When Love is Toxic

Love is something we all long for. We all want to feel wanted, accepted, needed. We seek that other person who can make our heart skip a beat, even after years have passed. Someone who can love even the worst parts of us, the parts we are ashamed of. Someone who looks at us in the here and now as well as our future, rather than the mistakes of our past.

Some people have found that. Some people have not. See, love is one of the strongest feelings we as humans can have. Once you find the one you truly believe is yours, you’ll stop at nothing to make sure they understand that. Sometimes it takes a huge, deep, painful experience to prove to you that he’s not the one. Something we all must have to remember is this- the one that is worth your heart, will never be the one to purposely make you cry, hurt, feel bad, feel worthless, feel lonely. If you’re with someone that makes you question your worth- know that they are not the One.

If we’re not careful, though, we can let our emotions overtake us and cloud our judgment. I’ve done this quite a few times. I, myself, am a very empathetic person, which means I take on other’s burdens and problems as if they were my own. Whatever emotion they may be feeling, I instantly relate to, even if I can’t relate to the exact situation they’re going through. I often say it’s a blessing, other times it seems like a curse. For years and years I would find myself completely drained mentally and emotionally from trying to “save” those around me who were sinking. I thought I could save the people who were hurting, but all that did in return was pass that pain to me. It was crippling, and it wasn’t long before I found myself drowning.

I did this with love, too. I poured out my heart to the point where everything was on the line. I became so vulnerable that I didn’t think I could honestly survive without the other person. It was like when things were bad, they were BAD, and I would find myself in a panic, feeling like I just had to make it right.

For close to five years, I was madly in love with someone who made my life a living hell. But for all that time, that’s all I knew about love. I thought love was supposed to be controlling like that. I thought it was normal to wake up every morning on top of the world because things are going well, only to completely crash hours later because fighting would always ensue. I thought the love I felt for that person must be real, otherwise I wouldn’t find myself questioning how I could possibly continue living without them in my life.

I remember a few times in particular. From middle school til about my sophomore year of college, I suffered with a terrible eating disorder. My whole life I’ve struggled with my weight. It was a vicious cycle that never seemed to end, no matter how many times I tried. I never felt pretty or normal enough. Going back to this relationship I was in- I was so in love, that I would do anything I was told. I wouldn’t hang around any friends I was told not to. I wouldn’t eat what I was told not to because it would “make me fatter.” I wouldn’t go places or do things I was told not to because “Well, I don’t know who all is going to be there with you.” I wouldn’t wear what I was told not to. I would do, literally, whatever it would take to make that person happy and not be upset with me. Even the time I was told to kill myself, I almost did. ALL because of this ONE human being who was a part of me for so long would get mad and tell me to. The unknown terrified me. This is what I had known and grown used to. What else was left if I didn’t have this?

Where did this toxic relationship get me? When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus, a premaligment condition, due to such extreme stress. I would stay so worried, so anxious, so scared to the point that the acid in my stomach completely burned through my stomach lining and up into my esophagus. It scalded and scarred the lining of the tissues so badly, the doctors had to do frequent EKG’s to make sure it didn’t turn into anything cancerous. I remember at the time, the doctor told me that he had never seen this so severe in someone so young.

Fast forward three years, and I was finally able to find the strength to leave the relationship. It was one of the absolute hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. I mean, after all, it took up years of my life and that was all I knew. What was I possibly going to do now? Would I ever really be able to recover from this and move on with my life? Was love always going to be like this?

This is exactly why when I see others in toxic relationships, it crushes me. Because I’ve been there. I understand. But I also know there IS hope and a wonderful future if you can just find the strength to let go. The verbal, physical, mental abuse takes a huge toll on you, and if you’re not careful, you’ll always subconsciously seek out those same horrible traits in someone else. This is why it is SO CRUCIAL to know your worth and what you deserve.

If you’ve found yourself in a similar relationship, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not many people will understand what you’re going through and why you “don’t just leave”. But I’ve been there. I know that burden, I know that pain, I know that fear. I know those toxic love-hate feelings. But I promise, oh I promise- there is true happiness out there, if you just finally say enough and put one foot in front of the other.

You are strong. You are valuable. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You have SO MUCH love to give, and receive. REAL love- it waits for you. REAL happiness- it waits for you. It waits for you on the other side of fear and the “unknown”. Love yourself enough to realize that you DO deserve better, and you will never, ever, EVER settle again for just anyone. Once you truly understand all this, I promise you that you won’t even take the tiniest risk if it doesn’t 100% set your heart and soul on fire. Go. Find yourself. Your identity will never be defined in anyone other than Jesus Christ. You are one of a kind and the whole world needs your smile, your help, your encouragement.

So next time you find yourself faced in a similar situation, ask yourself: Is this helping or hurting me? Is this real, or are am I allowing my emotions to take lead? Is it worth the risk, or should I just walk away until I know I’m ready? What you feel matters, don’t ever let anyone tell you or make you feel any different. You have a beautiful life to live… don’t waste it on anyone who doesn’t want to help you grow.

2 Replies to “When Love is Toxic”

  1. Jessica, your truthfulness is am! I know you, you could not have written this without the Holy Spirit, giving you strength and wisdom, and peace. I believe that God has a purpose when one of his Children follows the Holy Spirit. I can tell YOU followed the Holy Spirit. I pray that whoever this is for that they will ignore. I pray they teach out, it could save souls and lives.
    Amen

    Wanda Wilson Otts says:

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