One of the most confusing aspects of breakups is who we end up taking the longest to get over. Why, for instance, does it feel easier to bounce back from parting ways with a genuinely kind, wonderful partner you considered a best friend than an ex who had virtually no redeeming qualities? Why are the people who proved to be selfish, dishonest, manipulative–aka, so obviously bad in every way–sometimes the hardest to release?
I read a personal testimony from a member of @thebodyahomeforlove who wrote:
As a survivor, I constantly wish I could go back in time and change who I was when my assault happened.⠀
I wish I had seen the signs. I wish I had never entered that relationship. I wish I loved myself the way I do now. Maybe I would have been able to change what happened. Maybe I would have avoided the mental abuse. But, that version of myself is valuable.⠀
She didn't know what she knows now. And even if she did, it wasn't her fault.⠀
Because of what I accepted and tolerated in relationships back then, I will never accept that behavior now. Because of who I was during that period of my life, I am stronger.⠀
Do I have some healing to do? Of course. But I came out of that situation shocked by how much resilience I have.
I love myself. But I also love who I was when my assault happened.
As I read her testimony, I understood this sister. I appreciated that nothing was rejected about her experiences. Gracefully understanding that every former version of ourselves is valuable. Knowing that shedding toxic releases makes us more alike than we are different.
I remember my first night single, I returned home from work, took off my bra and tossed it over the hamper and lit a candle. All I knew was that I made it out and now I could comfortably sit in an empty home without pettiness.
Missing foresight, I was limited to the awareness of what life after a toxic lover would actually feel like. But I knew I had been here before, and what I would do first was change my look. Was a new identity even what I should be focusing on first? This was what I only knew to do, I was going through all types of hair styles to welcome the 'life after' me. What did she actually look like now?
Like most women, I even did the "cut a man out of my life haircut chop" when it was finally over over. But I had to see deeper. Collectively thinking with my girlfriends, could we write a new rule in the dating-relationship world. Could we? Something that was a solution to toxicity.
Here's the truth about life after a toxic lover:
You’ll need to know what to search up on YouTube to grow in femininity.
It took a minute for me to come across some channels that perfectly matched who I wanted to be but I'm glad they found me. So many "a-ha" moments happened right on my living room couch as YouTube taught me. Vetting. Something I did naturally but not strategically. Femininity. I was getting in my own way. Understanding a man. I had to learn quickly here. And YouTube University was teaching me all of it.
At first, you say it's not you because the toxic one was him. The toxic lover was obvious. But delusion says that much of it was you too. Think about it this way, the word sounds defensive, I know, but society taught you that. As defined, delusion is based on or having faulty judgment; mistaken. When we allow the wrong person in our lives, it's because "we missed the mark", not them. So, when we allow the wrong person to stay in our lives, we should be held accountable for their presence. Once they're gone, be sure to ask yourself why it is you're attracting toxic lovers. Having these hard conversations with ourselves should be a requirement.
You’ll convince yourself you're OK when you're not.
Isn't it easier this way? Eventually, someone will keep it real with you and after enough time, you'll see that your version of damage control is controlling you. Luckily, our culture has accepted therapy and even with a pandemic going on, virtual therapy has become a thing. I'd say, that if discussing your former toxic relationship with someone doesn't sting a little bit with the truth, seek a professional relationship expert or a good ass cultured therapist that'll challenge you.
You will have a period of time where you will date too soon because you miss companionship.
Just prepare. The natural tug of needing your own masculine energy to laugh and talk with all started in the "Garden of Eden". It's not going away. It's natural of a woman. I was awakened to this acknowledgment after questioning myself. Sasha, why can't you stop dating and just let many years go by? What was I thinking? That seemed more like a punishment than a privilege. As I sat with those thoughts, I was just simply tired of the disappointment and needed a break, and breaks to recharge are healthy. And I did just that after dating, loving, relationship-ing since 16.
Heartbreaks come with work and when it happens, it’s hard to identify the type of work you really need done.
Toxicity found you but it's not the end. It's hard for the mind to uninstall programs that block our truth, happiness and authenticity, and while healing from a toxic lover doesn't help, it will grow us if we let it. Finding the strength to go into negative memories to accept what just happened is a painful awakening, but one that is needed. As programs are projected on us as early as childhood, we have to uninstall them, files need to be deleted that are not yours. Files that could have been placed on you by your parents.
Your soul really needs to know that it's not yours and you don't have to carry pre-programming around of what others did to you.
The more we look in the mirror naked, we meet somewhere, some place that our mind must take us. Cheers to rebuilding a community. I love following bold women online who embrace stretch marks, gaps, fros, acne, sagging titties, pain, a body in any shape, therapy, mistakes, modesty, femininity and so on. The important stuff. Because the more she does, and I encourage that, the more indirectly she helps me tap into my own authentic reflections.
Life after a toxic lover ain't all bad, boring, or bougie. You go through the shit to get to the joy. And although it ain't always good, it's a period of time that you are finally allowing yourself to heal, hopefully. Because what got us to a toxic lover is the failure to be with ourselves too. And when we keep dating, going, moving through life — or ignoring this, we'll look back and before we know it, we have neglected the most important person to know entirely, ourselves.
Life after a toxic lover.
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