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How These Women Realised They Were the Toxic Partner in Their Relationship

"I was controlling and critical - and it all stemmed from my anxious attachment style."

Healthy relationships are undoubtedly hard to come by, and to keep going. Why? Because our country is so severely lacking in sex and relationships education, that we're never taught how to conduct health relationships and how to know when someone's behaviour is dangerous or harmful. Here, women who discovered they were the toxic one in a relationship explain what happened, and what they did about it.

"I was controlling and critical"

"I realised after the relationship ended. I was Googling 'signs of emotional abuse' and while many applied to my ex-partner, just as many applied to my own behaviour in that relationship. Most of them stemmed from my anxious attachment style. I was controlling and critical of my ex-partner. I think reading a lot of books on relationships and attachment styles helps me to notice when I'm anxious, and I can stop myself from acting in an unhealthy way towards my current partner." [via]

"I never expressed my feelings"

"I was very abusive in my first relationship. I had a lot of anger and displaced it. I was immature and not self aware, terrible at communicating and never expressed my feelings. I wasn’t taught how. My partner wasn’t a saint but no one deserves to be abused. I learned from that relationship and started figuring myself out and told myself I would never treat someone like that again. That relationship made me realise I’ve got some major issues I need to resolve before ever getting into another relationship." [via]

"My coping mechanisms were abusive"

"I was in therapy to try and sort myself out before leaving my marriage, and my therapist commented how my ex was abusive, but that also I had developed some coping mechanisms that were abusive in return. It’s sort of a learned behaviour thing, and it’s self-protective, but it’s part of why therapy is important for abusive victims. You have to learn to break the cycle." [via]

"I gaslight him"

"My ex was extremely insecure and obsessed and overanalysed everything I did. My eventual, learned response was to gaslight him, hide everything and lie to make him relax. I justified it to myself because I wasn't actually doing anything wrong behind his back, I was very loyal and respectful, he just had no trust at all for me so it was just my only option to keep the peace. We broke up finally and at first it was like cutting an addiction. Once I got over it I've never felt so free, light and relieved in my life." [via]

"I had temper tantrums and flirted with other people"

"I didn’t realise my own toxic behaviour until after the relationship ended. My next relationship was an immediate rebound and it didn’t go well. I realised new people weren’t going to forgive my temper tantrums and flirting with other people as easily as my ex had - so that was kind of a wake up call. I learned to appreciate all the things he had done for me and that I had learned so much from him.

"One friend really called me out on my reasons for leaving him, some of which were shallow. I had legitimate reasons, but I was also comparing my relationship to a lot to other people’s and wanted to be with someone 'better'. Another friend pointed out I had begun smoking weed too much and that my ex was totally reasonable to be insecure after I had flirted with other people. Basically me never having been totally committed and kind of always window shopping combined with a bit of a temper that rather than fixing..." [via]

"I was really insecure and didn't believe he wanted me"

"I was an absolute bitch in my first long term relationship in my early 20s. I was really insecure and didn't believe my ex wanted to be with 'someone like me'. So when he was talking to female friends, or wanted to go out in the evening with some guys, I became a controlling nightmare. I repeatedly texted him asking about where he was and with whom. I would come up with wild scenarios in my jealous mind.

"It didn't matter how often he told me he liked the way I looked or complimented me, I never believed him and asked for more and more approval. It was impossible for him to say the right things. After the relationship ended I was angry. Then I was fed up with my self-pity and self-humiliation. I started to dress nicer, I watched what I ate, I became more loving and accepting of my flaws and stopped comparing myself with other women all the time. And most importantly, I stayed single for a year until I was sure that I wouldn't be a needy nightmare in my next relationship." [via]