My ex made me question my sanity and that’s how I knew he was totally toxic. I almost let him convince me that I was losing my mind and I’ll never do it again.
He told me he loved me but his actions said otherwise. He said he loved me but he never put me first, he never talked about the future and he didn’t seem to care whether or not I stayed or left his life. Our relationship was toxic and it wasn’t because he hit me or called me ugly. He never laid a hand on me but he damaged me, by making me insecure and submissive — two things I never was before.
He used my words against me. My words were never my own. He’d take them from me and play with them so they fit his agenda. At the beginning of our relationship, I admired the way he’d sit quietly and listen to whatever I said. It wasn’t until later I realized he was only listening so he could he use what I said against me. He really enjoyed throwing my words into my own face.
Everyone loved him so I thought I should too. He wasn’t the only one who thought he was perfect—pretty much everyone else did too. My friends loved him! They thought he was “The One.” My parents were also on board—that’s what made everything so difficult. So many people acted as if I was the lucky one in the relationship that I thought I was going crazy. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I feel like I had a good thing?
He only showed emotion when he was drunk. I know how the saying goes, “Drunk actions are sober thoughts” or whatever. I don’t really understand this saying, or more importantly why it’s used to dignify the sloppy things someone says when they’re drunk. I don’t care that he could show me affection in between beers. That only made it worse. It meant he was too insecure or afraid of being vulnerable to compliment me sober. What kind of boyfriend is that?!
I started to retreat into myself. I found an extreme amount of comfort in being by myself. I’d always enjoyed spending time with friends but when I was with him, even going to the movies with people felt like work. I didn’t want to talk about my relationship and pretend like everything was good. I didn’t want to smile or laugh or enjoy myself for an hour only to have to go back to being sad and confused.
He insulted me as a “joke.” He never called me names but he might as well have. Instead of compliments, he’d tell me jokes… about myself. He’d make fun of my job, claiming that it wasn’t frugal enough to even be considered a job. He’d call me messy, selfish, and arrogant and say it with a smile and a laugh as if he was telling a joke.
He didn’t care about my boundaries. He didn’t care what I wanted, at least not really. There were certain boundaries I vocalized to him that he didn’t listen to or respect. He’d constantly try to cross them and whenever I’d refuse, he’d say, ”You need to stop being so afraid and get out of your comfort zone.”
He made it seem like we didn’t have any problems. I was the only one who felt like we had things to improve on. He never said anything about us having problems. Sure, he’d tell me to experiment more and to stop nagging him about little things but generally speaking, he was happy. I was the only one begging him to listen and wanting him to carve out time for us to connect again. How could I not feel crazy when I was the only one who saw problems in our relationship?
He rarely responded to my calls and texts. I can’t even tell you the number of texts that went ignored and calls that were never returned. Don’t get me wrong, he had a job and a relatively full schedule, but who doesn’t? He didn’t respond to me because he wanted to have power over me. He liked knowing I was waiting for him, constantly wondering when he was going to reach out again.
Nothing was ever his fault. Everything was my fault, his parents’ fault, or his friends’ fault. He refused to take the blame for anything which made everyone walk on eggshells around him. It wasn’t that he’d yell at someone or outright blame them, you could just tell he thought he was perfect and put-together.
He assigned my feelings rather than listening to my actual ones. If I questioned him, it was because I was paranoid. If I asked him to do something, it was because I was stressed. He assigned my feelings for me without my permission and definitely without my approval, especially seeing as he was usually wrong.
He made me doubt myself. He made fun of me, he didn’t show me a lot of attention, and he never put my feelings first. It’s easy to be an outsider in this situation and wonder what makes a person stay with someone so toxic, but I didn’t realize how toxic the relationship was until I got out of it and experienced something different. I don’t doubt myself the way I did when I was with him and because of that, I have confidence in the fact that I’ll never be in a relationship like that again.
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