Whether it be relationships or friendships, humans tend to find the best… and the worst in each other. We also tend to bring out the best and worst in each other. With that being said, we are inseparable to the ones we love and must work through our differences in order to survive. But how do we separate ourselves from the people who consistently treat us with disrespect and with a lack of dignity? What if that person is a family member or someone whom we care about deeply or a significant other?
It is easier said than done to remove a toxic loved one from our lives without any feeling of remorse or experiencing any hardship from it. You can’t always remove someone from your life, even if you want to due to your financial situation or the relationship you have with the person.
The first really toxic relationship I ever had was with my mom at the height of her drinking and at the height of her untreated schizophrenia. She was verbally abusive to me and physically abusive towards my dad. My sister cut off all contact with her in order to protect herself from the verbal abuse. I however, remained loyal to her despite how she treated my family and I.
I remember one night my mom started hitting and kicking my dad when drunk and high on pills and she kept screaming to call the cops, even though she was starting the fight and caused the violence to begin with. In self defense when my mom began to choke out my dad, my dad threw her over his shoulders and onto the ground to get her to stop choking him. This is all happening as I was on the phone with 911 and the cops arrived shortly after.
Once all the information was recorded and the cops discussed the situation, my dad was placed in the back of a cop car and taken in for domestic violence. It was Washington state law for someone to go to jail after a domestic violence complaint and that person was almost always the man, even though my mother started the whole ordeal and my sister and I defended my dad quite eloquently.
He was able to bail himself out at midnight and go to work the next day, but all going to jail did for him was cause a lot of resentment and debt along with no repercussions for my mother who was the toxic one.
I think the main reason I didn’t hold a whole lot of resentment towards my mom and her toxicity was because it wasn’t her fault entirely. Her attributes were a result of addiction and mental illness, it wasn’t the content of her character. Before she got sick and when she was sober, she was a very involved mom, very bubbly and loved her kids to death. I mean, she still did love us when she was drinking, it just wasn’t a priority as much, which for a 14 year old it’s a hard concept to grasp.
In my mindset, no matter the situation, I feel it’s wrong to abandon family, especially when they are hurting or going through a rough time. Granted, my mother’s drinking was self inflicted pain, but at the same time I understood it was a disease that is nearly impossible to control and just to leave her with no help was essentially setting her up for failure.
It’s why I stuck by her side the countless times she would get drunk and I would have to cook and clean the house because she was too busy partying, it’s why I drove her to the ER at 16 years old when we thought she blacked out and had a stroke, it’s why I went and visited her in rehab as my 16th birthday present, it’s why I took her to the ER multiple times for someone to diagnose her with schizophrenia to help her pain go away.
Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind.
I think my dad is very similar to me in this regard because even though he had every right to leave my mom after all she did to him, he knew that she would fail miserably without him financially and emotionally. As much resentment as he had toward her, he loved his kids more than that and couldn’t let his kids’ mother die by suicide or by alcoholism which is simply what would have happened had they divorced after 30 years of marriage.
Anyways, I digress. I think choosing to keep and build the relationship with my mother was a fairly easy choice. For me, I struggled mostly when Diego started to display toxic traits and trying to leave that relationship for good is what broke me inside.
I think Diego was always a bit over bearing and over protective and at first, I found that rather endearing. I later learned that it stemmed from extreme jealousy, even before I cheated on him. He was always allowed to talk to and hang out with lady friends while the door never swung both ways and I was never allowed to have guy friends, talk to guys, or hang out with them. I found this unfair and hypocritical, especially when I hadn’t done anything wrong yet.
When I ended up cheating on him in January of 2018, he found out not because I told him, but because he read my phone and found a message from one of my bank co-workers that asked me how I was. He then asked if I was cheating on him, even though I had deleted all the photos and messages between Justin and I.
When I decided to cheat, I was very suicidal and had a plan to jump off of a nearby bridge and plunge to my death. I had a note and everything. Instead I slept with this man and if he hadn’t texted me “what’s up”, I can’t say for sure if I would still be alive or not. I think at the time I was very confined by Diego’s rules, I had very few friends and emotional outlets to cope with my newly diagnosed bipolar disorder. We had a house together that we rented out for a year. I didn’t see a way out and maybe cheating was my first chance at a getaway. I am no way justifying my actions as I know infidelity can be heart breaking and affect people’s lives forever, but when you in a dire situation like a bad relationship and dealing with suicidal ideation, logic kind of goes out the window as you are in fight or flight mode. I chose to fight.
Anyways, after Diego found out about my cheating on him, we tried to make things work for the sake of our house and he knew I didn’t have anywhere else to go. Over the next two and a half years, we broke up and got back together approximately fourteen times.
And that’s not an exaggeration, not even a little bit.
We got back together the first time after I was raped and he wanted to be there for me emotionally. I really did need him because I didn’t open up to anyone about my sexual trauma for a long time and he seemed like the only person in the world who could ever love me and wouldn’t do that to me.
He hurt me in other ways though. He held a lot of resentment towards me and my past actions, despite him saying that he forgave me and was willing to move on. It was kind of weird because in October of 2018, he proposed to me and asked for my hand in marriage. I said yes because I had a desire to get married and raise children with him because I thought I wouldn’t be able to find anyone better. He ticked off most of the boxes, but not all of them; I was choosing to settle.
Three days after the proposal, I had picked out and bought my wedding dress. By the end of November, the deposit was put down for a wedding venue and we had a wedding date: September 21st, 2019. We went out to celebrate with our mothers. I think it was a week before Christmas that I felt God call me for the first time in a long time; I knew then and there as I lie in bed with him that I couldn’t be with him any longer. I then followed that instinctive feeling and proceeded to end our engagement and end our relationship.
I upset a lot of friends and family with my actions. There are still people to this very day who don’t speak to me, look at me the same way or respect me for cheating on Diego and breaking off our engagement. But after I broke off the engagement, I still took him to his first Seahawks game and we went to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday. We went camping in eastern Washington in the summer and went to Idaho in early fall. The rest of the time when we weren’t traveling together, we were mainly apart. It’s like this: if we weren’t traveling or having sex together, we were fighting.
Over time he became more controlling and manipulative. I often held my tongue so we wouldn’t fight. When we inevitably did fight, I would remain silent which would only infuriate him. The angrier I got would only fuel the already blazing fire. My other response to his anger was to shut down emotionally as a coping mechanism. He would scream at me until he realized doing so wasn’t going to progress anything, so then we would have to get up bright and early the next day to start the fight all over again.
In March of 2020, he bought a house without my knowledge or involvement. It really hurts when you know someone for six years and are dating for four out of those six years, even when it wasn’t consistent, and he doesn’t involve you in one of the biggest life decisions there is. I became angry with him because I wanted to buy a home with him, and all he says is that I’m a gold digger. I told him if I was a gold digger, why would I be with him and the fight just amplifies from there.
Despite agreeing to take things slowly, I move in to the house in June with him. I felt trapped and isolated being an hour away from my family and I soon began my debt collector job, working from home which added to the loneliness. I had virtually no friends out where we lived and all I would do all day everyday was cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for Diego and clean the house and clean up any mess he made. I served him hand and foot, gave him sex regularly, respected his wishes by not talking to any men besides him and Brent (Brent was my best friend first and was exempt of the no boys rule.)
I did all of this and was given no thanks for my efforts. He figured it was no big deal to do so considering I had so much time working from home that it really should be me who does all the household work while he gets to relax after work by playing video games. But when I got off of work on his days off, he demanded I start cleaning and prepping dinner, even though he gets to chill out every day after work. I found that to be unfair.
I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was during sexy time. My only hard limit is no anal play of any kind and he knows of my sexual trauma and why I cannot do anal and all of that. He was always really respectful about it until this past year happened. We would be … doin the deed when I would scream and cry bloody murder because he shoved his dick up my ass. My first reaction was to hit him across the face for self defense. I paused and immediately shut down and began to sob. He claimed it was an accident that it just “slipped” in my butthole.
The first time I believed him.
After a few rolls in the hay occurred, it happens again and there was no reason for it to keep happening. He would beg me to let him continue vaginally, despite me hysterically crying. I would take a deep breath and let him finish, but it ruined sex for me with him; it was our sacred place.. until now.
I would relax by going to the casino. It was a problem I had throughout the relationship and we had an agreement if I went again without his knowledge, he would break up with me. Mind you, I have never sacrificed my rent money or money towards bills in order to gamble. I might spend more than I wanted to and be tight on money towards going out, but my bills were always paid forward.
Of course you all know the story and on August 13th of 2020, I won a $3,100+ jackpot within ten minutes sitting at this slot machine. Then I proceeded to gamble away that 3100 dollars within a couple of hours. Diego texted me where I was right after I got the jackpot, and I sent him a photo and he was mad, but not livid. But after a few hours of ignoring his texts and calls, he knew very well I wasn’t coming home with anything…
He wasn’t mad about me going and winning, he was mad that he didn’t get a cut of the money that I won. He of course said he wanted me to have it for my bills, but he always complained that he couldn’t afford the house and that I needed to pay more in rent and I needed to stop gambling and budget my funds better in order to pay him more rather than putting that extra money in savings. He very much could afford the house on his own and he had very little debt. He was greedy and took advantage of that when he had me move in. I only paid $500 a month for rent, but I paid for groceries and he worked me to the core in order for him to get his monies worth.
Diego was very conceited and arrogant. He is a Leo and it definitely suits his personality. It was a nasty break up of me being forced to move in back home with my parents who were less than willing to take me back in. I have yet to talk to him in over a month. This marks the longest stretch of time that I have gone without talking to him since we met over six years ago.
I’m not saying I did everything the right way because God knows I could have done a lot better, but Diego has a lot he has to work on in his own way. Like I often say, we were both toxic to each other; like two moths drawn to a flame. Inseparable, until now.
How do you get out of a toxic relationship?
Well I personally think this is a poorly written question. You have to think beyond yourself and beyond your current situation. You must evaluate the relationship between you and the toxic person. Is it beneficial for either party to continue the relationship? If so, why and how? How does it hinder the toxic person or yourself if the relationship were to gradually or suddenly end?
In my situation with my mom and my dad, he recognized it would be easier for him to leave his wife behind and begin a new life, but realized that decision gravely hindered his wife and two daughters. He made the noble decision to stick with her until she got sober and got diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia. Then, if he had left, it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad and she was in a place to handle the situation. However, once the situation greatly improved and she was no longer toxic, he had no reason or desire to leave.
We also must ask ourselves if you honestly think that the other person can change their toxic ways. We also must ask if we contribute at all to the toxicity. Which chances are high that you feed into their toxicity and add a little bit of your own. This what happened for Diego and myself.
But how did you find the courage to leave?
I didn’t. My actions showed Diego I didn’t want to be around anymore which caused him to break up with me. Now I am not saying that everyone should do what I did, because what I did was rather spineless. But I do have to say that I was honestly afraid for my well being of what would happen if I broke up with him. I didn’t really have the option to move back home and I certainly couldn’t afford my own place. God worked his magic and boom! Here we are.
If you, however, can muster up the money and ability to move out, break up, or end your marriage or just move on without that person entirely, I promise you this: it will be difficult, but it will absolutely be worth your while and worth your struggle and adversity.
I pray that this helps at least one person who has been struggling in their relationship(s) with toxic people. It can be exhausting and draining, I know. Just know that I am proud of you and I am rooting for you and your success every step of the way.
As for me, I am very content with how things turned out and now I will continue this upwards climb to success.