I always used to say I hated drama, but then I kept finding myself in toxic relationships that brought so much of it to my doorstep that I could have had my own reality show. Then, when I managed to GTFO of those relationships, I swore that I’d only choose peaceful relationships in the future, but it was easier said than done. Here were some of the problems I faced.
Peaceful relationships were a foreign language. I wasn’t used to them so I didn’t understand them. It sounds crazy — who wouldn’t want peace? — but just think of something that you’ve grown so used to which feels totally normal to you but to outsiders, it’s whack. That’s what drama was like for me. A strange comfort zone, even though it was harmful. I’d had so much of it that it had started to make sense because at least I was well-versed in dealing with it. Peace, on the other hand, left me clueless.
I felt anxious. I’d feel anxious around nice guys. I think it was because I was used to being pumped on adrenaline around toxic guys. This change of pace made me feel antsy, like I was supposed to be using more energy than I was. For example, I’d stress over toxic guys not texting me back, but when the nice guys were consistent and texted me back, it left me feeling weird. I had excess energy that didn’t know where to go, so it became anxiety.
I got bored. It sounds crazy, but I’d find myself getting bored when things were too peaceful. I think drama has an addictive quality to it. After all the dramatic fights, events, and struggles in previous relationships, now without anything major happening, I found my interest fading.. It’s sad because I pushed quite a few nice guys away during this time.
I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The thing about dating someone who brings you lots of drama is that you end up expecting it. I’d go on dates with new guys who weren’t toxic, ready to deal with the latest problem, issue, or betrayal that they’d throw at me. When I wasn’t getting that, I couldn’t stop my mind from expecting it. I’d be waiting for guys to prove me wrong, to show me that they weren’t nice but were actually toxic drama kings.
I became paranoid. It took me a long time to stop thinking that every guy I dated was going to be toxic and bring me drama by cheating on me, treating me poorly, etc. I was paranoid, suspecting guys of doing things that they weren’t even doing. I now see it was a way for me to protect myself, but I hadn’t caught onto the fact that I no longer had an enemy in my life who was going to hurt me.
I didn’t know how to fight. There were lots of arguments and explosive fights in my previous drama-filled relationships. But now, guys I dated were able to talk things through rationally and calmly. That was a good thing, except for the fact that I was so used to fighting in a toxic way that I had to learn how to fight fair and in a way that wasn’t destructive! Damn.
I sometimes left before they could leave. Being in dramatic relationships taught me that sometimes it was better to cut my losses and get out before they destroyed me. Sadly, I still had that knee-jerk reaction when peaceful relationships entered my life. I’d sometimes end things abruptly during a fight, running for the exit, fearful I was going to get hurt. I had to slowly learn that things could be sorted out and a fight didn’t have to be the end.
I exhausted myself. I was so used to giving a lot of energy to toxic guys in my past, that when I met guys who were fair and giving just as much as I was giving to them, it threw me off a bit. I had to realize that I didn’t have to exhaust all my resources to make a relationship happen. I didn’t have to be the only one pedaling the relationship bicycle. We were both working in harmony.
My inner fix-it mode had to die. This was a tough one to get right. With previous boyfriends, I was always trying to fix things, whether it was their issues or the relationship in general that needed serious work. I went into this Fix-It mode so often, it became second nature to me. But with guys who brought me peaceful relationships, I didn’t need to be that way. They sorted their own crap out. They didn’t need someone to be their psychologist or mother. It took me a long time to stop being those unnecessary things. No wonder so many guys saw me as clingy.
I became passive-aggressive. The funny thing about dating lots of toxic guys who bring you drama is that you get too comfy with pushing your needs aside. Now, gaining the courage to stand up and speak up about what I wanted was really weird and difficult to do. So, sometimes, I became passive-aggressive. I’d say “yes” when I meant “no” and then seethe. Ugh, it was toxic. Which brings me to my next point.
I was probably the toxic one. Dating lots of toxic guys can make you toxic. I’m proof of that. With my paranoia, trust issues, and a low sense of self-worth, I was a human wrecking ball. It took a lot of practice with peaceful relationships to get it right and realize that I was broken but I could get better, and that the journey to healing and loving peace was worth all the bumps in the road.
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