I have noticed a lot of blame going around for toxic relationships. I remember when it was my default for the two I had been in. I blamed them. It was the easiest thing to do. I mean, they were manipulative, snake oil salesmen, charming and most importantly, lying emotionally abusive/violent assholes!
Then, my therapist asked me if they were “that bad”. I was shocked. Of course they were! Manipulating, gas-lighting, etc! How was this even a question? She then asked me another question that changed my life. “How did they learn they were allowed to continuously treat you this way?” I sat there completely stunned. They just did it, didn’t they? No. They didn’t just start a relationship treating me like shit. The answer was, I ALLOWED them to. Every time they pushed a boundary, I taught them it was OK. I was too weak to stand up for myself and just magically thought they would learn that it is not ok to do things like this to someone. Every time they treated me poorly and I allowed it, I taught them their behavior was 100% acceptable. Our toxic relationship was NOT 90% their fault. It was truly 50/50. I was an enabler of their bad behavior toward me. I taught them I had no self worth and that they could dictate to me how I should feel, think and what to do. I relinquished my power completely. They only did to me what I allowed them to do. Yell and scream in my face? Certainly! Belittle and demean me till I am crawling on my belly with no self worth? By all means! Smash shit in our house and hurt yourself to instill fear into me with your violent outbursts? Yes, please!
The only time I did not teach them to treat me badly was when I walked the FUCK out. That is when I took control back of my life and stopped teaching people that it is OK to treat me poorly. I then had to examine my friendships/relationships with other people. I noticed a huge “people pleasing” pattern. I was WEAK. I continuously taught everyone that I would give all of myself without question. Rather than have people prove their worth and EARN this kind of behavior from me, I thought SO poorly of myself that I was willing to lay down in front of a bus for someone in the hopes that they may one day do the same for me. This was a very toxic mindset. This set me up to be a perpetual victim for the rest of my life. Every betrayal, every backstabbing pain and utter devastation I had felt is because I did not respect myself or my own boundaries. I was a victim of MYSELF, not others. I was only their victim because I taught them I could be. I was a real asshole to ME.
I decided to stop being a victim in my life. I weeded out relationships with people who were NOT contributing what I put in. I carefully study those trying to get close to me and have a zillion tests they must pass before I let them closer. I tell myself daily that I am badass and deserve those in my life to be badass right back! I am no longer a victim of myself. I was a survivor who learned from her mistakes. I was a woman with self worth and self love that would not permit anyone to treat me poorly anymore. I can’t be anyone’s victim because I will not allow myself to crawl on my belly for anyone.
Even now, I am engaged to the love of my life. We hit some snags. When I perceived I was not valued and cherished the same way I did him? I packed my things and moved. People mistook this as a sign that he was the worst of them all. Not even slightly! I had finally learned to love myself enough to see my worth. In doing so, my guy saw my worth as crystal clear as I did. We worked on ourselves and he slapped a rock on my hand and asked me to be his wife. Now we have a super loving, respectful and wondrously imperfect relationship. This could have been a different story for us both. He could have taught me that it was ok for me to continue to post sexy pics for a vapid career that titillates other men. I could have taught him that it was ok to be dismissive of my feelings and be friendly with exes on social media, etc. We both had our personal boundaries and we both respected and VALUED each other enough to tweak things in our lives to honor and cherish one another. I could only be with a good man that treated me well because I treated myself well.
Having a healthy self worth and mindset is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am no one’s victim anymore. Most importantly, I will never ever be a victim of myself again.