How a Toxic Relationship made me Stronger
It all started with a man…
But doesn’t it always? He was absolutely amazing. He was perfect in every way, telling me how he’d never felt this way before, even with his ex of two years, and regaling me with constant compliments. He was always eager to show me off, whispering in my ear, “Tell them how long you’ve been travelling! Tell them how many countries you’ve been to!” He showed me off to friends and family, proudly displaying me on his arm.
That is until he didn’t anymore.The fights quickly began, and at first, I thought I was clearly doing something – everything – wrong. For how could I have angered this gentle, wonderful man? No, it was clearly me who was at fault, for he was perfect in every way.
As time went on I started to notice little things…
He no longer held my hand, nor did he really seem to want to be near me. We barely spoke, and he would hang around solemn and silent. When his friends were around, however, his mask would reappear, causing him to be the delight of any room. Everyone loved him, as did I, but I started to wonder why I did. For the man, I initially met and the man who presented himself to me now were two entirely different beings. Everything was my fault, never an apology from him. Even the first day he pushed me to the ground, when spoken about it afterwards, he claimed I had fallen. Of course, when someone pushes you with all their might, you are likely to fall.
Still, I stayed with him…
Despite knowing I was being emotionally abused, I stayed. I believed that first push was an accident – a moment that would never happen again. That was until the day that, in a complete rage – a state he often found himself in – he pushed me again to the ground. I immediately went to pack my bags. As I did so, he threw me against the wall, despite him wanting me to leave as well. I stuck my thumb out, hitchhiked far, far away, and we never, ever spoke again.
I was heartbroken…
How could this wonderful man turn into such a beast? Had it been all me? How was it even possible that everything I did was wrong, when it takes two to tango, so to speak? Soon I realized I had been in a relationship with a man with extremely toxic traits, who would blame shift every little thing to me, eager to start an argument. His problems were now on me, and nothing I said was right. Even when I walked on eggshells, I was given hell for not speaking as much to him – not that he was speaking to me other than to criticize and put me down anyways. Still, I was broken.
I had been in love with a mask…
The man I met, to begin with. The man who remained was the real him, and it was incredibly difficult to separate the two identities. Though I’d read often about sociopaths and narcissists, it was quite different to be on the receiving end of one. Slowly, however, my pain began to lift (heavily due to speaking to his ex and reading a book on narcissists that she recommended).
I went to Canada for a brief visit to see friends and family, as the pain began to subside. It was in some ways easier to get over him than any other boyfriend, for the man I loved had simply never existed. It was perhaps more painful to see friends I had made through him believe him, and think that I was making up stories about him being physically abusive to me.
Time went on, and time cures all…
Having left a narcissistic abuser, I found myself stronger than ever. If I could leave him, I could do anything. Suddenly I had an intense drive; I wanted to jump out of planes, bungee jump, do the Stratosphere rides and Stratosphere jump in Las Vegas (the tallest tower in the whole of Vegas!) I became more confident. I had the sudden idea to start a business, and it has been incredibly successful and lucrative for me, while actually helping others make money at the same time.
All of a sudden I was reborn…
Reborn out of the flames of this once-wonderful-turned-disgusting relationship. And I attribute all of this directly to him. For if I had not found the strength to leave him, I would not have found my inner strength altogether (or would have, but it would have taken much more time).
Previously I had been spinning out of control, hopping from place to place rapidly in my nomadic existence. Now I found calm, and a deep desire to perhaps not set roots, but stay in one location for a longer time, making new friends that I could actually keep for more than a couple days.
Everything happens for a reason…
While I have no basis for this belief, the only strong faith I hold is that everything happens for a reason. And sometimes we’ve just got to meet the wrong person in order to find our own true and hidden strength. Never again will I let a man push me around – mentally or physically – as I have found myself completely. I am a powerful woman. Hear me roar.
Thank you so much for this honest and open write-up, Danie! Yes, you are definitely a powerful woman, let’s hope that we can encourage other women to ‘hitchhike’ out of their toxic relationships with this post.
I was in a relationship much like this in my late 20’s. He did not touch me, but all the other narcissistic abusive traits were there. I blamed myself for a long time too. Didn’t bounce back quite as well as she did, but I did get over him and made sure never to date anyone like that again. I hear he’s married. I feel so badly for her.
Oh dear, that poor woman! These guys don’t change, she will likely be going through hell by now. Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate that!
Thank you for sharing this. It’s easy for others to feel they are alone … or crazy … or to blame when in a relationship like this. Congratulations. Stay strong! 🙂
Hi Kelly, thanks a lot, this is so nice of you! I totally agree, it’s easy for others to judge women who stay with such men, also! I will forward your kind comment to Danielle.
Your depiction was so accurate it gave me flashbacks. Congrats on finding yourself and coming out stronger. Years later, I can say I feel going through that did the same for me.
Hi Yvette, thank you so much for commenting. I will forward your congrats to Danielle, I am happy for you to have come out obviously strong and confident!Enjoy your life to the fullest, no man is worth losing self-respect!
So many of us have loved a man much like the one you mention here and he was indeed a narcissist (been there, done that). Separating the mask from the man is difficult at best, as they are such good manipulators that they can convince us (and everyone else!) of anything. I’m glad that you got out when you did. Thank you for speaking out about toxic relationships. It not only heals you, it heals others too!
Thank you so much for your encouraging comment, Kristi! I will forward your kind words to Danie, the author of the article. Luckily I have never been with such a monster, but I also know some guys who are brilliant manipulators in life, as you say. It is not easy to see the real man behind a mask when you’re in love.