I’m sure, based on the title alone, I’ve already got some of you guys scratching your heads. “Natalie, toxic how?” I am not even sure if I truly grasp how I came to the realization. It was only after a lot of soul searching, figuring out triggers, crying and focusing on self-awareness.
With hardships throughout my life I developed a shell, a wall, a non-vulnerable emotionally unavailable attitude to keep myself going. In one of my relationships, I was always told, “You’re a saint. I don’t know how you deal with him.” As if I should have worn a statement like that as a badge of honor. I never was someone who lost friends or myself in relationships. This goes beyond still having girls’ nights and beyond dating. These types of toxic behaviors form in so many ways as early as childhood. We either break them or, unfortunately, strengthen them as adults. I realized with the trauma that I had seen or been through has caused me to be manipulative, passive aggressive, and have a control issue.
This one is so hard especially with society. We see memes that say stuff like “be a savage, waste his time 2017”. We are told to play games, take hours to respond to their texts, post a photo to grab their attention and to always have the upper hand. We are told to toy with each other’s emotions to avoid getting hurt ourselves. We want to fall in love, but we’re told to manipulate so we don’t come off like we’re needy.
I found myself doing things like this a lot. The three of them played so much into each other. Manipulation feeds into control that feeds into being passive aggressive. These underlying issues also push this faux wall I’ve created to cause jealousy and trust issues. At the end of the day, my manipulation caused me to try to not be vulnerable, yet I still never avoided getting hurt. I spent the time trying to get someone to fall in love with me, to do what I wanted them to do, to buy products, but being too afraid of rejection to let them see the real me.
Now, if you know anything about me, I come off confident. I am often told that I am bold and outspoken. Honestly, the joke has been made, “You? Passive aggressive? Hah! More like just aggressive.” But, as I look at how I react to situations based on trust or jealousy issues, I have a lot of passiveness in me. It’s part of the manipulation. I know I can’t share that something upsets me because I don’t want to look like I care more than I do. AHA, HERE’S THAT VULNERABILITY AGAIN!
For instance, ladies who are in heterosexual relationships, have you ever wanted to hang out with your man and he last minute goes “Babe, Joe just told me he wants to go to the game. I decided to go. I will see you tomorrow.” And you say, “have fun. “ Yet, you don’t mean that at all. It’s a test. Well, that’s passive aggressive. I was the queen of “have fun.” I was the queen of “we’ll talk later.”
It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to use “I feel “ when you talk about situations. It’s okay to flat out say “I would have loved if you still were about to hang out with me instead.” But, I realized my passive aggressive texts came from jealousy and trust issues. It stemmed from being scared someone would enjoy time more without me than with me. This was a manipulative to get my way which leads us to our last topic.
We. Do. Not. Control. We. Do. Not. Have. Control. Over. Others. Let me say it louder for the people in the back. Honestly, let me just say it louder to hear myself again. I struggle with this one more than anything. In fact, my mom has recently realized that she had a lot of the same control issues (not with my dad, but more so as a parent). My parents loved to tell me how to do things better. They didn’t mean to. It was their way of protecting or taking care of me. “Here, I have the answer.”
I notice that with myself. I sometimes want to do it for someone else just because I know I can do it “better”.
When it comes to relationships, I realize I wanted to control situations for all the reasons I talked about above over and over again. Jealousy, trust, manipulation, vulnerability, past issues, abandonment, etc. I wanted to make sure I always had the upper hand.
I always said I found no comfort in saying that we have no control. It’s very uncomforting. What I’m starting to realize is that I truly have no control no matter what. No matter how much I try, life is going to deal me the cards it’s going to deal. People are people. We do fuck up; people are going to do what they truly want to do if they want to do it. There is no way to stop them – at least not permanently.
If I’ve learned anything in all of this, it’s that I am an unbelievably loving and caring person. I am the shit. Seriously! Not to brag or toot my own horn, but I am a fantastic friend and lover. I go above and beyond for those that I truly love. I am your “ride or die” friend. The “I’ve got your back, I’ll ask questions later” friend. I am a loyal girlfriend with the best intentions. I want to see love and success for everyone around me. Empowering women and others has always been something that fills up my cup more than anything.
I am coming to terms with someone not accepting all my love and then leaving. It’s okay. I am deserving of so much and they could not fill that. It’s a hard pill to swallow at times. I am not perfect so I often times forget it. I am still working hard at ME. Finding each day something new to improve on. It has been an overwhelming experience, but one that I am truthfully thankful for. I have had some amazing people walk into my life, and I truly believe people are meant to be in your life for a reason. Not everyone is meant to stay. Because of these people that have left, they have truly allowed room for some greatness to enter. For 2018, I plan to deep dive into my triggers and explore them. Get ready for more blogs exploring how to overcome self-sabotaging characteristics and embrace a healthy love.