How do you know that you are in a TOXIC RELATIONSHIP?
ANY relationship: friend, family, lover, spouse, child, parent…
There is a very simple test I use and it is this: do I feel better for being with this person or am I really grateful when they leave or I get to escape?
I do a body check. I know what stress feels like in my body, something that has become incredibly important for me as stress floors me physically, at 46 I can no longer tolerate the nuclear doses of stress hormones my body releases at the first flick of the stress switch. If I feel that I have anxiety around the person, I have one of two choices: first off I ask, can I simply moonwalk away without being noticed?; if not then, I do the distract and dash.
Clearly the moonwalk out the back door without being noticed is preferable, but rarely an option. The DISTRACT & DASH? Well, after a lifetime of perfecting this it boils down to working out what this person needs from me and then sending them towards that whilst nimbly escaping out the backdoor. I know from experience it is either that or I simply kick, stab, or self-annihilate, anything to get the hell away and that is never ever a good exit, usually ends with egg smeared all over everybody and body bits strewn across a small chunk of whatever country I happen to be living in.
“You let go of a toxic and unhealthy relationship
not because you are weak,
not because you no longer love the other person,
but because you are STRONG enough to understand that there are times when two people will be a lot happier if they go separate ways than if they stay together.”
Now I know a lot of my friends in the #PTSDChat who are slogging it out in crappy miserable marriages because that is their norm. I never judge that decision as I believe that each of us must come to our own conclusions in life, but I wait and I watch.
I am supporting a group of incredible US Veterans who are fighting for Veteran Father’s caught in the terrible talons of the US Family Court – more on that in a couple of weeks time. For now let me tell you that I KNOW how terrified you all are of the D-word. But here’s the thing as a child of domestic violence and toxicity between two warring parents: I literally begged my father to leave my mother so I could have just one safe home to be in. He refused, so I left home and found my own safe, leaving my brother behind to be mutilated physically, emotionally and mentally by those two.
Here’s something I’m going to tell you. Weirdly it impacts, I know. When you read this you’re going to sit back and go, “Huh?” or you are going to cry.
You have permission to terminate toxic relationships.
You are allowed to walk away from people who hurt you.
You are allowed to be angry and selfish and unforgiving.
You don’t owe anybody an explanation for thinking of and taking care of you first. In fact you MUST take care of you first, without YOU there is no US.
Going to say that again.
WITHOUT U, THERE IS NO “US”
And here’s another little thought.
If you were in a lifeboat with all the people you are close to and whom you spend time with, which ones are rowing with you towards the shore and which ones are drilling holes in the bottom of your boat?