“Just because you did something wrong in the past doesn’t mean you can’t advocate against it now. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite, you grew. Don’t let people use your past to invalidate your current mindset … growth: a concept. Embrace it,” I have just started to forgive myself for my part in what was a toxic relationship.

A lot of things end the way they start. Wish that was the case. At the end of the day we are all responsible for our own actions. However, we really brought out the best in each other until we brought out the worse in each other. I’m not sure exactly what happened but at some point I felt like I was going crazy. No matter what I did it became an argument. I would let go of things to avoid conversations, I would be choosy with my words to not upset him. I lost confidence in communicating face-to-face and would text to express myself better. He made me feel so stupid and it would make me furious. Before I knew it I was that woman, having never been before, violently tantruming to be heard. In hindsight it was an attempt to regain control. It seemed to work for a little while (not really, you can’t control anyone but yourself), but then it made things worse. Eventually our housing was in jeopardy from noise complaints, jobs were in jeopardy from nights in jail, friendships were in jeopardy, health was in jeopardy from screaming matches that put our blood pressure through the roof. It was exhausting for both of us but we wouldn’t separate. One would threaten to leave the other and the other would apologize and so on, and so on. This went on for a while.

Then I reached a new level of being tired but I asked myself “can you honestly say you have done everything in your power,” to rail what was clearly a derailed train. My answer was “no.” So I changed some things. Started seeing a therapist regularly, medication consultation for anger, listening to gospel music when I was upset, going to church, removing myself from situations and more. Those things really helped me, and were noticed but I was ridiculed about them and told that what I was doing isn’t making a difference and that I wasn’t changing if I was even mildly upset about anything. This made me angry and hurt because I knew I truly was changing and growing exponentially.

Ultimately that was all that mattered. I was. I left because I finally felt I was doing all that I could do. In his defense I waited too long to do all that I could do and he was just over it. Now he had become that man tantruming to be heard. I remember reflecting on being antagonized for the things I was doing to prevent myself from lashing out, things that had I have done early on he probably would of respected more. I thought to myself I’m going to ruin my life if I stay. I felt like despite the change maybe he was right and that maybe I couldn’t trust myself. I refused to stick around for both of our sakes. I had also come to admit that we could not work on ourselves how we needed to by staying together. We were holding on to too much resentment. I loved him when I left.