It took me nine years to realize the relationship I was in was a toxic one. I in no way believe I was perfect in my relationship, but I definitely realize now that I deserved a lot better.
C-PTSD is a bit difficult to explain sometimes. Probably more difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced it. I wrote about this here. Most situations that lead me to this are situations that others would brush off, or be sad for a while then come out of it.
I have this seemingly life-long habit of 99.9% of the males that I have let into my life started as a feeling that I could trust them, be myself with them, and open up to them; only to have them up and leave for various reasons. Some, the depression was too much for them to handle, and honestly, why would they put up with it if they didn’t have to? Some, I was probably just too needy. And some probably were just after attention until it was too much work. Nevertheless, I would always fall into these illusions that this person was there for me and I could trust them, only to have the rug ripped out from underneath me, cracking my head each and every time on the way down.
After one too many times of this happening, there’s no way to get by without some damage. Being a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), this may be what caused me to feel more intensely when this would happen. Not to mention my near crippling depression and anxiety hiding in the wings waiting to take over. My mind created the perfect storm for these situations to destroy what was left of my self esteem and hold me hostage any time a new male came into my life.
After 9 years of an on-again, off-again, toxic relationship, I decided I was done. I decided that being alone was better than dealing with a boy (not a man) who wanted to play games and manipulate me, who decided to be mad at me and stop speaking to me for any little thing, but how dare I ever be mad at him, because then he’d get mad at me for that, too. It became too much. My depression took over, and I had reached a point where I felt that I would not survive my mental health staying with him. So, I left. We were still in a years lease at the apartment we shared (note to self, don’t move in with your on-again, off-again ex) so I completely stopped speaking to him unless it was 1000% necessary. Which was extremely rare. That was when I started feeling better.
Then, a few months before our lease was over, I was very fortunate to be provided a way out. A new apartment I’d found, 20 minutes away, another town. One bedroom apartment, large kitchen, and it even came with a washer/drier in it! Barely more than I was paying at the two-bedroom I’d been sharing with him. So I took up on the apartment, and began moving immediately.
Throughout the years of being off-again and while we weren’t speaking but in the same apartment, I looked at dating apps, dating sites, whatever to get my mind off of this terrible person. But what I didn’t realize then is, I was not mentally healthy enough to look for another relationship. I was, in a way crippled, by my past with men. Any guy that came and tried to talk to me, I’d instantly push away and find a million flaws with. I fell for guys that were unavailable so that I knew I’d never tell them or get close to them. It felt like the safest sort of attraction.
The last year has been extremely eye opening. I’ve realized the damage done by some of the “relationships” I’ve had in the past, things that I tucked away in the back of my mind. The problem with not facing your problems is that they always seem to find their way back to the forefront. Through my blog I’ve been able to process quite a few things that I’d been pushing away for so long. I was able to sort out feelings and confusions, and above all else, I was able to accept that I am enough the way I am, and that these people were never enough for what I needed.
Come to today, 2019, “New year, new me” but not really. I spent 2018 really falling back in love with myself. Learning to take care of myself was the biggest success I had in 2018. But still, I find I’m not sure if a relationship is quite right for me. I know a lot of this is the C-PTSD talking, reminding me what happened every time I fell for someone, or even let a male friend get close. It reminds me of doors slamming repeatedly in my face, cold shoulders, being told I’m not good enough.
I feel that mentally I am in a healthy place where I could potentially handle a relationship, be able to express my feelings and my needs in terms of mental health, yet I find the idea terrifying. Now, it’s almost for different reasons. I’m scared of giving up my “me” time, of giving up friend time, family time, and all those things. I know the right person would be with me during family and friend times, while still letting me have my own time. I’m also terrified of getting into a cycle of someone who wants me one day and doesn’t the next. I’m terrified of someone coming into my space, my apartment, my sanctuary. I know, I know. When you find the right person it isn’t scary, and you want to do these things. But I’ve truly enjoyed being single and free over the last year, but now I’m starting to consider my options.
We’ll see how it goes!