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My Toxic Relationship Changed Me For The Better

by Annika Murphy

At the start of October 2019, I started dating someone. This started off as a normal,
healthy relationship, but then around December 2019, it progressed into something that
was detrimental to my health, mentally and physically. I, despite the warnings, stayed with him
continuing the relationship, which led to some very toxic behaviors on both ends. Two years later, I had become very ill due to the extreme mental strain that I had been under for an extended period of time. I lost a total of about 75 lbs from losing the ability to eat regularly.

This toxic relationship and how it had forcibly ended changed my life for better and
for worse. I had pushed myself away from close friends, family, and my support systems. I felt
that I had barely anyone left to support me. I knew I had to rebuild my support system. I
renewed old friendships, made new friends, and repaired strained relationships with family
members. This was a very hard and painful process emotionally. Now that this relationship is
over, I am much happier than I was. I am dating someone else, but I still go through moments,
as if things were happening again, and have breakdowns about the thought that it is possible to
drop back into poor relationships if I’m not mindful. I am thankful that I am out of that toxic
relationship, but now I still get paranoid about things such as trust issues. These are things that
I will need to work on so that I am more comfortable in my relationships. Having a support system has been one of the most mentally beneficial ways to help motivate me through this new
relationship, and now I can fully recognize that I am my own person, with my own set of
feelings.
The problem that is presented in my story is how I dealt with a mentally and physically toxic relationships in the past. This caused very awful behavior on my end and also on my former partner’s end. This then caused a decline in my mental health and caused me to develop poor eating habits, (skipping meals, etc). I eventually fell into a deep depression and
needed formal therapy. Harmful relationships are actually very common throughout the nation.
Many teens and adults go through at least one toxic relationship in their lifetime.
http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/professionals/national-organizations/ This problem can be life-
altering for those who may not be able to get out of that relationship. Teens and adults need to
recognize the warning signs of these types of relationships. With my relationship, recognizing
the signs earlier, and telling an adult were just some ways that I could have freed myself from
my mental strain. Some early warning signs of toxic relationships from my experience would be
dishonesty, disrespect, lack of trust, feeling drained, and you may not even be able to hang out
with friends as often as you may like. https://www.insider.com/toxic-relationship. In a toxic
relationship, you may feel as if you ONLY have to be around them, and only can talk to them
almost 24/7. This is called codependency and was the worst experience. Feeling as if you
HAVE to be with that person limits your ability to think for yourself and realize that yes, you are
your own person. Over 60% of teens remain in toxic relationships. But why? According to many
teens, they may believe that the relationship will work itself out, and there will be no more
fighting or abusive behavior. It is also led to believe some popular TV shows or movies may
convince teens to romanticize these horrible relationships. When someone is in a toxic
relationship, it can be obvious to everyone including friends, family, but unfortunately, not the
person involved. An example of a short behavior that could improve relationships is the use of
I statements. These statements can be used when expressing an individual’s feelings without
placing harm on the other person involved. If these behaviors are not implemented right away,
or the toxic relationship remains, they can cause lasting effects after the relationship, such as a
weakened immune system or potentially even organ damage. https://lseclarion.com/14455/arts-
and-entertainment/the-reality-of-toxic-relationships/

In order to cope with these hard times, we need to recognize the signs of early toxic
relationships so that others can be more mindful before entering into that kind of relationship.
Many organizations work to let teens and young adults know the signs of relationship problems. An
organization called “The One Love Foundation” helps recognize these signs. They are a
national non-profit organization with the goal of ending relationship abuse. They empower
young people with the tools and resources they need to see the signs of healthy and unhealthy
relationships and bring life-saving prevention education to their communities. The website states
shocking statistics that should at least bring your awareness to this topic such as three women a
day are killed by their partner in the U.S, more than one in three women will be in an abusive
relationship in their lifetime, and nearly one in three men will be in an abusive relationship in
their lifetime. Using the One Love Foundation, we can empower young teens by helping them
and cheering them on through these dark times. Along with toxic signs, the foundation gives
healthy signs to relationships as well, and using these can help guide you on the path to a right
and healthy relationship. https://www.joinonelove.org/
One thing that many can do is to recognize the warning signs early of a toxic
relationship. Toxic relations are best if cut off early. Yes, this still hurts, but it is better to end
them before things escalate further. You can take action by paying attention to others’ behaviors
in relationships or simply educating others with personal stories.
The link: https://www.joinonelove.org/donate/ is a link to donate to the One Love
Foundation. Donating can help empower young people to end relationship abuse once and for
all. With your donation, we can save lives and educate people around us that may not recognize
the signs. YOU personally can help prevent these kinds of relationships from taking place by
donating even a dollar and staying mindful. Now that you have read my story, are you in a toxic
relationship, and would you be able to recognize the signs of one early? Do not make the
mistakes that I have made, and together we can save lives and end relationship abuse.

Resources:

One love foundation. One Love Foundation. (2022, March 1). Retrieved March 4, 2022, from
https://www.joinonelove.org/

Fielding, S., & Torrisi, R. (2021, November 8). 7 tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship and
how to fix it, according to couple therapists. Insider. Retrieved March 4, 2022, from
https://www.insider.com/toxic-relationship

The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness & Action. Center for Relationship Abuse
Awareness & Action. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2022, from
http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/professionals/national-organizations/

Rajala, M. (n.d.). The reality of toxic relationships. The Clarion. Retrieved March 4, 2022, from
https://lseclarion.com/14455/arts-and-entertainment/the-reality-of-toxic-relationships/

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