These words became over the last few years extremely popular, especially on social media.
I think it became popular right after the so-called “selflove” wave.
Everyone used this word quite often; nobody really knows what it is and missed it sometimes the right context.
The same with “toxic relationship”.
Relationship. You have relationships with everyone, even with yourself. There are lovers, partners, friends, family, workmates, neighbors etc.
There are relationships that feel good and some not that good. Sometimes you decide to spend more time with someone, sometimes you decide you don’t want to spend time with a certain person anymore, because you feel uncomfortable on the long run.
That’s life. That’s our natural preferences. Our preferences are different and change over the time.
But just because we have some trouble with another person it does not mean automatically that you are a toxic relationship.
And here another important point: We are talking about toxic “relationships” not about toxic “people”. We are talking about a toxic chemistry between people and people who stay in unhealthy situations that have a strong impact on their well-being and life.
This article is not about judging, blaming or bashing people who stay in toxic relationship. This article is about showing the consequence of being in a toxic relationship as female expat.
Sad but true. I have been in toxic relationships too, so I know very well the early signs and roots of an upcoming disaster. I know it’s not all about “the other mean person” it’s also about yourself, who stays in that unhealthy situation.
Once I became a witness of young female expat story.
She already lived 2 years abroad and was a student at university. She moved into shared apartments and had a lot of connections to people at her age.
Then she felt in love with a guy and moved very quickly into his own apartment. As every new love, everything feels and looks so perfect. It’s like you’ve finally found this missing piece in your life that make you feel whole and safe. Suddenly there is so much more energy, joy, adventures, and above of all love. A feeling of home.
She spent more and more time in his world, with his family, with his friends etc. Unfortunately, her boyfriend has a strong diagnosed personality disorder and this brought her in really dangerous situations, again and again.
She started to hide the trouble she had with her boyfriend from her other friends. She felt ashamed and did not wanted to be judged for her relationship with him. Whatever he did, she apologized his behavior with his personality disorder or she blamed herself for causing situations. She said, she is very well educated and improves her knowledge about emotional intelligence. She called herself ‘strong, independent woman’, who says her opinion without hesitating and she would leave a man immediately if he would do her harm.
After another heavy situation she moved quite fast into an own apartment and accepted very bad conditions for her new place, without any contract. She did not ask for better conditions, she just wanted to get away from her bad relationship. She needed distance, quick, at any cost.
She was extremely under pressure. She had no real friends because she usually spent time with her boyfriend and his friends. Her family and close friends live in another country far away. As student she had small financial opportunities to find a new, better place. She was very young, unexperienced, under pressure and the new landlord used her bad situation as well as her naive attitude.
At many corners of her apartment there was a lot of black mold. When there was rainy weather, the water came into her rooms. The whole apartment was humidly. The bathroom smelled like pool of urine. The internet connection was a disaster and gave her a hard time to prepare anything for her studies or having virtual ‘face time’ with her family from far away.
Later the situation became more worst when her ex-boyfriend freaked out at her new apartment. He attacked her and her new landlord. All parties needed treatment at the hospital. She had a broken hand. The new landlord kicked her out of her new apartment. She should have to leave at the next day. After negotiations she got 4 days more to leave and ended up in an Airbnb apartment.
She had no chance because she there was no contract between the landlord and her.
Her whole life stood upside down. She could not focus her studies, failed in exams, her mental health and physical health have been in bad conditions.
She was alone abroad. There were no real, close friends, no family, no place to stay. Just chaos.
In the end, she went back to her ex-boyfriend, lives at his apartment again and is still in a difficult relationship.
Well, my dear female expats, it does not matter what age you are, a toxic relationship can happen everywhere and every time. Take care of you.
It’s so important to create an independent, healthy social life on your own, beside your partnership. Not because of your partner, but because of you.
This is also about leaving a ‘toxic work environment’. There is no reason to stay in unhealthy relationships. There are always better solutions, even you are thinking now “never ever”.
Let’s make it simple. You do not have to understand what’s a toxic relationship or you don’t have to understand personality disorders. All you have to know is: Do you feel good or bad with this relationship on the long run? How does this relationship affect you and your life on the long run? Do want to feel like this on-going?
To leave a toxic relationship is hard, very hard and nobody should judge about that. Most people would not stay in any relationship that is abusive at all. There are always good days and things in that kind of relationships too. But in the end, it takes physical toll on your body, mental health and mess up your life. That is not worth it. You deserve something, someone better. That’s for sure.
There are so many examples of female expats that moved for love to another city or country. And yes, give it a try. But so many women, even after years of partnership, tell that they just spent time with their partner and their circle of friends. It became a bitter situation, when this partnership ends, especially if it is a bad ending. Those female expats have to face a total restart, and some felt so overwhelmed, so they turned back to their home countries.
For those ladies, who are in relationships like this and have a hard time to leave: If you cannot find a person of your trust, you can contact 'Female Expats United' and we will support you in those difficult situation and decisions. There are ALWAYS healthy solutions. You do not have to stuck in that.
‘Female Expats United’ will go hand and hand with professional therapist prospectively, stay tuned.
Lots of Love,
Anja, Founder of ‘Female Expats United’
Any thoughts or critic to that article you want to share? If yes, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org