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Escaping A Toxic Relationship

My story and advice to those struggling in a toxic relationship right now

When I was only thirteen years old, I experienced my first toxic relationship as well as my first heartbreak. It wasn't toxic because we were young and didn't fully understand the meaning of love, it was toxic because I was never good enough for that person and they lived to treat me as if I had less value than the dirt on the ground.

After loving someone who has been so, undeniably toxic to you, it's hard to move forward by letting them go. I know this because I struggled for months, which later turned into years. To love someone unconditionally with all your heart and soul and have your heart ripped into pieces afterward, it's a traumatic, scarring pain that you have to live with.

I couldn't escape the torment despite how hard I fought against them. When I couldn't bear the weight of all the hurt anymore, I wanted to give up, shut myself out and away from the rest of the world, and cry until there weren't any tears left. My mental health, destroyed. My trust and ability to love other men, also destroyed. The fear of getting betrayed and having your heart broken again is overwhelming and powerful. I escaped but barely made it through all the pain I felt because of everything they put me through.

How do know you're in a dangerous, toxic relationship?

1. When they push you away one day and want you the next.

2. When they love you but hate you every other day.

3. When they control everything in the relationship and you're just there, existing.

4. When they want someone else when you're together, but want you when you aren't together.

5. When they are allowed to move on and be with others while you are forced to sit back and wait for them to come back to you.

6. When you move on and they sneak back into your life shortly afterward, making you choose between the comfortability of their presence versus someone completely new.

7. When they only argue with you.

8. When tears outweigh laughter.

9. When you're unable to express how you truly feel.

10. When you love them, but you aren't happy.

11. When you can't say no, even when you're screaming on the inside to walk away.

12. When you care but they don't.

13. When it seems like you're walking on eggshells around them.

14. When they are manipulative in their words and actions.

15. When everything becomes about them and nothing about you both.

16. When they expect you to change for them.

17. When they refuse to let you go.

18. When they blame you for everything, ignoring their own flaws.

There are so many other continuous signs to look out for when you're in a relationship that may be toxic, the list could go on for miles.

If you are ever questioning whether or not you're in a toxic relationship, then you most likely are in one.

Speaking from experience, I know toxic when I see it. I can smell toxic on a person. I was unlucky; no one should go through heartbreak when they're barely a teenager. Unfortunately, I suffered tremendously.

I know what love is and what love is not. When they bring out the worst in you, it's time to let go. You deserve more than they are offering you in this life. You should be smiling, not frowning. There will be arguments in every relationship, but it shouldn't be the only thing you and your significant other are doing. It's unhealthy; it's toxic.

I learned the hard way because I refused to listen to my parents who warned me to stay away from my toxic ex years ago. The truth is, you can hear advice but you'll never fully listen to it until you're ready to let go and move on. No one else can make those lifestyle changes for you, you have to do that on your own.

It's painful escaping a toxic relationship because you can't bear the thought of never speaking to them again or feeling their touch on your skin. It's understandable, not wanting to let them go. All the memories, the intimacy between you both, the comfort you found in them. But the pain and stress they burden you with, it's unfair, and you deserve to be loved and treated entirely for who you are and all that makes you special.

I could never escape because we had the same classes, they sat close to me, and fed off of my anger and hurt. I would receive texts from them, saying they wanted to be with but wasn't ready to move on from their ex. Or how they wanted to spend the rest of their life with me and then dodging me as soon as they expressed their feelings. That wasn't real love.

When I couldn't breathe without feeling my heartache in my chest, I knew it was time to let go. The removal of their number and having them on my social media, avoiding them in every way I possibly could. It was the only way I could move on and gather my strength back.

Moving on is possible. When you finally have the strength to do it, don't ever look back. They aren't worth it. So move on to a life of freedom, happiness, and healthy better opportunities for yourself.

I went from crying to laughing, a weight was taken off my shoulders. Hurt no longer lingered in my chest, just the freedom of being able to breathe on my own again. It's possible, and when it's time, you can and will escape.

Dez's Public Journal
Dez's Public Journal
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Dez's Public Journal

A candle trying to be the light in someone else’s darkness.

In college for Criminal Justice

- Musician and Writer

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