Toxic relationships have always hit close to home for me. I grew up in a loving household, but once my adoptive mother passed away, the tune changed. For the eight years that followed afterward, I noticed my old self-starting to fade away; I was becoming a shell of a person that I once knew. I decided to take action and leave that atmosphere once I was of age. However, I felt lost. Instead of figuring out how to love myself again I jumped into a serious relationship thinking that would solve the problem.

It was a whirlwind of infatuation, and I was drunk. When the honeymoon stage started to fade, the toxicity started to creep up. I kept telling myself that no relationship is perfect, but the fighting and masking kept happening. Everyone who shared moments in our lives was none the wiser; this mostly happened between closed doors. My partner manipulated me into thinking that I was unhinged and I started to question my sanity. I was the one who was getting hurt yet he made me believe it was my fault.

I was there for him; I supported him. I was good to him.

When he brought up the conversation of parting ways (third time in over five years), I accepted. I felt drained, and I couldn’t keep apologizing for moments that were not my fault.
If this sounds familiar to you, I want you to take a step back. Are you making this person a priority when you’re not one? I didn’t realize how toxic our relationship was until after the fact.

I became depressed. I stopped eating. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

After a couple of weeks of wallowing, I knew that I had to do something about it – I couldn’t rely on someone else for my happiness. The only issue was how was I going to learn to love myself after being berated for so long?

  • Surround yourself with Love
    Support systems are different across all boards but make sure that you engage with those who are there for you in good or bad times. I surrounded myself with my closest friends whom I’m happy to call family. They kept offering their support and reminded me that things would be OK. I started to listen to them more even though I didn’t believe them at the time. I know they had my best interest at heart
  • Keep Busy
    I found that staying home under a blanket wasn’t doing me any good, so I decided to work extra hours at my retail position, and I stayed back from several classes to engage with other students. I didn’t want to do this, but I forced myself too. I was still exhausted from everything that happened, but I pushed through. (I got a promotion at work shortly afterward!)
  • Be Positive
    Yeah, OK Andrea easier said than done.
    TRUST ME, I KNOW. I’ve always struggled with being a positive person since negativity always surrounded me. It’s so easy to feel that you will never find love in yourself or others but you need to know that this is not true. Create a mantra for yourself: “Everything will be OK – You are where you need to be” I know it sounds corny but saying it to yourself every day does help.
  • Make ‘me’ time
    I’m not saying to be positive all the time here, that’s not possible. You will cry, you will hurt – and that’s NORMAL. We’re all human, and there’s no shame in having low points. If you need to stay home, eat a pint of ice cream while watching Grey’s Anatomy – DO IT. I cannot stress this enough. Making time for yourself is a major part of healing!
  • Define your self-love
    Everyone’s definition of self-love is different; mine is to be comfortable in my skin & not apologize for my personality. Yours will most likely be different, and that’s OK because it’s for yourself. You need to understand what works and what doesn’t so you can stand up for what you believe. A great way to start this process is by making a list: What are your best attributes?

Happy with yourself
None of this will work if you continue to hold onto the past. Don’t feel like you can jump into this, either. I’m still navigating on my route of self-love, but I can thank my change in atmosphere. Leaving all of that behind really did make my transition to being happier easier.

If you’re unsure about toxicity – please read my post “It’s not you; it’s them” 

This topic has been weighing on me for a couple of years now as I’ve started to realize that our relationships with people affect us immensely. Most of my anxiety was brought on by toxic relationships, and unfortunately, I found this out too little too late.

I’ve compiled a short list of tell-all signs of a toxic relationship:

(1) Who puts in the effort?

Who calls who? Do they pick up the phone first or is it you? It seems as if it’s their way or no way. They won’t bend their schedule to accommodate the need to get together or just catch up.

“The mind of an enlightened human being is flexible and adaptable. The mind of the ignorant person is conditioned and fixed.” – Ajahn Sumedho

Once one person isn’t as invested as you, it can become toxic quickly. It feels as if your demanding too much of their time even if it’s so incredibly minimal. They’re too stuck up to deal with you and your issues. However, they have no issues taking advantage of your generosity. God forbid you ask them for the same.

 (2) It’s always about them

The worst is when they start to compare to you these other friends, too. ‘Oh Sarah is way more fun on the weekends, and Jessica drinks way more whiskey than you!’ Why Are you even hearing this??

Yap Yap Yap! Are they done yet?? Whenever you call or text to talk about your day you never get a chance to put in one word. They tend to drag you into their drama-filled day describing how awful or amazing it was but once the subject hits you, they always find a way to bring it back to them. Even worse, they can leave the conversation immediately with 1,000 reasons why they cannot give you any talk time.

“Don’t deal with sometime-ish people. Life is too short for inconsistency.” — Rayaleradin

(3) They’re blunt and lie

What happens when being frank turns into resentment and harshness? You come to them for advice, but their words sting and their advice leaves you feeling small and embarrassed. They don’t care how YOU feel about the situation and just pass judgment based on their own experiences. They’re ALWAYS right and will not hear anything otherwise. If they think that you’ve wronged them, they will never forget and will throw mean-spirited shots at you and your ego. They use your emotions to attack you and its draining. It’s almost as if they WANT to start a fight, so the both of you are conflicted.
No wonder you feel awful – they’re projecting on you to feel better about themselves.
They mention that you need to change but when it comes to them, no way. They see no need to recognize their inadequacies. The lack of faith and belittling makes you think that “if only I changed, things would be different.” Pointing the finger and blaming you, regularly, is not OK. It’s is a two-way street!

(4) They’re unpredictable, and you’re cautious.

When it’s good is great but when its bad, WATCH OUT. You can no longer predict what mood they’ll be in, and this causes you to worry how they’ll act with you. This rollercoaster of emotion leaves you feeling worried, scared and sometimes uncomfortable. They do not feel your pain and take advantage of this, bringing you down with them. Knowing that you cannot please them, you make yourself scarce thinking that YOU are the reason for this roller coaster of emotions.

“You can never win an argument with a negative person they only hear what suits them and listen only to respond.” — Michael P. Watson

At a certain point, your friendship changed. They rip apart everything that you say, and you feel as if you’re walking on eggshells. You avoid saying anything to set them off in their pessimistic ways.

“As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.” — Greek Philosopher

(5) You’re no longer the person you were

This is a big one. You are starting to feel weird as the stress of this relationship affects your body. You begin to feel anxious, getting unknown stomach problems and feel overall lethargic. Stress can lead to higher blood pressure, IBS, lowered immunity, depression, anxiety… etc. This list can go on and on, unfortunately. Friends are supposed to ADD to your life, not take away from it.

Accept the truth and stop wasting time on people

Finding someone in your life who consistently makes you feel wrong about things, and leaving you confused as to why chances are they are projecting their insecurities on you. They are trying to bring you down to their level, so they feel better about themselves. Most people lack the courage to let go of these relationships, but once you realize the extent of their toxicity, it’s best to break loose. Keep those beautiful memories but move on! Your health is most important