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The Lesson I Learned In Letting Go of a Toxic Lover

Photo by Noemi Gonzalez

This had gone beyond simply: “wrapped around his finger.” This was barbed wire coiled up within my sheets, trapping me inside my bed, leaving me too weak to even fight it. So all I did was sleep, hoping that one day I would understand that he and I were meant to be.

But beneath my skin I knew that we were not. Sometimes two people develop an insane and passionate connection quickly–not for the purpose of being together in a healthy and loving relationship–but to pair perfectly with each other’s darkest inner selves. It sounds frightening, I know, but at the time it all went down, I didn’t seem to notice it. Being with him was like dancing with the devil. I felt alive, I felt free, I felt wild. I felt as if I could reach my full potential and destroy my empathetic nature to free myself from caring about the well being of other people. He brought out the beast in me that sought to succeed and do well by becoming malicious, conniving and destructive. With David, I felt like I could fly. But even at the height of all this, the true me was calling out, fighting off David’s hunger to devour me.

“It’s OK babe, I know you’re a snake,” he would say. “We both are. And that’s why we’re meant to be.”

It was moments like these that brought me comfort. Our relationship wasn’t based on becoming our best selves to help and heal the world. David wanted power. I was the vessel to help him get there.

My darkness manifested as codependency while David’s revealed itself to be narcissism. I lived for his compliments and once David knew he had me believing his words, he’d find a way to irk me and make me feel unwanted. When I’d express my concerns on how he’d hurt me, he would turn the blame around…And I fell for it every time.

“You’re right David, I love you. I was wrong.” I’d say.

Even when I’d runaway from his moves of attack, he’d say, “I’m the one who’s loyal in our relationship because I always accept you for your flaws and the mess you create. You have abandoned me twice. So which of us is really the one who fucked up?”

It was a beautiful manipulation tactic, one that has been in the book for centuries. When a narcissist brings pain upon a codependent, and the codependent reacts by pulling away, the victim still gets blamed. That’s how it plays out, so there’s no winning or healing from it. You can’t make sense out of nonsense.

And as awful as this situation sounds, I am no victim. I knew my part in it. I allowed it because I didn’t have enough love or understanding for myself to begin with and I chose to let our relationship flourish into a thick barricade of thorns to further isolate me from who I really am.

But it’s even worse than that, because I actually loved him. I saw the good in him, and I wanted to bring it out so badly. I wasn’t drawn to him because he was a narcissist, I was drawn to his heart, because the heart of the narcissist is that of a wounded child. I wanted to fix him and he was my project. But it all stemmed from wanting to fix my broken self.

The more I realized how toxic and depressive our relationship was, the more I pushed toward ending it all. But even then, his hold on me was strong. I was in love with my abuser and it made me sick. I wanted to be good. I wanted to be happy again. David wasn’t contributing anything real or genuine in my life and it was bringing me down during my unstable depression. But why did I have such a hard time letting go? It was because I still believed that there was a glimmer of goodness in him and that I could be the one to bring that out and let his light shine for the rest of the world.

And that’s when I realized something so freeing about all of this that allowed me to let go. 

I believe that every single person in this world has good in them. People are people. We are human. I have accepted that with every evil person, there is a good side to them. We often get caught up in believing that if a person does evil acts, there must be no good in them, that good does not exist in their heart. But this is not the case. By understanding this, I was able to realize David’s glimmer of goodness was not enough to sustain our relationship.

A huge part of why people like me stay in these fucked up relationships is because we see the good in the other person. We see the good in the devil and it pleases us to be the ones who bring it out. But by looking at everyone as having good and bad in them, it’s their intentions and behavior that gets brought to the forefront.

So instead of asking, “Is there good in this person?” ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this person make me feel good about myself?
  • Does this person accept me for who I truly am?
  • Does this person inspire me to be my best self?
  • Does this person teach me things about how to be a better person?

If the answer is ‘no’ to these questions, then the relationship is not worth it. While my intuition told me to get away from David, my longing for him remained as I sought to seek the light out in him and our relationship. But instead of spending my time wondering whether or not he actually loved me, I decided to accept our relationship for what it was: toxic.

Toxicity is never the path to a loving and genuine relationship–nor the path to finding love and purpose for yourself. Belee dat.

xoxo Robby Rob

More related articles:

Why We Have to Let Go of Our Soul Mates
I Thought I Had Walking Pneumonia but It Was Actually Depression
Why I’m Sort of (but Not Completely) Confident




  1. Pingback: On Embracing Your Light | Diary of a Queer Spinster

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