By Nelson Vinod Moses
Being a poet and musician, Daniel Sukumar was a popular kid in school, but he never had a girlfriend till he was in college.
He was 20 years old, when in a classic case of falling in love with the girl next door, he got into a relationship with his neighbor. The relationship was fine for a while, and then went downhill. This was soon after Daniel graduated and moved to Bangalore from Coimbatore. “Even now I do not know the exact reason as to why things turned the way it did but I kind of guess that she knew that her parents won’t accept me. Because I was a Christian and she was a Hindu, also from a different caste,” says Daniel.
“I should have, but I made a promise that I would stay no matter what…”
Four years into the relationship was when there were signs that things were amiss. Daniel says that his girlfriend would constantly pick fights, cry for no reason, and blame him for everything. Looking back, he surmises that she thought by doing so, he would be forced into leaving her. “I should have, but I made a promise that I would stay no matter what, and as a stupid 20-year-old who believed too much in the concept of soulmates I stayed,” adds Daniel.
He tried really hard to make the relationship work and would sometimes travel from Bangalore to Coimbatore just to see her for 15 minutes. But she would refuse to see him or talk to him. He says he never realized that he was being emotionally abused, and was in a toxic relationship until he came out of it.
Daniel tried to move the heavens and earth to fix this.
His friends and family said he shouldn’t be beating myself up so much over a girl who doesn’t want to stay. Since he had grown up fixing guitars, he thought he could fix everything; even a broken relationship. He tried talking to her many times and she would blame him, saying he was responsible for everything going wrong. “I would apologize for it countless times. I didn’t know she wanted to leave. It was like I was the only one who couldn’t see the obvious. I stayed through all of it. I didn’t leave, she left,” says Daniel.
Daniel got a rude shock when he found that she was getting married to her relative. She didn’t tell him about it, until he asked her three days before her engagement. But that’s when he knew it was over. He vaguely remembers standing in Coimbatore railway station, knowing that this was the end, when he hung up on the phone for the last time.
The break-up affected Daniel badly.
Mentally he was sure, he will not love anyone, anymore. But at the same time, the realization that he will spend the rest of my life alone scared him. He used to suffer from anxiety, after his girlfriend left him, the anxiety attacks only got worse. He also suffered a large stretch of of depression, that lasted about two years.
“My sleep cycle was so messed up that I had hallucinations. I punched my mirror, the walls, I would bleed on my bed. Physically I resorted to overeating, that was the only thing that made me feel full. Professionally, I became more of a loner, and involved myself lesser in office,” says Daniel.
It took him three years, two sleeping pills each night, and an inflamed liver to get over his toxic relationship. Daniel believes that we never get over someone completely, and that you can can see your past spew into your present; whether it is relationships or day-to-day activities.
During this torment and suffering, he learned four important lessons:
1) You can let go of your pride but not your self-respect for the sake of your partner, that is something you will regret in the future.
2) Promises are all fine but you have to think about putting yourself first sometimes, at least when it begins to take a chunk out of you slowly.
3) It doesn’t make you less of a man to admit that you have been in an abusive relationship. It just means you loved someone too much, probably someone who didn’t understand, or deserve your love.
4) You can love again, and probably even more.
Daniel’s advice for those in a toxic relationship?
“If the point of the story is not yet clear, the only advice would be to get out of the toxic relationship. Never think it will get better tomorrow or in the future. Also never to get back into it, no matter how much your partner asks you to or says that they have changed.”
A toxic relationship can take a tremendous toll on us: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If you are in a toxic relationship, talk to a Seraniti Integrative Therapist now, to seek help.