I read a quote on Instagram recently that really stuck with me. Like it stuck to me like white on rice. I couldn't get it off my mind.
"Being afraid to ask for what you need in a relationship is a trauma response"
Oof. Why did this hit home, so hard? For me, I know why it's so clarifying. We all have a past. And mine sure did make me learn a lot of things. I learned what I wanted out of a significant other, and I learned a lot about myself. I was so conditioned to the idea that my opinion didn't matter. And when I gave it, it ended in a nasty fight that would linger for days. So I picked my battles and chose when the pain was great enough, only then I could voice my opinion. Can you say toxic?
Being afraid to ask for what you need in a relationship is a trauma response. Trauma seems like a heavy word. But it's pretty on point. If you want a different response, you need to react differently. That breaks the cycle. But those little triggers creep back in, confusing you if it's a red flag or just your previous baggage rearing it's ugly head back into the picture. When you are used to something for so long, it becomes normal. You don't question it much. But when you take a step away, you can see the patterns and the behavior. You can see that maybe that relationship was more toxic than healthy. That maybe that relationship taught you more about what you want for your future than anything else.
I like to think that even from the most painful experiences can come something beautiful. I had many in previous relationships. And while I'd never like to relive them, I was able to take so much away. I learned more about what I would put up with and what I deserved from a partner. It's funny how sometimes a little pain is all you need to motivate you. To leave the relationship, to quit the job, to find the new apartment, whatever it is. When the pain becomes so uncomfortable you can't take it anymore, is when real growth happens. And that's when you can break those traumatic responses. That's when you can create a new pattern. That is when you can see the growth in yourself.
But I think the biggest silver-lining is this. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need in a relationship. And if you are afraid, do it anyway. We can have "traumatic" responses to anything in life, not just relationships. But how we respond makes all the difference. We don't need to let our past define us. We don't need to let our traumas continue on a unhealthy pattern. We have the control in our hands, to create a response we want. And most importantly, to create a life we want. Something may feel similar from the past. Like the saying "if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck.." but maybe it's actually a goose. Not everyone is going to hurt you the same way as your past. Not everything that raises a red flag, is in fact a red flag. I used to operate solely on that belief. I believed that if it was something that felt even an ounce similar to a past situation, I was out. I would react the same way and that was it. But the thing about that is, you can't expect a different outcome with the same reaction.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
- Albert Einstein
I wanted a healthier future. I wanted to live a life where toxic was something I referred to from my past, not present. Yet I was expecting these negative situations to just vanish without any change on my behalf. You can't diminish trauma, and what you went through. But you can take it, grip it tight with both hands and squeeze it. Imagine taking a lemon with both hands and ringing it out to get as much juice as possible. Pretend that is your trauma, and milk it for every ounce you can get. Use that juice, to push you forward not bring you back. Let that be your stepping stones for an improved future.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi
Be that change you wish to see in, YOUR world. You are capable of so many things. Changing your reaction, your future, how you see your past, is all in your control. And isn't that a beautiful place to be? To know that your past, is simply there to help guide you into a future you want to create.
- To The Girl Stuck In A Toxic Relationship ›
- 14 Lessons I've Learned Since Ending My Toxic Relationship ›