One of the most difficult days to cope with in the first year of recovery from a toxic relationship.
Think about it.
In the last ninety days, you’ve had to be thankful at Thanksgiving,
Joyous at Christmas and wish everyone a Happy New Year when you were just managing to drag yourself through the day.
And now it’s Valentines.
No wonder you’re exhausted.
And when you’re exhausted, tired or emotional, you feel sentimental.
Valentine’s Day sends your inner sentimental pendulum swinging back and forth in cognitive dissonance, (I love him, but he’s bad for me)
And this makes you feel like everyone in the world has someone to spend Valentine’s Day with.
But let’s not forget how the toxic person treated you on Valentine’s Day.
Maybe, like me and many of my clients, you’ve had more than one toxic relationship.
Please note, these are male toxic types but the female is equally as deadly as the male.
The Big Shot (Classic Narcissist)
The hallmark of Mr Big is his grand gestures. He takes love-bombing to the max providing he has an audience. He’ll take you out to dinner and shower you with gifts making sure that you tell all your friends and family what a great guy he is, while secretly texting his harem from under the dinner table. Don’t be surprised when he humiliates you in public or turns cold behind closed doors and demands pay back for everything he’s given you. To the Big Shot, there is no such thing as a free lunch. He saves up all those grand gestures like casino chips then cashes them in when he wants so give you emotional abuse, devalue you or take him back after he’s cheated on you (again)
The Wounded Soul- (Covert Narcissist/Malignant Borderline)
The Wounded soul makes sure you’ll spend the day walking on eggshells. No matter what you do to please him will be ever be enough. If he decides to celebrate the day, he’ll expect you to be eternally grateful for all he’s done for you. If you’re out in public he’ll sulk, ignore or accuse you of not paying him enough attention. If he’s the jealous type he may prevent you from speaking to friends and family, and demand your undivided attention while out for the evening, accusing you of making eyes at the waiter, taxi driver and any other male who may cross your path during the course of the evening.
The Bad Boy- (Sociopath)
This Bad Boy will most likely forget Valentine’s Day and accuse you of being boring or conventional to expect him to ‘conform’. If he does remember, he may buy you a gift of alcohol or drugs which suit his agenda of getting wasted. He may offer to cook but invite his friends round or take you to a gig or event which you’ll end up paying for. You may also be treated to a dose of severe emotional or physical abuse when the cocktail of alcohol/drugs kick in later in the evening. Or if he is a more sophisticated Bad Boy, he’ll take you out to dinner, ‘forget’ his wallet, bounce a cheque, blame it on you and make you pay for the taxi home while he dines out on your misery.
Mr Intellectual (The Cerebral Narcissist)
Mr Intellectual considers Valentines to be a waste of time and for mere mortals beneath him. He feels uncomfortable with displays of affection preferring to read at home or attend a cultural event. If he does manage to rise to the occasion by taking you out to dinner, he’ll either sit in stoney silence or discuss current events while correcting your thoughts, opinions and ‘lower intellect’ with so much cutting criticism that you end up in tears. Alternatively, he may spend the day in his man cave, giving you the silent treatment and revelling in the fact that you feel sad, disappointed and lonely without him. While he spends his time intellectually looking at porn or chatting to ‘intellectual types’ on the internet.
Mr Unavailable will be truly unavailable on Valentine’s Day. If he does spend time with you, it’s time limited in between who and what is more important than you. Whether it’s his wife, partner, work or hobby, hidden sex life or whatever he chooses to be available while being unavailable to. Meanwhile, you’re left with the promise that he’ll ‘make it up to you later’, which he never seems to do. If he does manage to steal himself away to spend time with you, he’ll fain attention just as long as he needs to. He then mentally wanders off leaving you feeling sad, alone and guilt ridden that you’ve taken up so much of his precious time.
Depending on the nature of his chosen religion or spirituality, the chances are Mr Spiritual will devalue your need for affection and accuse you of being, selfish, ungrateful for having your own needs. Always being seen to support those less fortunate than himself, he’ll believe the expense of cards and fancy meals as extravagance preferring to make you feel grateful for having his presence in your life. After all, Saint Valentine only has one day dedicated to him but Mr Spiritual has everyone’s attention every day, being the Saint that he is.
It’s hard to expect romance from an adult man with the mind of a 12 year old. He’ll promise to cook but you’ll return home to an empty fridge. He’ll promise to take you out, but turn up late, preferring to watch T.V, play computer games or go out with his friends. And even if you do manage to cajole him into the Valentine’s spirit, he’ll sulk and complain and you’ll feel like the nagging mother he’ll accuse you of being. Also, since he’s so irresponsible financially, anything you do want, you’ll have to pay for, as he’s too busy being childlike and driving you both into debt.
The Chameleon (Psychopath/Malignant Narcissist)
The most dangerous of all toxic types, the chameleon will be exactly what you want him to be. He turns on the charm like no other and will shower you in cards, gifts and whisk you off for a three day vacation which he’s organised weeks in advance. He’ll know instinctively which flowers, perfume and lingerie you like and present them to you while gazing lovingly into your eyes and hanging on your every word. You’ll wonder why he knows you so well in such a short time. Only to later discover the hard way, that he’s gleaned every piece of personal information from you by his powers of perception while intending to abuse you in every way possible.
As you can see, spending time with any of these toxic types can result in emotional, physical, financial, sexual and sever psychological abuse.
And not just for Valentine’s Day.
So gather your strength, stay no/low contact and save your life and love for healthy men and women who are more than happy to spend time with you.
But more than anything.
Give yourself all the love that you have been denied in the past.
This Valentine’s Day
Love yourself first.
From the heart
Jacqueline Groves x
Jacqueline Groves is a counsellor with over 24 years experience of working with women. Specialising in psychological abuse from toxic relationships, Jacqueline works in private practice proving 1-1 Skype/phone counselling, courses, workshops and retreats.