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Dancing With Detachment: How I Combat Toxic Relationships

by Jenelle Parrish

Photo: Bustle / Ashley Batz

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On new year's day, I got over my ex. After years of not being involved and months of us not speaking on the regular, I finally got over his ass. I cried tears of relief as well as disappointment that night but it was well needed. I've always attached fairly quickly to things, I still have stuff from when I was a child: stuffed animals, diaries and even some papers I've written in middle school. I also get attached to people, well, guys I should say, just as fast and even worse. From my friends to boyfriends throughout my life, I've always been territorial and latched easily. I had my first boyfriend around 15-years-old or so. He would sing R&B songs in my ear and give me all the feels that any teenage girl would get from her first boyfriend. We probably only dated about a month before he broke up with me for another girl. It's laughable now but I remember back then being so upset. Feeling my first experience of rejection with a guy that I wanted at the time. Not noticing then how that first break up would affect the rest of my dating life.  

Like every other young adult, I've dealt with some form of humiliation and endured major heartbreak. Even with those heartbreaks, I still found it hard for me to detach from the person that caused it. I mean, I wasn't stalking anyone but my feelings for them always took an unhealthy amount of time to go away, even after they would wrong me. I wondered then why but as I've approached 30 I learned the reasoning behind my detachment issues.

My father — my biological father that is — and I had a relationship that was always estranged on and off. Gaining attachment to him followed by an abrupt separation consistently throughout my life only grew the fungi of my insecurity. I realized that facing rejection from the men I wanted in my life only stemmed from the rejection that I got from my dad. To have the guy that you so desperately want to be apart of your life, you'll take him in any way you can, was better than not having him at all was what I lived by for years. I never realized that until around the age of 27. 

My last relationship ended at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014 which was the last and the worst heartbreak I’ve ever experienced. I felt like my life was over (hella dramatic) but with time I moved on, not quick enough though. The smothering questions of asking myself "was it me" after it's been years only added to my spotty self-love journey. I had to retrain my emotions, it sounds silly but it's possible and life-changing in a way. I had to change the way that I viewed myself. I had carried the neglect and hurt caused by my dad on my back all my life. That affected my security within myself and my dating life. It had taken me years to figure out why. Now, that I've found the reason, my challenge was then to combat it. 

Separating feelings from insignificant people

Not taking separation personal with the people who held no solid significance in my life ended up being the most freeing feeling and a lot easier than what I convinced myself it would be. Once you discover how much it will benefit to not have certain people in your life, the easier it is to take your feelings out of the situation.

Stay in your lane

Once I rid the energy that didn't bring joy into my life, it allowed me time to re-focus on myself. It’s kind of like driving a car that swerves and gets out of their lane. An analogy that can be used in our lives. Detaching from someone is like swerving back into your own lane. Working on yourself is the only option at that point.

Forgiveness

This was my hardest task, as I'm sure it is for many of us. Being honest with myself when it came to damaging situations and people that added no value into my life. It was hard to accept what I had allowed and even harder to accept my reasons behind them. We’ve all settled, in some way in our lives. Settled in ways that only added more grief to our self-love journey. I learned that after admittance comes forgiveness. You gotta let that shame and guilt go. I’ve been the girl ashamed to even look at myself in the mirror. When that day came, forgiving myself was second nature at that point.

Letting go of the past

The most important step of them all is letting go of the past trauma you've experienced when it comes to love, or life in general. I held onto the hurt I experienced with the situation with my boyfriend. I carried that fear of rejection that he had caused around with me for years. All of my dating life to be honest. My rejection and attachment issues started years before I had ever realized it. Once I realized how it had affected me for so long, it was easy to begin my self-love journey. 

Everyone is different — we all harbor and express emotions in our own ways — but as humans, none of us like to be critiqued or encounter a form of rejection (let's be real), but it's apart of life. It's important for our growth. Not having my dad apart of my life made me stronger than I had realized, but the journey to finding my strength wasn't easy and at times felt impossible. I think once we figure out why we don't handle rejection well or why we hold onto feelings that derail us from flourishing, the sooner the process of life gets. I believe that once we accept change and let go of unhealthy habits, we will finally rejoice.

Be good to yourself.


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