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Destructive Relationships.

Anyone who has been in a toxic relationship knows the after effect is what people struggle with the most. You’re used to getting treated badly. You’re used to the games, manipulation, and the control. It’s trying to appease someone who is never satisfied. It’s the want and need to win someone’s love so much, so you build them up while knocking yourself down in the process. It’s watching as your walls grow higher not trusting anyone, even yourself. 

And the only person you let in is the one who caused you to be like this in the first place.

It’s a destructive relationship in which a person thinks love is supposed to hurt.

Then they meet someone else, someone who is so different and they enter this person’s life with caution. Initially rejecting the unfamiliar.

What’s hard about being with someone who has been in a toxic relationship, is the un-teaching you’ll have to do, as this person or many people brainwashed them into thinking a certain way.

1. Be patient.

You are going to notice how nervous they are. You are going to notice how they pull away when you get too close. You’ll notice how they look at you with questions filling their eyes, not doubting you, but doubting everything about themselves.

Take things slow. Don’t push them. Don’t pressure them. Because they will fold so fast under pressure in an attempt to appease you. They are used to trying really hard to make someone happy and never attaining that. 

You’ll notice how soft they are. How gentle. How kind. And you are going to wonder how anyone could have treated them badly ever.

2. Listen when they speak.

Eventually, they will tell you what happened. And when they tell you, just listen. Take it all in. Don’t say anything. Just appreciate the fact they trust you enough to confide in you. Because it’s a story that has ruined them. I say ruined, but not destroyed, because here they are. But it’s also something that haunts them, and it’s something they don’t tell people about.

Everyone is who they are for certain reasons and until they trust you enough to have that conversation where every wall comes down and every raw emotion comes out, you’ll finally understand why they are the way they are.

3. Don’t feel sorry for them.

They aren’t looking for sympathy or pity. They overcame this toxic relationship on their own. They finally had enough. And the last thing they want is you feeling sorry for something they chose. Because that’s the hardest thing about toxic relationships, it’s after the fact, they realize they chose someone who was so horrible and stayed. 

And that’s the tough pill to swallow and a tough part of anyone’s past to accept.

4. Reassure them when they have doubts.

They aren’t doubting you or questioning you. They are doubting things because of what has happened in the past. So when they ask questions and are insecure, don’t come back at them aggressively, understand that these doubts will subside when you fill them with confidence and trust.

5. Tell them everything is okay when they apologize.

They are going to apologize for everything to a point where it might annoy you. But they are used to always being wrong and trying to make it right. They are used to always being the one blamed. They are used to threats of someone walking away, demeaning them, criticizing them, and telling them they have to be different.

They will apologize because someone in their past has led them to believe they are wrong.

Accept the apology and just move one, even if they don’t have a reason to be sorry.

6. Build them up.

Remind them of their good qualities because all they’ve heard are a lot about their shortcoming.

Sometimes the best way to teach someone to love themselves is loving them first.

7. Appreciate them.

You’re going to notice after someone comes out of a toxic relationship how much they do for you. They will try so hard. And overcompensate. The truth is, everything they’ve ever done in the past has never been good enough. But what they didn’t realize then was, it was good enough but it wasn’t the right person. 

You’re going to be overwhelmed with how well they treat you and how kind they are and how they never say anything bad about people. When you know what it’s like to be torn down by words, you choose yours very carefully. 

You’re going to fall for this person and you’re going to wonder how someone didn’t see their value. But you count your blessings for it because then you wouldn’t even have met them in the first place if someone else didn’t lack judgment.

So you build them up and really show them how great they are, and there’s going to be a moment where they look at themselves differently because they are finally seeing themselves the way you and so many others have.

8. Be the example they don’t know.

Then suddenly they get to point where they can’t even imagine settling for less than this standard you set for them. They look back at the person they were then, and they aren’t filled with resentment as much as they are filled with pride for overcoming the past that was difficult even if they chose it.

And they look at you and it’s like finally, everything they’ve ever wanted in life is right in front of them and all they can say is, “thank you.”

Open Topic

Emotional Abuse.

Emotional abuse isn’t one where you’ll see marks or bruises anywhere, but on the inside forever shaping and altering the person forever.

It’s the unkind words. It’s the verbal threats. It’s the screaming, yelling, and fighting. It’s being torn down because someone else needs that to feel that power.

Emotional abuse can be defined by one word. Power.

It’s the control solely because the abuser lacks control in their own life, so they take it out on someone they think is below them. The want and need to control someone, is likely a cycle passed on. It’s about control and insecurities.

It’s the constant criticism, belittling, and snide comments to take someone down because maybe someone has done it to them. Maybe it’s all they know.

They think tough love is building someone up, only after you knock them down.

But every once in awhile, a victim of emotional abuse beats the cycle by not repeating it.

This person turns out to be one of the more beautiful people you meet in your life.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

When someone has been emotionally abused, the hardest part isn’t falling out of the cycle, but rather finding someone to love who isn’t like their abuser.

A lot of times when someone has been abused, they look for similar qualities in every person after because there is still the want, need, and approval of someone like them. There is the want to be loved the way your abuser couldn’t. And trying so hard for it. So the cycle they find themselves in isn’t one where they treat someone poorly, but rather they continue to find others who treat them the same way.

People who have been emotionally abused, manipulated, and brainwashed begin to believe they are worthless, unlovable, and they will never find someone else.

So they settle in love thinking the best they will ever get are the relationships that make them cry themselves to sleep. They settle in love thinking, walking on eggshells, and fearing someone is normal. They settle in love thinking it’s supposed to hurt and not heal.

Until one day, they meet someone who goes against everything they’ve ever known. This person runs their fingers across their sharp edges showing them it’s not them that is at fault for the broken pieces. This person wants to put the pieces back together, but they don’t. Instead of cutting themselves trying to fix this person, they leave the pieces of their past on the floor and they walk away.

Sometimes the best way to love someone isn’t trying to fix them, but rather accepting them.

They are taught this is how you deserve to be loved. They show them it isn’t supposed to hurt. They teach them the power of kind words and how building someone up is what you’re supposed to do. They love them and give without expecting something in return.

They don’t use a tactic of manipulation, but rather an appreciation.

We fear what we don’t know.

Many people who have been emotionally abused, fear something so new and foreign to them. It’s like they are waiting for this person to lose their shit. They are waiting for a fight to break out. They are on edge because they’ve been trained to be in the past. They expect someone always leaving. And they don’t look at themselves with admiration and a sense of strength, but weakness.

They’ve been told they are weak.

Then this new person loves them and shows them the only reason that person from your past tried to knock you down so many times, was because they didn’t want you to see the strength within yourself. They didn’t want you to wake up and realize you’re better off without them. They kept you locked away from discovering the beauty that you are because they needed to control something and someone. They went after you not because you were weak, but because denying you of your strength made them feel powerful.

But walking away and not looking back steals back the power they used to hold over you.

And it’s in that moment you win back your life and freedom.

When you love someone who has been emotionally abused, there’s a silence to them and things you’ll never know. You’ll look in their eyes and see both pain and hope. You’ll watch them from afar and understand that sometimes the most beautiful people got what they deserved least. And more than falling in love with them, comes the task of teaching them to love themselves. And there is a beauty to that. A moment it clicks where she’ll see herself the way everyone else does, and she’ll never let someone treat her bad again.