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The Art of Surviving a Toxic Relationship

The answer is always easier said than done. “Just leave him” or “Work it out sis, rough patches are normal. Y’all will get through it.”

Don’t you wish more people would slow down with their advice before jumping to what seems to be the simple conclusion to a not-so-simple situation? If leaving him where so easy, I’m pretty sure that I would’ve left by now and if working it out was the answer then, damn-it, please point me to the 9th cloud so that I can take a seat and float in the euphoria that I dream of.

Where were the steps before that? The sister circles all seem to skip the in-between. They say, “you are strong, sister. Know your worth” and trust me, I get it; maybe I am strong but I am the girl looking at her strength in the horizon trying to find a way to catch up to her. Despite my circumstances, I keep my eye on her because I know she exists. I’ve met her before.  The girl with light in her eyes and an armor of confidence. The one with the infectious laughter who chased the bright future ahead of her.  I remember her. She used to be me.

But this toxic relationship took all of her away from me. Leaving me drained, lifeless, and unable to recognize the person I’ve become. This toxic relationship was growing its life inside of me for some time now and I gave birth to a stranger. Who is this girl? That question crosses me at times but not more than, how did I get here?

He pulled me in so smoothly with all of his lies. Or maybe he didn’t pull. Maybe I walked in, ignorantly ignoring all the signs, selfishly pushing my desires aside and desperately wanting to be loved by a person incapable of loving me in a way that I know how to receive it. Maybe it was me?

To hell with that… It was him.

But maybe it was me too.

Either way, I am here now and I’ve cried all of my tears. I am done being a victim. I am ready to catch up to the stronger me that I see in the distance. I may not be quite ready to “just leave him” and right now “working it out” seems far-fetched.  I don’t even know which direction to go. Through all of the uncertainties, this toxic relationship has taught me that I am in control of myself and all of my emotions.

I’ve been working toward reuniting with my stronger self and on that journey, here are a few things that I have learned.

How to Survive a Toxic Relationship

  1. There is no fight if only one person is in the ring: if you are the only one willing and trying to work it out, do yourself a favor and exit stage left.
  2. You get to decide how to feel in every situation: Consciously choose joy and happiness even when it’s not around you. “It sucks that you are angry today babe, but I’ve decided to be happy today. If I feel we can’t be near each other to make that happen, I am going to make a personal decision to spend my day away.
  3. You have full control over who and/or what refills your bucket. If you are dating an asshole who drains you, make a decision to spend time with friends, family, a dog, or the birds if they make you feel uplifted.  You can volunteer at a shelter, read to kids in need, go plant a tree, or join a gym to refill your bucket.
  4. You are not capable of changing anyone. Just as you must do your own work to grow and be a better person, so does he. You may be verbal about your desires but you can’t force action on anyone. Move out of the way
  5. Make Your Exit Plan. Even when you don’t know how or if you can leave, start putting your ducks in order. Use your resources. Continue to put one foot in front of the other so that when the time is right, you will be prepared to soar.

 

You got this. Remember, happiness is a choice Choose it every day.

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