Most people don’t recognize how significantly emotional abuse impacts them when they’re in a toxic relationship. Everything is addicting in toxic relationships. There’s always hope that things will change. But it’s comforting when things stay the same.
Staying in a toxic relationship takes a lot of effort. Even if you break up, you often get back together because you miss the rush that comes from the intense emotions involved.
But then you finally manage to stay broken up. Then you meet a genuinely good guy, and you realize the profoundly negative effects the toxic relationship had on you. It may even cause you to push good people away. You’re used to being treated badly, so you expect the worst and almost reject the new guy.
After a toxic relationship ends, you feel like you can’t trust anybody. You sought the wrong qualities for so long, and you accepted lots of people who did not deserve you.
You assume that everybody has ulterior motives and that they don’t ever say what they really mean. You caught your ex in lies so often that you’ve become paranoid about everybody. You can’t believe that people are capable of being honest. You make irrational assumptions, and you doubt genuinely good people because of the toxic relationship.
You may eventually find yourself explaining to the new guy how you arrived at this conclusion, which he may find baffling because somebody forced you into this conclusion. He’ll want to prove he’s different, which will lead you to believe that he’s too good to be true.
You always expect that the proverbial other shoe is going to drop. You expect that he’ll lose his cool and show his true colors any day now. You expect an abrupt end with no closure. But each day, he continues proving to you that he’s still the same person that he was when you first met him. He gives you no reasons to doubt him, but he’s not the one you don’t trust. You don’t trust everybody in the past.
What You Deserve
Somebody in your past forced you to believe that you don’t deserve good things. So now you’ve found someone who’s genuinely good, so you push him away. You fear good things because you don’t want to risk losing them. You want to protect yourself from getting hurt again, so you sabotage things and try and ruin the relationship. But you’ll come to realize that this guy is different. When you run, he’ll follow you. When you try to push him away, he’ll pull you close and want to stay with you.
You keep expecting fights. But things keep getting explained and talked out instead. You feel comforting waves afterward, and you realize that people don’t leave healthy relationships the moment something starts to go wrong.
You’ll apologize, again and again, leading him to wonder why. He’ll notice the pain in your eyes from the past relationship that caused you to question everything about yourself. He’ll sense the pain in your heart as you try so hard to love after only knowing heartbreak. He’ll constantly strive to reassure you that everything’s okay.
When a genuinely good guy falls in love with a broken woman who’s known only toxic relationships, he helps her understand that she didn’t deserve the toxicity. He rises above the horrible expectations she set and strives to be the exception to her standards.
You’ll feel convinced that he’d be better off with somebody else. But just as he made your life better, it works both ways. Yes, you fear falling in love again. You fear letting anybody get close. But your sensitivity, compassion, strength, understanding, and lack of harsh judgment make you so attractive.
In the past, you loved somebody who was intolerable and completely unlovable. You took a chance on him and tried to find the good in him. You didn’t give up on him. Now it’s your turn to have your love reciprocated. The new guy isn’t what you’re used to, but he’s just what you deserve.
Who You Really Are
When you finally get comfortable enough to accept the new relationship, you’ll love him with everything that’s in you. But don’t overcompensate and try too hard. You don’t have to. The past taught you that even your best isn’t quite good enough, so you were forced to try too hard. You needed to compete and justify yourself. But know this: your best was certainly good enough. Your ex definitely did not deserve you.
The moment will come when you’ll tell your new guy everything that happened. You will trust him and you will let him that close. When you tell him about your past and about the people who hurt you, he will not leave you. You’ve just given him the reason he should stay.
Somebody in your past taught you all there is to know about tough love, and that vulnerability equals weakness. You were forced to be strong for too long, and you’ve endured lots of things that you didn’t deserve. But it’s all made you more beautiful than you’ll ever know. And it all will make him appreciate you because you overcame it all.
With tears in your eyes, you’ll find gratitude for that toxic relationship because it didn’t destroy you. It made you the strong person that you’ve become.
You’ll finally realize that the toxic relationship that previously defined love for you was not even close to the real thing. You’ve finally learned that love isn’t supposed to be painful, jealous, or demeaning. Love shouldn’t break your heart just so it can build you back up. Genuine love doesn’t play deceitful games with your feelings or desire to cause you pain.
Genuine love is healing, which is exactly what this good guy has been able to do for you.