trying to not be toxic anymore

whoops, accidentally hit "enter" before actually writing anything...


so my first relationship was in college and it was seriously toxic. her name was vanessa. She had serious emotional and social issues, was bulimic, thought everyone in the world hated her but me. In a way I kind of liked that but it was also frustrating. For nine months I carried both of us, took her emotional burden and opened myself up to her completely because if I didn't she might kill herself. That was something she threatened frequently. 


After nine months she cheated on me and dumped me, saying I was too needy. She said this because the night she cheated she didn't tell me she was going out (which was our deal over the summer. Just a text to say "i won't be home in time to IM") so I called her brother to see where she was and it turned into a whole thing. But our relationship didn't end there. When we got back to school she cheated on her new boyfriend with me, and kept going back and forth between us. I really thought we were going to get married and everything, so I was clinging to her. She started becoming an alcoholic, and I enabled it because I thought she would hate me if I actually did something good for her. For the next two years I continued to give her everything I had, emotionally-speaking, while she was disintegrating. I didn't date anyone else in the meantime because she would have been so upset about it, even when she had this other boyfreind. I had no experience with this kind of thing, so I just went with it. 


My junior year she lived in a house with me and a couple of my friends, and eventually, her boyfriend. He also enabled her alocholism. He got her pregnant and she just kept drinking. She knew she was getting an abortion, so she didn't care. One morning, yes MORNING, I found them doing shots of vodka in the kitchen, and every time she would take one she would sing "killing the baby". It was the most awful thing I'd ever seen. One afternoon my friend came home and found her sitting on the couch with no pants or underwear on, spread eagle, passed out with a bottle in her hand. Another friend who didn't live with us called a hospital and had her taken away, and she had to go into detox for a while. 


Since then my love life has been a trainwreck. We created this cycle together, a model for love, based on emotional abuse and blackmail, and I'm just now realizing I'm in it. For the last 12 years I've blamed this other woman for breaking my heart and causing a pattern, but it was vanessa who caused the real damage. I thought because I had been happy for those first nine months that it was a good relationship, but I was all the way wrong. Now when I meet a woman I have feelings for, I go in super-strong, opening myself up completely and basically begging to be their emotional support system, because that's what I know. But healthy relationships aren't built on that. And most women don't want that, especially not right away, shoved in their face. I feel like I'm still in one of the downward parts of my relationship with vanessa, waiting for her to come back to me, dangle the carrot, then go back to someone else. And that's exactly what happens. I meet the woman, I give her my love and everything I've got, then they turn around and find someone else. It's happened a few times now and I can't stand it anymore.


I need to cut out the part of me that believes this is how to behave. I need to move past this toxicity and start fresh and create a new model for a healthy relationship. I need to find a way to love myself first so that love can just flow and be what it's supposed to.


I'm currently staying in a woman's apartment in amsterdam, and she is a dream come true. I really love her, and I've done the same thing so far that I do to everyone else. She's rejected me, but we're incredibly close and I know she loves me, too. But she isn't like me, she is much wiser and understands herself and loves herself and needs to see that in me for it to ever be anything. I don't know if it's that simple, but I know if I'm ever going to have anything healthy with anyone at all, I need to find a way to completely erase my history and start over.


My only idea so far is to write vanessa a letter, but I'd love to hear some other practical ideas or things I can do. I'm already in therapy, and actually today I made this realization while working with a breathing therapist. 

User Comments

I have experience of something similar and I can tell you, you need to get rid of the resentment and anger.  Acceptance of people's behaviour and acceptance that you did not deserve to be treated that way are key. I had a moment of epiphany and decided that I would get better not to spite the person who treated me badly but inspite of them, you have to focus on the future and let go of the past or it will drag you down.

You didn't deserve to be treated that way, it was not your fault - once you realise that it gets easier. I hope this helps in someway :)