A toxic relationship is called toxic for a reason. Going through one is not only a painful experience, it’s also extremely emotionally damaging, leaving scars that can take time to overcome.
After ending a toxic relationship, it’s normal to struggle with what you have just experienced. You may question yourself, you may question love, and you will likely be questioning every person that you come in contact with. It will be hard to trust anyone after a toxic relationship for a long time. “Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse” by Shannon Thomas offers a roadmap to recovery, providing strategies for healing and moving beyond the scars left by toxic relationships.
With that being said, even though it will feel like love doesn’t exist, or that good relationships don’t exist, they do and eventually, one will happen for you after a toxic relationship. When it does, after being in a difficult relationship, several things will happen.
Do you need something a little more personal?
1. When he tells you how he feels, you will struggle to believe him.
In the beginning, when he tells you that he loves you, cares about you, and wants to be with you, there will be doubts. Because you have been in a relationship where you never knew where you stood from day to day, it will be hard getting used to someone so transparent.
2. You will assume the worst, only to be pleasantly surprised.
At first, you will expect him to be like everyone else. Deep down, you will have this feeling that tells you that he is sincere, but then another voice (the voice of past trauma) will emerge slowly, telling you he will only cause you harm. It will be confusing, to say the least.
3. You will overthink things a lot.
Little things, like him taking too long to text back, or him saying something different than normal, will throw you off. Even the slightest thing may send you into a tailspin, fearing that the mask has finally come off, and everything you feared was true. In fact, at times, he may grow frustrated because he is being genuine, and he doesn’t want you to feel like he means you any harm. But, he will understand what you have been through, and continue to support you through the process of healing.
4. You will think he’s too good to be true.
On a daily basis in the beginning, when you notice how wonderful he is, it will scare you even more. On one hand, you will want to believe that you finally have met your prince charming. On another, you will tell yourself he is too good to be true.
5. You will push him away.
When he gets too close or tries to get you to let him in, you will push him away at times. Your guard will come up, and you will pull back and try to slow things down. It will be hard not to pull back and retreat to protect yourself, but you will be happy when you do finally let him in and accept that he is not going to hurt you.
6. You will constantly say sorry.
After being in a toxic relationship, you are going to struggle with how you were treated before. You will constantly apologize, even when you’ve done nothing wrong, and you may need more validation than you would have before the bad experience.
To further explore the dynamics of a healthy relationship and understand how to build trust and intimacy after a toxic past, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk delves into how trauma affects our capacity for relationships and how healing can restore our ability to connect with others meaningfully.
7. You may wonder whether you deserve him or not.
In many ways, because of what you have been through, you will have a lower sense of self-worth. You may believe something must be wrong with you or you to have gone through such an awful experience. But the good news is, there is nothing wrong with you, and you deserve happiness and love.
8. You will feel content and fulfilled, and it will be satisfying.
For the first time in a long time, you will start to feel alive again. You will bloom in a relationship in which you feel cherished when you finally choose to open yourself up to the possibilities of happiness and real love. And you will feel whole, satisfied, and complete.
9. The bedroom intimacy will be so much different.
In a toxic relationship, after the initial spark, all intimacy (true intimacy) becomes distorted and even disappointing. However, when you find someone that cherishes you and loves you, it opens a whole other door towards meaningful and satisfying bedroom adventures. And it will be exhilarating!
10. You will finally ease into things and realize you DO deserve this.
After a while, your tensions will begin to ease, and you will allow yourself to truly get close to him. For the first time in a while, you will recognize your worth, and allow yourself to be happy.
11. You will learn to trust again.
Over time, you will build trust and begin to understand what real and healthy trust means in a good relationship. When he goes to the store, you won’t fear that he will end up somewhere else. When he promises to be there, he will be there.
12. You will experience what true love and a healthy relationship dynamic feels like.
You will realize what true love and healthy relationships are like. You won’t have to fight for this love, it will come naturally. When struggles occur, the two of you will tackle them together as a team.
And finally, “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller is an invaluable resource for understanding how attachment styles influence our relationships. It provides insight into developing healthy, secure attachments that can withstand the challenges of past trauma.