Your body aches. You can feel the surge of agony overcoming you-withering throughout every muscle, and crevice of your being.

In most cases, punches were not thrown, screams were not exchanged, yet the physical pain becomes overbearing. It's the worst kind of pain. The kind that sits at the bottom of your stomach, awakened at random hours of the day, reminding you it's there and in need of your attention. It's the same pain that makes you stop eating, stop drinking, and stop living altogether. This pain has taken root within the weak parts of your mind, and it feeds off anything negative, enjoying the buffet of pain which you've so graciously provided it with. You once were a freethinking individual, with a right to your own emotions and feelings, taking life one day at a time, and focusing on the betterment of yourself. Since you met him, all of that has disappeared, along with your identity and happiness.

What you used to love to do you were no longer able to enjoy. He did not like your taste in music, so you never listened to it when you were together. He did not like your favorite boots, so you threw them in the back of your closet and pretended to forget. He liked sleeping on your favorite side of the bed, and wouldn't even let you sleep there once. You ate where he liked, drank what he liked, and hung out with the people he liked. You were living your life but not one decision you were making was for your own benefit, instead, it was all for him and his satisfaction. You soon saw yourself becoming a pawn in a twisted game, one you knew he'd played before with other women. In fact, you were warned.

You were told about his past, his bad habits and immature behavior. Yet, you were foolish enough to disregard all those words, and continued making one wrong decision after another- you did not think, and you were stubborn, and for what? Not once did this man show any true compassion or empathy for how you felt. Each time you tried to bring up an issue in the relationship, he would shut you up, close you like an unwanted book and leave you on an empty shelf to collect dust until he was ready to pick you back up again.

Looking back at it now, you wish you could shake yourself into reality because the relationship was something out of a nightmare. To think that you were convinced you loved him, and maybe, he even loved you too. Unfortunately for you, the only person this man loved was himself. He was never capable of loving you the way you deserved to be. How childish of you to think your relationship was anything but toxic. After all, the red flags were all there. Heavy drinker- check. Anger problems- check. Selfish-check. Flirted with everyone- check. The list went on and on, yet to you, these red flags were overshadowed by his charm and occasional tenderness. His actions seemed excusable if accompanied by words you wanted to hear and actions you wanted to see. It is all quite unfortunate, and it hurts knowing the person you cared for so much could have hurt you the way he did.

Eventually, the relationship became too strenuous, even for him, with both parties exhausted trying to convince one another that it could work out. Tears were shed, on your part, and aggressive language was used on his until one day the relationship ceased to exist. You felt both sadness and relief at the same time and wondered how you would be able to move on with your life. Although he is gone, you can still feel his toxicity on your skin and in your mind. You wonder if you will ever be able to open your heart up again, after all, no one wants to re-live the same pain twice.

Luckily for you, no one has to cause you such emotional pain ever again. Yes, your past relationship took a toll on your mental and physical well-being, but that does not mean you are not a strong enough person to get back on your feet and make a life for yourself. This man treated you like no woman should ever be treated, and now you know. You know the signs- the red flags, you are now capable of spotting these red flags on every man you meet. Without him, you are now stronger, fiercer, and in no mood for games. It is important you realize your self-worth, and how no one- not a single man- should be the cause of doubt regarding your worth. Be happy to have been rid of that toxic human, and stand tall and proud for getting through it. Do not let anyone put out your flames ever again. Rise like the sun and burn ever so lightly over those who would not let you.