Self-love. Self-respect. Happiness.
These are fundamental qualities to keep us stable — qualities that should come from within. I was lucky enough to have been surrounded with people who richly embedded these qualities within me. However, what if eventually, those positivity qualities are derailed, by someone toxic. A person that is so seems like a connoisseur in all, and everything he says is influential, convincing, perfect, and beautiful.
We’ve all been infatuated, but it is sometimes unclear if those feelings are mutual. Based on past experiences, they will either A) prove mutual and turn into a relationship or B) prove that the feeling is only one way.
I was so hesitant to create this post as I worried about the opinions of others, but as artists, we bust use our gift to share negative experiences to inspire others!
…even the the friendship was toxic.
I was one month into living in the amazing New York City, and I still felt that honeymoon “Alice in Wonderland ” (or “Alice in NYC”, if you will) feeling of new experiences, joy, and vibrance that NYC brings to a small-town girl. Plus, I had just graduated college, so I had the world on a string! During that month, I was invited on a date. I met him for a double-date at a fancy, restaurant right outside of the World Trade Center. He was very underdressed, and given my occupation, the way a man dresses is somewhat important. However, his poor dress was compensated by seemingly perfect charm, intellect, and success.
We went sightseeing around the City and eventually met up with some of his friends in an outer borough. According to him, he’s friends flat out did not like me. So, yeah… you could imagine that I though this guy was off because you are who you hang out with. I thought to myself, “If they don’t like me, this guy probably doesn’t.” So, he dropped me off at home to hang with them. I brushed the date off and went to bed.
Now, a “normal” person would have not considered a second date with the loser, but didn’t I say this guy had that charm? Long story short, I ignored the bad first date and we grew into friends over the course of that summer. We had the best time, and I started to develop feelings for him; even at that time, the friendship was toxic. I eventually learned that his theme was keeping promises he couldn’t keep. I would constantly ask myself, “What do you see in him?” Throughout the friendship, he cancel lunch dates, we’d get into arguments, and, once winter hit, we cut ties all together.
The relationship gave me a mixture of joy and powerlessness.
We eventually reunited and he finally expressed those mutual feelings and we became exclusive. The relationship gave me a mixture of joy and powerlessness. We would go on fun dates, play with his dog, watch movies, and took care of me when I dislocated my knee. When he treated me the way a boyfriend should, things were perfect. Then there were times that involve him name-calling, threats of breakup over nothing, denying our relationship amongst his friends, canceling dates and even trips, neglecting, and general condescending. Whenever I would call him out on those issues, he would bring up the good moments and claim that I should be thankful for even being with him. So my only line of defense was responding in the same condescending manner. I never imagined myself being in a relationship like this.
He would blame the fact that he wasn’t a gentleman on past relationships and claim “you can’t change me”. However, if someone is worthy of playing a huge role in your life, he or she should be willing to adjust to make you happy, as long as it is not a negative adjustment.
Without hesitation, he broke up with me. He did this while he FaceTime called another girl and told me to “Leave. Now”.
In the end, we ended things after yet another unnecessary argument. During the argument, without hesitation, he broke up with me. He did this while he FaceTime called another girl and told me to “Leave. Now”. The way he treated me at that moment reminded me of when I was bullied and teased in middle school by these two boys. Others would convince me, “Oh, Amber, they’re mean because they like you”. At first I didn’t believe it, I still don’t, but once that “boys are mean because they like you” logic is embedded at a young age, it can validate worse situations in the adult life.
I truly believe God meant for the breakup to go this way. My willingness to stay in the toxic relationship proved that it would take something this horrible to make me leave. Now, and even before the breakup, I constantly asked why I even stayed. I thought to myself, “You must be crazy, Amber”. That’s the thing with manipulative people. They draw you in by playing mind games (e.g. doing something wrong and rebutting it with something positive done in the past). I was no longer my happy self while in the relationship. After the break up, I read into psychological and emotional abuse. I bursted out into tears and wondered why I didn’t look them up along time ago. The points where disgustingly accurate. Even if these points where not made, it was common sense that his behavior is never okay.
Here are the signs according to Psychology Today:
- Constant criticism or attempts to manipulate and control.
- Shaming and blaming with hostile sarcasm or outright verbal assault.
- The use of shaming and belittling language.
- Verbal abuse—name-calling.
- Withholding affection.
- Punishment and threats of punishment.
- Refusal to accept his/her part in the dynamic.
- Mind games, such as “Gaslighting”, when it comes to accepting personal responsibility for his/her own happiness.
- Refusing to communicate at all.
- Isolating him/her from supportive friends and family.
I’m not writing this to put my ex on blast or make may readers feel sorry for me, I am writing this to encourage others that we should never settle for less then what we deserve. However, when your under the influence of someone manipulation, those views can be swayed. Understand why you are with that person, and if he or she is worth staying with in the long run.
I had been lonely in New York City, and I basically settled for anybody. It definitely should never been this way be this way, and it took some time to realize that happiness is more important than being with someone.
Yes, what I went through was emotional abuse, but it’s certainly something that could’ve spiraled into a situation much worse. I’m glad I was able to get out, and I pray that if you see the signs listed above, get out. With the power of God and the belief that there is something and someone better for you, you can grow the strength to move on to far better.
I have the full knowledge that, one day, God is going to bless me with someone who deserves me! Plus, those supporters that helped mold my self-love, self-respect, and happiness will always be my true source of motivation! I finally feel like “Alice in NYC” again!
20 year olds and beyond must see this video that has helped me through it all:
If you’re in your 20s, LISTEN!!! pic.twitter.com/QJVwMhsmPL
— Typical Girl (@femaIes) September 13, 2017
If you’re ever experiencing any sort of emotional instability, whether it be in a relationship or any aspect of life, you always have a listener and supporter in me!
Amber Lynette Lyons