It’s mental health week so I’m aiming to be more transparent with personal issues in hopes that others don’t feel alone ♥️ There are parts of a toxic relationship that stay with a person post break up. For lack of a better phrase, Im going to call this “Toxic Relationship Residue” …. because it sounds fucking gross. And it is.
It’s taken me a few years to actually talk about this openly. But 4 years ago, before I made the decision to move back to Alberta, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship that left me feeling like I had lost myself completely. When I wasn’t feeling sad, I just wanted to lose myself in alcohol or other people. I was actively self sabotaging, because in my mind- how could anyone hurt me again if I was hurting myself. No one could have that power over me- except for myself. I think a part of me was punishing myself for allowing myself to be “that girl” who fell into a trap when I’ve always been so strong willed and smart. I know it sounds messed up, but at the time- this was my logic, and it made sense to me.
I felt numb and I had allowed this person to essentially wear down my self esteem. While trapped in a toxic relationship, you adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms or survival tactics. At the time, this behaviour serves its purpose but unfortunately a part of you still exhibits this behaviour as time moves on, almost as a shield of armour to protect yourself.
I guess the point of my rant is… just because you’ve escaped a toxic relationship, doesn’t mean you are free from toxic survival mechanisms you picked up, which can do equivalent damage. You need to be self aware. There’s still work to be done within yourself that goes beyond blaming another person.
It has taken me close to three years to fully come back to myself. Thanks to my friends, a healthy relationship last year, and self awareness of my own BS, I was able to recognize the self sabotaging and coping skills I adopted that I needed to let go of: the self numbing, allowing people in my life who didn’t deserve it, pushing good people away when they got too close out of fear.
I just wanted to remind everyone that social media is truly a highlight reel. You don’t know what challenges others are going through. Even if they seem healthy, happy, and single- they could have toxic relationship residue that they are still figuring out and navigating.
You may think you know someone, but unless you’ve had a one on one heart to heart with them, you only know what they choose to show. So be nice. I’d like to think we’re all doing the best we can. Less judgement, more love 🌹