Surviving Toxicity

They found each other in the classified section of the newspaper.

Or rather, he found her.

She was the one who had placed the advert in the singles section. She had to. She – let’s call her Gena – needed a relationship for some very personal reasons. And no, the reason wasn’t sex.

Gena received five reactions to her advert. She invited the five men over to her friend’s place for a drink. Not all at once, but all in the span of one week. The first bored her to death and she was happy when she could close the door behind her. The second didn’t show up. The third was a really nice and kind man. Like Gena, he was a single parent. They enjoyed a glass of wine together and it got much later than Gena had planned it to be, and when she closed the door behind him, she smiled. This was a man she would love to see again. He seemed like a very safe choice and he didn’t mind the reason why she wasn’t only looking for a relationship, but also to make a commitment very soon.

The next date was with a man who came from a total different from the kind man of the third date. This one almost seemed a bit dangerous.  He was the perfect gentleman, and there was something in him that Gena really liked. They drank a couple of cups of coffee together and then he left again, and this time Gena’s smile was even bigger when she closed the door. Just like the kind man, dangerous man was a single parent too and didn’t mind her reasons for wanting a quick commitment.

Gena never opened the door for date number 5. She hid herself in the dark apartment, watching him from above. She almost opened the door the fifth time he rang the bell. She swore he saw her when he looked up at her apartment just before he got into his car and drove away. The moment the red lights of his car disappeared, Gena knew she had made her choice.

* * * * *

Only two weeks later, Gena moved in with dangerous man. It was difficult telling kind man she had chosen someone else, and for days she doubted her decision, but there was something in dangerous man that had such a pull on her that she couldn’t stop thinking of him. Her friend wanted her to go with kind man, but Gena followed her heart. Or lust. Or whatever.

The day Gena moved in, he cooked. The next day he stayed on the couch and early in the evening he snapped at her: “I’m hungry.”
Gena went to the kitchen, nervous as hell, and cooked them dinner. Humiliation filled her heart when after dinner he told her that he would teach her to cook, because what he just ate didn’t live up to the standard he wanted. The next day she got the same kind of comment regarding the laundry. The about cleaning the house. Gena was with him for about a month when she realized that the only thing he wanted was a maid and a whore. He wanted her to clean the house and wanted a pussy to fuck.

Still, being the person she was, Gena hoped things would get better. She tried her best to be a good mother for his child, but he did nothing to be a parent for her kids. In fact, he mentally abused one of them, but in all the stress of trying to be who he wanted her to be, Gena didn’t see it. She was protective of her children, but he overruled a lot of her decisions for them.

One day her cousin visited when they passed through on their way to a country down south. During the visit, her cousin furiously pulled her aside: “What the fuck are you doing?”
Gena didn’t understand, until her cousin pointed out that all the similar plants in the house and some in the garden were nothing other than weed plants. She didn’t know, simply because she had been raised in a very protective way, and she never knew what the plants looked like. Ashamed, after her cousin had left, she demanded that dangerous man removed all the plants from the house and the garden. He left those in the garden because they were almost ready to be harvested. Without Gena’s consent, he baked a cake and gave her a slice. Only the next morning, after a night of incredible sex and her first time anal, Gena learned what extra ingredient he had put in the cake.

The relationship with dangerous man lasted eighteen months. Eighteen months into it, Gena couldn’t go on anymore. Not only she, but also her children were at their wit’s end after too many months of emotional abuse. Gena and her kids spent most of their evenings upstairs, simply not to be with the dangerous man and a teenager following his father’s example. She called her friend without the man’s knowledge and when she stepped into the truck, her things loaded in the back, dangerous man stood on the pavement and yelled: “If you leave now, there’s no way back.”

Gena didn’t even bother answering him. She didn’t even look at him as they drove away.

* * * * *

Leaving him so ‘soon’, threw Gena back into the situation she had been in before she went to live with him. Her stress levels were as high as they were while she was with him, but for different reasons. It took her months to realize what a toxic relationship it was. It was a couple of years later that she heard he had brought someone over from an Asian country, and she knew exactly why he had done it. Gena hadn’t been all about the service and obedience he had wanted.

It took a couple of years more for Gena to understand that he would never have seen her as his equal, and his child would never have accepted her as a mother figure. Her kids would’ve grown up with mental abuse, and that was the thing Gena had regretted more than anything else: the fact that she had put her children through this. She knew her friend had been right: she should’ve chosen for kind man. But many, many years later, she knew a relationship with kind man would’ve been a disaster too, as she needed a firmer hand in her life; a person who would have the control, but also see her as an equal.

She had survived a toxic relationship, and where sometimes she wished she had never gone through it, it had taught her some valuable lessons. As always, it was better to take the positive things with her, and leave the negative behind.

Note: this is a true story. I was Gena, 24 years ago.

© Rebel’s Notes

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6 thoughts on “Surviving Toxicity

  1. So. What has happened since? I’m just new to this posting business. Your writing is very engaging. My posts are quite tame in comparison.

  2. Hugs to you. The lure of dangerous men is potent, and bravo to you for having the strength and resolve to get away. This is a very powerful tale ; thank you for sharing it 💖

  3. Marie, what an amazing read of such a difficult story, and a clearly horrible time in your life. I’m so glad you got out of it and found your way to a much better life than you were clearly ever going to have with dangerous man. Sometimes it takes a long while to fully understand and assimilate what went on in a relationship, but it’s good to read that you did. x

  4. Well-told, Marie. I think you did a good job telling a difficult story in a way that is engaging. Because of the title I expected the post to be serious, and then when I started reading I wondered for a bit if I was wrong, if it would be an amusing or sexy anecdote. Although it did turn out to be about a terrible situation, you tell it with wisdom and perspective. I’m glad you made it out and made it to the life you have now. I’m glad you told the story, too. As you said about yourself, sometimes it takes us a while to “see” / understand the entirety of a situation and perhaps your writing will reach someone who will be helped on their own path by your story. For me as a reader, I find it comforting to see how you grew and learned from this experience. x Lexy

  5. Oh Rebel. What a terrible situation to be in. If there’s any plus, it’s that you didn’t have children with him. To have to be continuously tied to him would be awful. You’ve survived so much and it’s definitely made you stronger.

  6. I guessed Gene is you – but what a fascinating read. And I can understand why u now know the kind man would not have worked long term. He may have been a better solution short term though. Glad u survived that Marie! x

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