are. If it’s love, it feels like love.

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Marie

This article was excellent and really spoke to my situation. I didn’t realise I was in a toxic relationship I just thought my boyfriend was a bit ‘stubborn’. In the end every positive change was resisted because he didn’t want to grow.

I’m sorry I wasted time but thankful I tried enough scenarios to really feel like I can walk away and not look back.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

I’m so pleased the article was helpful. As much as we would like for some people to change in positive ways, people will only change when they’re ready. I wish it could be different, but know that no experience is ever wasted. It sounds as though you have gained wisdom and insight, and that this will lift you forward.

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Mr. Get out

Married for just over seven years to a toxic woman. In and out of rehab for alcohol abuse. She was terrible to me, oppressive, jealous, controlling. So abusive in many ways, but I loved her and although we’ve been apart for a few months now, I’m still having problems with this. I just started seeing someone, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that either. I’m angry. I’m not sure what I’m more angry about, if it’s that life we pictured for our future that vanished in the blink of an eye or the seven years wasted with a toxic jerk.

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beanz

I don’t think it’s healthy to regret time with someone. Each relationship we go through we either learn what we do want in a life partner and what we don’t want so at the very least you have grown in knowledge about what your willing to tolerate. I use to have anger about a toxic ex I stayed 8years with built a home together litrally with our own bare hands when it was complete he moved in his mistress and out I went. The letting go of a future you have set in your mind is difficult but at the other end of the scale I was happy to not have to put up with the abuse anymore…I was free… I look at the me back then and I don’t even know who I became and although there’s times I miss my house and the future picture we painted. I’d never want to go back to that life. In time the anger does fade I find it helps to say out loud at least once a day all the things I’m grateful for and all the things that make me happy in the here and now. No matter how big or small focusing your mind in the now, today, this moment and being grateful for that helps to shift the focus of a life thats no longer relevant and keeps it grounded in what’s actually important… reality… reality is now…not what was or will be. Worrying serves no purpose other than to hurt us twice. Live in the now and you will feel better. Hope this helps.

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Akanimo

I’m currently facing this and I’m thinking of running far far away but at the same time thinking if that is the right thing to do.

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Jess

Thank you so much for this article. It has opened my eyes and for once made sense. Especially love this part of the article “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.” For almost 5yrs I have been with my baby’s dad. And for that whole time he continues to lie and treat me with no respect. On top of doing whatever he wants and when he wants. Deep down I know he truly doesn’t love me. But he manipulates me into thinking he cares. So I hold on to that. Hoping one day he will be different. But I’m so tired of feeling unloved and I’m sick of being belittled all the time. So yes I’m going to work on me and hopefully leave him in the past.

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Randy

I enjoyed this article, and the one before it (I clicked a link from a previous article). Had an argument at Thanksgiving with the family today, and I left. My father has been that toxic figure-head in the family my whole life. Belittling, critical, and shaming was his way when I was a kid and has continued from time to time as an adult, becoming less to none in recent years. We’ve had our troubles since I was a teenager when I began to speak my mind. He punched me in the stomach once when I stood up to him. Our relationship was quite poor for many years, but I always maintained a relationship with the family because I didn’t want to punish my mom she has always been there for me and we are close. I stood up for her many times over the years. My father and I haven’t had any blowouts for a few years, and even though he and I never do anything together except when I visit the house, our relationship has been even for awhile. Today signified that he is always one moment away from being his old self. I finally had enough when I spoke up about something and was more or less told that my opinion wasn’t important. My sister had brought her laundry over to the parents house to wash a couple loads (she does this every Thanksgiving/Christmas), I’ve always let it go, but last year it really bothered me. This year when she arrived basket and clothes in hand, I expressed that I didn’t think it was right to do laundry on a holiday, that we are all there to spend time with family. She had a meltdown about it and walked out. My mom, as she always does, went to her rescue. My dad yelled at me “goddamit Randy” and the mess began. I asked “do I not have an opinion?” and he said “NO”. I had him repeat it…..and I told him if I don’t have an opinion then I don’t want to be part of the family. I walked out and told my sister (at her car) to stay and I left. My mom called about an hour later and asked me to come back, I told her I love her dearly and would do anything for her, but I am done with him, that I’m not putting myself in that environment anymore. I know this hurt her, all she wants is the family to be there at Thanksgiving and to get along. We’ve never had a situation like this on Thanksgiving, but I suppose that was my “enough is enough”. I don’t know what will occur moving forward, I don’t expect anything to change……this article helps me to understand what I can do to move forward, create boundaries, and express them to those in the family that want to listen.

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Austin

Reading this… it is all correct. You know how I know this? Because I am a toxic person. I had a girl who had been my best friend for years and we dated for 3 and now that she done with me and she has given up on me I understand what she said when she said I am a toxic person. I blamed my mistakes on her, always ruined things then ran back to her and blamed it on her again, treated her poorly. She is a beautiful and caring woman so she stuck by my side time after time but I never changed. I kept being the arrogant douche bag I am… I constantly stay up and think about her and run our relationship through my head over and over… I can’t get a grip on how toxic I really was. I hurt her, but she is free from me now.. she is healing she will get better she’s amazingly strong. & to be honest the toxicness does come from childhood.. It was rough for me but it is mainly my fault for letting it take over me. Girls, women, if you read this article and you feel like this is your relationship.. get out. Heal. You deserve better. Guys, if this is you don’t constantly bother her and chase after her after she has had enough of your crap. Let her go, respect her as a friend. She deserves to heal for what you put her through and find God. He is indeed the only one that can fix this, I myslef have found him and he has worked amazing things in my favor. I’m learning, one day I may have her in my life again, but as for now I don’t deserve her. Ladies stand up for yourselves make him go fix himself, drop him flat on his face. Toxic individuals need to hit rock bottom before they seek help just remember that. I pray the best for all. -AM

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Julie

I love what youve said and the insight is appreciated. I hope she does come back into your life because that would be a success story. For me though, the hurt, the loss, the pain, the craziness, the damage is already done and I cant imagine being together again with this person especially when I ignored so many red flags and knew that we just didnt “get” each other, aside from the abuse. You have already taken the biggest, most difficult step of all. Keep working on yourself. I believe you will get there. Love and peace

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Shelly

Austin, I loved reading this and I pray one day my ex will do the same. I truly love him and want to spend a healthy life with him but as you said for now it can’t be.

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Melanie

Austin… *Thankyou so much* for taking the time to share your opinion.

I’ve been reading articles like this for nearly 2 years (still) trying to detangle myself from a very, very toxic relationship (the kind that needs police/court involvement, family/career intervention, mandatory counselling, etc.)

—and the biggest issue I’ve had with ‘moving on’ is dealing with the pain of feeling like I’m ‘abandoning him’.

I know what he did (and continues to do) is wrong; no one should be treated/talked to/hurt the way he has done unto me for the last 3 years. But like you said, I know his issues stem from a difficult childhood and mishandling his anger. I’ve justified it all along, blinding and deluding myself about how bad it was actually getting (emotionally, physically…)

The fact is I still really love ‘the good version’ of him, and it kills me to have to ‘abandon him’ when he manipulates me to make me feel like ‘I’m the only one that can make him feel better’. Ironic considering I’m also the only one that makes him erupt in (borderline psychotic) rage too…

TLDR: Thankyou for saying the words I needed to hear (from a real guy; not a counsellor or a ‘self help’ article). Knowing that men like you are capable of ‘coming round’ makes me feel less crazy/guilty…

I used to wonder “but who’s going to love the ‘bad people’; because surely they’re the ones who need it most” and maybe now (because of you) I can trust that one day *they can be loved* without hurting/killing someone else’s spirit. Thankyou more than words can say Austin <3

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Shelly

I copied many of the statements in this article. I really liked the last one about letting go of people until they are ready to treat you with love, respect and kindness.
I have been involved with a very toxic man for over 4 years. He has been physically, emotionally and financially abusive. He has treated many people in his life including his children poorly for many years. He is really left with no one at this point and still has trouble forming relationships.
When he perforated my eardrum from hitting me I decided it was time to end it before he killed me or caused me permanent brain damage. There is an now an order of protection and he was forced to leave my home but his stuff is still here. I have the legal right to do whatever I wish with it but I am too kind of a person to get rid of someones belongings. I know its ridiculous after all hes done to me. I could make back the almost 20,000 dollars he owes me by selling it but I cant do it.
The worst part of it all is I still love him. I check back with him often to see if he’s changed or making progress with the counselor he is finally seeing. I am quickly reminded that he is an excellent manipulator when his anger at “what I did to him” cant be held back. I turn around and run away again, but the problem is I keep going back. I have to come to terms with the fact that he will not change.
This turmoil is holding me back from a productive, happy, healthy life and I am very aware of it but I still do it anyway. I have read many things, seen counselors, but this article hit me differently when I read it. Why do we waste time on unhealthy people, especially when we are surrounded by so many good ones?????

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Shelly I’m so pleased you found this article. Relationships become habits – it’s that way for all of us. All relationships, even the bad ones, generally have something good about them. If there is nothing good about them now, there are generally memories or the reasons you became close in the first place. It’s easier to give these ‘positives’ more weight when you are out of a relationship, and to start questioning whether you could have done something to save the relationship. Give it time, but don’t look back. Keep moving forward. You know what your experience of this relationship is – it’s lonely, unsafe, confusing and painful. It takes time to adjust to a new reality that doesn’t involve someone we have been so close to for so long. Keep moving forward. If you need to, lock onto a memory or something solid, like a text to remind yourself why the bravest, strongest, wisest part of you knows how important it is that you keep walking away. Stay strong.

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Leigh

I have just left my alcoholic husband. I have met someone who treats me really well and gives me the love I deserve yet I feel so guilty about destroying a family and leaving my husband. He does not give me what I need and makes me feel bad about myself so why is it so hard to move on

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Leaving any relationship is difficult, even if it is a relationship that is hurting you. No relationship is all good or all bad, and when you leave a relationship, it is easy to focus on the parts that were good. That doesn’t mean the relationship is right for you. Take the time to find your strength and heal, so you can move on completely.

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hannah

i know i deserve someone better and that he probably doesnt even love me but its still so hard. i dont know what to do.

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Amy

@Hannah I feel your pain. I know I deserve someone who will treat me the way I deserve but that fear of being alone and not having anyone to run to at the end of the day is hard.

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Joe

I’m currently experienced something very painful. The relationship I had is very bizarre for me since I have never met a guy like this. He is 32 years old man who has low esteem and depression problem started from his young age. He pursued me for 7 months after we really met. I knew some of his problems but I feel he is still a good person that I want to know him better. Therefore, we started to date for two weeks and then he started to change into someone totally different / maybe that’s the real himself and I don’t want to put myself into too much because I knew he could not handle it. After a while, I tried to encourage him to come out more to have fun like everyone would do. He went totally shut down on me and sent me text that I deserved someone better. Just because I encouraged him to have more confidence and believe himself a little more because he is not bad as he thinks, I don’t want to change him but he didn’t even see how negative he is, everything is not gonna happen, I don’t even know whether he was faking it or not because maybe he just want get laid by pretending to be sad. He had so many short term girl friends and he said each one of them has different problems and he kept talking with his long term girlfriend after they broke up while he was sleeping with other girls. He is so damaged and I feel sorry for him, But he hurt me by blaming me not into him that much, relationship is two way dynamics. I supported him to find a better job and to have a goal in his life, but what I got in the end of day, I deserve someone better. What’s wrong with him? Thanks!

Reply
beanz

Look up poor me people and then run a mile… don’t be sucked in because it will drain you and then they blame you and you wonder how did I end up here when all I wanted was to help… All the many girls he says have problems ha! What’s the common denominater between them all…HIM…. bet ya they didn’t start out with problems just got sucked in his poor me pity party and ended up with a massive one and his way of keeping that under wraps is to say it’s them they are crazy have issues or whatever. The celestine prophecy is a good book teaching about all the different types of people and explains the poor me person… very energy draining. My advice walk away now before you get too drained with the negative and end up stuck fighting to help someone who has no intentions of helping themselves. Poor me people learn early on that they don’t need to do much in life to get by if they can make people feel sorry for them they will do all the hard work x hope this helps

Reply
Jess

Sounds like he’s still with his long term girlfriend. He also sounds like he’s too damaged to have a healthy relationship.

Reply
Paul

Toxic relationships
I have just come out of one ,what a bloody disaster it was and I’m left feeling I’m the guilty one it was all my fault . If I could only have changed it would be fine I could have saved it .Wrong !!!! I still think about her I still miss her I still love her ,but I know she was so wrong for me the pain of letting go ,of course it’s my ex where the pain lies and not the letting go .the steps to happier times are long and lonely it’s what we have to do ,when the ship goes down swim away from the wreckage.

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‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #parentingtips
We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
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#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

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