5 Healthy Lessons I Learned from Toxic Relationships.



{Photo: via tumblr}

By Ursula Williams.
A wise friend made a statement to me — a rather simple statement, but it struck a chord.

She said, “I think the holidays bring the best and worst of people. I wonder: which am I?”

It was a statement of recognition, of realization, and most importantly, reflection.

I noticed, with the birth of 2014, that some people subtly began to drift away from the light. I wondered what was going on in the depths of their souls that pushed them to withdraw. Adjusting to the New Year is sometimes a hard thing.

We are fighting our own battles, striving to sweep those last few wars from 2013 under the rug to transgress toward a new beginning. Maybe we are all doing our own reflection. Maybe we all retreated into the shadows to reserve what strength we possessed to carry us into this new light.

Maybe we are scared. Maybe we are pessimistic — 2013 was a tough year for many of us and did not show much promise of turning around in the few short days that remained. But we are all in this together.

I hope that you can successfully meander through the twists and turns of your mind in whatever vehicle you chose, and always remember that these roads have been traveled by others. Whatever destination you face, you do not have to travel alone.

We are here for one another — we may not wish for an extended stay, but we can always visit when we need each other’s company.

That brings me to the second part of my friend’s statement. “… I wonder: which am I?”

Relationships can be many things. We present ourselves differently in relationships we have at work, relationships with close friends, relationships with family members, with acquaintances, with strangers.

Though here I’m mostly referring to those one-on-one romantic relationships we find ourselves in, whether it be dating, intimate, or partnership status. I lost contact with a lot of my close friends over the last four years while trudging through a rather toxic relationship.

I realize that cutting off those close to my heart was a big mistake. But when you’re in love, and devoted to the one you believe you will be spending the rest of your life with, you make that a priority. You do what it takes to bring a sense of respect and comfort to the relationship.

As far as that’s concerned, I do not regret any of the relationships I was in or the choices I made.

Even as unsuccessful as the last one was, it taught me so much:

1. I know now to recognize things for what they really are. When others present you with clues, it’s up to you to pay attention. Red flags are there for a reason — do not look away. There’s no point in over-extending yourself for something that has no potential to bring you lasting happiness.

See it for what it is: a friendship, an acquaintance, a bar friend, but not relationship material. Move on.


2. I sense that I am more in tune with my emotions. I am more upfront with them in regard to how I relate and communicate with others. When I feel something, I share it. I want her to feel safe sharing her feelings, too.

Why should we keep the feelings that tug at our hearts… that feel like if ignored, they might burst from within?

If you feel good about a person, share that. If you feel off about something — those little thoughts that gnaw at your tongue begging to be voiced — let your partner know. Be honest. Be open. Communicate with your significant other. Listen. Listen. Listen. Why are these things so hard?

I realize we all have walls from a bad experience that haunt us. But we are all different — do not judge me based on your ghosts, and I won’t of you either.

An amazing person could present herself to you and be a great match, but as long as you hold on to those malignant patterns and assumptions that you will be treated the same as you did in your past, you’re not going to be very successful in finding a partner. You can be cautious!

You’ve been wounded and scarred. But let your partner know and I bet that she will probably understand and respect you, and be ever so gentle with your feelings.


3. I have learned that I do matter, that it cannot be all about my partner all the time. It’s not worth it to lose yourself in hopes of helping others find their own. While I will continue to do what it takes to respect the one I’m with, I will not be anyone’s savior.

It’s not my job to make you happy with yourself. I will not sacrifice my own happiness. While I will always put my partner first and still respect my own needs and beliefs, I will not discount my Self or eliminate others who care about me. I can always compromise, but I will never sacrifice.

I want to discover someone who feels the same, who holds these same beliefs close. I want someone who values what I have to say and truly tries to understand how I feel.


4. I will not participate in mind games. I will not waste my time trying to convince. I will not read your mind, and most certainly will not assume. I will not talk someone into love. I want someone to feel it herself.

I want those sparks to fly between us, and catch them together for as long as the embers burn.

And when they begin to fade, I want to be able to express my concern freely, without fear of judgment, without fear of ridicule… and attempt to discover the reasons behind the distance. Again — the key is communication.

When someone carries bitterness or resentment from their past relationships, it’s easy to find reason for rejection, easy to dissect a person to death, but more challenging to find reasons to stay together.

I read that “flight behavior can represent a fear of intimacy or the inability to recognize that people can change with time when they value the love between them and each other.”

Have some patience. With that being said — if there’s potential, let’s at least try. If we can discover the reason to have something solved by simply addressing it, then we can save a potentially amazing thing.

If we discover the reason to be something too great — a realization that one of us is not able to meet a need, or live up to necessary expectations that come with every relationship (respect, trust, faithfulness, etc.), then, and only then, should we go our separate ways.

I feel too often that people overlook the simplicity to be present and honest. Potential greatness is often ignored due to lack of exchange.


5. I need attention. Not all the time, but if I’m not a priority to my partner when I should be, then something is wrong. Consider me when a big decision is on the table. Let me be the one you confide in when you’re tossing things around in your head.

Act as if I were by your side when you’re away from me — never disrespect me, whether I’m in the room or not.

Put your arm around me when I’m cold. Hold my hand when we walk down the street. Open the door for me every now and then. Rub my shoulders when they ache. Offer to split the bill when it comes. Send me flowers for no reason. Surprise me with dinner or a spontaneous night out once in a while.

And please, stay awake until you know I’ve arrived home safely.

I hope you read this and understand how I feel about you. I treasure your friendship. I respect you as a person. I love you for your soul. Be happy.

If you’re at your best, then share that wealth with those whose happiness has fallen short. If you’re at your worst and things have you down, do not forget there are those of us out here that will always be here for you.

I will always answer my phone — if I do not right when you call, I promise to call you the minute I am free.

Talk. Sympathize. Empathize. Express. Respect. Be honest. Be kind. Appreciate. And… Love.



UrsulaWilliamsUrsula is a social butterfly who enjoys life, smells like patchouli, looks forward to exploration, and is always discovering. She is rarely limited but continually wants to live and be carefree. She takes advantage of every minute that leads her to create. She expresses her thoughts through loving, writing, and photographing. She desires to be part of an entanglement of souls, setting the stage for conversation, interpretation, passion and mutual imagination. She cares about what you think, and is devoted by nature: a true-to-form Libra. She yearns for you to share frames from the reels of your mind and be her next source of inspiration.

{You Do Matter}


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