As horrendous as the title may seem, when it comes to toxic people, it’s the truth. I’ve found that when dealing with abusive folks, one of the ways they reel you back in is by reminding you how much they love you. Whenever I heard those words or felt a smidgen of their kindness it always made me want to forget about the ways they hurt me. They’d put a band-aid on me and I’d say thank you as if they weren’t the reason I was hurt in the first place.

This question used to drive me insane. Sometimes it still does. I’d stay up til four in the morning asking myself if they really did love me. I’d think of the memories that dripped like honey between the folds of my brain. Sometimes the good times, however fleeting, hurt more than the actual abuse because they made me think this person could be changed. It gave me a false sense of hope. Can someone really love you if they hurt you so terribly? Did they love me when they took me to the beach for the first time? Did they love me when they ran their fingers through my hair, eyes softer than silk, smile lighter than meringue? Was everything a means of controlling me? I’d pound my skull, hoping I could shake an answer loose, waiting for it to fall out my ears, collect in a little puddle by my feet and somehow elucidate the whole fiasco.

Of course, that didn’t help. Eventually I had to face the facts. Did they love me? Maybe. Probably. Ideally. Did that matter? No.

I’ll say that again for the folks in the back. No. It doesn’t change a damn thing.

Love can fix a lot of things, but it is not a justification for abuse. It should never convince you to overlook the effects of a toxic relationship. When someone is making your life a continual series of panic attacks with intermittent depressive episodes and ever present self destructive tendencies, you should not be asking yourself “do they love me?”. You should be asking “how do I get away from this person as safely and swiftly as possible?”.

When you’re hyperventilating, hands shaking, stomach aching, vomit lodged in your throat, it doesn’t matter if that person loves you. You’ve got to weigh the options and ultimately, no one is worth that. Not your parents, lover, friends, or anybody. Staying with them is not being a martyr for love. It’s being a victim of an abusive anthropomorphic sack of sewage. Whether you two love another, they are still sewage, and anyone that hurts you like that needs to be flushed out of your life immediately.

Once I stopped caring whether they loved me or not, I was able to focus on the real issue. They were abusive. They made life unbearable at times. They warped my perception of everything until the world felt twisted, broken, and downright filthy. I didn’t need that. More importantly, I didn’t need them. What I needed was to leave, and, upon doing so, my life has changed so beautifully. It wasn’t easy cutting them out of my life, but by God it was worth it.

I hope everyone who finds themselves in a similar situation will have the strength and courage to do so as well.

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