Relationships

Join the Conversation on
Relationships
63.9K people
0 stories
35.5K posts
  • About Relationships
  • Note: The hashtags you follow are publicly viewable on your profile; you can change this at any time.
  • Explore Our Newsletters
  • What's New in Relationships
    All
    Stories
    Posts
    Videos
    Latest
    Trending
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    5 Steps to Detox from Toxic Relationships

    Is there someone in your life that makes you feel “less than”? You are not alone. It happens all the time, but you have the power to repel the feeling and the relationship.

    Define #Relationships . A relationship is not just between romantic partners. We are all in relationships with family members, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, or significant others. All of these relationships inevitably have meaningful attachments that are purposed for healthy bonds but can lead to soul destruction when infused with poisonous negativity.

    2. Recognize Toxins. Toxicity makes you feel bad about yourself. It gives you a feeling that you would rather be buried in the dirt than bloom in the sun. Toxic people use words and actions to put you down. They may verbally dismiss your value. They might not show up when needed. They may elevate themselves over you.

    3. Detox– It’s a process. If it feels like you are drowning in toxicity, it’s time to walk away. This can be hard but these people don’t need your time or energy. It’s ok to try to make it work. It’s also ok to grieve the loss of what you thought the relationship could or should look like.

    4. Be Free– Get away from all potential toxins. This is not a shutting down or shutting off but a break. Maybe this means getting off social media for a while or temporarily disengaging with a person that creates tension. Take time to reflect on the value and reciprocations of the relationship.

    5. Return or Replace- You may be able to return to your relationships with new boundaries in place. Or you may need to replace them with new people, more time with yourself, or other activities that bring growth and healing. You might also need to replace any learned negativity with positivity. I was once told, “You have more in life than you deserve”. This phrase was a sticky toxic waste on my soul until I could replace it with “I earned what I have, I work hard, and I deserve good things.”In summary: There are different types of relationships that can bring toxicity to your life. Toxic relationships feel bad, detoxing from these relationships doesn’t feel good either but you are worth and deserve good things.

    Community Voices

    If you ever need a heroine

    I always fantasized of being the heroine. I dreamed that escaping my tower of torture would give me that fairy tale kind of freedom. I believed that the nightmare would magically end the moment I escaped the place that gave me PTSD from being molested.

    When I escaped, the victim in me fought. I fought because I was worth fighting for and I thought that even if it killed me… I would somehow find a way to a better life. Going through therapy I dedicated every second of my life to healing. As I slowly released my triggers and grew in strength I felt so empowered. I felt invincible simply because I wasn’t shivering from flashbacks in a corner. “I’m healed.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief, feeling the wind in my hair, right before I took a dive off a cliff into a river of toxic relationships.

    I used the beginnings to prove to others that “you can have a beautiful relationship”. I used the dark, twisted and deeply painful endings to prove that healing means that you have the strength to walk away… right before I would dive right into another relationship filled with red flags.

    I was frightened to admit the truth… because when I reached that point where I could talk about my trauma without tears, when I could calmly state the facts, and my life looks picture perfect everyone sees me as the heroine. Suddenly I’m this person who gives victims hope… and my voice to say “I’m not okay” slowly started to fade away.

    On the inside my heart started to get infected with a bitterness that I couldn’t shake. A deep dark sensation of something seeping into the depths of my heart and destroying everything. I started feeling this new level of worthlessness each time I rushed back up the hill and dived right back into that river full of piranhas.

    But this last time I climbed slowly out of the river and I realized my heart was so heavy I didn’t have the strength to run back up the cliff. I just stopped and looked around me filled with anger and despair. I screamed out to the world that I am broken. My heart that used to believe in the fairy tale ending is bogged down by all the sticky tar buried inside.

    So I fell to my knees and I screamed out to the world for a savior. The heroine had lost in the end anyways because fairytales aren’t real. I felt ashamed because I was always the heroine who never gave up hoping and inspiring. But there was no inspiration left to give. That is the day that the heroine said “I am not okay.” That’s alright. I just fell to my knees and I laid at the bottom of the hill for just a little while. Feeling the impact of the wounds. Then I remembered the reason why I fought before… because I was worth fighting for.

    So slowly this heroine  got up onto her knees, and now I’m standing here taking in the view of everything around me.

    “I’m not okay, but I’m gonna be.” I’m gonna be alright because I’m gonna fight for that. Being the heroine doesn’t mean that you won’t have battles or that you can’t speak up about the darkness inside. Being the heroine means only that you are fighting against the impossible and that someday you’ll win the war. We decide when we’re done fighting. We determine when we’ve reached our fairy tale ending. We get to put our sword down when we are ready… and no one can take that from us.

    So if you ever catch yourself feeling like you can’t speak about your battles just because people already think you’re the heroine, just remember me and I’ll be there. The heroine with her own battles who is willing to listen to yours.

    Community Voices

    Why Can't She Tell Someone She's Depressed?

    Why was it so hard for her to admit that she was depressed?

    That all the alone time since she lost her job wasn’t as wonderful as she led on?

    Why did she feel the need to maintain the persona that she was doing fine

    Why couldn’t she tell someone that this time the medicine wasn’t working? That the symptoms weren’t improving.

    That she felt more depressed every day…

    Maybe it was because she was tired.

    Tired of people telling her that she had so much to live for when she didn’t feel that at all.

    For so long she was the strong one—always there for anyone who was going through a rough patch. She was always the one who was waving the victory flag went all around her were sinking in despair.

    But not this time.

    Isolation was mind-boggling. She couldn’t tell what were her thoughts or God’s.

    But yet she remained positive when I asked how she was doing.

    Why could she not tell them the truth? That deep inside her soul she was hurting.

    That she was feeling like it was not worth it all.

    That she was tired of waiting for that mystical door to open that even refused to make an appearance.

    That she was exhausted and felt lost and her outwardly perfect family was far from perfect.

    In her mind she heard her mother’s voice.

    Self-pity makes a lot of people sick.

    You just need to keep trying.

    You’re only as weak as you tell yourself you are.

    Someone has to hold it together.

    Someone had to be strong for the children.

    Look at all you have! Others have far less than you. Be happy! Be thankful!

    One day she remembered a friend whom she had helped. She recalled her saying that if ever she needed something to please let her know. So, she took a risk and called her. Her friend listened without judgment and prayed for her. Within a week she began to feel the dark cloud lifting. Her despair was shared with another living soul.

    In an odd way it felt that their relationship was now balanced because it was really like one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.

    Slowly she started to see light at the end of the tunnel. She was able to make some changes and ask professionals who are trained in her areas of pain for help. Soon she saw that we need each other! No one has it all together. All of us suffer the emotions of being a human being on planet earth. We all need hope and a helping hand.

    And she realized that she didn’t have to tell the whole world that she was depressed but she did need to tell one person.

    Just one person can make all the difference.

    Community Voices

    Mirroring or Becoming? A BPD Dilemma

    ‘Know Thyself’

    – Socrates

    For BPD sufferers, that eternal question of “who am I?” is a hard one. For most people, the music they love, the activities they enjoy, and the career they desire are an innate part of who they are, but for borderlines, these simple things often remain elusive.

    Identity disturbance issues and a profound lack of sense of self are all too common for borderlines. I was diagnosed with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder at forty years old. I spent the first half of my life not knowing who I am, what I like, what I dislike or what my own wants, needs, and values are.

    Knowledge of these important desires are essential to a positive sense of self and identity. Without a clear understanding of this, we are lost.

    Through the looking glass

    When we don’t know the answer, we seek clues in others and ‘mirror’ what we see. BPD ‘mirroring’ happens on an unconscious level by adopting the body language, verbal habits, or attitudes of someone else. We are fantastic chameleons.

    When we meet, you may fall in love with me very quickly. Why? Because I like the same things as you. I dress how you dress. I think the way you do. Doesn’t everyone love someone who is just like them?

    The problem is, it isn’t real.

    This mirroring eventually fades once the person with BPD (or the personal they’re in a relationship with) realizes this is not the true them. But instead of seeking healthy ways to explore who they really are through treatment or therapy, the borderline may just latch on to the next person.

    The bottom line? Everyone gets hurt.

    Trying identities on for size

    We BPD sufferers can to great lengths searching for who we are, because without someone to mirror, we are abandoned to ourselves in all our BPD emptiness.

    My first husband was an Episcopalian. So, I become a devout Episcopalian. I dove straight in headfirst with 110% – also a BPD trait. When we divorced, I started dating a Baptist. So, I became a devout Baptist. My second husband was a Methodist. Off I went to volunteer in my new church as a devout Methodist. Are you seeing a pattern here?

    Am I mirroring or finally becoming?

    One of the biggest dilemmas for BPD sufferers is the inability to distinguish if we are just mirroring again or finally becoming who really are. So many times I found myself asking ‘Is this the real me? Or my mental illness again?’

    My problem with all this experimenting was that none of these quite ‘fit’ me. It took finding my practice as a mystic in magic to know who I truly am. My belief system is now broader than anything I was taught in church and always leads with love and empathy.

    I decided consciously who I was. What I valued. And how I want to spend the second chapter of my life. But I was never going to do any of this without intensive treatment for my BPD and the process took five years.

    The art of standing in who we truly are requires extra steps for someone who struggles with BPD.

    Be patient with yourself if you struggle with this disorder.

    Be even more patient if you love someone who struggles.

    Shattering the looking glass

    For those with BPD, the first step to stepping into your true identity and cultivating a meaningful sense of self-worth is to actually acknowledge when you are mirroring in the first place. Next, embark on a course of psychological therapy. This will help you build a box of tools to start creating an individual identity that is unique to your own essence.

    How can someone who loves someone with BPD support their loved one if they start to mirror?

    Clearly communicate that you embrace your differences and assure them you will not leave if they become their truest selves. And no matter, what offer external validation that it is okay for them to be authentic without repercussions.

    Borderlines cannot heal alone. We need support of other people. But finally standing in our own unique sovereignty as individuals will take us far on the recovery journey. It did me.

    ‘Knowing Thyself’ is the most empowering feeling. And with this power comes some freedom from borderline personality disorder’s debilitating symptoms.

    Both for us and those around us we love, yet cause hurt.

    2 people are talking about this
    Amy Horton

    Dating With Trichotillomania Showed Me That I Need To Love Myself More

    I’ve lived most of my life in deep shame around my trichotillomania, especially in romantic relationships. In most partnerships, I attempted to hide my condition entirely. It felt easier to pretend than face possible rejection. That’s how disconnected I was from my sense of self-worth. I believed that I was a freak, that no one could actually want me if they knew the truth about me. Four years with my college sweetheart, and he never, ever saw me without my eyeliner on. I’m sure he knew something was off. How could he not? But he never asked. Over and over again, I played the same intricate game. I carefully applied eyebrow pencil and false eyelashes, every single day. When anyone met my gaze for a second too long, I looked away — as if lack of eye contact would somehow keep them from noticing my condition. A lifetime of criticism and bullying meant that I’d become hyper-aware of the moment when someone did notice. I learned how to sense it, so that I could then divert attention or excuse myself before the conversation got too real. Dating meant constant, obsessive focus on my trichotillomania. Was I hiding it well enough? Did they know? Whenever I had sex, I worried the entire time. Had one of my eyebrows smudged off on the pillow? Was my eyelash glue melting away? It. Was. Exhausting. The first thing I’d do when we finished was excuse myself to the bathroom to check on my face before my partner could get a good look at it. I hated living that way, but I hated the idea of explaining something that I myself did not even understand more. I finally told one long-term boyfriend, but I never owned my condition. It remained a perceived blight on my worth, something which I thought overshadowed everything else about me. When that relationship failed, I decided to hide myself away again. I didn’t discuss it with another partner for years. Even when I revealed my trichotillomania to my most recent partner, I treated it as a stain on my worth. I let it become the elephant in my brain, each and every time. I’m always dreading the day that I see confusion or disgust in someone’s eyes as I reveal one of my most vulnerable truths. So, mostly, I just don’t. I’m not proud of the way I’ve felt about my trich, or the way I’ve handled conversations around it. I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve treated myself as unworthy or less than, that I’ve felt I need to be loved in spite of who I am instead of because of it. I want to accept myself completely, and I am working on it. It’s felt like an uphill battle because of the way my family treated it when I was a child. When I was growing up, my parents did not understand what was happening with me. My mother shamed me, publicly, over my trichotillomania. She repeatedly confronted me to stop, as if I wouldn’t have if I could have. It was not the way to help a young girl. I know that their handling of the situation colored the way that I feel about it now. I also know that I am an adult and it’s my responsibility to take back my power and decide to love myself. All of myself. No one can shift my perspective but me. I cannot change how my family dealt with my confusing and, to them, alien condition. I can only work on developing the courage and self-love to see myself as whole now. To retrain myself to know that I have inherent worth. It is not dependent on conventional ideas of beauty or mental health conditions I did not ask for or create. I have had some success in shifting — I’ve spoken to friends and even acquaintances about the condition, calmly and normally, without begging for their approval or understanding. I am learning to stand confidently in all of who I am. It does take practice, and self-compassion, to navigate adjusting this perception of myself. My goal is to now approach dating with no fear around my trichotillomania. The right person will love and accept me — all of me. I know to find that, I must first love and accept myself. Unconditionally. Knowing that I am beautiful, whole, and perfect — exactly as I am.

    Community Voices

    I feel like I am going crazy… so whenever there are disagreements when I am addressing whenever I don’t like how he’s treating/speaking to me or I feel his word choice feels disrespectful or misleading he as if he’s this terrible person and that I am giving him such a hard time.

    For example, I felt what he said was dismissive, in return his apology was snarky and not even addressing what was wrong about how he explained himself. So I address that I didn’t like his tone. And for an hour he kept on the subject of his choice of words and how I am always so hard on him. And how he doesn’t want to push me away and how wants to resolve this as he proceededs to dismiss how I feel. After an hr of going in circles he finally shares a really half assed apology (I don’t think he knows that his apologies are bad) I told him that o was quite bc I knew he wasn’t going to like my response but I do appreciate his apology and I know how hard it was for him to get to It. So he says I’m trying to argue and that I can’t never accept his apology and that I am just trying to make him the bad person and instead of hearing me out he just goes on about how he’s just trying to not go to bed mad at me. (When this whole thing started bc he was upset I said dismisses the fact that I can only understand what I am being told and that I am not a mind reader but to him I should already understand that).

    Was I wrong for not accepting his apology? Should I not be upset whenever he gets triggered in our disagreements ? Am i wrong for wanting to leave? I feel like a punching bag and whenever I speak up I am met and such anger and dismissiveness on his part (even if I am calm). I am not saying he is a bad person, I just think this whole emotional vulnerability thing is not his strong suit.

    3 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Decisions

    I have to make a pretty big decision about my relationship. I really like him, perhaps even love, but things like values aren’t aligning. I also have no idea who I am so I don’t know what we really have in common. I don’t know I have a tendency to be a chameleon to people. Molding into what they want. It’s not their fault it’s mine. So I don’t know if I can stay with him. I hate it because he’s so sweet and caring and not a bad person at all. He really likes me too. I’ve been stressed about this for over a week and idk what to do…but it’s a decision I have to make. But also I don’t know if it’s anxiety around beinf in a relationship or if I want to leave him first before he can leave me. I’m really not sure… #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Anxiety #Bipolar2Disorder

    10 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Hey

    Hey guys! I'm Anthony, I'm new here, and I hope I'm in the right place!

    I have been struggling with life, I may or may not suffer from depression. Like many older men, I am stubborn, and find it hard to admit that men can suffer from a mental illness like depression. I mean we're supposed to be the strong ones, right?

    I don't have any friends. I have always managed to find the worst people to associate with. Those who treat me poorly, or take me for granted.

    I'm 43, single all my life, because of this tendency to avoid relationships fearing that I'll end up hurt in the end.

    I have buried myself in work as family have told me that's all I need to concern myself with. No need for more, as long as I have a steady job and retirement fund. Socializing will just hurt my future, I was taught by family.

    I have damned near let it destroy me, mentally as well as physically.

    Yet I still find it hard to seek help. I'm hoping this will be the first step toward recovery, and yet I know my stubbornness will make it hard.

    I have almost given up, I mean, I have not taken a moment in life to fulfill my needs, why start at middle age, right?

    I'm hoping with this start, that I can convince myself I am wrong, because every day that goes by, it gets harder as I've convinced myself life's almost over and I should just let it be.

    6 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Response to a post

    Of course, I can't now find the post, but it said "its ok to be ok". It hit so many check marks for me. I was unwanted..and somehow compounded that error by being born a useless worthless female instead of the expected son and heir. My mom was basically a non participant in my life, doing bare minimum. My dad was Jekyll or Hyde..for 20 years then I married to escape and ended up in a loveless abusive relationship with a narcissistic sociopath bully, 36 years when he hit me the second time. I tried counseling but before the divorce no one talked about ptsd or cptsd in non veterans. After the divorce, I ran out of money before I could start really healing. So in all my life its never been okay to be okay. I don't know what that will look like, and I am tired of being overlooked, disrespected and disregarded. People have always ( and I do mean always) treated me like a halfwitted dumb blonde..and while I have had moments of not knowing the right thing to do, I am not a stereotype. I am the perfect guardian as I can size up a potential threat in zero seconds. But acting like my best self? I don't know. #Itsoktonotbeok , but I really want #itsoktobeok .

    3 people are talking about this