I assume that everyone goes through this part of life, the part where you start realizing what matters, who matters, and where you should place your time. The time in your life when you start cherishing who you are, what you deserve, and what impacts people are having on your life on a regular basis. Over the past few years, I’ve had to make some pretty tough decisions about the people I let into mine and my families life, in fact, my husband and I still have to make those decisions daily.
It wasn’t easy, it’s actually been much harder than I’ll probably even be able to describe to you here. But, I’m going to try. And before I start, I’m sure some of you will say, “Life is tough, get a helmet”. And although I agree whole-heartedly with this principle, I also believe there are others out there like me with an openly optimistic and naive heart that gets abused and manipulated. I’m hoping this can help save you from yourself.
Letting Go of Your Unhealthy Relationships
All of us have abusive relationships in our school-age years; whether it’s a bully, a tough teacher, mean parents, a bad breakup, etc. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about adult relationships, where both parties are fully capable of making adult decisions and choosing (often intentionally) the wrong ones. I’m talking about the way some people choose, as adults, to put down others rather than just being polite or saying nothing at all.
Over the past ten years, I placed so much effort and time into three specific relationships that have literally done nothing but bring me negativity, stress, and discomfort. For their sake – because I choose to be better than them, I’m not including who they are.
I’ve spent night after night crying over the hateful things that were said about me by people whom I considered friends and family. I would sit up for hours wondering WHY or WHAT caused this to be happening. Didn’t all of this degradation stop in high-school? Weren’t we grown ups? Do we not have functioning adult brains that can make coherent choices to say or not say certain things? Don’t we know that other people’s feelings matter? Am I not worthy of simple respect? Do I have to constantly roll over and let them have control of any situation for them to be content? What did I do to make them think so little of me; or in one of the relationships, not think of me at all.
The mental and emotional abuse made me yell at my husband. It made my husband yell at me. It made us go to counseling. It brought us to the point of divorce on numerous occasions. It made me break down at the tiniest hiccup in my day. It made my friends worry about me. It made my best friend tell me they thought I needed to talk to a professional. It made my mother cry and hold me like I was a child. It made me seclude myself and hope things would change (clearly this doesn’t work). And guys, that’s because living your life as a doormat is literally not okay. It’s not okay to be the “yes girl” or “yes guy” in every relationship you have.
I, by nature, love loving people. I tend to put others before my own sanity literally every day, and all three of these negative relationships brought me breakdowns, full blown anxiety attacks, therapy sessions, and overall loss of self-esteem.
NOW – please don’t confuse what I’m saying. I still give my all to the POSITIVE relationships I have in my life. And I am fully aware that it’s okay to argue with your friends, disagree, make up, and move forward. That’s not what I’m talking about here.
I’m referring to manipulation. I’m referring to constant belittling and judgment. Using my loving nature for their own benefit and then crushing my spirit with hurtful words and disgusting behavior. Making me feel small. Unloved. Unaccepted. Unwelcome. Unworthy of respect. Making me feel as if I’d done something wrong and convincing other people I loved that I had done so. Creating an atmosphere of fear, defensiveness, and negativity instead of love and mutual respect. Leaving me wondering why I just wasn’t enough.
I’d lost myself in the continual cycle of praise and dismissal. The continual cycle of fake love, followed by hate and manipulation, then fake love again. Do you know these feelings? The highs of being accepted and loved and then torn down by that same individual over and over and over? My therapist says that this is brutal emotional manipulation that takes a clear hold of your psyche and is what leads to the self-doubt and low self-esteem. It’s meant to make you feel inferior and keeps them in control of the relationship. Does the pit in your stomach grow just by reading these words because you know exactly what I’m talking about? It’s okay. You can get out of it. I am. And you are not alone.
It’s Okay to Stand Up for Yourself.
I’m writing this in case you have these kinds of relationships in your life. Please, please, please….Remove them. If you’ve tried your best and given all you can, then give yourself a break and LET GO. Let them go no matter WHO they are and I promise you that the relief you will feel will be insurmountable. The weight will be lifted and the pressure to impress or win their affection or love will be gone.
You’ll get a chance to just be You. The real you. Not the “You” they want you to be to fit their life, or the “you” they’ve told their entire family that you are, or the “you” they try to stifle and control; just You. The beautiful, strong, brave You that God intended you to be. You’re worth it, and you deserve more. You always, always, always deserve more than any of this treatment.
4 signs you need to let them go:
- You leave every interaction with them feeling sad, worried, angry, or any other negative emotion.
- This drains you! It’s not worth it! We only get ONE life here on this earth, don’t waste it with these feelings and insecurities. Fight and stand up for yourself. No one is going to do it for us. You deserve better!
- You get a sick pit in your stomach when you know you have to see or interact with them and have anxiety leading up to it.
- This right here folks. This was my bread and butter. I’d get such big swells of emotions that I would make myself SICK over it; like holding onto the toilet and need a cool washcloth on my forehead sick. It’s unhealthy! You deserve better!
- Your other relationships are struggling because you end up being so focused on this bad one and it has made you depressed, bitter, and you have nothing left for other people.
- Luckily, I’ve created some lasting GOOD relationships over the years; therefore, they didn’t leave me during my times of “crazy” and “depressed”. But, I got lucky. I know quite a few people who haven’t been as lucky as I was. Put your energy into the ones who truly love you; it will reward you the most with what you’re missing in the unhealthy relationships. You deserve better!
- You end up questioning yourself and your own actions or beliefs daily.
- This was my first sign that I picked up on in my unhealthy relationships. I was literally questioning myself on EVERYTHING. I had zero confidence. In one of the relationships, it got so bad that I couldn’t even go shopping without wondering if they would approve! How SICK. In another relationship, I was questioning my marriage. In the other relationship, I was questioning my pure existence. Guys, it’s NOT. WORTH. IT! You deserve better! I promise.
** If you’re looking for ways to relieve your stress, check out >this post< where I explain 3 things that help me wind down after an emotional circumstance.
There will always be people who you have to initiate the communication with, or love a little harder, or walk a little farther for. Those are OKAY. But, if a relationship is doing nothing but COST you – please, do yourself a favor, and let them go. Letting go of unhealthy relationships is the first step to allowing true happiness into your life.
You really, truly, do deserve it.