Some of you may have seen my tweet yesterday that I'd finally found it within myself to walk away from some toxic relationships in my life. These weren't romantic relationships, but friendships - and after a conversation with Frankie, it occurred to me that I wished that I'd known earlier that just because these relationships weren't romantic, and just because they weren't physically abusive - it didn't mean that they were healthy relationships that I should be in.
Toxic relationships are defined in a number of ways - some are physically abusive, but that wasn't the case in the relationships I was in. I felt insecure and worthless, like nothing I said was ever right - my depression means that I have a very little self-worth to begin with, but I was made to feel like the problems that seem overwhelming to me were insignificant, that I came second in the relationships - when I brought grievances up, no matter how calmly, I was made to feel as though I was picking a fight, forced into backing down and apologising for my feelings. I was frozen out and ignored, left to apologise until I hit on the right thing I was being ignored for - things that were important to me were brushed off as unimportant. I stopped wanting to share things that made me happy, or things I was doing, or things that mattered to me; as they didn't seem important to the other people in these relationships anyway.
Things came to a head for me during a particularly low point last week - where the people in these relationships had little interest; one even seemed to attempt to one-up the problems that I was facing. Upset and hurt, it made me consider whether these people are ones that I want in my life. I've met so many people through blogging, and through forging relationships with people like Katy, Rachel, Emma, Summer and Lauren - I've realised that that's what friendships are supposed to be like - encouraging, strong, supportive. These are the kinds of women that I hope will be by my side, or at least only a whatsapp away, for the foreseeable future - not people from relationships that make me feel such self hatred that I don't believe that I can do any better.
Relationships that make you feel worthless, insecure, insignificant, bullied, belittled, hurt, insulted - all of these are toxic relationships; whether they're friendships, romances or family connections. You are worth so much more. You should be in relationships that lift you up, grow you. It's hard to walk away from relationships that make you feel this way - but it's a necessary evil. I stand on the cusp of a future with only positive relationships in my life, and it's so worth it.
Have you ever had to suffer toxic relationships, how did you get through it?
If you're worried you might be in a toxic relationship, you can find five basic signs you might be here. If you're in an physically abusive relationship - please, please search out help, or call Refuge on 0808 2000 247.