Breaking up with people, with things – it's something I have become increasingly skilled at as I have journeyed down the path of healing from trauma in my life.
At some point along the way, the path brought me to a point where although I may try and run to the toxic behaviors that were my survival and coping mechanisms, I no longer seem to be able to hold onto them for long. I am no longer able to convince myself that they are all that I deserve, or that they are healthy, or will make me happy in the long run.
See, this is a victory. It is a screaming at the top of my lungs, "F*ck yeah, you go Celina," victory. Because, although I sometimes allow these toxic breaks on the path to continued healing, I have never stopped healing.
I am the epitome of "pull yourself up by the bootstraps," and I deserve a damn pat on the back.
With this being said, though I have realized that healing has no "destination" and that I may be 80 someday crying on (hopefully) my husband's shoulder, because "damn it, why did I deserve to be abused," I do hope for, and have witnessed, a healing path where toxic breaks are no longer taken. It's one where although you may need a mental health day or month, you don't run to toxicity.
Toxic behaviors due to trauma in one's past are like addictions. They often hurt not only us but also kill those around us who love us and watch us run to them. Someone once told me it takes an average of seven relapses for an addict to truly stay "clean." This means for some it takes two times – awesome. And for some, it takes 14, but even that person continued down the path to healing.
To everyone who has been hurt by watching me hurt myself or was hurt because I only allowed you in as a poison of choice, I'm sorry. Here is my official break up letter with that toxic behavior.
Dear toxic behavior,
Man, you light up my f*cking sky on some nights. On those nights I feel disgusting because my body has been taken from me before, because my depression is extra debilitating, or because my ex's words creep into my head screaming that I'm stupid, you look like the most glistening hot plate of damn chocolate chip pancakes.
You look great, but I hate you. When I just want to feel loved, you creep up and offer a shell of a man, and you allow me to convince myself that if I just starve myself a little extra, or spend two hours per day in the gym, or buy those clothes I don’t have money for, that I can be enough for him to love.
You are every extreme, and damn it, I do not have time for that anymore.
You are unaffordable Plan B pills and skipping church because the next morning, I hate myself, and I let you convince me Jesus does too (He doesn't).
It was one too many drinks and dignity lost puking behind a building or the person I had felt so strong saying no to at first, but finally caved to when you presented yourself in the moments that I remember my traumatic past. It makes me think, "What if this is the only person that will ever love me?" You feel good in the moment, but you end up as a painful week of reconciliation with myself, and sometimes those around me.
You are the abusive partner that I allow back in, that I tell myself will change, that I convince myself is the only person who will ever love me. You are every man I end up having to send packing because I just want to be loved but realize I have only let in a person that is a reflection of what I must see as my self-worth when it is actually so much more.
You make me wake up with a stomach ache when I literally do not feel like eating, but I feel such a hole in my heart that I convince myself that the hole is in my stomach and gorge myself with a larger second dinner than my first. You are every glistening decision that I later regret, you are every "yes" despite my gut-wrenching feeling to say no.
Goodbye, toxic behavior, we are done. When you present yourself, I will say no, I will gain strength because you are the crackling, mesmerizing fire, that only burns me in the end. I no longer wish to be burned.