Understanding Anxiety.

To understand someone with anxiety means understanding that a lot of their life is what happens inside their head. It’s understanding that some things they can’t make sense of but they desperately need explanations.

Understanding someone with anxiety means not getting frustrated or annoyed when they send a double text or call too many times or jump to conclusions.

Understanding someone with anxiety means not staring or making a big deal when something has triggered them and they’re picking at their skin to a point where they might not even notice it’s now a cut.

Understanding someone with anxiety means learning when to listen. Because there are so many things going on in their head they are struggling to make sense of it themselves.

Understanding someone with anxiety means knowing when they don’t want to sleep over, the truth is they don’t want to keep you up as they toss and turn and lay there awake.

Understanding someone with anxiety means accepting apologies that they didn’t even need to say and knowing they said it for their own peace of mind. 

Understanding someone with anxiety means knowing when you tell them you’ll be there, it’s important to not be late.

Understanding someone with anxiety means when they say they are tired, you know it has nothing to do with sleep but there is this emotional exhaustion that exists within them.

Understanding someone with anxiety means knowing they’ll probably answer your text back really quickly and understanding how carefully they executed every word they thought about typing.

Understanding someone with anxiety means understanding how sensitive they are and how easily their feelings get hurt so you have to be as careful with what you say.

Understanding someone with anxiety is understanding the voice inside their head is their own worst enemy and you have to be the one countering those lies.

Understanding someone with anxiety is knowing how much of their life is in fast forward and they are always thinking about the next thing. To teach someone with anxiety to live in the moment is the best thing you can do.

Understanding someone with anxiety means being honest with them. They can tell when even the slightest of things have changed between you two. 

Understanding someone with anxiety means you are always going to have to be the confident one in the relationship because they never will be, as their doubt plagues them.

Understanding someone with anxiety means being able to pick up on their signals. They will never tell you they are uncomfortable being somewhere but you’ll notice a change in their body language.

It’s understanding how much they struggle when someone or a group of people don’t like them and instead of trying to win them over and learn, they pull away because they think those people are better off without them and their presence is just a burden. 

Understanding someone with anxiety is understanding that they aren’t trying to be anti-social but they struggle sometimes and what they want most is to be accepted.

Understanding someone with anxiety means knowing exactly what to say when their mind starts to take off and wander.

Understanding someone with anxiety means nothing is ever going to be as it seems.

Because on one hand they might look like they have it all together but in reality, their hands are sweating and their heart is beating for reasons they still don’t fully understand.

Understanding someone with anxiety is knowing that their efforts are always 110% so when they aren’t the best or their effort fall short of their own expectations, they easily turn into their own worst enemy and that critical voice taunts them with criticism.

It’s being the one to build them up because they will always knock themselves down.

It’s being one step ahead of their racing thoughts and knowing the phrase “it’s okay,” can be the best tool for helping them.

Understanding someone with anxiety is letting them take control of situations because, with this thing in their life, they feel like they can’t control anything so it comes out in other forms.

Understanding someone with anxiety is learning to forgive them for their mistakes because you know they will beat themselves up more than you ever can if you stay mad.

Understanding someone with anxiety is believing that they truly are sorry when they mess up and they’ve probably spent nights thinking what to say to you.

It’s forgiving them and teaching them to forgive themselves.

It’s accepting them and teaching them to accept themselves.

It’s loving them and through that love despite the doubt that is anxiety and the negativity that plagues them, you teach them to learn to love themselves again. 

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12 Signs It’s Time To Let Go.

The hardest thing in the entire world is looking at someone you once loved with all your heart and realizing sometimes those emotions change. And part of you clings to the relationship blaming yourself for this shift, while the other half of you can’t deny what is in your heart to be true. Here was someone who did everything right, yet there comes a time where you just stop being right for each other. 

1. You feel like you aren’t connecting like you used to.

It’s almost like that connection you once had that was so deep is suddenly fading and no matter what you do, whatever that IT is, just isn’t there anymore. And it’s like here you are looking at someone who looks the same and sounds the same but something you can’t explain is just different.

2. Silence is more comfortable than speaking.

It’s almost like you’d run out of things to say to each other. The “how are you?” and the “I love you” seem to be said not from a place that is genuine, but rather obligation, because that’s how it has always been.

And it hurts because you never thought you’d get to this point ever. So you settle for silence because that’s easier than admitting what is actually going on between you two.

3. You don’t miss them when they’re gone.

They leave and you realize you don’t miss them the way you should. And that’s when it hits you something needs to change.

4. You seem to miss the past more than appreciating the present.

You’re clinging to the moments where you fell in love but those words almost feel like a lie now. Here you are doing everything you used to, but it doesn’t feel the same anymore. When all you have in common is the past, you realize there might not be a future.

5. You aren’t learning from each other anymore.

You used to do so many things with this person and go so many places. When you were with them, you were learning something new every single day and you loved it. But now you’re at this weird stand still where you’ve learned everything you possibly can from each other.

6. You aren’t happy anymore.

No matter what this person does or how hard they try it doesn’t make you happy anymore. And it’s cliche to say “it’s me not you.” But it really is. Sometimes you are with someone so long you realize you’ve lost yourself in this relationship and you need to find yourself again.

7. You feel like they are holding you back.

And you hate admitting this. But being uncomfortable is a good thing. It means something needs to change. You need to be someone more than just in the relationship with them. While you loved it while it lasted, you can’t help but admit this good thing has come to an end and it’s time you go off by yourself and learn what it is like to be without them.

8. You are fighting more than you’d like to.

Little things that would never get you mad in the past seem to irritate you more and more. It’s almost like you are now looking for reasons to be angry with this person or start a fight. Maybe then you’ll both realize what you know in your heart to be true, that you each are better off without one another.

9. One of you seems to be trying harder.

But what makes it hard, is when one person doesn’t want to give up on the relationship. You look at them with love and admiration that they believe in you so much but you can’t fake what your heart no longer feels.

10. They aren’t always answering.

Maybe it’s you deliberately not answering or you realize they aren’t. Where you used to talk every minute of every day, there’s this silence that seems so loud only no one is brave enough to say what needs to be said.

11. You’d be okay if it ended tomorrow.

If they suddenly called you up and said it’s over, you wouldn’t be upset about it. In fact, you’d be relieved they were the one to say it.

12. Moving on seems like a breath of fresh air.

The thought of being with someone else is something you look forward to in your future.

The thing is, breakups are never easy. Following your heart at the expense of possibly hurting someone else doesn’t feel right. Sometimes you fear letting go and it’s only then you realize you made a mistake. But sometimes you need to grow apart from people if you want any shot at growing back together. And sometimes in the attempt to find yourself again after a breakup, you find someone else who adds all these feelings to your life you’ve long forgotten. Regardless of what side you are on in a breakup, it’s never easy. But sometimes you have to do what is best for you and your happiness, accepting the fact that letting go is the best thing you can do for both of you.

Emotional Abuse.

When it’s physical abuse there are marks to prove it’s an unhealthy relationship. There are scars from the past that tell stories you don’t tell to just anyone. It’s the bruises you hide. It’s the mark you claim were caused because you were clumsy and fell. It’s having to actually make an effort to hide the reality of what the relationship actually is or was.

But emotional abuse isn’t as easy to spot. Emotional abuse messes with your head. The red flags go unnoticed to average people and sometimes even to the individual being emotionally abused. They don’t realize there is an issue with how they’ve been treated when it might be all they know. 

According to psychology today the definition of emotional abuse is “an attempt to control, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control another person. The only difference is that the emotional abuser does not use physical hitting, kicking, pinching, grabbing, pushing or other physical forms of harm. Rather the perpetrator of emotional abuse uses emotion as his/her weapon of choice.”

Straying away from the cycle of emotional abuse is difficult, but what is hardest is unlearning the things you’ve been taught in an unhealthy relationship. It’s hard entering a new relationship with someone who treats you well and just be open to something good but unfamiliar. 

1. When she’s been emotionally abused she won’t trust herself.

When someone emotionally abuses you, they are constantly putting you down to a point where you question every choice you make. And as you go through relationships of possibly choosing similar people, you begin to not trust your judgment at all.

2. It’s going to take time for her to trust you.

When she finally meets someone decent, she’s going to question the relationship and you. Even when you’ve given her no reason to question you, it isn’t you she doesn’t trust, it’s everyone in her past who has taught her the wrong things about love and relationships. This becomes a difficult task to someone new because you’ll be the one helping her to learn what she actually deserves. And she’s going to question if she even deserves it.

3. She might push you away.

People reject what is unfamiliar to them. So give her time to come around at her own pace. Be the example she compares others too, not just another reason she distrusts people.

4. She’s always going to blame herself for things.

In emotionally abusive relationships the victim is always the one at fault. And whether she’s to blame or not, she will always take full responsibility for everything that’s happened.

You’ll find her apologizing for things that she shouldn’t be saying sorry for. 

To her, it’s easier that way, but know when to sit her down and admit she wasn’t wrong. Know when to take responsibility for your own mistakes and be the one saying sorry.

5. She may not be the most confident.

When it’s emotional abuse you’re dealing with, people go one of two ways, either they get really thick skin and learn to not listen to that negative voice criticizing them or they crumble because of it. That voice suddenly dictates and controls their life belittling them and putting them down even when that person isn’t around anymore.

It’s the flaw someone pointed out constantly.

It’s the little comments that are on repeat.

Loving someone who has been emotionally abused means rewiring their brain and teaching them to see themselves in a different light than what they’ve come to know and what they’ve been told. 

6. She never feels like she’s enough.

Regardless of how much she accomplishes or the things she does right, she’ll never feel like it’s good enough. People who have come from places of emotional abuse are constantly striving to be good enough for one person who is never satisfied. To the average person, it’s amazing what they do but they will never give themselves credit where credit is due.

7. She’ll overcompensate.

She’s always going to try too hard. She’s always going to out do you. She’s always going to take things to the next level. She’s programmed to constantly try unbelievably hard. When you’re in a relationship with someone like this you get overcome with guilt, because suddenly your best doesn’t feel like it will ever match up. But pulling her aside and explaining she doesn’t need to do these things is an important conversation. But she won’t understand because trying too hard comes very naturally to her.

8. She’s going to expect a lot of fights and you leaving.

When it comes to emotional abuse, the abuser uses the tactic of neglect & abandonment. As if them leaving after a fight is punishment. An abuser will always spin fights into pointing out, “if you did this it wouldn’t have caused me to overreact.” They will never take the blame fully. The tactic of neglect will always keep the person on edge and that goes back to control. If you can control someone’s emotions, you have power over them.

In a healthy relationship, talking through a problem and coming out with a solution will be unfamiliar to her. But if you can show her that’s how it’s supposed to be, you aren’t just teaching her about healthy relationships. It’s so much more.

9. And she’ll put herself down.

When someone has put you down enough, the abuser doesn’t have to anymore. It then transitions into self-destruction of her repeating every negative thing she’s heard.

When she’s putting herself down and saying negative things, you have to counter it and understand someone has fed her all of these things. Don’t look down on her for a lack of confidence or things that weren’t within her control. Just build her up from there.

10. She’ll struggle in asking for what she wants in the relationship.

She’s used to relationships that aren’t about her but rather pleasing someone else and always putting them first. You might not feel like you are giving her what she wants or needs because she doesn’t state it, but consistently treating her well is the best thing you can do. 

11. She’ll struggle with communication.

She might bottle things up and avoid talking about things. The truth is, when you’ve experienced an emotionally abusive relationship you learn to be silent and a just little quieter. As if silence will avoid fights.

In a healthy relationship, that will be her biggest obstacle to overcome learning how to effectively communicate issues. 

12. She’s unbelievably fragile.

You’ll realize how fragile and sensitive and emotional she is. She’s learned empathy the hard way. She’s learned how to hide things most people don’t have to even endure. She’s learned about unhealthy and bad relationships. Having learned all this and having overcome it you aren’t going to see her as broken and weak like others have. What you’ll see is someone so beautiful you fail to understand how anyone could mistreat her.

13. She’s stronger than she’ll ever give herself credit for.

She might look at herself and hold onto to a lot of baggage from her past but when she meets the right person, they teach her other people’s problems aren’t hers to carry so heavy and she never deserved to be their emotional punching bag.

I’m Still Incredibly Grateful For You, Even Though It Hurt.

“Oh, I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up, but I know A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved.” – Ed Sheeran 

I wish I didn’t still look at you like you’re one of the best things that had ever happened to me.

I wish I didn’t still look at you with such eyes full of admiration.

I wish I didn’t walk into every place secretly hoping you’d be there, as I do a double take in every mirror looking past strangers, looking for one familiar face in a crowd.

I wish I didn’t still think you were the most handsome person I’ve ever seen.

Even if there are people more attractive. Even if I have their undivided attention and they are into me, they just don’t do it for me the way you did.

The truth is, you taught me that attraction isn’t just about what someone looks like, it’s about this emotional connection. 

It’s about someone’s mind and how they make you think and learn and grow.

It’s that person that just makes you see things differently.

The person that makes you a better version of yourself.

Everyone else seems like noise compared to you and what you brought to the table.

It’s in certain moments it just hits me, you’ll always mean so much more to me than anyone else.

And even with the pain you’ve caused or maybe I’ve inflicted upon myself clinging to things based on unjustified feelings, I still look at you like I’m the lucky one.

I heard it’s been said if you hurt someone and they still look at you in the exact same light as they did before, if they still talk to you with excitement and respect you, it’s love. 

Maybe unrequited love is something all too familiar, I’ve learned to cling to.

The honest truth is, maybe I shouldn’t feel the way I do. Maybe my friends will always be the ones disliking you on my behalf. But I could never even if I tried.

Part of me tries to play it cool like you didn’t ever mean that much. But you are the most real thing that’s happened in my life lately.

I keep trying to deny how hard I’ve fallen or how much it hurt but no matter how brave of a front I can put up, I still turn my head sharply when someone says your name. My heart still races really fast when someone mentions you.

If you asked me tomorrow how I really felt, I’d only lie if that was something you want from me.

But I’m over here posting stories hoping it’s your name I see. I’m over here posting pics hoping maybe for a like. And I know it’s silly buying into all of this. But I have.

I don’t know when it all happened, but one day I just woke and I realized it’s you. It’s always been you.

I don’t try and play coy or follow any rule I’m supposed to. It’s every like. Every view. Every answer when maybe I should be a little more subtle or care less. But I’ve never been someone who is good at that sort of thing. I don’t know how to teach a heart like mine not to care.

If there was a switch for turning my heart off, maybe I would.

The truth is, before you came into my life I was so afraid to feel anything at all. You woke a heart long afraid to feel anything too deeply. Adding light to a soul that knew darkness, giving a voice to someone who became comfortably numb with silence. Uttering three words that tasted bitter and unfamiliar rolling off my tongue. But with you, it was okay.

For the first time in a long time, “I love you” didn’t need to be followed by “I’m sorry.”

While many fear heartbreak and shut themselves off to pain. I truly believe even when you get hurt and you feel things heavier than you ever thought you could, there’s beauty to it.

I believe it’s only when you respect pain do you get everything good on the other end of that spectrum which is love and happiness, and that makes it truly worth it.

There’s beauty to someone making you feel things that deeply. How much you hurt will always be an accurate depiction of how much someone meant to you. And if asked, I wouldn’t trade the pain for the world because that would have meant I was taking away every good thing that led to it.

You Used To Care.

You used to call me back immediately even if it was just a butt dial I didn’t intend for. 

You used to answer texts so quickly I never questioned it.

You used to blow up my phone and news feed. Your name was always my favorite to see.

Your compliments were always genuine and sometimes I wondered if you noticed me blushing. 

Most guys wouldn’t notice something so small like me doing my hair differently or changing my makeup or if I dressed differently.

You used to invite me places and always be on time.

You used to be every text in the morning and my favorite way to start a day.

I knew in those moments to be grateful. Something in me could feel this would end. How sad it is to live in a moment you know you are going to miss, so you cling as tightly to it as you can hoping it could last just a bit longer.

You used to meet me completely halfway that I never had to try.

You used to say thank you and actually be grateful and surprised and what seemed like happy every time I did something.

You used to love me.

Then suddenly there was a shift.

You stopped saying thank you and started expecting things.

When things were reciprocated, it wasn’t out of being genuine but rather a sense of obligation like you had to. 

You stopped answering quickly then it turned into not at all.

I sat there fumbling to find words in hopes you’d respond. 

I sat there staring at my phone that was supposed to connect us but it made me feel more distant.

And I look back at the past hoping maybe I’ll find something there. A reason for a shift or a change.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve begun to annoy you.

And as much as I want to try harder, I don’t want to push you further away than you already are.

So I stay mute hoping in this silence you’ll miss me like I have you, even when you’re standing right next to me. The truth is, it hurts like hell missing the ghost of who someone used to be.

You used to tell me everything. These days it feels like I’m missing something. Like I’m out of the loop.

So I try a little too hard and overcompensate hoping maybe you notice.

I dress up a little more hoping to feel a little less invisible.

I’m tiptoeing and walking on eggshells because I don’t want to say or do the wrong thing.

But it almost feels like no matter what move I make, it’ll always be something that makes you unhappy.

You used to care and I don’t know how to get back to that place.

All I can do is hold onto a hope that’s fading. And maybe when you find yourself again, it’ll be there you find your way to me again.

The Worst Day Of My Life.

If you ask me about the worst day of my entire life I can point out three days. 2 funerals and the day I left you.

Everything leading up to that moment, it was like I was living a life that wasn’t mine so far away from home. Almost like a movie that wasn’t real.

You entered my life so unexpectedly. And as quickly as you came, that’s how fast I left. Holding on only to a few months of memories that still seem so clear in my mind.

But that last day together, was one that would haunt me.

I remember waking up in your bed after staying up for hours just sitting in your kitchen. Staring at a blank paper struggling to articulate how much you’ve become so mean to me. Are there aren’t any clear words in the English dictionary that can really convey I love you more than anyone, and I can’t imagine my life without you? But in the next 48 hours, that’s what would become my reality. 

I woke up and you kissed my forehead like you had every day.

There was an eerie silence as we walked. What we weren’t saying was it’s over. Instead, we clung to the last hours we could fit in as many I love yous and kisses that were even possible. You reached for my hand across the table and just squeezed it.

I began to pack and we just laid there on my bed in an empty apartment, the day we both dreaded was here.

“Can you write me a letter before I leave,” I said. 

And we handed it to each other reading it in separate rooms.

What you didn’t know was, I was standing on the other end of the door, listening to you weep in a scream and watching as you came out with hot tears down your face just hugging me. I looked at the clock, it was time.

I left an apartment that felt more like home than the little town I grew up in. It was in that moment I realized home would never be defined by a place again, but rather a person. 

You took my suitcase and we walked a little more slowly than we usually did. We walked past the movie theatre we had our first date. The one you didn’t cancel, even though you were sick. We walked past our favorite bar and club and place we used to go to at 3AM to eat.

Then we got to the bus station and we just sat there holding one another in tears.

“Why did it have to go so fast,” I can still hear your voice repeating those words. “I love you,” and I knew you meant it.

I boarded the bus last not wanting to let go of your hand then sat by the window so I could see you.

As we pulled away and turned the corner, I looked back watching you fall to your knees in the same blue sweatshirt I used to wear around the house. 

Your best friend called hours after I left, “I’ve never seen him in such a state. He really does love you, you know. We all do.”

I held back tears in the airport. And just kept looking back. If my life up to this point with some foreigner had resembled every movie, you would have been there. And I kept looking back thinking just maybe.

I landed in Pennsylvania and I didn’t want to get off. I wasn’t ready to return to my life again.

But I did. And every day I woke up, I turned over to my left envious of the time you were laying right there next to me.

Despite the love we might have felt and found while we were living in the same little town full of cobbled streets, I guess it wasn’t strong enough.

And with tears in my eyes, I knew it was coming as I heard your voice over the phone, “this isn’t logical Carla. I’m doing what’s best for both of us. I love you.” 

For the first time, I didn’t say it back because if there was one thing I knew about love and relationships, it was you don’t give up on the people you love and you don’t stop fighting.

I never knew heartbreak to that extent. I never knew someone’s absence in your life could leave you with a hole in your heart that physically hurt.

I didn’t know what to channel this much pain into. My friends watched as I self-destructed that summer I turned 21. Picking me up off of every bathroom floor as slurred words became a common dialogue. As straight vodka with no chaser hurt less than the pain within me.

Everyone watched knowing very well there was nothing anyone could say to make this better.

Because when the one person who can fix this all is the one who caused all this pain, there is no way to go back. There is no way to unbreak a heart that’s been shattered. You just learn to function.

I boarded a plane a few months later. I needed to go back for reasons I couldn’t even explain. I needed to see you. I needed to feel that the distance between us wasn’t just because of an ocean. And when I stood in front of you and felt worlds away, that’s when I knew.

When you told me you never loved me at all, that’s when I knew.

When you asked me how I could still love you after everything you put me through, the truth was I knew it was real because I didn’t hate you. I kissed you goodbye and you felt like a stranger. I boarded my flight wondering if I wasted everything in my checking account just to hear in person this thing I was still clinging to was over.

But that trip the second time around wasn’t just about the closure. That trip was about putting everything I had left in me, into a person I truly believed in and loved.

But I learned. I knew very well if I loved someone enough to get on a plane and fly across an ocean, maybe some day someone would do that for me.

And in a box of letters I wrote in the time we were apart the last one said, “if you let me go a second time, I won’t ever come back.” 

You Didn’t Just Cheat On Her.

 You sat across the table looking at her just wondering how could anyone cheat on her?

How could someone not see her and see everything good and beautiful about her.

But more than that, what hurt me was you took someone so beautiful and made them question themselves.

You made her look at her reflection as if it was tainted.

You made her look at herself thinking something wasn’t good enough.

But in reality, it wasn’t that she wasn’t good enough. It was you weren’t up to her standard of learning to appreciate someone like that. 

To cheat on her meant you didn’t respect her.

To cheat on her meant you didn’t respect your history.

To cheat on her meant you were willing to throw everything you had built up to that point away like it meant nothing.

And maybe it was just a hookup or some one night stand with someone you wouldn’t see again. Maybe you gave into weak willed temptations. Maybe you thought you should be coy and it wouldn’t catch up to you.

But the truth always has a way of coming out. And no matter how ugly it is someone gets hurt, and most the time it’s the person who didn’t deserve it.

You didn’t just cheat on her. 

Any trust she had in herself and in others you stole.

You didn’t just cheat on her. 

Any faith she had in love you turned into something ugly.

You didn’t just cheat on her. 

Any self respect and self love she had, you stole from her.

Because she believed in you.

You didn’t just cheat on her.

You stole any dream she had of a future she thought was clear.

Now she lies awake alone crying herself to sleep because the pain you’ve caused her is unlike anything you’ve ever known.

You didn’t just cheat on her. 

Because one day it’ll hit you, she was everything you needed.

Everything you didn’t appreciate when you had it.

And the one thing you’ll never get back.

You see, trust is like a vase, once broken it can never be restored to what it once was.

And maybe you put it back together hurting your own fingers in the process of picking up the shattered glass. Maybe it even looks the same.

But you’ll realize it’s her that’s changed after everything.

She’ll no longer look at you with eyes of admiration. 

But rather speculation, because she doesn’t trust you.

That girl you made cry who questioned her self worth will suddenly look down on you.

That girl you thought you didn’t love enough to be loyal to, will have you falling to your knees saying sorry as you try to win her back.

But it’s her that’s won at the end of all this.

Because you might have ruined your relationship, but it takes more than that to ruin her.

She’ll stand tall and she’ll walk away not looking back, and finally it’ll be her ghost that haunts you.