5 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM LEAVING AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

5 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM LEAVING AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

It’s been 485 some odd days since I put an unhealthy relationship to rest. Some of those days were the hardest I’ve ever experienced. And some days were amazing. Since its end, I’ve been able to get out of the clouds and see everything that took place over that season and I wanted to share a few realizations I had. Maybe you’re going through your own journey or in a season of questioning.

Maybe this will hit home, for you or for someone you know. Either way, ily for reading and creating a safe space for me to share some of the most intimate moments. xo

 
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Katie Gibbs Photo - ROW DTLA
 

1) You have an out.

Maybe you haven’t decided to leave and it might take you longer, it may not happen today. Either way, there’s always a way out. I took half a year to decide to pack it up and move forward with my life. I had to remind myself that I fell in love with our love story, not who he was showing up as. And that was my reality. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted for myself. So I chose that it was so much better to be alone with my love + my mind than stay with someone who is on a different journey than mine, a journey that was harming me and my growth.

What I know now that I didn’t live into then was he was my person in that season of my life. And what I was meant to experience through that relationship was not intended to be my forever story. I accepted that there had to be more people out in the world who could love me, care for me and give me their wholeness. He was not a one-shot love. He was not going to be my only love story. My out was clear.

Be alone until you’re whole. Then, let your wholeness shine.

As scary as it might be, to leave someone even when the good days shine so bright, you know that your life is worth so much more than what you’re experiencing. You’re meant to step into a new reality where your heart and mind are first, people you welcome in accept you for who you are and will become. Your relationship, past or present, is not you. You still continue even when it doesn’t. The pain is the worst part of the journey. But it’s all temporary.

Remember that if you’re constantly fighting; for your relationship, for their pain, for their journey, for your past, for your memories… you deplete yourself and there is no strength for the new to come in and take place.

Something I heard recently stuck with me…

If you stay in your past, it’s because you’re afraid of future glories. You’re not trusting that you’ll be carried through and provided for.

If you don’t know if this relationship is where you are supposed to be, I encourage you to...

Be still.
Be quiet.
Be present.

What do you feel? What do you see?
Allow your heart to explore your mind.
Write down what comes to you.

Nothing is hard and fast. So take it easy and trust where your heart takes you.

 
 
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Julia Silva - ROW DTLA
 
 

2) You are not someone else’s wounds.

This one was the hardest lesson to learn. From the moment our relationship started to spiral, I just wanted to save him, save him first. Get to me later. I took on his pain from his childhood, his guilt, and shame, his scarcity mindset, his entire journey. I just wanted to alleviate everything he was having to go through during our therapy sessions or in the quiet hours of an early morning when we both couldn’t sleep. I wanted him to feel lighter, feel less guilt, feel less pain. He become lighter and I became heavier. I absorbed all that he was as he was able to progress and move forward with his new, chosen life. And I was overflowing with pain, both his and mine. So I broke.

And I want so desperately to warn you not to take that on, to stop yourself from saving them from themselves. But that may just be your journey and so, I just want to remind you that you are not someone else’s wounds. This applies in all areas of your life; your parents, your siblings, your best friends, your workplace environment, your communities. You can’t possibly fill yourself up with all the pain in your world and have room left to heal your own.

Take this one in stride. For me, it was the hardest. I don’t want anyone to feel pain, especially when that pain came from loved ones, came from childhood, came from things out of their control. But regardless of the source, it is not on you to fix them.

Your heart is on the line.

 
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Katie Gibbs Photo - ROW DTLA
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Katie Gibbs Photo - ROW DTLA
 

3) You are allowed to question.

It was almost every day where I questioned if this is what I want to be doing. I remember being at a bar with him where we were going to do something I knew I’d later regret. Yet, I remember leaving that date feeling so close to him, feeling so impacted with love to want to try something new. But I knew deep down I did not want this for my life. And it created all kinds of questions for myself about whether or not I wanted to stay, whether or not this person was meant for me. I questioned if this was simply a season in our relationship that we’d eventually get through.

I distinctly remember feeling guilty for questioning my love for him. I remember feeling so sad that I would question our relationship… which tears me up sometimes to know that I couldn’t give myself permission to just feel. To know it was okay to not know what I wanted to do, or what decision would be the best for us all.

The questioning is the part of you that gets to unpack.

It’s the permission of exploration and it really is so important in your journey of leaving your unhealthy relationship. This is your time to understand what it is that you want, and deciding if you are co-signing for the life ahead with this person and wondering if there’s more than this. All that + more is so important to be clear. If you’re on your way out of that relationship, these questions and eventual answers will carry you through, giving you clarity and peace of mind that you pushed yourself to explore an alternative universe with yourself… and I hope that you like what you see in that discovery. You, alone, are a powerful being. It’s what you brought you here, to read, to unpack. You’ve already begun your story. Understand that kind of strength is all yours, sweet human.

 
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Julia Silva - ROW DTLA
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Julia Silva - ROW DTLA
 

4) Your healing is the utmost priority.

That first night, he took my hand and we sat in bed, of what I thought would be us finally going to sleep. I had just came home from a 36-hour whirlwind trip to New York City and I was exhausted. Instead, he shared his first confession. Fit full of tears on one side. Stoic and pensive on the other. I couldn’t feel anything other than empathy. Through his tears, I could feel his pain and anger and frustration.

I took his hand, despite the painful path he was about to take me on, and told him it was going to be okay.

I didn’t make him sleep on the couch. I didn’t guilt him into his decision. And the next morning, we signed up for couples therapy.

Six days later would be my 30th birthday.

I spent over five months focused on him and his healing, despite the consistent river of confessions I’d be swept up in. I found myself customizing our relationship to be non-conventional, to try new things, to allow for a new way to be together… so I could save us, save me, save the love story we so desperately believed in. But I ultimately was compromising a world that I didn’t actually want to live in. I couldn’t talk to anyone, I couldn’t tell people what was going on. It was all smiles through the fear and sadness until I could process. And then I realized, I had not focused on my healing.

What about my pain? I didn’t even realize I hadn’t allowed myself to feel any. A few months before the year ended, I started to reprioritize. Signed up for an individual therapist for me, took myself to church, signed up for a local chapter of Al-Anon and started to unpack why I didn’t allow myself to feel anger or sadness for myself. That began my journey to healing. It took me a full twelve months of quieting my mind, listening instead of speaking, allowing myself to feel, and really, just giving myself permission to be.

Your journey will 100 percent look differently. Your story is not mine and mine is not yours.

But remember that because this is your story, your healing aside from theirs is the priority. They hurt people because they are hurting. And you cannot save them. So all you can do is save yourself and begin to allow yourself to feel. Save yourself from being spiteful or seeking revenge. Don’t allow yourself to go deeper in your hurting by hurting yourself or others. This is about what has come up for you because of your relationship.

Take yourself to safe places; therapy, church, nonjudgmental spaces.
Give yourself quiet time and write when speaking is more than difficult.
Love who you are and the fact that you’re out of it now.
So now, it’s about you. Only you.
And that is a beautiful thing to still have you; despite being broken, bruised, bleeding, it’s you. And you’ll mend your broken wholeness, day by day. Until you reach a period where you’re whole… and maybe for the first time ever. Challenge your growth with a healing mind. This is your time.

 
 
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Katie Gibbs Photo - ROW DTLA
 

5) It’s okay to still love them. And it’s okay to not.

I loved him despite the pain he created around me. I loved him despite me falling out of love with him. That love sometimes confused me because I thought it was meant for me to stay. But I realized I could love from afar. And when I could let it go, I realized it was okay to not love him anymore. Because I knew that I didn’t.  Not in the way that I was. And it was okay to know that my love wasn’t going to be what saves him, and me not loving him wasn’t going to save him. He was irrelevant to the kind of love I wanted to give.

Growth is a huge piece of leaving someone. You’ll be on your own journey, and growing through it. That growth is an important step into understanding your love and the love you give. Leaving someone doesn’t mean you don’t love that person still or want the best for them. But you are choosing yourself first, and loving yourself first. And that may mean that you grow away from being in love and grow into being in love with yourself.

But give yourself the patience to be in love and still love. All you need is time.

ily.

 
 
Christina Topacio - 30th Birthday - Profresh - Katie Gibbs Photo - ROW DTLA

If you’re wondering why there’s all these photos of my birthday in this post, a birthday now almost two years ago, it’s because I never opened the album. I didn’t want to look at a life I cultivated with him. But I now know, he had nothing to do with this beautiful life I have. This was all my doing, with God, that I have this community, these humans who love me. And man, is it beautiful.