Most of the time people associate toxic relationships with weakness. Someone who is weak, someone who doesn't have enough self- respect to leave, and someone who tolerates a lot less than they deserve.
As someone who has lived through this type of relationship, I consider myself strong, not just for going through it but having the strength to leave it in the end. When looking back at the relationship, at first I felt cheated and used but now all I am is thankful. Thankful for the lessons it taught me, thankful for the strength I've gained from it and thankful that I was shown something so crucial.
Like anything, a person, whether that be a friendship or relationship, can become addicting in a way just like drugs or alcohol. It consumes you and becomes something you need to function. It's finding comfort in something that is destroying you.
My personal experience consisted of mind games and doubts and questioning every move I made and every word I said. It was making each other mad just because we could. It was fighting about almost every little thing or giving someone almost 100 chances, while barely giving others two. I could go on and on about it, but I won't.
How can a toxic standard be the one I had?
Here's the thing about these types of relationships, they aren't all bad and don't necessarily start out bad.
In fact, there was a lot of good in my experience. They were a person that I could go to if I was having a bad day and almost every conversation had the words I love you somewhere in them. It was simple looks that said everything that I wanted them to. I can honestly say that even with all the bad stuff I loved them. It was one that, looking back now, I'm glad happened because it set the template for all the good things I could want in a person. As crazy as that probably sounds.
Another thing to point out about these types of relationships is that the person doesn't just change overnight, it builds over time and often times you don't see it coming. That's probably the worst part.
It was only fairly recently though that I discovered the effects it left on me. In almost every one since then, I've looked for some part of the relationship. I've questioned people's moves and motivations for getting to know me, been nervous to say no or constantly have to make some big excuse to not do something just because I didn't want to do it, and even thought that it was normal to be treated that way. When finally, somewhere along the way, I realized that it wasn't normal.
Life after a toxic relationship is sort of like a recovery in a way.
You admit there is a problem and you fix it, you build yourself up in such a way that even when you're tempted you don't want it. Because you understand the effects it has on you. It doesn't come easy but once you do it, you don't know why you let it have the effect it did in the first place.
I think a part of me will always care for them to an extent and possibly look for some of their better qualities in others but the truth is I don't want them anymore. And there's a bittersweet moment that comes with that followed by a feeling overcome with peace in realizing it.
Be true to yourself in knowing what you need, but don't let that relationship cause you to have such terrible views of the rest of the world.