Can We Normalize Ending Toxic Relationships?

I remember seeing a post that went viral on #ValentinesDay showing pictures of #LoriHarvey with different mates. I can't remember what the caption actually was, but I do remember that it was funny and like I said the post went viral. After I thought about it for a while I was like wait a minute, is the consensus here that she's "thotful" or that there is a problem with her starting and ending situationships? Either way, for me it's a problem.

First and foremost: I'm an 80's baby and I grew up in the era of #mindyourbusiness. Clearly social media has drastically changed the trajectory of what it is to live in privacy-and don't get me wrong, I feed into the hype of sharing SOME of my personal life with the masses-but the social media judicial board tends to go left with some of it's judgements. If that lady wanted to change #boyfriends #suitors #cuttybuddies (do people still say that?) or #bae 7 times a week, Bishop #BobbyBrown taught us at an early age that it's her prerogative!

Here's a different view of the situation though: what if all of the "interactions" pictured in that v-day social media post ended because they were toxic? Not even gonna make a blind assumption on the source of the toxicity but let's just explore that notion for a moment. From where I'm sitting, it appears that we are a society that would rather someone stay in a toxic relationship, then have another failed relationship/marriage. We would rather see fake #couplegoals posts on social media than like or love the post where someone says they've ended yet another one. Now let's be real for a second, this narrative and this mindset didn't just start with social media. I'm not sure where it started but I would venture to say that most of us grew up in families that had a whole other set of family members with the same blood...(too much?) For generations, there has been patterns of staying in toxic relationships, but why?

What is it that motivates a person to remain in a toxic relationship? I'm no therapist but I do have my theory. I honestly believe it is fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Which then leads me to pose the question, what is your #fearfactor? Embarrassment? Finances? Remember in the movie "Why Did I Get Married" when Janet Jackson's character told her homegirls to make a list of all the things that they loved about their men and all the things that bothered them? (I'm paraphrasing) I've pretty much always used that as a gauge for if and how I proceeded in relationships...and it's worked for me. But what happens when you don't have a gauge to go by other than what you've seen historically? #GenerationalCurses

I've had countless conversations with friends and family on this very topic, yet I still don't get it. I'm no different from most in that my ability to quickly remove myself from a toxic situation, just as the opposite behavior for some, stems from what I saw growing up. My mama used to say "if a nigga don't wanna act right, put em on skates!" While I got the gist of it, I had to ask her what it meant to be sure (like I literally just called and asked) In my mama's words, "you put them on skates so that they can roll on out the door". Looking back on my previous relationships, that mentality has led to more "relationships" than I may have wanted and I'm sure even more whispers and conversations spoken outside of my presence about my unpopular behavior. Thing is, I'm perfectly okay with that. The social media (and God their eyes) judges don't affect my psyche or level of self worth. #NoJudgement from me EVER, but for those who have the fear factor of embarrassment I really don't get it.

For those who have Finances as their fear factor, I pose this question: how much is your peace worth? At what cost will you sell your joy? How much is the sanity of your children and future generations worth to you. Struggle may be foreign to some of us, and some of us may be all too familiar with what it's like to have rob Peter to pay Paul, so the level of financial ease found in that toxic relationship may be enough to overlook that the bad clearly outweighs the good.

I was in an extremely toxic relationship once...sike SEVERAL TIMES, one of which almost completely cost my smile. One thing most people know about me is that 90% of the time I'm smiling. (Fun Fact: I won best smile in my junior high superlatives) When I ALLOWED my smile to almost be completely smothered by someone who couldn't find their own, I knew it was time to walk away.

My advice to anyone in a toxic relationship is to use their identity as the ultimate gauge. Not your upbringing, not your fear factors, but who you are at your core. If the relationship-be it romantic or a friendship with your bestie for over 10 years-is toxic to the point that it causes it to lose you, lose that other person instead. Though it may hurt to lose your "comfort zone", the peace of maintaining self will be the greatest reward.

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