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  • Writer's pictureJ Wolfe

Toxic Love :)

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by the passed down suggestion of a french girl i read The Cost for Love We Are Not Willing to Pay by Etel Adnan about love the other day and since i’ve been considering my own opinions. there was a part that touched me deeply about the way even children can tell the difference between platonic and romantic love, and how in those first moments it only begins "with the awareness of the curve of a back, the length of an eyebrow, the beginning of a smile."

this article got me wondering why toxic love is the most addictive kind .. why toxic love has the ability to create life and death, love and hate at the same time. how we go from counting the number of freckles on someone’s cheek to nitpicking the reasons for posting that photo on their story while we’re in the middle of an argument, and is that another girl?? and i fucking hate the way you handle every situation. so much lost time devoured by monitoring a partners new friends on instagram and not being able to grasp what it means when they like a girls half naked photo still knocks me on my ass some nights where all i can think to do is curl half under a blanket and half out and try to find a TV show that isn’t triggering.

i think the thing that makes these relationships so impossible to escape is that in someone failing to see you it forces you to see yourself. and as you see yourself and you find yourself worthy of love, you only hope that this one person, who you once couldn’t get enough of the face they made while they were sleeping, or the way they held their thumb in between their palm and the rest of their fingers, can see the person you see in yourself. it feels like this person is holding your whole identity in the palm of their hand and at any moment they can smash it to pieces. and if you are anything like me .. it’s kind of thrilling. my identity loves to prove itself and i find myself doing that in different ways throughout my day. it’s an issue of pride.

i watched a youtube video about a harvard man explaining how to argue, he talked about how when your identity is being threatened it makes your emotions 100x more powerful, which creates a different kind of conflict, it’s an issue of pride and your sense of self being on the line. he goes on to explain how to solve this. in a toxic relationship you may be able to solve the problem for the night but those feelings are constantly being stirred. this is where i think the addictive quality begins. you become so desperate to prove yourself, to ground yourself in some sense of reality, both of which you’ve attached so deeply to this person incapable of providing what you need.

i once wrote a poem that goes like this:

You love me fitting your look

and when I fall into some shell you created

in your head—

that shell

easy to ignore,

easy to do what you would do if you never put shell to ear

—heard ocean.

Sometimes you hear my ocean—

like when mommy has me stressed out—

but you only see me when it’s raining.

when I’m overwhelmed and I need you to come running.

You make me crave chaos,

just like mommy:


and attention feels enough like love to me.

i think about this poem a lot because i have spent much of my life codependent, feeling like any kind of attention is better than none. believing that love cannot exist in silence. the thing is..that is where love truly exists the most, when there’s nothing to apologize for, nothing to argue about, nobody to compliment, just a pure acceptance of life and circumstance.

toxic relationships help you get to know yourself. sometimes it’s necessary to see how bad you can get, so when you find yourself returning to those negative cycles you can stop them in their tracks instead of repeating the whole thing and getting completely lost in it. the most unhealthy parts of yourself are worth knowing deeply. it gives you something to work on. when you’re all healed up then, wounds sewed shut, you hope you know better than to go down that rabbithole again.

a toxic love keeps you in a perpetual state of grief. constantly trying to bargain and accept, but more often than not finding yourself in denial, anger and depression. the longer you stay in the relationship the faster you find yourself making your way through all five stages. when you start the cycle over again and they make their promises you find yourself so satisfied for a moment, like they finally proved they love you.. and in loving you your identity is validated. and that’s what keeps you there.

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