Mental Health

Lessons Learned from Being in a Toxic Relationship

November 10, 2019
Top lessons I've learned from being in a toxic relationship

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 even though it may not seem that way at the moment. 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 wanted 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 even 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 own growth.

Disclaimer: This post shouldn’t be looked at as professional advice. These are from my own 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: Key Lessons

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. I never thought the issue was forgiving myself until my mom and therapist brought it up.

It’s okay to go through all of the emotions you feel. I’m sure you wish you could go back and react in a different way toward each situation. My therapist helped me realize that I need to accept and 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 finally forgiving myself really 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 Him, Ever

One thing my mom has always told me is: “What you see is what you get,” and boy was she 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 change and make things right. The only thing you’ll do is continue to make yourself more disappointed.

The statement my mom told me is constantly on repeat in my mind. When someone shows you who they truly 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 him.

The way you get treated during the relationship is how you can expect your marriage to be. Saying "I do" won't change a man. Click To Tweet

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 that happened 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 beat ourselves up and tear our confidence down because of the way someone else treats us.

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

People choose what they want to do every day and 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!

There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Single

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 walk away from the relationship. I felt out of place and I didn’t think I could be by myself—I thought I needed someone by my side and it would suck if I didn’t. But now 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 good. 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 completely heal and learn from your mistakes.

Being single isn't the worst that can happen. If anything, it's a time for you to heal from your past and learn from your mistakes. Click To Tweet

During my 5-6 years of being single, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve been able to find my confidence, love myself, and improve mentally, physically, and emotionally. There was a weight lifted and I found out how to be happy without having someone by my side. Being in a relationship shouldn’t define your happiness—make sure you fall in love with yourself first.


Did You Learn Something?

Whew, it felt good to write all of this down and I hope my personal experiences help someone else. Yes, it hurts like hell 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 that happened and figure out where things went wrong, however, it’s not worth your time or energy.

Don’t let your past toxic relationship(s) define who you are and how your future will be. Another thing my mom has always told me is: While you’re laying around depressed and losing sleep over them, they have moved on with their lives and aren’t thinking about you.” When I finally realized that, that’s when I was able to pick myself back up and keep it moving.

There is an amazing person out there who is waiting to spoil you and give you all of the love you desire and deserve. There’s no need to rush the process though! Focus on becoming a better YOU so you can be prepared once that person does show up in your life. When you do that, you’ll be able to open your heart and fall in love again…this time, with the right person.

What are some lessons YOU have learned from being in a toxic relationship?


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Being in a toxic relationship can teach you key lessons once you decide to gather the courage to walk away. Those lessons will be a key to your growth. - NaturallyMadisen.com
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6 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 ♥️

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