why loving him is toxic to your soul

I stopped believing he loved me when I felt…and saw…definitively and undisputedly, that he had no consideration for my feelings. It’s like I didn’t exist to him. That’s the moment my heart left. I left.

– Anonymous

Why do we love so much?

Why do we love those who do not love us?

It’s a combination of enjoying the challenge…and the word ‘enjoying’is used so carefully. It’s a subconscious enjoyment, because whilst on the face of it we doth protest too much. We argue and battle for him/her to love us the way we want, we bargain and compromise…even if it means ignoring our own needs, all in the hopes of being with that person. It’s subconscious because its a repetition of past pain. Perhaps we are so used to rejection and ‘working for love’that we have become accustomed to functioning in dysfunction.

I spoke to a friend about this topic a few days ago, it was 4AM, I had a lot going on in my head and thankfully I have a few crazy bros that will rock up at twilight and talk me out of jumping off the building. But this building was one of my own creation. One of a disturbing and unhealthy need for validation. To win the invisible war. To win love and finally prove I was worth loving, when the easiest option would be to let go.

How many of us have been in similar situations?

We love unreservedly. I hate the phrase “too much”. Love is love and it can never be too much but it varies in intensity and purity. We love without boundaries. We give selflessly due to a mixture of ‘environmental’ institutionalisation, a deep-seated fear of failure, and an insatiable hunger for the unattainable.

How many times have you heard of a woman who has been a man’s “ride or die”, infact openly and publicly celebrated for her ability to tolerate suffering. People call it the utmost reflection of love. If she is a strong woman, worthy of being called a real woman and married on the spot, she has to be a ride or die female. She should go through the ringer with her man and still stay by his side. He can treat her like horseshit (thank you Jon Snow for the term) and she will get angry for a short while but still love him and care for him regardless. When did we lose ourselves? Our self-esteem? Our self-worth?

Logically, either only an idiot or someone who despises themselves puts their hand in a blazing inferno repeatedly, each time expecting that the fire will be cooler than before and the sign on the front that says “put hand in here, sweets will appear” will finally be true. The sign on the front resembles the sweet nothings that come from said man’s mouth.

“We have a future…I see us married with 7 kids…you are exactly what I want in a woman”

Betting on potential whilst killing off your hand. That is how many of us approach situationships with people where we deeply “love” and are getting treated like….horseshit and idiots.

This young intelligent woman I know is engaged to a man who cheats on her repeatedly. They have been together for 4 years and she has found out about other women numerous times. They have even had a fight in the street – her chasing him around, threatening to hit him. Yet, even after the pain, humiliation and internal devastation, it was not enough to keep her away. She took him back, continued loving him and the cycle continues. And there are many women like that out there. Our culture has taught us to endure and a woman should be strong and keep the home together. Sometimes, it is even advised to accept that your man is cheating and understand his needs. But where does that leave you? Empty, unloved, disrespected, unfullfilled, angry and hating yourself. Your man treats you badly and you stay.

It’s not just about cheating…because it seems like that has become the standard for what it means when a man treats you badly. Cheating or domestic violence. Do you realise that you are entitled to leave a man if he treats you badly in any way, shape or form? If he speaks to you badly, repeatedly, leave. If he constantly wants to be in control and your voice is dimished in the darkness, like the sounds emitted from bathroom farts, leave. If his needs, any of his needs, take precedence to your own…leave. If he makes you dissatisfied, uncomfortable, unhappy, lacking peace…..LEAVE. Stop rationalising his behaviour. Stop giving him excuses for his appalling actions. Stop taking blame and shame that does not belong to you. Stop being patient and hopeful that things will change. Remember the fire? It’s blazing baby.

I love my culture but I do not love its incessant drive to make women the submissive and abused creatures of the home. Second class citizens in an empire they built. Many African men are brought up in homes where they watched their mothers love unconditionally, sacrifice their happiness to keep peace in the home, cried in the night over their husbands not coming home at night. When the same men meet African women they have this expectation, often unspoken and subconscious, that their woman will do the same and provide the same level of unconditional love and acceptance of crap that their mothers took from their fathers.

Fortunately for the African culture (and myself), you can count me out of that nonsense. I recuse myself. Miss me with all of that.

I am not saying I am exempt from falling into the trap of acting and behaving like a woman who is “ride or die” and accepts all sorts from her man. Lord knows I have fallen into that trap too many times. But I always have a breaking point. The moment I realise that I am giving more, that my love is not as deeply reciprocated, that I am being controlled or manipulated…I am done. I leave and I leave silently. Dignity intact.

Self-respect. Self-worth. Self-love. All engaged and firing from all cylinders.

Runnerbaby x

One Comment Add yours

  1. Bats says:

    This is so true, especially for African women. We are “taught” that when times are tough in a relationship, we have to tighten our girdles and press on. But this also then brings up another question, when we vow to “…have and to hold, from this day forward, FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE…” What does that mean exactly and what is the gold standard for the better part of the relationship and for the worst?
    This is the confusing apart about “vows”, especially ones made before God and all witnesses. People then feel pressured to stick to these promises no matter what the scenario and pray that things get to the “better” part soon.
    In my opinion…


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