[Learning To Let Go] Removing Yourself from Unhealthy Relationships

couple disagree

Even though I’d rather forget, I still remember my first unhealthy and toxic relationship. I fell in love at summer camp. I was 15. In between long days of activities with campers he and I would exchange glances and smiles at the lake or during dinner. It wasn’t long before he asked me out.

The first time he yelled at me I freaked out.

The first time he pushed me I wondered what I did wrong.

I spent the majority of that summer catering to someone who didn’t view me as special. He held no place for me in his heart, but told me he loved me. I allowed myself to be manipulated, I allowed him to treat me like just someone. It’s no surprise we never talked again after that summer.

That relationship started a pattern of engaging in unhealthy relationships. I blamed it on not having a father around; I needed a man around to love me, because I didn’t feel it at home. I felt incredibly stuck in my small town. I had no supervision and I craved something more. Something tangible, something that could fill my heart up. I didn’t want to feel empty anymore. You’d think after that summer of love I would have learned my lesson, I would have thought more of myself than to get involved with men who just tossed me aside. I only knew my daughter’s father a couple of months before I became pregnant.

I’m a lover—as much as it hurts, I give love a chance over and over. It’s a risk, but I can’t help it. The rush, the excitement, the acceptance – I crave it. I need it. I’ve been searching for something, and in the process I’ve gotten my heart stepped on and tossed aside. Sometimes I wonder if it still beats.

Most recently I entertained someone who I wasn’t planning on inviting into my heart. But his smile…it got me. What started out as innocent flirting quickly developed into something more, something passionate, and I didn’t want to stop the roller coaster ride. I was used to the uncertainness and feeling unfulfilled, so his unwillingness to take our situation to the next level only heightened my desire for him.

When he told me he loved me I was in shock – his actions didn’t support it, but I was ecstatic hoping finally we could move forward together. I became slightly obsessed with our unhealthy relationship – we went through some hard times and he wasn’t there to support me. It didn’t seem like he cared that I was hurting. He said he did, but where was he when things got rough? This destructive pattern continued, my friends saw how miserable I was, told me I deserved better. But I didn’t think so. I felt like I got exactly what I deserved.

I’ve been trying really hard to make better decisions for myself, my family and my future. This has meant pursuing new unfamiliar opportunities and saying goodbye to unhealthy habits and people. I’ve thought a lot about why I’ve chosen to put up with unhealthy relationships, why it always seems to be my pattern and there is only one conclusion. It’s not because I didn’t have a Father growing up. I’m 28 years old, I’m no victim. But what wasn’t instilled in me at a young age was self love and acceptance. I struggled loving and accepting myself through my darker days and it’s been hard to want more for myself when I don’t feel so lovable, when all I’ve known is dysfunction.

I crave love so much that I’ve been willing to accept much less just to feel the comfort of another. It’s been too easy to go to what’s familiar and to continue putting up with drama and headaches from an unhealthy relationship because I’m afraid of what doors will open when I close one.

Through this pain and dysfunction I have experienced one functional fully loving relationship. And interestingly enough I ran away from it. A supportive relationship, where we communicate, where I didn’t have to question his love for me – that was something I’d never had before. It didn’t seem real, it didn’t seem right. I was uncomfortable and unconsciously sabotaged that relationship because I didn’t understand how a relationship could function without dysfunction…it wasn’t what I was used to.

As I say goodbye to an unhealthy relationship, I also say goodbye to a self-destructing pattern of not loving myself enough and knowing what I deserve. I say hello to new experiences and a journey of self-love knowing that the right people will come into my life as they are meant too.


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