An Open Letter To My Toxic Relationships
Toxicity does not discriminate and can be so inconspicuous that even the brightest red flags go unnoticed. The unnerving aspect of toxicity is its potential to rear its ugly head in all sorts of relationships: romantic, familial, platonic, academic, professional. Sometimes it waits until things feel ‘right’ just before tossing a curveball your way while you stand there at the plate without a bat. These are perhaps some of the most crucial points in your life — not the specifics as much as the opportunity waiting for you on the other side of whatever play you make with the new hand dealt. Here’s what I’d like to say to each of mine:
To The Toxic Ones,
Thank you. You were necessary for my growth and without you, I’d be a stranger to the person I am today. Had I known the turmoil ahead, I would have cowered and avoided all events leading up to you. I needed your rejection, your unwarranted aggression, and your abhorrence towards my presence in your life. I couldn’t imagine who I would be had I of allowed the toxicity of our end to tailor the standards I have set for myself and others that have found privilege in the parts of my existence you once took for granted.
I admired your consistency and knew if I could find a way to reshape your persistence with a kind disposition that I would be unstoppable — so that’s what I have done. Though I wanted your validation, I didn’t need it. I needed you to fail at seeing my worth one more time so I would reach a point of desperation — so much so that I managed to find it for myself.
I needed you for a season, but I didn’t need you for the rest of my life.
Thank you for freeing me from the chains of presupposition long enough for me to see myself for who I am. I have spent days, weeks, and months battling the idea that you could bring value to my life once more, and each time I arrive at the conclusion that our ship has sailed.
In moments of reflection, I hardly hold rage, regret, or ill-will. I wish for you nothing short of happiness, fulfillment, and most importantly, growth. Had it of not been for your emotional abuse, physical aggression, blatant disrespect, constant rejection, perpetual doubt, and daily use of trigger words, I wouldn’t know what it means to be unloved and underappreciated. You nurtured a higher standard and encouraged a fundamental shift in my tolerance towards the things that challenge my inner peace.
You are not what was necessary. Contrarily, the lessons your less than nurturing interactions taught me were. I cannot imagine who I would be without the experience you recklessly and carelessly provided for me. I never needed you to challenge, nor justify my emotions. I knew what I felt and I am the only person who is necessary for that conversation to take place within me.
The next time you find yourself amidst the temptation to act with the same cowardly demeanor you demonstrated in each of our interactions, I would challenge you to think of me. A person that doesn’t need your confirmation of their ability at work, your validation on the trajectory of their path, or your opinion on who they are.
I didn’t need your confirmation that I could work full-time and still pass your accounting class; my GPA would speak for itself. I wasn’t looking for you to tell me I was capable of better than the quota I barely hit the month prior; I already knew that. I wasn’t looking for you to tell me I deserve respect; I was looking for you to show me it. I didn’t need you to tell me you’re sorry I was raped or sexually assaulted; I needed you to work tirelessly alongside me to seek justice. I wasn’t looking for you to tell me I wasn’t crazy; I was just hoping you’d stop calling me ‘unfixable.’ I wasn’t looking for your acceptance, I was just hoping for an apology.
It was never your job to rewrite my narrative in order to fit your script. You either level up to meet me at the place where I sit or you step to the side and out of the way of those who are capable and willing.
May you find a better version of you.
All You Have Stepped On Along The Way