We often find there are people who judge us for being or having been in a toxic relationship. They have no idea what they are talking about as they haven’t endured that type of relationship so therefore have no idea how it feels and the abuse suffered.
To survive such a relationship takes strength and courage but along with that comes shame as we feel ashamed of allowing someone to treat us this way and no amount of talking to other survivors takes that shame away until we are ready to do so.
When you leave the relationship you are absolutely not broken even though it feels like that, what you are is bruised and scared deeply but let’s be honest no one leaves a fight for their life without something to show for it.
When in a toxic relationship they work on bringing us down, they want to see us broken beyond repair and it is in this exact treatment of us that we find the strength we never even knew we possessed.
You do hit rock bottom there is no denying that, but you do get back up!
Leaving a toxic relationship is never easy, and it doesn’t help that most people around you take the view that now you are out of it everything is ok. Everything is far from ok! as now you have to fight to get your own self-worth back and face the reality of a new beginning, so the toxic relationship lingers longer as you battle your healing journey.
The aftermath is just as traumatic as the relationship itself.
You lived with that person for a long time, there was love there even if it was only one-sided, you felt love for that person until they turned into a monster and even then you still felt love as you thought you could love them into being the person you once fell in love with, and that is where a lot of the feelings of shame come from, as you struggle to come to terms as to how you could be so wrong about someone.
Normal life, whatever normal is these days is a battle to accept all of its own. You lived for so long explaining yourself, living on a timescale for even the simplest things like grocery shopping that now you are alone and you go grocery shopping you find yourself rushing around acting as if you are still be monitored, sounds silly doesn’t it but it is true, it isn’t until you pull yourself up and tell yourself its on your own timescale now that you learn and yes you do have to relearn to shop at your leisure, taking time to choose items that were once forbidden, buying what you want, eating what you want, drinking what you want, and in doing this it shows you how much you were controlled over something so simple.
Every day you are reminded of how much you were restricted in the relationship, so each reminder is faced and won on your own terms. Little by little you regain yourself back and little by little you place that part of the past firmly into its box and place the lid shut tight.
You get asked out by friends and you instinctively say no, why? Because that is what you always had to say, now you don’t have to, now you can choose to go out or stay home, you are now back in control but it does take time for your brain to get into that mind step, so it is always helpful if that friend gently reminds you that you answer to no one but yourself now.
You will have good days and bad days, some days the memories appear to have faded a little and you can be happy doing something when suddenly out of the blue that dark memory rears its ugly head and you feel like you are falling apart, just know this is perfectly normal, you haven’t failed in your recovery, you are absolutely surviving and before you know it you will be thriving too.
Then the day you dread in a way comes and someone wants to get to know you, wants to date you, and your mind goes into meltdown. What if they are like your ex, what if what you are seeing now is a lie and they are just trying to hook you in to then abuse you, actually what the fuck is real love anyway?
Yes, not everyone is the same, but it is good your mind is asking all these questions, it shows you are protecting yourself. Set up boundaries see how they react, someone who is really interested in you will be respectful of those boundaries.
Talk to family and friends if you feel able to and ask them what they think of the person, they will be honest with you and they are an excellent judge of people when it comes to you as they don’t want to see you hurt again.
Perhaps agree to spend time with this person who has shown an interest but as part of a crowd such as a group night out. Take is as slow as you want, if they really want to spend time with you getting to know you, they won’t have a problem with any of this.
Be selfish with yourself, and there is nothing wrong with that, you have been through a battle, a healing journey and now you are rebuilding your life on your terms.
Love is messy at times even when abuse isn’t involved, it is full of emotions that run deep, so only start a relationship if you feel it is right for you.
You are an incredible human being, a warrior, life is on your terms now, so make it glorious, make it real.