Most of us have probably met a toxic person, or been in a toxic relationship at least once, whether we know it or not. Sometimes, it takes time, a major event, or even the end of a relationship to recognise that we were in one. By then, we may find ourselves helpless in its wake of destruction, struggling to piece together the shattered pieces of what’s left of our self-worth and dignity, as we nurse those scathing scars sustained.
Toxicity is multifaceted and manifests differently in different ones, in different types of relationships and contexts. Toxic traits and behaviours may include, emotionally / mentally / physically / sexually abusive, disrespectful, inconsistent, manipulative, controlling, jealousy, extreme insecurity, gaslighting, lying and cheating, and the list goes on.
Below are 2 true stories of toxic relationships. It may be triggering for some, so feel free to skip through uncomfortable content or if you would like to speak to someone about it, do not hesitate to reach out to us on Whatsapp.
The story is real, the names are not.
“You are mine, and mine alone.”
Layla and Nick met through an online dating platform, and within one month of knowing each other, they became a happy couple in love.
“He is everything I wanted from my ex. He replies to my messages fast, almost instantly, he checks in on me often throughout the day, he always tells me how much he loves and cares for me. I don’t have to second guess if I am his priority,” Layla gushed to her friends as they listened intently to her whirlwind romance with envy.
Just then, Layla’s phone lit up with a new message from Nick, “Baby, are you still with your friends? I miss you, can I see you?”
Layla’s face blushed with bliss, as she excused herself, and said she was going to the restroom. She walked out of the restaurant, stood outside, and took a quick selfie of herself and sent it to Nick. She was too shy to do so infront of her friends.
Instantaneously, Nick replied, “You look so cute baby. I just wanna hug you right now. Can I see a photo of you from on top when I hug my little princess?”
Layla intuitively understood his request. She held her hand higher, and took a photo of herself from a steeper angle, this time, capturing some cleavage of her full bosom. And she sent.
As she was about to return back to the restaurant, another message came in. “Baby wish I am there with you right now, can I see more? I miss you so much.”
Layla whined, “Sorry dear, I need to go back to my friends, they are waiting for me, can we talk more later?”
As she walked back to her friends, Nick called her, “Baby is just one more photo? Can’t you do this for me? I miss you so much, your friends will wait for you.”
This scenario was almost a daily occurrence for the new couple. When they were physically together, he was the affectionate boyfriend. When they were apart, he was the possessive boyfriend; he often wanted Layla to take photos of herself and what she was doing. She could be with her friends, family, at work, exercising at the gym or running errands, it did not matter, if he wanted a photo of her, he would insist until he got one. At times, when he was more obsessive, he would make her take semi-nude photos of herself in public toilets; regardless of whether she is in the middle of a work meeting, or family dinners, she would have to excuse herself to do so just to appease him. If she refused, he would accuse her of not loving him enough. And this became a toxic cycle in their relationship.
As a result, Layla was often distracted from whatever she was doing, having to cater to his whims and fancies, and being at his beck and call, all just to prove her love for him. She gradually stopped spending time with her friends and family, and other activities that did not involve him, just to spend more time with him.
Layla felt like a recluse in the glass bubble of her own relationship, where she would witness the world go by before her, but she is no longer involved in it.
“If this is love, why did you break me down?”
“I cheat not because I don’t love her.”
Sal and Wai met through a colleague who introduced them during an office party. Very quickly, they hit it off and exchanged their Instagram handles. From there, they started planning for dates, and met up frequently. Their dates got increasingly intimate, and it felt natural.
One month into seeing each other, Sal was sitting at the passenger’s seat as Wai was driving, feeling excited about the concert they were about to catch. As Sal was chattering enthusiastically, Wai suddenly stopped her, and told her that there was something he needed to tell her. His sudden sombre tone made her quiver, “What’s the matter?”
“I am… actually attached. And I can’t stay for dinner after the concert. My girlfriend is returning early from her trip, I’m sorry,” he said carefully, while making furtive glances at her.
Sal froze. As she attempted to replay his words in her mind, she sat there like a statue, aghast. She could barely speak as she felt a lump in her throat.
“Wait… what???” she finally spoke. “I thought you said your relationship ended 3 months ago?”
“It didn’t…” he replied stiffly.
“Then why did you lie? Why are we even going to this concert?” she retorted.
“Because you like this singer and I care about you,” he muttered.
“That’s not the point!!!” she cried out exasperatedly.
The rest of the car ride was tumultuous, the conversation alternated between Sal insisting on him pulling over while he refused, and her bombarding him with questions while he evaded. That fateful day was the first of many turbulent episodes to come, as Sal tried to end things with Wai, while Wai tried all ways to get her back. Eventually, through many chapters of making up, big fights, blocking each other, one person relenting, negotiations, trying to be just friends, lies and deceit, tough line of questioning, confrontations and confessions, they finally ended things when Sal cut him off.
After multiple therapy sessions, Sal reflected and shared this:
“He cheated not because he doesn’t love her. He cheated for validation. He cheated to escape the problems in his relationship. He could not fight off his suspicions that his girlfriend, who is an air stewardess, may be having an affair. But he did not want to confront her about it, for fear of finding out the truth. So, I was his escape, the distraction he sought to calm his insecurities in his relationship, and his validation. I was the band-aid to his broken relationship.”
"If this is love, why did you break me down?"
How to Detox from Toxic Relationships?
I am not sure what your story may be, what version of “toxic” you encountered, how much you have struggled, and all the Whys. And honestly, no matter what the Whys, Hows, Whats may be, the ultimate advice is always to cut off the toxic person from your life and begin your own healing journey. But it’s easier said than done, as always, isn’t it?
If you are looking for a healthy escape, where you would be guided to free your mind, heart and body through mindfulness, yoga and meditation sessions along with other useful workshops, and even enjoy a free meridian treatment and therapy session post-retreat, why not join us on our Wellness Retreat?
In response to this overall sense of mental / emotional / physical fatigue that many of us face today, A Kind Place and eGe have specially curated this Wellness Retreat to detoxify your mind, heart and body. Scroll down for more details. Limited slots available, sign up and secure your spot today. Click here to register.
A Kind Place supports and welcomes everyone from all walks of life, gender identity, orientation, and backgrounds. We offer free 15-minutes consultation for you to meet with your choice of therapist / psychologist / counsellor to support you on your journey of mental wellness.Bookings for consultation or services can be done here. For any enquiries, Whatsapp us or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach out to us today!