If there's one thing that's devastating about an ending relationship, it's the people you turn into afterward. It's the mean words that go back and forth, and the penetrable anger that aches inside of you. It's the feeling of wearing your heartbeat on the outside of your chest and wanting to do anything to stop the pulsing.
The first time I fell in love, I fell hard. I would have said or done anything he asked me to. I allowed him to blame me for any issues we had and took it on as an insecurity.
I wore the blame like a blanket and continually apologized, while he ignored me at every turn.
In looking for validation from him, I received nothing but anger back. He called me a child and told me I was toxic. He convinced me that texting to check in was wrong and that it was normal to go multiple days without speaking to your partner.
He wore me down and made me even more insecure. He made me feel like I was crazy. And I kept thinking that he was the one. I kept thinking that because he never called me a "bitch," and he never hit me or raised his voice to me, that he was still a good guy.
And he was, right until our relationship started to go south.
He was angry, constantly spewing hatred and impulsive language, while I was careful not to name-call or give back to him the negativity he was giving to me. I kept thinking if we ever got back together, I didn't want that hanging over my head.
I didn't want to regret anything.
So in my next relationship, I held back. I gave a lot of space – too much space.
I became a doormat and was walked all over. I was so fearful of being called "toxic" or "crazy" for wanting someone to be around more than once a month that I allowed him to come and go as he pleased.
And he took complete advantage. I could have been mean and angry. I could have yelled at him or called him names.
But I was trained into thinking that being quiet about my feelings was the right thing. It took a while to learn how to stand back up for myself, to learn what is OK and what isn't.
If there's one thing I know is the most important, it's that I have never spat back mean words. I have heard them over and over from different exes, but I have made it a point to never be that person.
I kept thinking that it just wasn't worth it.
Recently, I have had 3 different exes reach out to me. I have no idea why they all show up at the same time, but evidently, that's the way it's done.
Each of them reached out and talked about missing me and our friendship. Then, they each pointed out that I was never mean to them.
This just makes me laugh because I knew this the entire time I dated each of them. Why it took them years after the fact to notice, I have no idea.
But ladies, they will notice! Eventually. And it will probably be way too late when they do!
But your integrity is not worth the words. It's not worth the name calling or the anger. It's simply not worth it.
In the end, I guess I kind of won.
I will always know that I wasn't the hateful one. I will live my life guilt-free, without the urge to reach out and make amends.
And that's the only feeling I need.
Your heart will heal, but your reputation and your feelings about yourself will always hold some form of guilt or negativity.
So if you're pissed off and a break up is going south, just hold it in.
Express yourself. Be honest. But don't be cruel.
He really is NOT worth it.