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Toxic Relationships: My Almost Unbroken Cycle of Abuse #youAREworthMore

**This post is the beginning of a series I felt led to share about my life and it is very long, but I hope you’ll take the time to read it**

Toxic-Relationships

*This post was written in July 2015, but once a year I feel the need to pin it to the front of my blog because I feel there are so many people who could benefit from reading my story**

I am very happily married, going on 13 (as of July 2015) years, I could not have asked for a better husband! I am truly blessed and thank God every single day for the amazing man I get to call my husband. There are days I think to myself “Why did I not meet him sooner?” My life would have been much better and had less heartbreak, but I don’t know that I would have appreciated him as much as I do. You see, I have a history of being in toxic relationships, not all of them mind you, but a great deal were. I let myself be used and abused. Not because I craved that kind of relationship..at least not on a conscious level. I wasn’t actively searching out relationships where I would be physically or mentally abused. However, for some reason, I gravitated toward guys who did just those things.

I am sharing my story in hopes that women will learn from it. I know I don’t put myself out there very much here on A Daily Dose of Toni, but I am going to be changing that. I want to share my life with you all; that’s why I started this blog. I feel like that’s why God gave me the passion to blog, to share my life and testimony, to give others hope. Trust me; God has brought me through a lot, and I know He will do the same thing for you.

Toxic Relationships: My Almost Unbroken Cycle of Abuse

 

I was looking for “love” or something to fill a void. You see, growing up, my father wasn’t a very big part of my life (this has changed as the years have passed, we have a relationship now), but back then, I craved that attention I saw other fathers give their daughters. So, I looked to men, to fill a void. I thought I just need to be “loved.” What I didn’t know what that instead of turning to God to fill that void, I was setting myself up for years of emotional abuse, with physical violence occasionally thrown into the mix.

People think of abuse as seeing someone bruised and beaten up, but that’s not the only kind of abuse and, for me, it wasn’t the worst kind. For me, that emotional abuse was the worst. Because I dated guys who liked to stray, I always had the view that I wasn’t good enough, so they had to look elsewhere. If only I could go back to my younger self and tell me, “You are good enough, you are a treasure, don’t let any human determine your worth for you“, but that’s exactly what I did for years. I based my value on how I was being treated; I gave the guys I dated, control of my worth.

I was cheated on; I was even hit in the face and grabbed. I was threatened, one guy I dated even went so far as to threaten his life if I left him. Because I was so beaten down emotionally (and wanted to feel needed) I could not process that it would not be my fault if he hurt himself.

So, I stayed.

I thought, when I was treated badly it’s what I deserved, that I need to act different or stop doing something “wrong”.  I was made to feel bad if I wanted to hang out with friends or even family, I was told what to wear or what not to wear, and as mentioned hit and threatened. However, I was at fault, or that’s what I thought in my mind.  I didn’t see the relationship for what it was, controlling and abusive. When I was being treated great, and things were going smoothly, I was always waiting for, the proverbial other shoe to drop. Because I valued myself so little, I thought I didn’t deserve to be treated well, that I deserved the cruel words, the judgements, the controlling.

If only I could go back in time and tell myself just how valuable I was.

That feeling of being worth nothing, followed me for years, even into my first marriage. I married someone who, while they said they loved me, put drugs ahead of me. Because so much of my self-esteem was put into how I was treated by the person I loved, you can imagine what coming second to drugs did to me. I tried to get my first husband to give up drugs, and years down the road, many years after we were over he did (which I praise God for, I love seeing how God works in people). But, when we were together, he didn’t want to give them up and it was a constant strife in our relationship. I won’t go into great detail, but it was heartbreaking to give my all to someone, only to have them choose a substance that numbs them, over you. I had loved in the past, but this was a love where, for the first time, I really gave everything, so it had me feeling like nothing. The marriage ended, and he dropped my son (who was the reason I kept going and made it through times I didn’t want to) and me at HIS friends home in Florida.

My parents were in Arkansas but thank goodness my papa lived here, so my son and I were able to go live with him until we moved to Arkansas with my parents (where I met my current, blessing from God, husband). My heart was broken for a very long time. I tried to fix myself, thinking thoughts like “If only I had a different color hair, if only I were skinnier, if only, if only, if only.” I, lived life for my son (also my saving grace from God), doing my best as a single mom to make a better life for him, but I was always plagued by those “if only” moments. A few years later, I met my now husband. Unfortunately for him, I hadn’t completely healed yet, and I buried the feelings of hurt and anger, I should have felt, all those years I was in toxic relationships.

Thankfully, I married a man who did not let me push him away. I will go more into our relationship in my “There Is Life After Divorce” post in the coming weeks, but I am so thankful he loved me enough, not to let my insecurities, anger, and hurt from my past, drive him away. It would have been so easy for him to say “I didn’t sign up for this“, but he didn’t say that.

He stayed, and he fought for me!

THAT is what someone who truly loves you will do. They will not stray, they will not abuse you emotionally or physically, they will not make you choose between them and your family or friends, they will not threaten you. Someone loves you will lift you up, encourage you, help you become a better version of yourself.  There will be more good times than bad, but even in the bad, you won’t be made to feel as if you have no worth. For the first time, in my life (when it came to relationships) I saw a man who truly loved me and valued me, and it made all the difference in the world. To this day, I know God gave me this amazing man and I can’t ever begin to put into words how blessed I am.

My cycle of toxic relationships was almost unbroken, but thanks to God, it was finally broken. It took me years of healing, and God was a HUGE part of that. My faith in God is what pushed me to move forward, even when I felt like giving up. If it weren’t for God, I don’t know that I would be here and able to share my story with you today. I had to give my heart, my insecurities to Him. I had to let him work in and heal me. I had to see myself through His eyes, to see myself as the beautiful creation He made. Once I did that, I knew that no one would ever be able to determine my worth again. Because I knew, I was priceless. Sometimes, I do occasionally still struggle with my value, not because my husband makes me feel less valuable, in fact, he is always reminding me of how amazing and beautiful I am. But on those days I do struggle, I know I can dig in God’s word and be reminded of His love for me, and that I am his perfect creation.

Toxic relationships are so common, and it’s so heartbreaking to see girls and women who allow men to determine their worth. I see it every day and I want those women and girls to know, you are worth more.

You ARE Worth More Than…

  • Letting them make you feel bad because you aren’t with them every time they want you to be
  • Being cheated on and not being valued enough for that person to stay faithful
  • The negative feelings of yourself that you are letting that person make you feel about yourself
  • That person telling you who you can and can’t be friends with
  • Emotionally abusive words they are speaking at you
  • Being controlled, love does not control

You are worth more and should be treated as the amazing person you are. If someone can’t see that amazingness or can’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated, then they don’t deserve you. God didn’t make a mistake when he made you, and any person should value you for the treasure you are. It took me years to realize that, please don’t let it take that long for you. If you are in a relationship, take a look at it, think “If I were looking at my best friend in the same exact relationship I am in, would I be happy for her..or would I tell her it’s not healthy“, that’s one of the best ways to get your answer. If you couldn’t imagine seeing the friend you love the most in the kind of relationship you are in, then that is the only answer you need.

Every moment of every relationship is not going to be perfect, but it should not be something that determines your worth or puts you in danger. There are so many articles on Toxic Relationships that will really help you understand what to look for (aside from my experience I’ve shared) to determine if you are in a toxic relationship (though gut checks are great). If you or someone you love is in a toxic relationship, please get out and get help and remember “You ARE worth more“.

When you are in a relationship of any kind the best way to know if it is toxic or not is to see what the Bible says about love, so I’ll leave you with what love is and isn’t.

Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

If you have gotten out of a toxic relationship and would like to share your story here on my blog, please email me [email protected] you can choose to use your real name or an anonymous name. I know that so many out there need to be inspired and sometimes sharing our stories, no matter  how difficult, is just what that one person may need.

If you were inspired by this post please read

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Toni is a professional lifestyle blogger living on the sunny Florida Gulf Coast. She has a passion for Disney, Travel, Fashion, Cooking, Tech, Family Fun Ideas, Reviews, Giveaways and loves being able to share that with her readers!

Comments

  1. 1

    Thank you for sharing YOUR story. I think it’s important that we start being more open about these stories because so many people think that it takes really “weak” or “dumb” person to get stuck in a toxic or abusive relationship. But all it really takes is someone searching to fill a void. With just the slightest but of insecurity another person can tear you down and convince you you simply won’t or cant’ do better.

  2. 2

    Very well written! I appreciate you putting yourself out there and hopefully influencing those who may be in an abusive relationship.
    Your story is a lot like mine in many ways. I’ve been married almost 13 years to my husband. He’s absolutely amazing, much more within the last three years since he’s become active in the church.
    Before that I was in a very emotionally and verbally abusive relationship with my kids’ father for several years. I was made to believe I was worthless and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Through a horrible situation, I was able to leave him. And because of God, I was able to be with my current husband.

  3. 3

    You have taken another step toward healing your heart and mind. I’m so glad that I have met you Tony ! Hoo Raa !!! God bless you always !

  4. 4
    Robin Masshole Mommy :

    My high school boyfriend made me feel bad about myself for 3 years until I was finally strong enough to realize that he was ruining me and I broke up with him. Thanks for sharing your story – I think you are all kinds of awesome 🙂

  5. 5

    What amazing strength you had to stand up for yourself. Thank you for sharing your story – I know you have touched at least one woman that is out there in the same situation.

  6. 6

    I think that arguably the worst part of abuse – outside of the moments you experience it, of course – is how it changes the way you interact with the world. You learn to accept abuse. You learn to identify with it. And so you unconsciously seek it out. You almost find a kind of comfort in being subjected to it, because you know it and understand it.

  7. 7

    I am SOOO glad that you got out of those terrible relationships and that you are doing so much better! You go girl! You are a inspiration to those that are in similar situations!

  8. 8

    t is very hard to realize one’s worth after being so beaten down emotionally… so I am super-proud of where you are today. I was emotionally abused by my Mom for many years and know from experience how hard it is to know your worth after all of that. Thanks for sharing your story with us…

  9. 9

    That is SOOO beautiful, thank you so much for being so courageous. Knowing that others are blessed because of your strength!

  10. 10

    Thank you for sharing your story and I’m glad that you have found happiness and know your worth. Abuse isn’t always visible to the eye.

  11. 11

    This can happen to anyone, I wish more people realized that. Abusive relationships seem to be super hard to get out of and the habit dies hard too. Glad you are sharing this and I wish you luck in your future with all your choices.

  12. 12

    I have seen what a being in a toxic relationship can do to someone. Thank goodness you were about to overcome your experiences and meet and marry such a great man..

  13. 13
    Elizabeth Lampman :

    I have a friend that is in a toxic relationship and would really benefit from reading your story. I will have to share this with her. It is so important to be happy in your relationship. Life is to short to not be happy.

  14. 14

    It is quite amazing of you to share your story… you are a brave and powerful person. Don’t let anyone ever make you think otherwise.

  15. 15

    You were right when you said every moment in a relationship will not be perfect. But no one should have to suffer through abuse and maltreatment.

  16. 16

    Thank you for sharing your story and letting other women know that they do not have to stay with someone abusive and that they are valuable and deserve to be treated well.

  17. 17

    This is an incredible story of an incredible journey. It’s especially wonderful that you have chosen to share your experience with the world to make other’s aware that toxic relationships are real, abuse is real, & finding a way out is also real.

  18. 18

    This is an incredible story. It’s especially wonderful that you have chosen to share your experience with the world to make other’s aware that toxic relationships are real, abuse is real, & finding a way out is also real.

  19. 19

    Thank you for sharing about your story again. It takes a lot of courage to share but I know a lot of women can be helped by hearing it.

  20. 20

    What a great story thanks for sharing with us on how you feel. Any type of abuse either verbally, emotionally or physical is unacceptable and no women or man should stick around for it.

  21. 21

    Just beautiful Toni. I am so glad that GOD gave you a man to represent HIM on earth so you could heal. I am sure the wounds are still there as I see them sometimes in your comments and writings…but the fact that you figured out how to break the cycle with faith is such a testamemt.

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