Toxic Relationships: How to Let Go When It’s Unhappily Ever After

Toxic Relationships: How to Let Go When It's Unhappily Ever After

If life ran like a storybook, the person we fall in love would not be the person who broke us. Sadly, we humans tend to be a bit more human than that. We fall in love, we commit, we get hurt – over and over – and we stay.  People need people, but sometimes the cost is a heavy one. When it’s a toxic relationship, the breakage can be far-reaching.

Love is addictive. So is the hope of love. All relationships can be likened to an addiction, but sometimes the power of this can be self-destructive. When relationships become loveless, hostile, stingy or dangerous, you would think they would be easy to leave, but they can be the hardest ones to walk away from.

A bad relationship isn’t about being on the downward slide of the usual relationship ups and downs. It is one that consistently steals your joy and follows you around with that undeniable clamour that this isn’t how it’s meant to be.

Knowing when to let go.

Sometimes the signs are clear – emotional and physical abuse, constant criticism, lying, cheating, emotional starvation. Sometimes there is nothing outstandingly obvious – it just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it did once but that ended long ago. The signs might lie in the loneliness, a gentle but constant heartache, a lack of security, connection or intimacy or the distance between you both. 

Whatever it involves, there are important needs that stay hungry, for one of both people in the relationship. The relationship exists but that’s all it does, and sometimes barely even that. It doesn’t thrive and it doesn’t nurture. It is maintained, not through love and connection, but through habit. 

Sometimes there are circumstances that make leaving difficult. Sometimes though, there’s nothing in your way except you. Some of the signs that you might be addicted to the relationship are:

  • You know it’s bad, but you stay.
  • You want more for yourself, but you stay.
  • There are important needs in you that are so hungry (intimacy, connection, friendship, love, security, respect), and you know in this relationship they’ll stay that way. But you stay. 
  • You have tried ending the relationship before, but the pain of being on your own always brings you back.

What to do when leaving feels as bad as staying.

Leaving any relationship is difficult. Leaving a bad one isn’t necessarily any easier. The shift from powerless to empowered is a gentle one, but lies in the way you experience the relationship. It often takes as much resourcefulness, energy and strength to stay in a bad relationship as it does to leave. With a shift in mindset, experience and expectation, the resources you use to stay and to blind out the seething hopelessness of it all can be used to propel you forward.

  1. Be present.

    The pull to live in the past (the way it was/ the way I was) or in the future (it will get better – I just need to find the switch) can be spectacular, but the energy to move forward exists fully in the present. It’s always there, but you have to be in the present to access it. To do this, fully experience the relationship as it is, without needing to change it or control it. 

    This might be scary, particularly if the environment you are in is hostile or lonely, but the only way to be okay with leaving what you have, is to fully experience how broken it is.

    No relationship is perfect. All couples fight and hurt each other and say and do things they shouldn’t. That’s a normal part of living and loving together. The problem comes with having to repeatedly live in the past or the future to tolerate the present – the abuse, the harm, the insecurity, the jealousy, the loneliness and the grief of the relationship as it stands – just so that it’s easier to stay.

  2. Keep track.

    Keep a record of how you feel in the relationship, the good and bad. If writing isn’t your thing, take a photo of your face at the same time every day. You’ll see it in your eyes. Photos and journalling will capture the intimate, day to day detail of you in this relationship. Set a time period – weeks or months – and at the end take a look over your photos or your writing. Can you see patterns? What do you notice about the things that hurt you and the things that feel good? The frequency? The intensity? What do you see in the photos? Can you see the life in you? Or has it been drained away. Is this the person you want to be? Or is it a faded, sadder version? This can help to see your experience in the relationship for what it is – stripped of the filters and the softening that comes with time. 

  3. Be aware of what’s happening in your body. It’s trying to tell you something.

    The connection between the mind and the body is a powerful one. If you shut down the messages that are coming from your mind, your body will take over. There will be signs in the way you hold yourself, the sensations in your body (heaviness, heartache, tension) and the way it works. Has your body slowed down? Is there physical pain? Does it ache? Does it feel heavy? Restless? Tired? Drained? Do you feel your body withering, scrunched or as though it’s holding back? If your body could speak, what would it want you to know?

    Try this exercise:

    Finish this sentence: 

    ‘My body is …’ (tired/crumpled/hurting – whatever fits for you)’.

    Now, keep your ending but replace the words, ‘My body is’ with ‘I am’ or ‘My life is’.

    Notice what happens when you do that.

  4. How do you avoid the truth?

    Notice what you do to shift away from your reality. Are there unhealthy behaviours you do to stop from feeling bad? Or maybe there are healthy beahviours that you do in unhealthy ways?

    Try staying with the discomfort rather than avoiding it. Contained in the pain is the wisdom, courage and strength you need to find the happier version of yourself and your life. 

  5. Give it a deadline.

    It’s easy to forget how long you’ve been living with what you don’t want, hoping that one day it will be better. Pick your ‘one day’. Let it be six weeks, six months – whatever feels right for you. In that time, give the relationship everything you’ve got. When that ‘one day’ comes, be honest and act from a place of strength, self-respect and self-love. The answer will be in front of you.

  6. Become selfish.

    The way we think about selfishness is broken. Selfishness is about recognising what you need and doing what you can to meet those needs. Sometimes there will be fallout, but there will also be fallout by ignoring what you need and letting the noise shout you down. You matter. What you need matters. It always has. Sometimes that will mean putting yourself first on your list. This is even more important if it is the only list that has you anywhere near the top.

  7. Be honest about your part.

    Is there anything you can do to put the relationship back on track? It takes guts to open up to what you might need to do differently, but it’s important. If you’re not sure, ask your partner. Of course, just because your partner names things he or she would like you to do differently, it for you to decide whether this is a direction you want to move in. If the response is ‘Yeah actually. You can stop asking me where I go at night. K?’ then you can either respond with, ‘Sure baby – it’s totally fine with me if you leave the house smelling like man musk and secrets. Just come home when you feel like it hey. Do you want me to keep dinner for you?’ Or, you can Google, ‘Somewhere I can live without idiots.’

  8. What’s your role in the relationship?

    It’s likely that there will be a rhythm in the relationship that keeps it breathing the way it does. You and your partner will each have a role that keeps each other’s behaviour possible. This in no way means either of you are to blame or that either of you deserve to be treated the way you are. What it means is that over time you would have fallen into a way of being together that makes the dysfunction easier and more tolerable – a healthy adjustment to an unhealthy situation.

    It’s common in relationships for one person to be the ‘reacher’ and one to be the ‘retreater’. In healthy relationships, this is balanced or the roles shift around. There’s an easy flexibility. In unhealthy relationships, these roles become polarised. The more someone retreats, the more the other reaches, and this is where the roles become fixed.

    Explore your roles. Which one of you is ‘the commitment phobe’, ‘the non-communicator,’ ‘the abuser,’  ‘the critic’, ‘the disinterested one’? And who is ‘the ‘enabler’, ‘the victim,’ ‘the helpless one,’ ‘the reacher’, ‘the rescuer’, ‘the justifier’, ‘the fantasiser’. Try shifting out of your role. This will shift the dynamic and either force change or make the dysfunction all the more glaring – and easier to walk away from.

  9. Let go of the fantasy.

    The fantasy of what could be will keep you stuck. Every time. It could be better – so much better – but just not with this person. How do you know? Because you’ve been trying. And you’re tired. And there’s nothing more to give.

    The fantasy stands between you and reality and throws flowers at your feet so you never look up and see things as they are.

    The more you fantasise about what could be, the more the reality is embellished and changed into something reasonable. The fantasy will persuade you to hold on for a little longer, and always at the cost of moving forward. Lose the fantasy that things will be different. They won’t be. If you could have lived the fantasy with this relationship, you would have done that by now. Let your fantasy instead be one of all the losers who have ever crossed your path sprawled on the couch, wearing saggy Star Wars underwear as they gaze at your photo, listen to Adele and regret like mad ever losing you, while you eat tacos, listen to Beyonce and not miss them at all. There you go.

  10. Accept what is.

    It’s paradoxical, but the more you can accept where you are, the greater the capacity for change. This will let your decisions be driven by information that’s real and accurate, not a glossed up fairy tale image of what could be. Accept your reality as it is – your relationship, your partner and what it means for you. When you accept the truth, you live the truth. This will expand your courage, strength and capacity to decide whether this relationship is the best option for you – or not. You will have a clarity that will propel you forward, whatever that might mean for you.

  11. Fight for you.

    You have to fight for the things you love and the things you believe in, but one of those things has to be you. What would you say to someone you love who was feeling the pain or the deadness that you are feeling? Inside you is more courage and strength than you will ever need. You are a queen, a king, a fighter, a warrior, you are powerful and beautiful and everything good in the world – and you deserve to be happy. But first, you might have to fight for it. Fight for you the way you would fight for anyone you love – fiercely, boldly, bravely.

  12. Stop making excuses.

    Be honest.What do you want from this relationship? Have you ever had it? How different is what you want from what you have? And how long has it been this way? If you are loved, it feels like love. Even in the midst of a storm, a loving relationship still feels loving. Despite the stress, the exhaustion, the things you do or say – a loving relationship has an undercurrent of safety, security and respect, even when times are tough. If it doesn’t feel good for you, it’s not.

  13. Replace ‘can’t leave’ with ‘won’t leave’.

    Claim back your power by replacing ‘can’t leave‘ with ‘won’t leave‘. Sometimes circumstances mean that it’s difficult to leave. Whatever you choose to do, do it from a place of strength, not from a place of helplessness. If you stay, let it be because you have made the decision that this is the best option for you at this moment in time, not because somebody has claimed ownership of your life. Keep your power and your independence of mind, whatever is going on around you. There’s only one of you and you’re too important to let yourself fade into circumstance or the manipulation.

  14. Not making a decision is making a decision.

    You might decide to put off making a decision, to give it some time. Make no mistake, this is making a decision – to stay. Own your decision and experience fully what that decision means for you. Don’t live on the outskirts of your reality by claiming to be somewhere in between committing to the relationship and leaving it. You’re one or the other. In it or out of it. Claiming indecision might feel okay in the short term, but in the long term it will just keep you stuck, without the energy you need to move closer to what will be healthier for you.

And finally …

If the relationship feels bad, then it’s bad for you. That’s the only truth that matters. Fight hard to keep your relationship intact, but when there is no fight left, the truth will be staring you down like a hunted thing.

All relationships will go through make it or break it times, but healthy relationships recover. They grow closer and become stronger and more resilient. Relationships have a limited amount of resources available – emotional, physical, financial. Sometimes the relationship will be barreled around by a storm and this might use up a vast chunk of the resources that have been banked over time. If the relationship is healthy, it will only be a matter of time before this is topped up. If it isn’t, it will shrivel up from lack of nourishment and eventually die. 

Only you can decide whether to stay or go, but be mindful of your reasons. Sometimes the bravest, most difficult, and most life-changing things lie not in what we do, but in what we stop doing. 

413 Comments

Aimee

I’m happy to have found this article at a time I really needed to. I’ve been with my boyfriend almost 3 years. When we met he said he was divorced. A month in he admitted he wasn’t divorced yet but he was in the middle of one. His grown children would spend time with us and bring their young children to my home that he ended up moving into. Fast forward almost 3 years and he still hasn’t filed for divorce, he says is for financial reasons, but he still supports that household while I have to pull teeth to even get him to contribute for groceries in our home. He has lied to me so many times about his divorce and the reasons why it’s not filed. Once he moved in with me and his wife found out she guilted their children into not coming around me anymore and he won’t stand up for me. I’m exhausted emotionally and mentally and every time I ask him to leave he has new excuses and new lies and I fall for them every time. I have finally kicked him out, and it’s final this time, but it is so hard to not cave even when I know I deserve the live I give.

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Jan

I was married to the devil incarnate. He is the most toxic person I’ve ever known and had the bad luck to be married to. It took me 6 long years of horrible emotional, mental and physical abuse for me to finally kick his ugly ass to the curb. He stole from me, my kids, wrecked my vehicles, gaslighted me on a daily basis, is a drug user, a liar and a cheat. I’ve kicked him out before but always took him bak mostly telling myself it was for the sake of our young son. But nothing ever changed. I was always walking on eggshells around him, dreading when he would walk thru the door. He would spend hours and hours a day gone feeding his drug habit and I was always happy when he was gone. He would spend entire nights away from home. People would tell me they had seen my car here and there at all these drug places. If I confronted him he would attack me or threaten to attack. He would intimidate me by rushing up to me and getting in my face if I questioned him about anything so I stopped for my own safety. I filed for divorce a week before I kicked him out. That whole week I was wondering how I could get him to leave without ending up dead. I kept praying about it. Then he brought my one car home (he wrecked my other one) after having it all the previous day and night, wrecked. I went to work and texted him and told him to pack his shit and get out. He brought nothing into the marriage and he was leaving with nothing. Now he’s homeless and I don’t feel one ounce of sympathy for him. I’m done with his toxic ass.

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Pelicia

I need help it feel like im losing my mind, I was in a 11yr relationship. He felt like I was treating him like a little boy, due to little stuff like his whole argumentis I dont have to listen to nobody I can leave socks here & there, I dont have to listen to the bitching & complaining ect……. okay he say when he with me he feel like a little ass boy. Cause I want so much. The shit i want is not for me its for us. It was never one side. But he don’t see that….. Now we at a place & he basically first he said he want space & time to now it’s over we will never work. How do I walk away its so hurtful like im literally losing my mind & need him 💔

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sally c

i feel bad for you, but you know we both the same problem, I’m with my boy friend for almost 2 years now. but he doesn’t have nay plan for both of us, and one day day i cought him many times cheating on me and lie to me over and over again, but i always forgive him no matter what. i wanted to broke up with him or leave him but i cant because what i feel for him it was real, i never cheat on him I’m always honest,faithful, loyal, and very understanding women, but he didn’t care about me or my feelings, which is hurt me a lot. i don’t know what to do should i continue or leave him.but its really hard for me to leave because we been living together and all sudden this what will happen in our relatioship. please help me and tell me what i can do:(

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Carlos

I have been in this relationship for over a year now. It started as a normal relationship would, unfortunately after our first argument things went downhill. While we worked out our differences then, it never resorted to anything. Our relationship became toxic from getting physical to mental. I suffer from depression and anxiety, so being in a relationship where you can’t let go hurts. We lost 3 kids all due to miscarriages. There were times in the relationship where she and I would go our separate ways. The only time we ever talked was for pleasurable reasons. It became so toxic during one of the times, I was kicked out by one of her family members as he made threats to beat me up. I will admit we did cheat on each other and we abused one another mentally. If you are reading this, and you feel like you are in a toxic relationship the best thing to do is to try to leave. I always would tell myself that I would never leave the person because they were the ones, but trust me there are many fish in the sea. My Ex is pregnant and I cannot even see my kid without being upset. If you also read this and you are a guy, treat your woman right, if she/he is toxic it is best to leave. Sometimes leaving may hurt, but the hurt is really the beginning of healing.

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SJ

I think the relationship I am in right now is so toxic . I am 20 and he is 24 with two little girls by different moms. I was willing to take on him and his situation because I really grew to like him and love him and I wanted to be with him . Then after a while I noticed that he started being skeptical of the most crazy things . Me taking over 20 minutes to reply to a text or me falling asleep and not telling him that I had layed down . He told me he had trust issues so I took every opportunity to show him that he could trust me . I shared my location , I opened up my house to him , I let him start dropping me off at school(Im in college) he was never satisfied. He would also be so quick to put our relationship on the chopping block when things diddnt go his way . Most recently , he got arrested and is still in jail and I have done everything I could to figure out his situation . I paid a bond I paid money to be able to talk to him everyday. I mean I have been working my Ass off trying to make sure he is good . Well on this Past Thursday , we were on the phone and it was around 11:30pm, I had midterms that day and I was just so tired and exhausted . The phone hung up and I fell asleep before he could call back , well when I woke up I had missed 5 of his calls . He has yet to call me from the jail since , and I know he’s mad because he’s thinking what the hell was i doing and all that but I literally just fell asleep. I feel like after everything I have done he should not be mad at me for falling asleep . I texted his brother to see if anyone had heard from him and nobody is texting me back which is weird , I think he may have told them he’s fine with me . I’m so hurt because I would never do this to him , when I do something as little as not answering a call it’s World War III but it’s okay if he does it . I just feel used and like he never really loved me to begin with.

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Jennifer

I feel trapped in a situation of not really knowing where I stand. My partner of nearly four years has lied and cheated regularly. A few months after we got together I discovered he was seeing two other women. He promised to end it and I agreed to forgive him and stay. Insanity right? One has since left his life completely, although it took two years and one still remains friends with him, and is unaware of me. He has undoubtedly slept with other women since then but I have no proof. Even when he is not lying he can be moody, disrespectful and generally worth a watching. He does have a violent temper but has never hit me, nor attempted too. We have a cycle whereby it’s all good for a while, but then out of the blue we have a misunderstanding or a minor argument and before I know it things have been blown out of proportion and the relationship is over. Sometimes it’s me who says I’m done with this – but that’s generally in response to being verbally abused and told to leave his house. But, no matter who finishes it, I’m always drawn back to him. As soon as I hear from him or he shows me any warmth I crumble and go back. And if I don’t hear from him, I start to panic that he’s met someone else and we’ll never sort it out. That’s where I find myself at the moment, I’m in limbo waiting on him to say ‘let’s give it another go’. The honest truth is I don’t think we ever will truly sort it out. I don’t think he’ll ever be truly faithful. He introduces me to male friends but perpetuates the idea that he is single to any attractive females that he comes into contact with through work. Everyone who knows my situation tells me I need to leave and get on with my life but I don’t know how or where to find the strength to face reality. As much as I’ve described the bad times we do have good times too .. and they are all I seem to be able to think about when I think about being apart from him. I’m lost and sad.

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Angela

I am going through this exact same scenario with my boyfriend . We have not been together for as long but him and I both have the same pattern. I find myself wanting to move on but then allow my emotions for him to draw me back in and without him I do feel lost and depressed. I feel as if he will never change but when we are together everything feels perfect. I am torn. It does help to read other people’s experiences and to know I’m not the only one out there.

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Jennifer M

I have been in this relationship for 9 years and married for 5. Since we have been together he has left me 10 times. When we get into those challenging times he gets all of his things, furniture included and leaves. 2-3 weeks later he reaches out and is so sorry and he wants to give it his all again. This is both of our second marriages and share no kids together but we have children from our previous marriages and they are both 14 year old boys. They have seen the together and apart for all of these years. In the past we all lived in his house that he had prior to our marriage and after 7 weeks of marriage told me he couldn’t do this and my son and I had to move out and get an apartment. After we moved a few weeks later he wanted to work things out and try again. I finally ended up buying my own home during one of our splits and then he had moved in with us. He a few weeks ago told me again he couldn’t do this and I told him if he leaves this will never happen again. Well he left again and I have finally contacted an attorney to start divorce papers. Since then he has emailed me and texted me that he doesn’t want to split and he owns having issues and asking me not to give up on him. I have been in this for 9 years of my life, almost a decade and I am so tired and depressed that this is how I chose to live. I need the strength to keep moving in the right direction…..

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Ashley

Jennifer i can relate to you. I share no children with my husband but we both have of our own. Our relationship is so toxic and I’m ready to walk away. I worry that my children will be mad at me and ask why did i stay. I need to find strength to walk away.

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Mary Grace Y

Hi,, im newbie here.
I just want to have a really good advice for me and for my family.
I am with my husband a long time, i was happy with him, i want to live my life with him, we have 3 beaiutiful childrens, and i am confussed to myself because i always ask myself is it worth it to be martir in a relationship? It worth it for fighting for? It is either good for my children? I dont want to have a broken family so i stayed. Even if it drains me alot.
I love my husband but we have seperate kinds of life nature and sometimes when we are fighting i always think that how can i let go into relationship that give me hurtache a long time ago? I keep it always to myself because i want to grow my children to havea complete family and a happy simple life.
My huband is a good man but he cannot leave his mother on the side of everytime his mother justtell himwhat to do, need to be done, i cannot forbid his mother beacause i know he love her, but he has family to grow for to care for? And to do the things that he are truly capable of.
In 17 years we are together i suffer alot emotional. And iwant to change him but i knew i couldnt.
I want my husband have a courage and principle in life to get over with his mother.
I love my mother and father too i am not decieving his for loving his family but their family is starting to give a pain to my family and to my children but knowing that i am the only one who knows that and carry that.
I love my husband, i gave it all to him, but he cannot give it back the good things to me.
Evertine we fight about their mother of brothers i think i am the reason, that is my fault everytime?
Everyday is suffer with me.
I always look at the bright side and always pray to Lord that help me to ease my burden,
I have nothing to care for execpt my childrens happiness and their future.
I cannot let go of my husband beacause he always treaten me that when i go he will file a case against me and i dont know what is my fault to him? Even though i cares alot for my family.
I feel selfish sometimes because if i will let go and leave totally my husband it is worth it? Many time we discuss it about his family and i know he listem to me but then allways his mother wants to intervene to our relationship. He do not have a self decision on his own.
If we fight he tell to his family, but me ever since i love him i never tell any of my parents whats our problem.
I want him to grow, beacuse i love him,
I give all just to support him hiw to be a succesful in life but eventually his family is contradict in every plan or my plan to our family.
I just need to have a good advice and i want to live and healthy relationship. I always,always thinking of my children. I always kept the heartache in myself just to be sure my children is in ok and have a whole family always. But then i saw my self crying for help.
Many things my husband done me wrong but i forgive him and i thought he will change. Because he loves me
Too. But after 17 years that weve been together i feel helpless and drain. Sometimes i always smile to all my problem because i knew God have plans to us. And i always waited it, i have hope.
Please give me a good advice that i cannot regretting to be done for my entire life. It is worth it? How can you handle it? It is good to my children as well?
Thank you and have a nice day to everyone.
God bless us all.

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John

Why are there mostly women writing in this blog? I am in my 70s. I suspect my wife suffers from BPD, in addition to having had an alcohol problem since I have been with her (most of my life). I stay because I have hope she will get enough therapy and make the changes with drinking. If we split, I am sure I will be accused of abandoning her, even if she has initiated the split. Am I delusional in wanting to “fix” her?

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Carlins. A.

I don’t know what to do. I am 26, have 2 kids, I been married for 6 years and dont know what to do. I’m not in love with him anymore but I keep staying because of the kids., dont I deserve to be happy. He cut me off from the world, Now I have no friends, no social life. I feel numb. I have to tell him where I am going always. I dont feel like being intimate, should i file for divorce, but the whole court situation always crosses my mind and makes me scared. We have had alot of fight and the guilt trap always creeps up so I stay and then things get bad again. I’m on an emotional roller coaster, don’t I deserve to be happy?

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Jaz

Hey everyone, I see so many stories being told here and im not sure how similar mine may be to any one else’s, not that it particularly matters but I still feel myself relating to some of the things being said here. I met my, now husband, when I was 17. Upon meeting him I fell so madly in love with him it was almost startling considering i dont feel that emotional attachment to people regularly. We found it so hard to stay away from one another that within a week we had moved in with one another without ever realizing it. My things slowly made there way into his home and he was making room for my things. We began doing everything together, but even the simplest of things like sitting on the couch with one another felt like i had the greatest contentment with where I was. After a year or so he started talking of getting married and I felt I wanted to but I talked with him and explained id like to give it another year before we made that decision and he happily agreed. He was so passionate with me. Flowers for no reason, removing my make up for me after work when I was exhausted. Always showering together. It was endless romance and comfort with him. After 2 years we he proposed and i said yes, happily. And life went on as amazing as it had ever been. At about our 3 year mark thing’s began to change subtlety. He began wanting to add spice in the bedroom, experiment with me and seen what I was n wasnt okay with. I agreed because it felt exciting and things went on this way with no kinks for a while. I started feeling very poorly inside for bringing myself to doing these things because it felt like i was doing them more for him and cutting off my own feelings just to get through it. So I spoke to him about it and he really seemed to understand. During the end phase of us giving up this fling I made friends with someone for the first time in YEARS. And she was just like me in a lot of ways. But as time went on I noticed small things that were odd about the two but I didn’t think much of it because our trust had been so strong with one another up until this point. I suppose jumping to the point at hand would be easier. He spilt water on his phone and had to factory reset it one night, the next morning I woke up and seen over 200 messages that had come in and been re downloaded. He had been sleeping with her for over 2 months every Wednesday when her kids where at church with her family, and her husband was on his night shifts. He would stop by every Wednesday and spend time with her. Even done things in my home when id step out. He told her he loved her, that the sex was amazing, that he wanted to run away with her. This shattered me. I cannot describe the feeling that ate away at me then and still to this day, 3 years later and counting. Of course I left. I cried, I broke down emotionally. And in this time frame came around to realizing he loved me, and it shows. He has been more in tune with me now than he was to begin with which says something. But I almost feel like a broken vase that has been reassembled and glued back together. I cant hold the feelings I use to, i love him but I feel empty, I want to be here but I don’t. I want change I dont feel like i can reach for. This is where I am stuck. I have tried talking to a few people but nothing has ever struck me deep enough to feel like it could help. I have another friend who has been nothing but supportive and positive in my life as of late. And having them around has helped me get more of my energy back to trying to better myself and where I stand. But I’m still not sure if im the problem anymore. I feel like I’m being selfish and I don’t belong here or anywhere else, like I’m infintely floating in limbo. Id appreciate the insight from others on this but I just thought id share.

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lan

I have been in this relationship since 2014. If I could go back to that year I would. I say that to say this, it was sweet then but now I want out, but I don’t know how or where to start. I’m afraid of being alone , I’m afraid of pain due to I have felt it before and its something I’m afraid of feeling again. I mean I’m hurting while staying, but I cant stop the tears from falling when he leaves for a night or two. He is jealous , manipulative and disrespectful. I have kids by someone else and he doesn’t have any kids, But he acted as if he accepted the fact I already had kids and he treat them like their his own, but our arguments are always about my kids dad who I have no dealings with. I only speak to my kids dad pertaining our children together. However my boyfriend always use that as an excuse to cheat and talk to other women because he feels by me having kids by someone else we will always have some strings attached. He use to be the sweetest person in the word, but now everything is off. He packs his things and leave for a couple days, and I always finds out he use those days to cheat. He always blaming me for his actions. I’m not a saint but I’m not a cheater. Yes I have interacted by conversing with other guys through social media messaging. Only after telling myself this relationship isn’t working and I’m tired of hurting and accepting his wrongs. I tried several times to fix things I haven’t broken. He’s constantly pushing me away , saying foul things about me on social media, and blame it on his anger. I took him back several times after cheating thinking we can fix it, but I’m not happy anymore. He doesn’t help with any bills with a job, but he like to buy me things and ask for them back when we have an argument. I know crazy as it sounds, I have no clue what I’m holding on to. He talks down on me to his family , I was in his corner when his family wasn’t. I Helped him get a job just for him to get the job and throw it in my face that he is making his own money and not help me with any bills. I just need peace and strength. Things aren’t easy cause my heart is not responding to what my brain is thinking. I Just need advice

Reply
Hani

I’ve known my husband about 5 years and been married for 3 years after that. We have a 2 year-old daughter. Right after i gave birth, the daily basis-intimacy went off, such as no more holding hands, no cuddling, no kisses which we always do everyday. I struggled and told him that this is not right, I need to feel loved again, and our relationship feels so lonely. Always, he said that he’s sorry and will improve. But it is almost 1 year and the truth is, there are not much improvement. We decided that once-a-month-date is compulsory, but even during on date we don’t hold hands anymore. Recently, he started saying that in conversations, I always intended to win and he cannot have a decent conversation with me, on trivial stuffs such. And he decided that he won’t have conversations on such topics anymore, which make me feel that how can I live with a person that don’t think I am worth the conversations. Truth is, I feel very lonely in this relationship. Recently, I came up with the idea of doing the best of everything; I hold his hands when I want to, I kiss/ask for kiss when I want, I even ask for a hug out of the blue. But it actually very energy consuming for me, because I feel like I’m the only one trying very hard here. I’m not afraid of divorce anymore, it’s just I don’t know if that is the right thing, or do we actually have problem, or is it really me that thinks too much. He said that this is normal for every couples. I just want to feel loved again, and I know everyone has their own love-language but I don’t feel lovable at all.

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Sonny

Wow! This article put so many things in perspective.
If it feels bad then it is bad. 15 years bad!
Every time I decide to leave, he throws me off. Jan 2020 I said I will tell him I’m leaving. On Christmas 2019, he proposed. I said I’ll wait till March 2020 then the darn pandemic hit.
He’s verbally abusive – always argues with me and gas a short fuse. Additionally, no sex for 2.5 years and no intimacy for the last 10-15 years.
Finally, he treats me like I’m his personal atm machine. I make 6 figures and in his mind we’re married so it’s ok to ask. Not entirely his fault. Thought it was us not me. So I spoiled him. I paid for my house in cash – no mortgage. I bought his motorcycle, car, guns, mower and probably anything he has wanted. He has the luxury car and I get myself a Ford Focus.
I gave told him how I feel several times. He makes excuse after excuse “stress, kids, finances, health, my mother etc etc.”.
I’m so done!!! I’m due to come into some money and want to leave. Why haven’t I? Guilt! He was an alcoholic and my excuse is if I leave, it’ll be my fault if he begins drinking. But It is not! He’s a grown man and responsible for his own actions.
Thank you!

Reply
TJ

I recently left a 5 year relationship with my girlfriend. We met at an old job we both worked at. She was so quiet and sweet and shy I just knew she was harmless. But I was so wrong. The red flags started at the beginning. I mean literally, when we first started talking she was in anger management classes y’all for hitting on her ex girlfriend. I’m like “oh, she couldn’t possibly do that to me!” Which leads me to my first point, don’t be blinded by love. Or the potential of it. I just loved her smile and her dimples and her sexy voice and blah blah blah on and on. So wrapped up in la la land that she literally had to slap me back to reality. Her insecurities caused her to have deep rooted anxiety and glaring rage issues. None of which I even picked up on when we began dating because I was so wrapped up in her beauty and the mind blowing sex to realize the dysfunction. Disclaimer: here is another red flag. So we were freshly dating, maybe a month and a half, when I found out that she was actually dating two woman at once (me and some other girl she met online) while still attempting to get back with her ex! I was livid! And I immediately broke it off with her because I felt disrespected. That’s when the violence showed up for the first time. As I stood there maybe not 6 feet away from her, going into detail about how I felt disrespected and how my momma ain’t raise no fool, she proceeds to throw a full unopened can of beer at my face full strength and full speed missing my face by inches! I froze, terrified. By the time I realized what happened she was already on her knees crying begging me to stay with her and that it was a mistake. That should’ve been the point I left but I was truly blinded by love. Which brings me to my second point; Honey, don’t be stupid! Like what was I thinking, “oh she was just upset that I was breaking up with her and she apologized so it will get better.” Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking. Clearly making excuses for her behaviors. Making excuses for another person and won’t even give myself a break when I slip up and eat a large pizza and a family pack of Smirnoffs (Depression). Didn’t change the fact that what she did was inexcusable and could have severely damaged my face. But I live life on the dangerous side. More like the borderline homicidal side. Anywho, the story goes she would “think” something was happening (I was flirting when I was at work, some dude was staring at my but which was somehow my fault, I look to pretty to go to the store, and an endless selection of reasons why her behavior was acceptable and I was the cause of her anger) Then the questions would start which would lead to an argument which would in turn make her angry and that led to violence towards me. Lacerations, razor blade cuts, black eyes, broken teeth, bruises, scratches, etc. Not to mention the emotional repercussions. I was pretty messed up y’all let me tell you. And not to mention, my previous relationship was just as abusive. Well turns out, I was in what experts call a “toxic relationship”. No shit Dr. Phil. The problem I was facing over and over again was how was I going to detox my life? After a gajillion break ups to make ups to fake stuff (all the promises that they will change, but they won’t. Just trust me on this) I felt pretty worthless, severely depressed and just didn’t have the strength to keep up the constant torrent of insecurities and arguments. Plus I had conditioned myself into believing my relationship was the best I could do. It was a sad and lonely existence that seemed to have no ending in sight. But please know, you can’t always do better. No matter where you are in life or what you are going through, if you want to improve your situation, you have the opportunity and resources inside of you. So I decide to give it one last shot this April. The final hoorah! But I was smart this time and took off the rose colored glasses to see the monster for what she was. Just a broken sad little girl who wanted to be heard. Problem was by the time I finally saw her for who she was, I didn’t have any compassion or forgiveness left to extend. Which brings me to last and most important point; You cannot change people, your name is not Jesus Christ, stop tryna save people. I thought for the entirety of those 5 long years that my love was enough to make her all better and heal the hurt. But I was also hurt so I only succeeded in exasperating and heightening her mistrust. I was the personification of her fears realized because throughout the years of pain I never lost hope in myself. This was my constant and only source of strength. And it gave me the strength the break up with her numerous times. To assert my right to good treatment by her and love and respect. It forced her to face the idea of losing me. But again I only succeeded in reinforcing her childhood abandonment issues which in turn showed up in the form of emotional and verbal abuse. Are you detecting the pattern? Yeah, so did I finally. I had to accept that even with the best of my efforts her beliefs were intact and she would always believe that I was her enemy. She would never see the human in me and she would never be able to provide me with the kind or love that supports growth. It’s hard to be on the receiving end of a break up. The rejection the heartbreak it’s difficult. But I am convinced, it is just as difficult if not even more so to break up with someone that you love and thought would be your forever. More difficult to love someone so much that you have to let them go. And to replace the spot you reserved for them in your heart with yourself. Putting yourself at the top of that list instead. Remembering all the pain instead of all the lies of forever. Understanding that your future was a fantasy scenario that you made up in your mind and reality is much more daunting and tumultuous. Remembering the nights you were numb from emotional exhaustion and dehydrated from crying all of the tears in your body, in your whole existence. Use that pain as fuel. Organize your feeling and thoughts into the reasons why you have to leave them behind. I did. And the freedom and feelings of knowing that my future doesn’t have to be an “Unhappily Ever After” kind of story is worth the pain of letting go of that toxic person embracing the loneliness and gaining the independence and wisdom you need to apply in your life or next relationship to make it a successful one.

Reply
Nayd

Wow, if only I read this article long time ago, my life would be easier back then ????

Had been in a toxic relationship for 10 years. Ended up 2 years ago, thanks God. I never realized that I was in a toxic drama, since I was soooo deeply in love and was thinking to made us happy. Reading some early paragraphs on this article put tears on my face. Because that was what I feel. I only know that something was not right, but I didn’t want to leave, I chose to stay, tried to stand and be still.

For almost 8 years I was so stupid, day by day I thought that I am living on my best life, and I didn’t want anything else beside that ‘happiness’. I was crying a lot that time actually, going through abusive emotion and physical, lying and exhausted emotion. On the 7th year, he was cheating on me, and thank God, that was the moment which made me realize, “This whole time, I keep this relation as sweet as I wished for, but unfortunatelly that wish is only wished by me.” And I gave him what he want, I let him chose other girl than me. Shortly, he apologized and changed into the best boyfriend. I could say that he desperately didn’t want me to go from his life. So on our 8th year, I forgave him and back together. I didn’t know why, until now, exactly what happened to me. From our 9th and 10th year, day by day, month by month, my feeling for him was being reduced naturally. Gosh, I never knew what happen to me until now. And so on our 10th year, I requested to broke up. I didn’t cry at all. He was really mad, threatened me. And I kept going, until now. But something bothering me, after that drama, why do I feel sooo cold to a man and really hard for me to have the sparks feeling to a man. Been dating with some new man but I didn’t feel any. When in fact, those man are used to be my type. Am I in trauma or something? I don’t know what to do.

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Notlongerinlove

Having such a hard timing making the decision I know I have to make.. my partner and I have been together for 4 years now. He left his last relationship because he found out she was texting someone else. He explained all of this before we got serious and said he’d be a total wreck if he ever had to go through it again. He is 9 years old than me and has two children from this relationship. I was 23 when we met and had never really had a serious relationship before. I was never tied down to one person at this point for an extended time. Partying non stop. Making poor choices, lying and just an overall mess. It’s not a part of my life that I’m very proud of. After we met I really started to turn things around, I stopped partying, went back to school, got a good job. But for the first year of our relationship I was still working at a bar and I ended up kissing someone else (so not proud of this and regret it everyday) I also lied several time to him about where I was (going out with friends after work). I know I’m terrible, judge me if you will. HOWEVER, eventually I owned up to all of these things and although we had a huge fight about it we choose to stick it out and he said we’d be okay and that he’d forgive me. Since then I have given him nothing but honestly, loyalty, the perfect housewife you name it. We now have a daughter that is 1.5. Over the last three years he’s become so spiteful and hateful towards me. He acts my character and calls me a whore and slut. I feel so down on myself all the time and have zero confidence left at all. I try to stand up for myself and end up cowering because he gets scary. A few weeks ago I got mad because he poked me in the face and out of reaction I slapped him. He then instantly out of reaction slapped me so hard I flew into the kitchen counter. I just find that he’s becoming more and more aggressive lately. He tells me he loves me and wants to marry me but treats me like shit and talks to me like I’m worthless. I know I deserve more but I am hard on myself because he said he warned me and I created this. We have a beautiful child together and I hate the thought of her growing up in a broken home. But in reality our home is broken as it is. I have a huge support system with my family but I’m still scared. He is very much a depressed person. He’s gone through a lot in his life and I’m scared that if I leave he’ll do something to himself. I fight with myself everyday and then end up feeling guilty for feeling this way and not saying anything to him about it. I’ve threatened to leave before and even spent a few nights with our daughter and my parents place. He always says sorry and then things are good until they arnt. Leaving just seems so hard even though I know it’s what I should do. How do you tell someone that you still love them but you’re no longer in love with them.

Reply
dlw

You have all the gift that the heavens could give you in your daughter. Every move you make is meant to teach her how to move through this world. You know what you need to do if not for yourself, for her. Given my own history, I would put a plan together, an exit strategy if you will, before you have that talk with him. You may not see it now but you’re so lucky that you don’t have to take him to court to get a divorce.

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Susan

I hope you find strength to leave this abusive man & create the self worth you deserve. My mom never left my abusive dad & I think my relationships with men have been so messed up in part because of that. Growing up with a mom who has a healthy sense of self is way better than watching your mom get hurt by your dad, those memories cannot he erased & teach kids that abuse is normal. Good luck finding your path forward, you don’t deserve to be treated this way – he is broken & not yours to fix.

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Claire

I think we are the same person. I swear… I have a daughter too… just know you are loved and we can stay strong and leave when we are ready we just have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Nothing that’s worth having (a stress free, abuse-free happy home for our child) is not going to be easy. But we CAN do it

Reply
dlw

Please please consider watching a brilliant young man who has been through what you’re going through. His YouTube channel is called “Mouth of The Ape”. He is serene, patient, wise and vulnerable. His words will speak to you better than can I.
paz,

Reply
Jen

I am in a tough spot as well, I’ve been with my partner for 7 years married two out of the seven. I honestly wish I never let it get this far.. We recently had a baby together last year; In the mist of it I felt alone the whole time then after having our daughter; I was having issues with his mother to keep that situation short she says things like “if my son never left my house for you, he would still be with me” I want to mention that we’re in ours 30’s..any who, I had to deal with her and also learn that he was being dishonest with me about so many things it was just constant lies.. I had a rough postpartum, I was deeply depressed and would burst into tears easily, he would just stand in front of me and mock or laugh at me.. I’m heart broken, this pain hurts and i’m aware that it will hurt more if I stay in this broken marriage. Today he texted me (TEXT) implying we should get the divorce and also stating he would like to see how i’m going to make it without him.. (As if I never worked a day in my life) He gets a kick out of belittling me and has a issue every single time I speak up for myself..

I used to think this person was my friend, now he’s just a person I can’t stand. Part of is deeply afraid and I don’t even know why.

Reply
Pretty Me

Iam 24 and my boyfriend is 30 we met on a summer night I should of seen the red flags he was wasted but he was so charming and handsome I gave him my number then a couple days later I ran into him again with the same gf I was with the last time he didn’t even remember who I was at least I don’t think. He told me to put my number in his phone which was already locked in but in my head I thought it was funny for some reason… we have been together for almost 3 years now he lost his mother around the same time we got together so I could understand the drinking months later down the line. But it got worse. He has 2 children he left his 2nd baby mother for me and she would harass me break my mirrors off my car key my car until we got into a big brawl and after I held my ground it was no more. He not one time took my side not to her but to me behind closed doors blamed me and said I could have ignored it but whole time she has been bullying me for months. After the huge altercation later on that day he dragged me and I was asking me how do you like that I guess he was playing out the big fight we had had and he was just so angry with me like I caused it when I was defending myself and my property. He claim that I have no respect for him or his children or where he lives but honestly I have been nothing but nice to this man I let him drive my car I give and I give my all. He lies he cheats and when he’s intoxicated he steals. He verbally and physically abusive. I love him I do and I won’t call myself stupid or dumb I’m in love with who I met the fun wild and rebellious guy. But now he tries to not put his hands on me because when we fight we fight. Our sex isn’t great unless we are off X pills. And yes I’m a drinker occasionally too. Other than that when I’m with him I feel anxious aggravated and annoyed. I’ve carried 2 babies not full term because I would get so sick and all he would do is smoke and I couldn’t stand the smell and hey how long can I be away from him not even 3 days so I terminated both times. I really wanted it too not only the smoking but just because I don’t want my child going through all of this. So right now where at arguing everyday accuses me of things I don’t do I sit around while he’s drunk and listen to him ramble about his insecurities or him either not being around me but comes in his own house when I’m the company the next day with my car keys. So when he’s sober he’s a little nicer but I just feel the distance and I’m ready to leave I’m tired of trying to please a narcissist. But when I do leave he comes to my house with the baby I’m sorry take me back thing which is embarrassing. But everyone listen to me he has the purest heart and I know he has been hurt before so he puts on this disguise like I can’t read him but I know. He thinks I’m using him that’s another thing but it’s hard to go to work when he thinks I’m cheating or lien about where I go. I stay with him half and half of the time. I’m just tired of loving someone so full and I only get half. I just feel like I can’t be without him but I wanna know what it feels like to be without him if that makes since.

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Rebecca E

This article just so happens to be exactly what I needed which I find ironic at the moment because it highlights something I intentionally have repeated to my two daughters since they were born. I tell them that they have a built in and generally accurate way of knowing if a person or situation isn’t right for them. If one of them isn’t sure if someone or something is healthy for them I tell them to think about how they feel in their body when they are around the person or situation. I watch as they discover that the answer is pretty clear as they remember that they did notice getting a stomach right before seeing the person or being in a situation that they weren’t sure about. I also try to remember to randomly ask them to notice how their body is feeling at the moment and if one says they have a tummy ache or something we then take some time to check in about our surroundings or who is around to see if maybe we can figure out who or what might be the cause of the bellyache or if they don’t have anything physical hurts or if they notice they feel better than usual they should take stock of what is happening around them or who is with them so they can make a mental note about the things/people around and look for more of it. Today my husband and I had another fight which doesn’t happen a lot but when it does is always the same even if the details differ. Typically I will be the one who feels hurt or victimized and when I try to let him know that whatever just happened hurt m feelings he immediately gets defensive and might deny his behavior or blame it on something or someone else, or he will ignore my feedback entirely and flip it suddenly to where something I did or said hurt his feelings first or something about how me telling him he had hurt my feelings was the real issue because he’s never good enough for me or that I’m always telling him he failed again etc. Today’s fight felt different to me. As I listened to myself I suddenly realized that, while it’s not every day or even every week that we fight at all-it’s always the same because he either can’t or doesn’t want to do things differently. Suddenly the disappointment I felt was gone and instead I felt relief. I have been walking on eggshells for so long and felt stuck but realizing what I did or didn’t do wasn’t going to make a difference because it was up to him. To then read this article and once again feeling relieved because the answer is pretty clear that if it was going to change it would have and it hurts so it’s hurtful and I can let go of the notion that maybe it’s going to finally click after this one and if I leave now and the happiness I dreamed of was right around the corner, I would have never forgiven myself for giving up too soon. Realizing I know what to do is also a relief because I really don’t want to keep wrestling with the same thing over until I go back and apologize for the fight so we could move on-after all if we discussed any of it we’d just fight. Ack! Enough. My tummy hurts. Thank you for reminding me the answer was there all along

Reply
Nadia

Right now my hole thing is getting my children and myself out of this unhealthy relationship… But I’m having trouble getting myself to walk out the door fear of my husband being around the corner waiting for me to leave… So I’m fighting with myself.. I know what needs to be done. I know I’ll do the right thing because I’m a strong lady.. I’m just so scared. out of all the years of us fighting this time now.. I’m feeling fear.. Scared something really bad is going to happen. So please a pray and ask for prayers to find the courage to get up get my kids and get out of his line of fire

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Judy

I always say Im gonna leave because I know feeling like I feel its not healthy, we have a long distance relationship and we’re supposed to move in together in the fall but Im having second doubts, he doesnt take accountability for his actions, he doesnt know how to say Im sorry, he just replies with ”you’re right’ He tends to block me when we argue or call me by names, he says I would cry a river if he dump me, the last thing he told me was that he is gonna change because he doesnt want to lose me, but I feel so drained and honestly I dont know how to break up for good, I’ve tried and I feel stuck, everytime he calls me I answer and I dont why , like if a miracle its going to happen. I promised to myself that Im gonna give me a deadline and keep track of my feelings and how is my body reacting to all of this and if at the end of this month I dont see any good Im out.

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Angela

I ended up with my current partner after he pursued me for a year, everyone that knows him thinks he’s a great and honest guy. The first thing that came out was that he was seeing another woman behind my back for nearly 3 months, that is when I should have left him, it’s been over two years together now, he lies and keeps secrets constantly and has been violent a few times. He’s also extremely controlling. I only just found out that he is six years older than he said, all his friends were unaware of his true age. He has moved in with me because he will save money he says. I just can’t seem to accept the failure and continue along this path of destruction. I have lost my spark, drive , whatever you would call it and life is just one long gut churning worry about what I’ll find out next.
I think he hates himself.
My previous long term ex was a good strong man and I don’t know if I’m looking for a copy of him and setting the bar too high, ridiculous as that may sound.

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Cierra

Hi Angela, I know exactly what you’re going through when it comes to someone lying to you and cheating.This is the first time I’m ever coming out about my toxic relationship.It takes a lot to share your journey as mine has been a long year. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 2 years and in the beginning the relationship was so great full of love & kindness. I found out that he was lying to me a lot about small things and it wasn’t a big deal at first we made up but come to find out he was cheating and it wasn’t the first time. I told him I felt so empty and sick that he’d done that to me. He begged on his knees and promised to never put me through that again that he loved me,I accepted… 2 months go by and I discovered on his phone that he was once again was cheating and being sneaky. I told him I was done that I didn’t deserve this kind of treatment I t relationship. He continued to mentally abuse me. For the first time in my life a “man” had put his hands on me, it got very physical and as I’ll explain I’m only 120 lbs & 5’1 so it didn’t go well for me considering he was almost 6 ft and almost has 100 lbs over me.I was beat very badly and scared to leave. I was told I wouldn’t have no where to go and that he’d basically make my life hell.So I stayed. I had never been in a relationship like this before so it was all new to me but the crazy part about it was that I never would’ve stood for this before but I loved him so much I thought I could change him. It’s been off and on with love and physical / mental abuse and it’s almost been 2 years. Every time I get the courage to finally leave I never do. I’ve been so mentally and physically abused that I’m to scared to even leave out these doors. As I type this I was just screamed at in my ear & told horrible things so I’m sleeping on the couch. For anyone in any type of physical or mentally abusive relationships please get out in the beginning when things are bad. If things get bad call for help don’t ever stick it out because some things are better left alone and never turned back too.

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Gina

I have been in a relationship for 2 and a half years. I find that we have different sexual needs and he will get pouty if I reject his advances. He will do self destructive things for his career and act irresponsible whenever we get in a fight, knowing I will cave.
I usually cool down easier and reach out to him first, as I do care about him and have invested all my time and energy into this relationship. But it’s been getting more and more frustrating. I have become resentful and I call him out aggressively when he pulls away and acts childishly.
I want to walk away but at the same time it hurts to think about what it will mean.

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dlw

I would strongly ask you to consider the slot machine metaphor that goes something like this:

You keep putting good energy in to the relationship. Every now and then you get a small pay off. This gives you the belief that if you keep putting more energy in then you might get a big pay off.

There is a reason that slot machines are more successful than the people that play them. I say this to you because I find myself in this emotional situation where I am putting in good energy with infrequent payoffs. I am becoming fatigued at losing so much of my good energy.

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Kayla

I have been married to my husband for almost 2 years I’ve loved him and adored him since the age 13 im 33 now not even 2 months after we got married he left me while i was pregnant with our son and i had no clue why because we were so happy together i had no way to contact him he just left and stayed gone for about a month i couldnt call him nor speak to him at all … All the while im thinking he just left to get himself together as a man because we were struggling and he couldn’t provide like he wanted to… But oh no… I found out that he was with his baby mama sleeping with her to so called see his son bad mouthing me to her and sleeping with other females so i forgave hime allowed him to come back not even 2 months later he was not coming home and ignoring my calls due to him being with other females and this continued like every other week he didn’t want me around anyone had me cut all my friends and family off to be with his family.. He would get upset with me like it was my fault when i would address what he was doing to hurt me… Then he started becoming abusive choking me, smacking me, tossing me like a rag doll just because i would be angry confronting him about what he was doing to me so long story short every other month he would contact his baby mama to try to get back with her… Then he stopped for a while. Hasn’t stepped out that i know of within the last 7 months.. He doesn’t do anything but work and doesn’t work long hours might i add .. But complains all the time im pregnant now he acts as if im his maid i do everything for the kids i cant get his attention to save my life barely get a conversation…he doesn’t spend time with the kids… He wont even take out the trash he says that im supposed to do everything as long as he is working …he doesn’t even clean up behinnd himself.. Ever since he left the first time he has been like this ever since i cant even get him to look at at me or make eye contact but i have to witness him making deep eye contact with other women i try to talk to him and tell him what bothers me and try to get him to understand what im going through but he just cuts me off and continually direct everything towards him his needs and wants he does not even take my needs into consideration at all I’ve been knowing him all my life and never pictured him being this way towards me of all people… He has always given me respect and everything i needed and wanted before we got in a relationship but once he left me after we got married he has never been the same since and things have been toxic ever since he says i should just let it go and forgive him but yet i still dont get what i need i gave him my all and more i just don’t anymore to give at this point he doesnt respect me or how i feel he just blows it off…

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katy

Sister, you are so much better than him! So not worth your time, your money, etc. Dump his a$$. You will feel so much better after the storm.

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Naydiah

Had been in a toxic relationship for 10 years. Ended up 2 years ago, thanks God. I never realized that I was in a toxic drama, since I was soooo deeply in love and was thinking to made us happy. Reading 3 early paragraph on this article make me in tears. Because that was what I feel. I only know that something was not right, but I didn’t want to leave, I chose to stay, tried to stand and be still. For almost 8 years I was so stupid, day by day I thought that I am living on my best life, and I didn’t want anything else beside that ‘happiness’. I was crying a lot that time actually, going through abusive emotion and physical, lying and exhausted emotion. On the 7th year, he was cheating on me, and thank God, that was the moment which made me realize, “This whole time, I keep this relation as sweet as I wished for, but unfortunatelly that wish is only wished by me.” And I gave him what he want, I let him chose other girl than me. Shortly, he apologized and changed into the best boyfriend. I could say that he desperately didn’t want me to go from his life. So on our 8th year, I forgave him and back together. I didn’t know why, until now, exactly what happened to me. From our 9th and 10th year, day by day, month by month, my feeling for him was being reduced naturally. Gosh, I never knew what happen to me until now. And so on our 10th year, I requested to broke up. I didn’t cry at all. He was really mad, threatened me. And I kept going, until now. But something bothering me, after that drama, why do I feel sooo cold to a man and really hard for me to have the sparks feeling to a man. Been dating with some new man but I didn’t feel any. When in fact, those man are used to be my type. Am I in trauma or something? I don’t know what to do.

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Nella

I’ve been in a relationship for 18 years and in the beginning it was wonderful he visited me bot everyday but he came more then most with me being a young girl and in my mind in like ok it’s just going to be some fling stuff for the summer but he made me feel great like he really wanted something real and new and even though he was older than me I felt it was real,and then i got pregnant and things went down hill for years i mean years and i steel haven’t left I don’t feel happy most of the time I feel like he doesn’t motivate me he always criticizes me I’ve gotten to the point where I start stuff cause I’m so use to the bs I don’t have no friends I’m scared to be around family because I’ve shut myself down from them for so long that I feel weird around them really don’t know what to do.

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Candy

I left my dead marriage and became involved with a man I met in my 20’s, 30 years ago. I love him. Thought when we met up again that I still did. I do believe I do. But the relationship is so strange he’s not affectionate, well sometimes, when he’s drinking,. He loves his kids, which is great , but I get thrown under the bridge a lot because he’d do anything – and everything for them. Sometimes it feels like we’re just roommates. He’s always big on what he wants. He becomes angry if I ask for more. Am I too needy? I believe I just want to have a healthy relationship. But he’s so stiff. No cuddling? Hand holding ( very rare occasions) feels very lonely. Controlled. He has conversations with his baby momma, they aren’t involved, but he deletes them now after I saw a couple of them. Nothing bad, but there must be something if he’s deleting them right ?? I have opportunity to leave and now I can’t decide. I love him and want to stay, but I keep getting hurt . I cry a lot. So why the hell do I not run out the door? Just to give you an idea- I get a quick peck in the morning, when he gets home from work, and before bed. That’s the norm. Occasionally the get a few extra- if there’s intimacy, or he’s drinking. But then back to the 3 a day non- feeling pecs. And in between that it’s pretty shallow, what’s for dinner, any clean socks? Please help! I can sign a lease and move tomorrow. But I’m struggling.’

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T

I’ve been a relationship for 4 years with my GF. I walked away 2 months ago and am still struggling. She said over and over that she needed space, wanted to be more selfish, and is finding her voice. This past summer she went on a girls trip with her children (Of which i was not allowed to join) and met up with her ex. I found myself drinking more and more. I got tired of being put down and called names. Tired of being made to feel pointless and worthless. I over the past 6-8 months found myself yelling as much as she did and putting her down like she did to me. I was embarrassed that this is what I’ve turned into as a man. The last straw was her birthday trip to Vegas. She said she needed space, then she said she wanted to work on the relationship. When she got back she said she doesn’t want to work on the relationship. I packed my stuff and left 2 day’s later. It’s been 2 months since and I can’t get her out my mind and still call. I’m hurt because I’m not sure if i could have fixed things. She said things would have been possible if i would not have made such a hasty move out. Was I wrong? Could i have done it different?

Reply
Naydiah

I think, you already did great. Leave her. Some girls using words, “I need space” meaning “go away!” in real. She’s not worth for you. Try to make yourself busy and prove to her, you become a great and success man.

Reply
FD

You made the right move. She’s said things would have been possible if you would had not made a hasty move? That’s an excuse to pin blame on you. More than likely it would not have made a difference. Move on and try not to pour your love and attention to someone who doesn’t reciprocate. The love you have to give is not worth any less than anyone else’s. If it is not mutual, it won’t work. Always put yourself first. Good luck. You don’t need her.

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Anxiety can mean danger, but it can also mean there is something brave or important they need to do. 

The problem is that anxiety will feel the same for both - for brave, growthful, important things (scary-safe), and dangerous things (scary-dangerous). 

Of course if they are in danger, we need to protect them from that. But as long as they are safe, we have another very important job to do - to give them the experiences they need to recognise they can handle the discomfort of anxiety. 

If the brain hasn’t had enough experience of this brave, important thing, it’s going to be on guard - not because this is dangerous, but because it’s unfamiliar, hard, unpredictable.

Ask, ‘Is this scary-safe, or is this scary-dangerous?’ If they are safe, help them recognise their anxiety is there because they are about to do something brave, or important, or something that matters. The existence of anxiety is exactly what makes it brave. Then ask, ‘What’s one little step you can take towards that brave, important thing?’ 

It doesn’t matter how small or how long it takes. What matters is the experience of handling the discomfort of anxiety. Courage is not about outcome, but about handling that discomfort. If they’ve handled that discomfort this week for longer than they did last week, then they’ve been brave enough. These are the profound, important, necessary foundations for recognising they can feel anxious and do brave.♥️
Sometimes the hardest thing about talking to someone about our ‘stuff’ is starting the chat. Let them know that if they ever want to talk, it will be enough (and so brave) if they come to you with something, like, ‘I want to talk but I don’t know how to start,’ and you’ll help them from there. 

Even when they’re so small, they’re noticing how we handle the little things to gauge how we’ll handle the big things. 

Are we available? Are we warm? Are we safe? Do we try to hurry their words and feelings? Or are we patient and gentle? Do we jump too quickly to problem solving? Or can we listen even when the words don’t make sense? Can we handle the messy stuff? Or are we best when things are tidy. (And big feelings, big thoughts, and big questions are rarely ‘tidy’ - important and necessary - but rarely tidy.)

Let them know you can handle any of their feelings and any of their thoughts. Even if the words and feelings are messy, that’s okay - the important part is to get them out.♥️
Oh I’m so excited about this! I’m joining @michellemitchell.author, @maggiedentauthor, and @drjustincoulson for the Resilient Kids Conference. We’ll be coming to Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Launceston. This is going to be so packed with information and strategies to support young people towards courage and resilience. We know our kids have everything inside them be brave, strong, and resilient. Now to make sure they know it too. We’d love you to join us.♥️

Tickets on sale now. (https://www.resilientkidsconference)

…

@resilientkidsconference We are in love with Karen Young - Hey Sigmund's blog Hey Sigmund... and I know so many of you have her children’s books in your home. Why not come and meet her in person? She’s equally as fabulous. 

Karen is going to talk about being stronger than anxiety. For many anxiety is an intrusive part of everyday life, with the effects often stealing into families, classrooms and friendships. Anxiety can potentially undermine the way children see themselves, the world and their important place in it – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Anxiety is very manageable when it is recognised and responded to. 

If you like to have a further look at what she will be speaking about, you can find it here: https://www.resilientkidsconference.com.au/
It is so true thay anxiety can feel brutal for so many young people (and older ones). Sometimes we, the adults who love them, also get caught in the tailwhip of anxiety. We wonder if we should be protecting them from the distress of anxiety, while we look at them wishing so much that they could see how magnificent and powerful and amazing they truly are.

Anxiety has a way of hiding their magic under stories of disaster (‘What if something bad happens?’) and stories of deficiency (‘I’m not brave enough/ strong enough for this.’)

But we know they are enough. They are always enough. Brave/ new/ hard things (scary-safe) will often feel the same as truly unsafe things (scary-dangerous). Anxiety can’t tell the difference. It’s like a smoke alarm - it can’t tell the difference between smoke from burnt toast and smoke from a fire.

Just because a smoke alarm squeals at burnt toast, this doesn’t make it faulty. It’s doing exactly what we need it to do. The problem isn’t the alarm (or the anxiety) but the response.

Of course, sometimes getting safe is exactly the right response, and sometimes moving forward with the anxiety is. Their growth comes in knowing which response when.

Our job as their important adults isn’t to hush the noise or the discomfort that comes from their anxiety, but to give the experiences (when it’s safe) to recognise that they can feel anxious and do brave.

Anxiety is not about breakage. It is a strong, powerful, beautiful brain doing exactly what brains are meant to do: warn us of possible danger.

Danger isn’t about what is safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. ‘Danger’ can be physical or relational (any chance of humiliation, judgement, shame, exclusion, separation). Brave, new, hard things are full of relational threats - but they are safe. Scary, but safe.

Growth comes from having enough experiences with scary safe to recognise that they can feel anxious, and do brave. Having those experiences might feel too big sometimes, but as long as they aren’t alone in the distress of that, they are safe.

They can feel anxious and do brave. ‘Yes you are anxious, and yes, you are brave.’ ‘Yes you are anxious, and you are powerful.’♥️
Such a great night with over 100 parents at Gumdale State School, on how to strengthen young people against anxiety. I love this school. First, staff joined me for a workshop, then parents. 

This school is doing so much as part of their ‘everyday’ to support the wellbeing of students. When the staff and parent community are able to share the same language and the same ideas around anxiety and wellbeing, students will feel the wrap around of their important adults around them. This will help make sure young people in the very best position to learn, connect, and grow. These kids are in strong, capable hands.♥️

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