Toxic Relationship Woes

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Despite having relatively high self esteem, being involved in school activities, and having a decent group of friends, in my teens I went through a string of toxic relationships. I seemed to have a knack for picking out this type of friend or boyfriend; they did not make me a better person. When these relationships ended my self esteem would plummet, perhaps leading me to the next one. I can’t really explain why they started, why I kept the cycle going, or why they ended, but I have learned how to identify those who will bring me down instead of up, before I invest too much time and energy into the relationship. There was one relationship in particular where it took me a long time to figure out that their presence was bad for me, and an even longer time to remove them. Years later, I find myself in a position where I have to make the decision- let them back in or keep the door shut?

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Decisions that seem simple, get more complicated when you are talking about someone really close to you. Not only do I miss having a relationship with this person (I think), but society tells me I should have one. But where do I draw the line?

At first glance it seemed like maybe he had changed. I noticed certain improvements in his speech and behaviour right away, leading me to think that perhaps it would work this time. I really want it to work. But after a few emails I started noticing old patterns: the condescending tone, the self righteous attitude, the OCD tendencies that almost drove me to insanity. I noticed my thought process changing; I went from calm and rational to angry and anxious. Things were better than they had been, but I felt like I was at risk of falling right back into that puzzle as if I had never left. When it comes to family though, how toxic is too toxic? Should I make allowances and work on making improvements or do I play it safe and remove all risk?

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There comes a point in any relationship where you just have to accept that they are not going to change and then make your own decision about whether you can handle that or not. I’m having trouble deciding if I miss him or the idea of him. And if I decide that I miss him, at what point do I have to put my mental health first regardless of the consequences? How much can I handle without falling back into depression or without my OCD flaring up or without spending my time waiting anxiously to be let down again? I had no idea that thoughts and feelings that were so old and forgotten could resurface so easily with just the right words. They say you should only surround yourself with people who make you better as a person, but I’m not sure how to apply that to my family. It’s funny how people that you had no role in choosing can have such a strong hold on you, but we can be so quick to judge and dismiss the ones we handpick.

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