How to Free Yourself From Toxic Relationships


I remember that night driving away from his place.

The air was dark and cold. And the skin on my face was wet with tears. 

It was over. If I didn’t let it go, my life, body, and heart would burn to ashes in the flame of what he called "love". What we gave to each other wasn't love. It was suffering.

This is the truth. And I can no longer run away from it.

They said relationships needed sparks. We had more than sparks. When we first met, it was a firework.

Then slowly and surely, it became a flame that consumed it all. Not the life-giving flame that bakes a loaf of bread in the oven. But the flame that roars and licks the forest clean.

A few hours earlier, I had shown up at his place. We were no longer couples, but we kept getting back together. Like a moth flying to the fire, I blindly fell into his arms, again and again, every time he beckoned: “Let’s make love one last time.”

But “last time” was never the last. And each time, I died a little more.

The loneliness after our break-up was unbearable. So I ignored my inner alarms. Crawling back next to him, I let him rush into me with his violence and anguish.

That night, after we had made love again “one last time,” I sat on his bed, numbing myself from the dying sensation that was eating me up from below.

He told me the story of a woman who flirted with him. There was disdain in his voice. He said: “You women think you can manipulate us because you have a pussy.”


I felt disoriented.

Once again, his words wrapped around me, slow and intimate, the way a snake coiled around my body, tightening its grip until I could no longer breathe.

A silence.

And I heard the whispers: 

- How many times would you let him kill you to understand that you're dying?

- Why do you think you deserve this?

- Is this your only choice?

Something in me cracked.

And a powerful force came over me. 

I saw myself stood up and walked out the door. He called after me, there was a hint of fear in his voice: “Are you going to leave just like this?”

I didn’t reply.

And yes, I left just like that.

I walked away from him this time without guilt. As if it was my right.

Yes, it was my right to walk away.

Even though a part of me still wanted him - the me who didn’t know how to be happy on her own. But the thing that came over me at that moment was much more powerful.

It was the truth. Or better, my acceptance of it.

Tears gushed through my eyes as I drove away from him that night. Not because I’d never see him again. But because how painful it was to admit the truth.

I wanted the relationship to work so badly that I ignored the inner voice that told me it wouldn’t.

I was so afraid of my aloneness that I lied to myself that I was happy.

I didn’t dare to accept the truth that I was dying in that relationship. Within the shadow of his rage and control and jealousy, the sunflower that was me could not be alive.

The acceptance of that truth - bitter and frightening as it was - changed everything.

Sometimes, the only thing we need to set ourselves free is to accept the truth.

The truth is the crack that breaks the damp open, letting the gushing river carry us - once and for all - away from the place that's not meant for us to the place we truly belong. 

That night, the river carried me away like that. River never flows backward, and I never came back again.

From that night, slowly and shakily, I started moving forward. I began to learn how to be a complete woman, with or without a man.

It was not breaking up. 

It was breaking free.

Step by step, the sunflower reaches towards the sun. 

Loving herself enough to refuse to stay in the shadow.


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P.S: Facing the truth isn't easy. (If not, why we do we have to run away from it). Truth like: "This relationship is not meant for me."  can trigger painful emotions.

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- Photo by reza hasannia on Unsplash