These past two years were filled with intense transformations and one of these was getting over a toxic relationship that dragged me into a very dark place for quite a while. My life, at that time, was not that great: I was still working crazy hours at the airport and I hated it, in the meantime, I was writing my university thesis as graduation day was getting closer and closer. All I wanted to do was working the early morning shift from 4am, get home, eat and binge watch Netflix until I passed out. I didn’t like my life, so I started living the lives of TV series characters. On top of all this, I was madly in love with a guy that lived thousands of miles away from me that was psychologically challenging to me. Long distance relationships are very hard to handle, especially if there is only you handling it and actually wanting it to work.
I don’t want to bore you with the details about how our relationship started and progressed, but I want to share with you the philosophy that came out of it.
Have you ever had that gut feeling telling you that this is the right person for you, that you are going to spend your lives together? Well, I had it, I had it with this guy. We lived far away from each other but I had it all planned out: I would have graduated and moved there with him and live happily ever after. Luckily enough, none of that happened. He broke up with me on the first day of 2017 through a text that I never replied to.
Let’s take a step back. How was the relationship like? Short answer: toxic. I basically let him treat me with disrespect. I was accepting everything, him disappearing for weeks, him posting Snapchat stories with other girls, him telling me I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t able to make him happy, that my support was actually stressing him out. We traveled together for a little and 80% of the time, he was dragging me down, commenting on the way I was dressed, making me feel so little most of the time. It wasn’t always ugly and that’s probably why I held onto him for so long, there were times where I could see the real him, the one I fell in love with and it was so good that, those happy moments, made up for all the times he let me down. I remember this one time when we were having a walk, and at some point, he got into a corner shop to buy some water and as soon as he got out, he completely muted and changed attitude towards me. After more than half an hour of silence from him and of me begging to tell me what was wrong, all of the sudden, I was the worst person on the planet, I couldn’t indulge him, couldn’t turn him on (he actually said this), and he stopped saying these awful things only when I started crying so hard I could barely breathe. He apologized and I forgave him.
This situation got me 4 cold sores, one right after the other in a time frame of a month. I went back to my home country feeling miserable and wanting only to go back to be with him nonetheless. He was toxic to me and I was toxic to myself, I was stuck, and I couldn’t see what the situation was causing me. I loved him so much and loved myself so little.
I’ll be forever thankful that he broke up with me, I’d probably be somewhere I didn’t want to be, with someone that was making me feel a complete failure most of the times. What have I learned from this toxic situation? For the first couple of months, I was just desperate, I disappeared from his life, blocked him on every social media, I wanted him to realize how miserable his life was without me. That didn’t happen, I wouldn’t hear anything from him for the following year and a half. I picked up the pieces by myself, I was feeling like nobody would have understood me, and I stayed in my dark and comfortable space for 4 months and then something magical happened. I got a job in London and I had to leave everything behind, the job I hated, my house, my family, my friends and eventually focus on myself and myself only. I felt alive again.
I packed up everything I had and moved to London to start my new life. I was so busy sorting everything out, finding a place, opening a bank account, making new friends, giving the best of me at the new job that I started to get out of the cocoon without even realizing it. Moving to London saved me, not only from the sadness of the breakup but also from a life that didn’t really fit me and my needs. I’d never been here if he didn’t break up with me.
I understood something really important: that the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is true, I lived it. If he had never left me, I’d never been living in a city that gives me so much, surrounded by people that make me feel important, wanted and loved, doing something I studied for and love so much. I had to go through all of this to learn that I’m the strongest person I know, able of incredible things and how he got me all wrong.
Some things happen to prepare you for your next step, your next adventure. Some victories are disguised as failures and you won’t realize it right away, it might take you some time, but you’ll eventually figure it out. This toxic life that I created to myself taught me so much more: how to not accept verbal abuse (or of any kind) from someone that is supposed to love me and if someone truly loves you, they would never treat you the way I was treated.
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel small, they are not worth your time, energy, tears, sadness. Past experiences are useful insights for our future, they show us what we like and what we don’t: use them at your advantage.
And remember, violence is also:
- You are not going out
- Give me that phone
- Wash off that lipstick
- Dress better
- Do your hair better
- Your friends are shit
- Shut up
- You are not worth it
- You do nothing good
- He/She can’t be there for you when you need him/her, but you have to be there for him/her when he/she needs
- Lying to you
- Humiliating you
- Sex in compulsory, even when you don’t want to
- You fear him/her when you want to say something
Love is something else.