It seems so simple to let someone go who no longer serves a positive purpose in your life. How simply someone goes from that person you care about to someone who suddenly is toxic to you. But the hardest part about letting go of toxic people is, the love you still have for them. Because toxic doesn’t always mean bad, sometimes a relationship shifts where it’s suddenly bad for you and you aren’t gaining anything from it anymore.
“Just ignore him.”
“Cut the cord.”
“He’s taking advantage of you and you’re letting him.”
These are all phrases I’ve heard and I couldn’t disagree with. But there was something in me that couldn’t just move on or let go.
I don’t know if love is the right word because love and toxic shouldn’t be closely related. But there was something about him that kept me around. Something that always lured me back in.
It was like every time I tried to pull away, he noticed. Every time I had the courage to call him out and stand up for myself, he’d come around with some apology like it was a reset button and all was forgotten.
His words sounded so nice if only they were countered by actions that followed. But everything he said contradicted what he did. And I didn’t know what to believe anymore. So I hung onto what I wanted to believe. That he was a good man. He might have been. But he showed me bits and pieces of that.
But he also showed me a side to him I didn’t like.
It was every promise where I suddenly expected to be disappointed because I couldn’t rely on him anymore. It was every event where I stood there alone because he told me he’d be there and I believed him.
It was every goodbye where I turned back around because no matter how mad he made me or how upset I got, I always forgave him.
It was trying so hard thinking I had to earn his love and affection and he took what I had to give and I didn’t demand it to be reciprocated. I know that’s on me.
It was sacrificing pieces of myself to appease him, little did I know the self-destruction I was causing trying to maintain this relationship.
It was every blurry line where I couldn’t make sense of him and all he did. It was the games and confusion. It was liking me one minute then changing his tune the next. Because he knew exactly what he was doing and he knew exactly how to get to me. It was the text I knew he read but chose not to answer. It was the snap I saw him open but not caring to reply. It was the likes, the shares, the tag, just when I finally stopped thinking about him. It was like one step forward and ten back.
Just when I was about to move on, he always knew. And I didn’t know how. It was a night out where I was laughing and smiling and getting hit on, only to see his name appear and suddenly I was brought back to where my heart really hid.
It always came back to him.
It was the text I knew I shouldn’t have answered but I couldn’t seem to even treat him the way he did me. It was the conversations that lasted for hours. It was his ability to make me laugh staring at a screen but when I was going to bed alone, I’m crying because I was trying so hard to be what he needed when in reality, I knew I was being used and taken advantage of.
It was the gestures without thank you and the apologies without any real sincerity.
It was knowing I should’ve walked away a long time ago but thinking I had to explain why. But if I gave him that chance, he’d come back with charming words that made me stay.
He held me without any touch at all.
It was hearing every kind word he’d came up with and every flattering compliment, but I knew there’s another side to that coin.
You can’t like half of one person, but what happens when the good makes you want to forget the bad parts.
He was master of coming and going as he chose. He’d pick up where we left off when he wanted to. Everything was on his agenda and his schedule when I was the busy one changing around plans to make things work.
I had never been someone’s show puppet. I had never watched myself or looked at my reflection losing self-respect in moments as I did. I caved to him and everything he demanded and wanted of me.
And I foolishly called it love. I foolishly hung onto this thing.
I think what I feared most about letting go was realizing the moment I did, it was only me holding on.