A Positive Self-Worth is Kryptonite to Toxic Relationships: How to say “F*ck Off” without Remorse
When I was a teenage girl, my dad once told me that not everyone was going to like me. As I sat on our split level’s carpeted steps and prepared for another one of his lectures on life, I laughed to myself and thought, “What the hell does he know?”
But you know what? He was right! Not everyone likes me and today, for that, I am grateful! Here’s why!
Listen, I know I am one seriously imperfect individual, yet, I still hold my head high! The days of allowing someone to get in my head and mess with my mojo are long gone, as are my cares about offending someone with my truth.
I am a recovering binge drinker, who had no clue how to moderate while I was having a good time. I’ve done stupid things, put myself in dangerous situations, and woken up many a morning ashamed, but rather than hide, I have publicly outed myself so I may be able to help someone else suffering.
I have faced many diagnoses in my life including bipolar disorder, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and dysmorphic disorder. Some were appropriate and some were not, but as I told someone the other day, I don’t care about the diagnosis as much as I care about feeling better.
A diagnosis is a label, a way to map out treatments for people, but the true person in charge of my healing and helping me to find my way back to wellness was me! Yes, I had amazing doctors and therapists at times, but had I not been invested in my recovery and living a happy life, nothing would have worked.
I still find myself insecure at times, and as a trauma victim, wait for the other shoe to drop. I fight hard for those I love because I never want to see someone I care about become the victim of anyone whether it be a bully, society, the healthcare system, stigmas or judgements.
I fight hard because, in my life, I felt alone so many times and had to fight for myself. I never want anyone to feel that way and so my need to advocate for the underdog sometimes results in my behaviors being over the top. It’s in those moments I lose my temper and sometimes lose control of my emotions altogether.
Ask my children. I know I have embarrassed them more than once fighting on their behalves with parents or coaches or teachers, but I also am certain they knew it was out of love.
I yell. I swear. I speed and at one time in my life, could burn rubber like no one’s business to make a statement.
I am not a perfect person, friend, wife, or mother, but no matter what, today, I love the person I am, and just as the Grinch’s heart grew on Christmas morning, so has my self-worth as of late!!
No one can take that away from me, but by God did it take me so much hard work to get to this place in my life. A place where I have vowed that I will never again allow a toxic individual or family member to dictate how I perceive myself. To finally realize my worth took time and reflection, but if I can find my kryptonite to toxic relationships, so can you.
I have chased friendships, lovers, and employers all in the name of validation! You name it and I was willing to morph into whatever someone wanted. The All American, people pleasing girl, with a constant smile on her face and an inability to say no had no sense of self-worth and was willing to give away everything from her energy to her heart to her sanity. And I gave it to people who didn’t value me at all. I was leaking positive energy like a sieve because I did not think I was valuable enough to preserve some for myself.
Real improvements in my self-worth only occurred when I realized my reserves were empty and something had to give. If any of this resonates with you, rest assured in knowing that if I learned how to say “F*ck off” to toxic relationships, so can you.
If you find yourself in situations where you are longing for the attention of people who do not make you a priority, your self-worth may need some bolstering. If you are begging someone to be your friend, or make time for you, you need to examine the reason you are craving attention from that very person who clearly has no consideration for you. Ask yourself why you don’t feel you are worth more? Stop and question what it is about the relationship that leaves you with an insatiable desire to find value there? I would be willing to bet it is because you haven’t discovered the value in yourself yet.
What changed for me, you ask? Throughout my life I’ve I sought the help of therapists and counselors to help me figure out why I never felt good enough, likable enough, or successful enough and after months and sometimes years of therapy sessions, I still found myself seeking that affirmation from others.
For so many years, I longed to have everyone like me, but only the “Flat Stanley” version that I felt was acceptable. I had no idea how exhausting it was to pretend and put forth an inauthentic version of myself until I no longer had to do so. You see, pretending is what led me to compartmentalize my emotions, hide in shame, and drink when things got too real for me.
For me, it was not until I actually stopped drinking alcohol that I finally was able to find the courage to confront my demons and nourish that empty part of me, the part longing for love, acceptance, and validation.
We all have vices. Mine was alcohol, yours may be something else. The point is that removing the vice which prevented me from recognizing the deficient state of my self-worth was like taking a flood light and shining it on every single one of my relationships. My newfound sobriety forced me to examine, re-evaluate, and determine the impact they had on me, positive or negative. In all honesty, it was both a heartbreaking and empowering experience, one that I struggled with many times.
One night I brought it up at one of my women’s groups for feedback. The group leader told me that if chasing a relationship makes me feel a sense of “yuck” in my gut, if it diminished the power I now possessed as the woman I had been working so hard to become, that it may be time to let it go. I hated to hear those words, yet, I knew they were true. Any relationship, whether it be a marriage, partnership, or friendship is not meant to make you doubt yourself. Relationships take work and if both parties are not equally invested, it will never work.
Take the time and energy you are investing in others in an effort to obtain their validation and put it into yourself. Nourish your self-worth by digging deep. Love your wounded inner child. Tell yourself you are loved and perfect just the way you are. These simple acts will arm you with kryptonite for life, rendering you impervious to toxic relationships once and for all.
My kryptonite reminds me daily that I am worthy of reciprocal relationships that fulfill my life, not draw upon my happiness and energy leaving me depleted and unable to feel joy. Grab yours, just as I grabbed mine.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Take control and eradicate the toxicity in place by realizing you deserve more. Your kryptonite is waiting for you. You just have to find it.