To start, we need to clarify a common misconception about toxic relationships. They can come in any form of relationship, even within friendships and families. These are the trickiest toxic relationships because you don’t always expect them. It can be as simple as a friend who makes you doubt your outfit choice, or it can be as extreme as a parent who tells you that you’re not good enough. Either way, it’s still terrible and you do NOT deserve it.
It’s always so difficult to realize that you’re in a toxic relationship because of how manipulative the person can be. They make you perceive yourself in a different way and build you up just to tear you down. It’s never 50/50. It’s usually more like 80/20, and I can assure you that it’s going to be you giving the 80%.
They make you work so hard for their approval and always make you feel like shit if you do something that doesn’t go along with what they want. And you let them. You let them make you feel the way you do and let them slip into your life because you’re kind, open, and unknowing of who they really are. And then you allow them to make you believe it's your fault when everything goes wrong in the relationship.
It’s so hard not to blame yourself when someone is so manipulative and cunning. And they get as close to you as possible just to stab you in the back over and over again. But eventually, after you have realized how controlling your “friend” (or whoever that person is in your life) has really become, you decide that you really need to make a change. This realization becomes your first step of strength. Realizing that you are good enough becomes the second step, and the third is then cutting this toxic relationship out of your life.
For me, the second step has always been the hardest. Telling myself that I am good enough has never come easy because of how these relationships have made me perceive myself. By my senior year of high school, I realized how much a certain relationship had really taken its toll on me. I decided that if I wasn't going to make the change at that time, I never would be able to. I would let the relationship completely consume me. Slowly, I let go of that person in my life, and by the time I got to college, we had basically stopped talking.
By cutting this person out of my life, I was able to learn to love myself and to feel more confident in who I am. I'm now able to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am good enough, and I don't let what has hurt me so much in the past change who I am today. If anything, I allow my experience to help me grow and become a stronger individual because of it.
I don't think I'd take back my experience with this person because of how much it taught me about myself. I don't ignore the fact that the torment and manipulation went on for so long, but I embrace the fact that I overcame it. I thank the relationship for making me realize what is and isn't appropriate in all future (and healthy) relationships I will have.
Now I ask you, the reader, to love yourself enough to understand that your toxic boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, or family member does not deserve you. You're worth it, you're strong, and you're so much better than what you think reflects back at you in the mirror. So, cut the person that makes you think otherwise out of your life, and embrace the message that they left behind. No one should ever make you doubt just how amazing you truly are.