Saturday, September 28, 2013

Toxic Relationships

"When someone tells you, “I love you,” and then you feel, 
“Oh, I must be worthy after all,” that’s an illusion. That’s not true. 
Or someone says, “I hate you,” and you think, 
“Oh, God, I knew it; I’m not very worthy,” that’s not true either. 
Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. 
When someone says, “I love you,” he is telling you about himself, not you. 
When someone says, “I hate you,” she is telling you about herself, not you. 
World views are self views—literally."

Recently I've been speaking with one of my friends about relationships in recovery. Like this quote, in a sick way, many of us internalize the way others treat us and depending on their actions, we either feel validated or inadequate. Growing up I developed a belief that my worth was based on the reactions of others.

I think a huge part of my people pleasing tendencies, is my unfortunate need to hang on to people that don't treat me with the respect I deserve. It's almost as if I need to "win" them over or else I'm failing.  Another aspect of most toxic relationships is loneliness. Again, in recovery this can be a huge issue. I mean, who doesn't want a shoulder to lean on? And if he/she thinks I'm good enough then it must be true, right? 

When relationships don't work out, some of us automatically think it's our fault. And the craziest thing of all, we (or maybe it's just me) cling onto those relationships even if they have negative repercussions. There's always a glimmer of hope that the person will change and "see the light," but they never do. 

Sometimes letting go of relationships can be scary because it feels like my life will fall apart if I do; and the truth is, it might for a short period of time. I might need to spend a few nights crying, punching things, or writing angry letters, but that also allows for a new start and a fresh perspective. Believe it or not, I can develop a bit of a temper in these situations, but I'm learning that is okay, too. Sometimes releasing that anger is the only way to deal with it.

And this isn't necessarily about giving up or weakness. In fact, I think moving away from toxic relationships shows an incredible amount of strength. More often than not we give people one too many chances to show us they care. If people want us in their lives they will make room for us, no matter what.

Life has a much bigger plan for me.
Health and happiness are part of that plan.
Stability and affection are part of that plan.
Kindness and an open heart are part of that plan.
Constant struggle is not. 

If my well being is at risk then it's time to reconsider certain relationships in my life. After all, the way people feel about me has nothing to do with my worth, right? The only person who determines my worthiness is me.



  1. Beautiful Kelsi, love love love! I can relate so much to what you wrote here.
    Thank you for sharing this today. :)

  2. Ms. Kelsi, I would say, "YES!" :) We learn how to love ourselves in recovery, and that helps us tremendously in relationships. I have learned this in a very hard way... When we don't know how to love ourselves, there is nothing that we can offer to love someone else... When we can't love ourselves, we seek it from the others. Unless we stop this, we always end up in a relationship that has a potential risk to harm ourselves. What would be the most loving action to take for ourselves? I am learning too... I am with you in this recovery journey... Is it worth? I still sometime think about it. <3

    1. Yup, you are so right! We will continue to see it from others until we learn to find it within. Not an easy lesson to learn, is it? I'm glad I'm not alone on this one. :)

  3. I struggle with this. I know, in an ideal world, that I would be completely at peace with myself and would love myself unconditionally before I commit to a romantic relationship. And yet, I also tend to believe that I am quick to isolate myself by applying perfectionism even to my own relationship with myself. I see that I need to step back and appreciate that life is full of nuances and try to separate which is the isolating ed voice and what is my healthy voice and healthy boundaries. Not easy to do (for me).

    1. No, not easy for me either. I really do wonder if it is easy for anyone? We all have our downfalls that are difficult to deal with, but there needs to be a line where they don't dictate our relationships...

  4. This is something I am having a really difficult time with right now. I've been in a relationship for about a year and a half and things had been going really well, over the past couple of months it has deteriorated. He lies about everything, gets caught, I confront him and he gets upset or angry and I end up being the one to apologize. He hurts me again and again, but I keep hoping he will stop being selfish and see how he is treating me. It makes me feel worthless and tempts me to resort to ed behaviors for relief. I know it would be best to move on, but that is scary too!

    1. Aw, I'm really sorry to hear that Heather. Relationships change and I think that is a really difficult thing to accept for some of us. We want what used to be good, so we cling onto the hope that it will somehow be good again. But it sounds like you know what you need to do in your situation... especially if those ed behaviors are surfacing. Best of luck to you!! <3