A toxic connection

A toxic connection will destroy you like a drug. Gradually decaying inside, you force a smile and pretend that everything is okay, because that’s your only way of surviving. You have never felt more fear in your entire life. So badly, you want to tell someone how scared you are — but that would mean acknowledging the severity of the situation. You’d rather lie to yourself and believe that you’re fine.

You tell yourself that you’re in love with them. But you’re not. Truthfully, you’re terrified and insecure. You use “love” as an excuse for their abusive behavior. You blame it on “passion” — that this is a love that no one else could ever understand.

They’re chipping away at your sanity piece by piece. At night, they text you or call you telling you how much they want you, need you, love you. By day, they ignore you like a stranger. When no one is looking, they slam a door in your face, throw things at you, break things in front of you. When no one is listening, they scream at you, curse you out, call you names. And you tell yourself it’s love.

They are possessive over you, to the point that you are not allowed to have any friends, you can’t even have conversations with other people. You must be all theirs. They’re paranoid over every single person you associate yourself with — worried that you’ll fall for someone else, or maybe worried that someone else will try to save you from this toxic connection. They don’t even want you on social media.

And it goes further than you. They harass your friends, your family, your ex-partners, and anyone they think could be attracted to you. They corner these people and try to bring down your name. They tarnish your reputation, they gaslight you, they tell everyone that you’re a crazy wh*re. And in a sick and twisted way, you’re a little bit flattered — until they turn around and insult you to your face.

But they “love you” — they say. As they watch you move on with someone else, they look at you with sad, puppy dog eyes. They say, “how could you forget me!?” You actually feel guilty for letting them go. And then you fall back under their spell.

They are the only person who can have you. But they will never give you the same in return. They can talk to, flirt with, mess around with anyone they’d like. And if you dare show them an ounce of jealousy, they’ll destroy you.

You feel helpless, like there’s absolutely nothing you can do. When you attempt to fight back, they retaliate ten times harder. When you stick up for yourself, they frame you as abusive. When you ignore them, they turn sweet and beg for your attention. You can’t break free from this cycle.

The thought of losing them is both your greatest hope and greatest fear. You could never leave them — you know you’re far too weak to ever walk away. All the time, you think about leaving them — but you just can’t. Once they see you becoming more brave, once they see you gradually mustering the courage to eventually walk away from them, they’ll leave you first.

And once they’re gone, you know you should be happy and relieved. But you’re falling apart. You became addicted to their evil games. Your confidence is so low that you need them to continue pushing you down. You need their pain. You need those highs and lows. They are your drug.

Now they’re gone for good. You fall to your knees. You beg and cry. You call them over and over. You send them so many messages. And in return, a stranger answers back and says, “who’s this?” You had been messaging a stranger the whole time. It’s like they never existed. Who am I talking to? Did this person ever even exist!?

The day you realize you’re delusional is the day you take back your sanity. Was this a toxic connection… was this even a connection at all!? We only kissed once… many, many years ago… You flip back through old journals, where you wrote down everything, trying to prove to yourself that this was a connection, a real, toxic connection. The more you think about it, the crazier you feel. What if it wasn’t him this entire time? What if I imagined this entire thing? What if he was… right about me being crazy?

The only way from rock bottom is up. The fog clears up a little bit more each day, as you slowly pull yourself together. You finally take a breath of relief. He’s gone. You’re safe now. But… what if he’s not gone? What if, as soon as I get my life back on track again, he shows up just to destroy me once more? What if he reaches out to my friends again with more lies? What if he blackmails me? What if he finds a new way to ruin my life?

If you never see him again, never hear from him again, never even hear someone else speak of him again — that will be your greatest blessing. Maybe he’s not done seeking revenge. Yet still, your greatest power is rising above with grace.

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