It’s an unfortunate thing that I can say, “I’ve had a lot of toxic relationships.” I don’t just mean romantic relationships, I’m also talking about the platonic ones. You know the ones I mean, the “friends” whose compliments are always tinged with insult. The ones who bring up your emotional traumas just so they can see how quickly the happiness leaves your eyes. They say they’re being “supportive” and “curious”, but you’re well aware of what it really is. They thrive off of your pain, feel power when they’re in a better place than you are. And the worst part of all of it, you continue to let them sap the life out of you. You give and give because they hold a special place in your heart. Because you love them.
When you finally accept that you’re in a one-sided relationship, it feels like a sharp blow to the stomach. All this time you were under the impression that they truly cared about you, that your friendship meant as much to them as it did to you. You took it in stride whenever they would criticize you, mock you, laugh when you messed up or gloat when you failed. You thought, “they’re just trying to make me better.”
The same goes for relationships. It’s tough for me to write this, because one-sided relationships are borderline abusive. They belittle you, control you, berate you over the smallest problems, and make you afraid to check your phone or Facebook in front of them. How can we even call that a relationship? You give yourself to someone, emotionally, physically, and mentally, you kiss the very ground they walk on and what do they give you in return? A face full of dirt.
Love, whether it be friendly or romantic, should always be equal. I firmly believe that, and I refuse to give more than the other person is giving back. You should feel safe and accepted instead of like you’re walking on eggshells all the time. The compliments should be genuine, your triumphs should make them happy, and your failures should be a reason for them to cheer you up not rub it in your face. I’ve cut out countless people because life is just too short to be miserable all the time. I’ve pulled those who love me for me closer and pushed those who don’t off the edge of my little cliff of life. I have beautiful relationships, friends who I don’t see often but when I do it’s like nothing has changed. A husband who gives as much as I do, works to support our family, makes me feel loved.
Sometimes it takes a long time to learn these things, and so many people sell themselves short for so long because they feel like they don’t deserve any better.
We all deserve better.