10 Ways The Men That Hurt Me Made Me Stronger

Dating toxic guys was really tough and it had a lasting effect on me. It made me accumulate some trust issues, for instance. However, those guys, as crappy as they were, also taught me some important things that made me so much stronger in these 10 ways.

  1. I can depend on myself. Thanks to the addict I dated who always made me jump through hoops to help him, I realized that I was strong enough to depend on myself. I could be put in stressful situations and not fall apart. The nights he left me alone because he was being an absolute a-hole were lonely and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, but they also taught me that I didn’t need anyone. I could be on my own.
  2. I chose “alone and happy”. Thanks to the above guy, I also learned that it was much better to be alone and happy than to be miserable and in a relationship. What’s the point of the latter?
  3. I realize that I shouldn’t have doubted my self-worth. Those jerks didn’t appreciate me but that doesn’t mean I was useless. I realized that after dating them, and these days I don’t ever question my worthiness.
  4. I should’ve doubted my taste in partners. I tried to change who I was when really I should’ve changed the people I was choosing to date! Dating a bunch of guys who were wrong for me taught me that I wasn’t the problem. It’s sad but true: it’s really easy to can end up believing what those liars and cheats try to make you feel about yourself when they’re the ones who have the issues.
  5. No matter what happens, I’ll be okay. There were times when I stayed with people because I was afraid to be alone. Eek. That feels like a lifetime ago! The guys who chucked me aside like I was so yesterday were actually doing me a favor by doing so. They were showing me that I could be okay no matter what. I could rise from the ashes of a busted-up relationship and find my happiness again.
  6. I taught myself to love myself. You’d think that being treated like you don’t matter will make you believe it forever, but that’s not true. Although my self-esteem did take a knock for a while, I later realized that I had to cut toxic people out of my life for good and concentrate on giving myself the love I knew I deserved. It’s empowering to realize that.
  7. I realized we’re all alone anyway. This might sound jaded, but hear me out. After wasting my time with lousy people and giving my time and support to people who didn’t give it to me in return, I realized that at the end of the day, I was the only person I had. If I didn’t take care of myself, who would? Thanks to toxic partners I had in the past, I made myself a priority.
  8. I discovered who I didn’t want to be. Stick with crappy people and soon you’ll become crappy. That’s what happened to me. The guys I dated who never prioritized me made me stop prioritizing myself. The guys who brought out the worst in me because of how mean they were made me come face to face with who I was when I was at my worst. I realized I didn’t want to be that person. I had to surround myself with people who brought out the best in me.
  9. I chose love instead of pain. That whole idea that love has to be laced with pain is total BS. Love is not supposed to hurt. When dating toxic people, I thought that the pain I felt waiting for them to choose me or treat me with respect was a way of me earning their love but that’s also BS.
  10. I refuse to earn anyone’s love. Related to the above point is how I realized that jumping through hoops to make someone love me is something that I’ll never do again. It’s pathetic and also makes me feel like someone can just walk all over me. I don’t need to do anything to prove to someone that they love me. I am enough. Rejection has taught me if someone can’t see my worth I’ll reject them. Thank you. Goodbye.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.