Mental Health

Lessons Learned from Being in a Toxic Relationship

November 10, 2019

We have all experienced some form of hurt and betrayal from someone we loved — a person we thought would never leave us broken. Being in a toxic relationship can tear you down and make you feel like you aren’t good enough. You may constantly blame yourself for everything and believe it’s your fault.

Eventually, there comes a time when you reach your breaking point and gather the courage to walk away which is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. I’m not an expert and can’t give professional relationship advice, however, I can speak from personal experience and encourage you if you’re currently going through this challenge.

I want to talk about lessons I’ve learned from being in a toxic relationship that went on for YEARS. Thinking back on everything I went through makes me happy that I decided to do what was best for me and walk away for good.

It’s not easy and people on the outside looking in can always tell you that you deserve better and you should leave. However, none of that matters if you don’t believe that yourself!

After countless therapy sessions, time, journaling, and tears, I was able to pull myself out of the dark place I was in and realize key lessons I’ve learned and how I can use those in my life moving forward. The lessons you take from toxic situations will be a tool for your growth.

Disclaimer: This post shouldn’t be looked at as professional advice. These are from m experiences and I’m providing what I’ve learned and applied in my life. If you need professional help, seek an expert, or contact your doctor.


Being in a Toxic Relationship

Forgiving Yourself is Important

You would think the first thing I’d say is forgiving the other person is important (which it is), however, we need to learn how to forgive ourselves too.

My therapist helped me realize that I need to acknowledge everything that happened and my decision to stay in the relationship. I can’t continue to hold onto resentment over things I no longer have control over.

Although you can’t undo everything and fix your mistakes, you have control over what you allow in the future. Letting go and forgiving myself took a weight off my shoulders I didn’t know existed. Forgive yourself and know that you won’t tolerate any type of negative behavior again.

Related: How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts and Emotions

You Can’t Change Them

One thing my mom has always told me is: “What you see is what you get,” and she was right.

No matter how much love you show someone, you can’t expect that to influence them to change their toxic ways. We may feel the longer we hold on the more they’ll realize how much they need to make things right. However, you’ll only continue to disappoint yourself with this mindset.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. The way you get treated during the relationship is how you can expect your marriage to be. Putting a ring on your finger and saying “I do” won’t change anyone.

People will make their own decision to change once they’re ready. It won’t be on your terms.

It’s Not Your Fault!

I blamed myself for the bad things in my relationship. For years I felt like if I had done something differently or changed the way I acted, maybe half of those situations wouldn’t have happened. Imagine how much we tear our confidence down because of the way someone else treats us.

I’m here to tell you that nothing they did was your fault. Everything you went through isn’t a reflection of who you are as a person. I know my confidence had hit an all-time low and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t good enough. I’m glad I came to my senses and realized their toxic actions had nothing to do with me.

We shouldn’t let someone’s hurtful decisions make us feel worthless. As you continue to heal from being in a toxic relationship, you’ll quickly realize you’re worth it. You deserve to be loved, respected, and cared for!

Staying Single is Okay

The last lesson I learned from being in a toxic relationship is there’s nothing wrong with staying single.

I don’t know why, but I felt like it was the end of the world once I decided to end the relationship. I thought I needed someone by my side to be happy. But, I’m glad I decided to remain single and take time for myself.

If I would’ve rushed into another relationship it wouldn’t have turned out well. I would’ve carried all of that baggage to the next person who wouldn’t have deserved it.

I don’t care what society says or thinks, being single isn’t a curse and it’s not the worst thing that can happen. If anything, being single is a time for you to heal and learn how to love yourself.

During my singleness, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve been able to find my confidence and improve mentally, physically, and emotionally. There was a weight lifted and I found out how to be happy without a man. Being in a relationship shouldn’t define your happiness — make sure you fall in love with yourself first!


It hurts when you’ve been by someone’s side holding them down but then everything hits rock bottom. At times, you may reflect and try to piece together everything and figure out where things went wrong, however, it’s not worth your time or energy.

Focus on becoming a better you so you can be prepared once the right person shows up in your life. When you do that, you’ll be able to open your heart and fall in love again!

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12 Comments

  • Reply Nae November 12, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    All facts! I think that first step is the hardest. Deciding when to walk away can be hard, especially if you’ve been together for a while, or you live together, or you depend on them financially. Or if you’re like me, and you hate confrontation. I stayed with my ex way too long, simply because I was too anxious about having to tell him I wanted to leave.

    • Reply Madisen November 12, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      Yes girl that’s the most difficult decision to make, but also one of the best ones that’ll change your life. I always felt like I had to settle and I was anxious as well, but I’m so glad I left all of that in the past and moved on.

  • Reply Aisha November 12, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I’m so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad your healing and loving yourself. These key points are all facts!

    • Reply Madisen November 12, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you for reading sis, I really appreciate that! I’m so glad I’ve found myself and started to love myself too. One of the best decisions I’ve made.

  • Reply Lourdgy87 November 13, 2019 at 12:42 am

    Well, his lost… I have never been in a toxic relationship but I can guess because I knew some people who have been. You’re doing great Maddie, proud of you!

    • Reply Madisen November 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Yes, his loss. One day he will regret it. I’m glad you haven’t had to deal with a toxic relationship. Thank you for reading sis ♥️

  • Reply Ayisha AbdurRahim May 18, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Thank You & May God Bless You Madisen! You, your experience, your triump is inspiring me to want to recover and start on my journey of learning to love myself. Your post just reminded me to listen to Ne-Yo’s song “let me love you until you learn to love yourself”!! Awesome! Thank you so much Hun, you’re an inspiration and so is all of the strong women aspiring to pursue their journey of self-love, positive, self-acceptance, positive self-growth, positive self-developent!!! 🙂 🙂

    • Reply Madisen May 29, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Awe, thank you so much for this comment Ayisha! I really appreciate that and I’m glad this post is inspiring you on your journey of self-love. You deserve to choose yourself first. It’s a journey but always worth it at the end.

    • Reply Brenda June 5, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      Madisen, Ian glad that I took the time to read your message. I was married to an abusive man. I divorced him and turned around and married him again. I told myself I made a promise before God and I grew up without a dad and wanted better for our daughter. Anyway I married him a second time. Ended in another divorce. So now he’s older don’t want to be alone. Trying to convince me that he’s not the same. But I want to say I have prayed to God to deliver me from my past and show me what to do. This is the second Blessing The Lord has sent my way, is your testimony. I Give the Honor to God for sending your message my way. I hope when I get to share my story I help to Bless another Sister that has gone through or is going through. Thanks 🙏

      • Reply Madisen June 5, 2021 at 8:58 pm

        Wow, thank you so much for sharing this with me sis. I’m sorry that you have gone through this painful experience, but I’m proud of you for choosing yourself. I’m glad that you came across this post and found encouragement through my experiences and I will keep you in my prayers. 🙏🏽 If you ever need to talk, feel free to reach out!

  • Reply Binky June 5, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    I’m so proud of your growth and the beautiful woman that you are. I understand and can relate what you shared. My mom also has said “what you see is what you get” You can’t change anyone no matter how much of a good person you are. I learned that with countless experiences and I’m happy I got out of that.

    • Reply Madisen June 10, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      Awe thank you so much boo! I appreciate your sweet comment. I’m happy that you’ve also learned from past experiences – we can use that as a tool for our growth and now we know what to avoid moving forward.

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