Do you believe the toxic person when they say you’re crazy?
You’re not alone.
Everyone in recovery from a toxic relationship feels this way.
And no wonder.
A toxic person is like a hurricane.
They spin into your life, sweeping you up in a vortex of excitement, intensity and chaos, lifting you out of your everyday normality, up into swirling, dizzy heights.
They spin you round with the ferocity of love and excitement that you never, ever want to come down.
But you do.
Slowly, at first.
You hardly notice the change in them.
The little things they stop doing..
The yawn when you talk about your day.
The drop of your hand when out walking
The look of boredom when you’re sharing a romantic dinner.
Or the way they talk fondly of people who only recently, they professed to despise; particularly that venomous ex, they used to try so hard to avoid.
You see all this but deny it.
You make excuses, telling yourself that ‘he’ must be stressed from work.
Or just having a bad day.
But something inside tugs at you.
Something inside just doesn’t feel right.
But you ignore it and become The Queen of Sweeping it Under the Carpet.
Sweeping up all the little criticisms, snide remarks, cutting sarcasms, slights disguised as jokes, unanswered calls, comparisons to ex’s.
And rating you from hero to zero at a moment’s notice.
Which leads you to think..
‘Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m the crazy one?’
Because no one could possibly shower you in love and attention one minute then treat you like their worst enemy the next?
The good times make up for it.
Sometimes he’s so lovely, just like he was when you met.
The hugs. The laughter. The mind-blowing sex…
Once again, you’re special, gorgeous, talented and intelligent.
And once again, you’re spun round with excitement and promise of a secure happy future.
But it doesn’t last.
Once again you find you’re no longer walking on air, but walking on eggshells.
You not only avoid certain subjects but you no longer have conversations.
Your life becomes a series of circular arguments where nothings resolved.
And you’re constantly confused.
Words are twisted and your brain becomes scrambled.
You no longer trust yourself to do the simplest of tasks
So you think
Maybe it’s me maybe I’m the crazy one?
Then there’s the disappearing acts, silent treatments, the ignoring, the rages and refusal to be pleased, especially at family gatherings.
Your birthday ignored, Christmas ruined and all those happy times you look forward to send him into a black hole of misery or destructive rage.
You sometimes wonder if he resents your happiness.
Unless of course, he created it.
But most of your friends and family think he’s amazing.
‘Salt of the earth, would do anything for anyone’
So you start to think..
‘Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m the crazy one?
And even when you get upset when he discards you by swanning off on one of his affairs, adventures or very important business trips (abroad, to the office, the bedroom or even the garden shed).
He blames you for ‘over-reacting-being too sensitive or high maintenance, and telling you he ‘loves you, but not in love with you’-whatever that means.
You’re boring, uninteresting and not like you used to be.
He also had no intention of spending the future he most meticulously planned with you.
And you fall, spiralling down to earth.
While off he spins, leaving you to gather up the shattered pieces of the wreckage he left behind.
While he sparkles and dazzles the world, basking in all he has taken from you.
You collapse amongst the wreckage trying to make sense of what happened.
How could something so right turn out so utterly wrong?
How could this person you poured every fibre of your being into leave you so broken and empty?
How could you let this person hurt you so much?
…still love him with every breath in your body?
With your head still spinning you think-
‘Maybe It’s me, maybe I’m the crazy one’
But ‘that something’ inside tugs at you again…
Something inside has been pulling at you to just …..
To hear the message.
That, maybe it’s not you.
Maybe it never was.
Maybe you’re not crazy..
Maybe you have been the victim of a storm.
And maybe you’ll be able to pick up the pieces and carry on.
My message to you is to feel that ‘tug’ in your body.
Listen to it.
Don’t be tempted to go chasing that hurricane.
Stand firm with your feet on the ground.
And know that the storm was real.
Realise that it wasn’t your fault.
That you were never crazy.
So the next time the storm comes towards you, you’ll protect yourself. You’ll stand strong, like the survivor you are, with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
Jacqueline Groves is a professional counsellor specialising in helping men and women recover from psychological abuse from toxic relationships.