The easiest thing to do when you leave a toxic relationship is pretend it never happened, pretend your ex never existed, pretend you are perfectly fine.
Unfortunately, the easiest thing to do and the right thing to do rarely overlap.
If you really want to drop your baggage and work on healing yourself from the pain you’ve suffered in your last relationship, you have to confront your past. You have to talk about what happened. Most importantly, you have to accept what happened instead of running from what happened.
It makes sense for you to block out the awful memories from your toxic relationship. Now that you’re free, the only thing you want to do is forget about your toxic relationship so you can move on.
However, the best way to move on isn’t actually to forget. Whether you like it or not, your past experiences have shaped you into the person you are today. They might have made you stronger in some ways, but they have also made you more insecure in some ways.
If you don’t deal with the problems your toxic relationship caused right now, there are going to be problems that keep popping up (like trust issues and commitment issues) and you won’t know how to cope with them.
Even though it hurts, the best way to move on from your toxic relationship is to let yourself feel every emotion. The embarrassment. The betrayal. The anger. The sadness. The regret.
If you don’t allow those emotions to be released now, if you stuff them deep down into your chest and pretend they aren’t there, they are only going to bubble up again at some point in the future.
Forgetting about what happened doesn’t erase what happened. It doesn’t magically get rid your baggage, your insecurities, your deepest darkest fears.
As much as it pains you to think about the person who hurt you worse than anyone else has before, you have to accept they played a major role in your life. You cannot pretend all of the weeks, months, and years you spent alongside them never occurred.
For a while, yes, you might be able to get by pretending your ex never existed. For a while, you might be able to live a perfectly happy and carefree life without them — but one day, your past is going to come back to haunt you. You’re either going to have to deal with your emotions now or later, but it will happen at some point.
If you want to heal, you cannot act like what you went through is no big deal. You cannot minimize the pain you experienced. You have to give yourself permission to admit you’ve been through something traumatic.
Once you leave a toxic relationship, you should be proud of yourself, but you still have one more job to do. You have to put effort into healing. You have to go to therapy. You have to sort through your emotions. You have to decide to put your mental health first.
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