"Why do you keep hurting me?"

"I don't know, I guess because you let me."

It's a tough pill to swallow, hearing these words come from someone's mouth. It's a painful realization to know someone hurts you simply because they have the opportunity to do so. And it's even more of a painful realization to be the one handing them the opportunity over and over again. Whoever said opportunity doesn't knock twice obviously never met me.

I've allowed myself to get hurt before, and not in a naive way, not in a sweet way, but in a stupid way, a foolish way. I knew I was giving someone to power to hurt me over and over and over again and yet I continued to do so. Although it was on the other person for seizing this opportunity to cause me pain, it was also on me for handing this opportunity over so easily.

Why did I do it? I ask myself a lot.

There a lot of different answers as to why I, and others, constantly fall into toxic patterns knowing exactly where the toxicity leads them. For one, it's a sort of addiction, or a really terrible habit, like falling asleep with all your make up on or sleeping past your alarm even though it'll make you late. There is a certain exhilaration in making a decision that isn't necessarily good for you but definitely feels good in the moment.

Another reason definitely relates to self-esteem, because people with high self-esteem don't make bad decisions on purpose, people with high self-esteem don't knowingly put themselves in a bad situation just for fun. I'm not saying everyone who makes bad choices had terrible self-esteem, but there are definitely underlying issues beneath the poor choices we make.

For me personally, I have a lot of self-doubt and struggle with my worth. I'm scared of being vulnerable and relying on other people. I don't always necessarily believe I'm worth the love and affection other's give me, and I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the people around me to realize that as well.

Which leads to the main reason as to why I fall into the same toxic pattern, and it's because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy for me. I question if I deserve to be cared about, so I place myself in a relationship that reflects that. I'm scared of being hurt, so aline myself with someone who I know will definitely hurt me.

There is a safety in knowing exactly how something is going to end, even if that ending is terrible. I would rather spend time crying over the same pain than open myself up to a new and unknown situation. It's safe, it's comfortable, even if it makes me miserable.

I always wondered why I could move past my toxic relationships. The truth is that I didn't really want to. It was a lot easier to pour my issues into a bad situation than to actually face them. It validated how I felt about myself, and it was safer than putting myself in another situation that would lead to real vulnerability.

I'm not perfect, and I make bad decisions. I'm working on forgiving myself for these mistakes and forgiving myself for getting hurt. People are going to hurt me, and sometimes I'm going to let them. And I should forgive myself for that. I'm very forgiving towards others, so I'm going to try to give myself the same courtesy.

I'm also going to teach myself I'm worthy of other's affection, love and caring. I've been working on this for awhile, but I obviously still have a lot way to go. I don't want to hold people at arm's length in fear; I want to let the people I care about into my life without hesitation or anxieties. I deserve reliable, loving relationships, and once I truly believe that, I know my toxic patterns will be broken.