Years later, as I reflect on the toxic relationship that left me with way more baggage than I’d like to admit, I realize how terrible the relationship really was. The deeper I get into a loving, healthy relationship, the more I am able to see how emotionally abusive and unhealthy the life I was living was.
The scariest part? I hid it from everyone.
I hid it without even realizing that is what I was doing. I became a master of driving a few laps around the block while I got myself composed, wiping the tears off my face. I was able to walk in the house with a fake enough smile that I would be able to make some small talk before I walked upstairs just to break down again.
I spent a lot of time on the bathroom floor. It was my safe space to cry and make sure nobody could hear or see me. I sat on the bathroom floor and cry until I felt like I could get myself together enough to get through the day. On the bad days, I did this first thing in the morning and almost every night before bed. Nobody knew. I didn’t let anyone ever see or hear me.
We posted a ton on social media. Painting this picture that we were happy and in love. Painting a picture that we had this relationship other people were actually jealous of. Everyone wanted a love like ours.
You know what those Instagram posts didn’t show? They didn’t show the crying. They didn’t show the swearing and the horrible, unforgettable words that were thrown around. They didn’t show me crying in the car driving away after my ex told me I was worthless and nobody would ever love me—just to beg to have me back days later.
Let’s go back to the phrase bad days. I actually believed it was normal and OK to have more bad days than good during my relationship. I thought all of the fighting was because we loved each other so much. I thought being in love meant you had to fight for each other. I genuinely believed love wasn’t supposed to be easy to be worth it.
I didn’t see my friends fight with their significant others the way I did. But I figured they just didn’t fight in front of other people, or they had a boring relationship and didn’t really care for each other.
I actually believed this was how love was supposed to be.
So on the good days, I rode the high. It was like a drug I couldn’t get enough of. In my twisted mind at the moment, I believed all of the bad stuff was worth it so I would be able to feel days like that again.
So I would go through the fights, the hurtful words, and the emotional abuse in hopes to feel that high again. This reality I was living had me brainwashed that this was how love was supposed to be.
But I was wrong.
Three years later, in the first healthy relationship I think I have ever had, I have learned so much. I have learned love is not toxic. Love is not something you have to battle with and fight with daily. I have learned love is patient and kind and the only reason you should be fighting is to work through something, together. Love is not unhealthy, and I will never allow myself to be in a situation like that again.