Getting the push you need from friends and family (even strangers) to realise that it’s time to leave a toxic relationship really makes a different in the victim’s life.
However, recognising the symptoms during the relationship is easier than living with the consequences of a bad relationship.
Denial is a common trait in victims, but even denial can be shaken off by time. Living as victim of a past negative experience – no matter in what shape or form – is truly a test of time and perseverance.
Here are some important realisations:
Truth #1: Toxic relationships will make it hard for you to be alone at first, but it will be liberating once you’re free
Toxic relationships share the universal pain of making you feel lonely even when you are attached to someone. It also has the tendency to make you feel like you need the other person because it’s what you’re accustomed to. It’s a paradox that you need to figure out yourself by being comfortable with solitude. The idea is terrifying in the beginning because hey, here was someone who isn’t good for you but is always there. But realising that you are all you need is important because it’s a realistic approach you need in life in order to survive. You’re stronger than you think.
Truth #2: You apologise too much, and everything feels like it’s your fault
What makes a relationship unhealthy is when manipulation is part of it. Victims often don’t realise they’re being manipulated until they’re made to feel guilty all the time. It’s not wise to force yourself to “wake up” from manipulation, because it isn’t easy, but you can set firmer boundaries for yourself. When the other person starts to pull out the victim card and makes you feel awful for wronging them, take a step back and don’t let your emotions take over. Apologise and request for space to think, not apologise for doing something you’re sure you didn’t even do. You don’t ever get to choose whether or not you hurt someone, but you can make a decision to re-think if you accidentally did it or not.
Truth #3: It puts your guard up without you even realising it
It’s cliché but human beings do that thing where they put up thick and high walls after being hurt for so long. Letting someone in, and having them use your weaknesses against you is not only dangerous, but can really screw you up emotionally. If you’re lucky enough to have friends, family members or just about anyone who cares enough to talk about it, realise that it’s a privilege rather than a threat. Nobody’s out to hurt you, and even if they do, think of vulnerability as a wound that occasionally needs to be exposed in order to heal.