read in: 20 min
by Niedria D. Kenny, Freely Speaking, Inc.
I think people remain in toxic relationships that are volatile because they think it’s too late to make a smarter decision about the choice to stay or leave. They dwell on the choices that were made that steered them into their current situation and take on what they believe to be their responsibility; as accepting it, as it is.
They feel that they brought it on themselves so they have to stay and take it and the whole time they are still hoping that it will get better. If you are reading this, know that it’s not too late to have self-respect. It’s not too late to stand up for yourself. It’s not too late to walk away. It’s not too late to decide that you can do and can have and even deserve better.
You have the power to do that. Just because you fell down, doesn’t give anyone the right to add insult to injury, kick dirt on you and keep you there. You are entitled to get up and walk away. You do not have to stay down.
When you do this, controller will degenerate right in front of you because you have taken all that power away from them at that point. You have decided that your merchandise is good! You have decided to have a part in your decisions and walk away from something that is not good for you. That’s your right. They are not at liberty to tell you that you are nothing.
You can walk away. They will make their last and final attempt to destroy you with words, but that is just them fighting with everything left in them to keep you under their thumb. Because they need you in order for them to survive. This is them trying to convince you that you are nothing. They now know that they will have to deal with the broken person that resides in their own soul and can no longer ignore those issues by taking it out on you.
Don’t say anything- just walk away. Leave them with their thoughts and no response. That alone will kill them to know that they are not worthy or deserving of your thoughts and that you can walk away without saying one word, and that they cannot insult you anymore. They have no life left in them. Their insults are ineffective. When you ignore people who throw out insults, it doesn’t stick to you. Therefore the insults gets trapped in their head to live instead of yours. You blocked the execution and because you didn’t allow the insult to penetrate, the abuser now has to live with. Living with your own negative thoughts that were intended for someone else is like electrocuting yourself.
The abuser is now hurting because if they think you are scum of the earth, and you still don’t want them, what does that say about them? It truly f*cks with them on an indescribable level to know that even the scum of the earth still deserves better than them.
I recently cut the life support chord of an abuser. I think I struggled most with accepting, and I was for the most part, in denial about calling it emotional abuse. Even though all the signs were there. Criticism, emotional roller coasters, having no respect for you, disrespecting you in front of people, humiliating you, making you feel insignificant, irrelevant and unimportant. Destroying your confidence and breaking you down, so that you will always look to them for validation. Wounds scar the flesh. Words scar the soul.
When you believe in a person, you want to see something better for them and you sometimes sacrifice yourself in order to fulfill that for them. Not realizing that when someone is broken in this way, you cannot fix them by allowing them to use you as their punching bag. If you are sacrificing or making concessions to fulfill someone else’s happiness, then you should know that they should be doing the same. That way the pendulum stays in equal state. You build each other up. If someone is constantly tearing you down and you are always building them up, you are creating a monster. You have given all of yourself and pretty soon there will be nothing left to give. You will begin to rely solely on them for your survival. Which places you under their control. In love, you reciprocate so that both are full.
We often times get caught in the web of love, lust and regrets; giving life to the abuser. We allow them to live and thrive, relishing in their flaws, while we are wallowing in our own guilt, shame and pain, reducing our chances of walking away. We make excuses to stay, rather than plans to leave. We become accepting of things that compromise us as individuals, our morals and values. We begin to accept bad behavior once that foundation is crushed, which gives us a false sense of who we are, used to be and what we can be. We are then broken.
When you take back the power from the abuser, it’s like taking control of the steering wheel. You are now in control of your destiny, so you have to have courage. Courage that you can change this situation. You have to believe in yourself and what you can do. You have to trust your decision to leave but even if you can’t, you have to have faith that closing that door will open another one. You have to tap into that part of you because it is there. Most people don’t get there until they reach the threshold of pain which may be deeper than others, but some never get there at all.
When it’s all said and done, you will see that you are not the problem. Usually the abuser has a set of deep seated issues themselves and the only way to deal with it is putting someone else down or making someone else feel very sad and low, so that they can feel better about who they are. It’s usually a case of the abuser knowing that you could have better, but they don’t want you to know that. They feel inferior.
Someone very close to me decided to walk away from a toxic relationship, where she was constantly being put down by someone she actually loved and cared for. She looked pass all of his flaws, and into what she thought was potential. The things she condoned from the beginning of their relationship, became the things that made her stay. (All the things that we accept, are all the things that we regret) It was hard for her to walk away because she felt like she had no ground to leave a situation that she was first ok with. But it’s ok to grow – walk away. It’s ok that you have outgrown a toxic situation. Do not hinder your growth by staying. Do not hinder your growth by thinking that you shouldn’t expect a man to accept your growth out of that relationship. Bust the box wide open and walk away like the hulk. Do not hinder your growth by thinking that you have to find life inside the bad decisions of the past. Do not rest in the comfort of a stagnant relationship.
Once under her abuser’s influence, she began to accept things into the relationship that otherwise wouldn’t have been ok with. But because she desperately sought validation from this particular man, she made changes in her life, to be more pleasing in his eyes. Changes such as: the way she dressed, how she wore her hair, adorning herself in things that were never of interest to her. Indulging in things that were not of her stature. To some degree this is not all bad, because in a relationship, you do want to make sure you are attractive in your presentation, with regard to how your companion would like to see you.
So where does it become a problem? When you lose yourself, while trying to get someone’s attention. When you do all these things and it goes unnoticed or it’s not acknowledged. Your abuser is very well aware of your new haircut, your pretty little black dress, your manicured face and weight loss. However, they are not going to tell you that you are beautiful. Why? Because if they told you how beautiful you are, you might actually believe it, which places you in a greater state to love yourself and figure out that you deserve and can have better.
It becomes a problem because you are running around trying to do everything you can, for someone who does nothing for you- and you are not even worth their compliment. Would you believe me if I told you that the abuser can break you down to the point that they can do you wrong and then tell you that you don’t have a right to be mad. And you will believe it because he’s made you think that you are lucky he’s even with you.
This girl looked in the mirror one day and was almost unrecognizable to herself. She had gotten so far away from her confidence and assurance about herself that she couldn’t even see pretty in the reflection. They say that eyes are the window to the soul. So when she looked into her eyes, she saw her damaged soul. Her damaged/broken soul casted a reflection that projected an image of self-hate, low self-esteem, and self-consciousness about herself from her face, skin, completion, hair, body, teeth, breast and shape. This was her breaking point. She stood there because she knew she had to make a decision. She couldn’t make the sound decision until she saw herself in that mirror. She had to love again, the person she saw in the mirror. She had to see that she was beautiful on her own account and not just because other people told her. She starred into her own eyes until she could see herself again as the beautiful person she was. When you love yourself, no one can take that away……. That is when I walked away. When I saw myself, I decided to pin this article.
So, what was the trigger for me? When I said to him, “You are hurting me” and his reply was, “Please just let me hurt you.”………. Wow! My pain was his pleasure. That’s when I knew I had the power and that I had to walk away.