What I Gained In Letting Go.
I know you are familiar with the kind of relationships I’m talking about when I use the words toxic or narcissistic or emotionally draining.
Everyone has experienced the kind of relationships in life — be it familial, friendships, or even as lovers — where there is way less give than there is take. The relationships that have you constantly trying once more or giving it another shot.
The toxic relationships where you continually offer the other person forgiveness, understand their circumstance that caused their behavior, and you live in the hope that they’ll not repeat the same thing that they have, well… always done.
I’ve had relationships like this in my life. I have spent nights sobbing on the couch in my husband’s arms, or lying in bed reliving situations in my head and asking myself over and over and over again: Why? Replaying how hurt I have felt, how neglected, how forgotten, how invisible.
Holding my heart, that has broken into pieces, in my hands, and wondering how the fuck it ever got to this state, and how I could I let it.
So I decided to finally, finally, finally… let go. To do this, I wrote down all the feelings I was experiencing because of this relationship, in dot points.
I then put this piece of paper somewhere I’d see often; so that during the many moments of self-doubt and second-guessing I’d experience over my decision, I could look back over to this list, and be brought back to reality, and hold firm in my decision.
And like any habit that is hard to break, the longer I kept letting go, the easier it became. It even got to a point where it wasn’t a conscious decision anymore. The ties were cut, and I didn’t feel them constantly pulling at me, willing me to reconsider my stance.
Now when I look back, it’s quite clear to me that because I have let go, I now have:
* More time to do the things I enjoy.
The less time is spent inside my head, the more time is spent doing. Doing whatever makes my heart feel happy. I have more time to write, more time to go to the beach, more time to cook new recipes, more time to spend with my family.
It seems crazy that I can suddenly have all this free time, but it’s true because that’s how much of a hold this relationship had on my life. It was in the back of my head — a constant need to control, to understand, to yield. Now that I have let go, areas in my life then once neglected are now being watered with care and purpose.
* More happiness.
I’m happier. I’m way less bitter and angry, although you’ll never be able to call me an optimist! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But because I have cleared the grey looming cloud in both my life and my mind, there’s so much room for other stuff that isn’t soul-sucking.
* More self-respect.
I was able to recognize my limits within a relationship, and give myself the kindness I deserve, by making an end when an end is needed, rather than continuing on the same old damaging road that I was walking.
My children are watching, I do not want to model normalization of bad relationships. I want them to grow up knowing they are worthy of being treated with love and compassion, always, and if this isn’t the case, then it’s not only important to reflect and reconsider whether it is something that should continue, it is essential.
It can seem so very daunting to let go of a relationship that you have held on to for so long. You may very well doubt your ability to cope and function without it. You may be scared… I know I was.
But one thing I have realized along this journey is that there are many people in our lives who love us very much and would fight for us and be in our corner, but so often are we blinded by the hurt that toxic relationships can cause, that we simply don’t see or notice them.
Stepping outside ourselves, and imagining a possibility of happiness no longer dependent on this one person who is never going to change, is the very first step to a liberation you will blossom of, so much more than you could have ever realized.
Jessica Offer lives on the Sunshine Coast with her wonderful husband and four spirited daughters. Two of her daughters and her husband have autism (ASD), but they’re all awesome. Jessica loves getting free therapy at the beach, eating salted caramel truffles, art, cooking, the TV show Miranda, reading and Yoga. She tries to make as much time as she can to do the things she enjoys, amidst the chaos that is life. Jessica is a straight shooter, and says it how it is, because she believes life is hectic and chaotic enough without having to muck about with words, and she appreciates the same from others. It’s Jessica’s aim to educate about girls with autism, normalize breastfeeding, embrace attachment-parenting and home birth, and empower girls to live up to their potential and be their true selves. You could contact Jessica via her website, Instagram or Facebook.