Staying True To Yourself When Confronted By a Toxic Personality

The Dawn of Love

Article by Wendy McCance

I hope what I am about to reveal to you might help anyone who is in the midst of dealing with a person who is negative, mean-spirited and out to destroy anyone in their path.  I understand now that whatever you put out into the world will come back to you.  Karma shows itself by putting into motion whatever you have felt and acted on in the past.  It bounces back and you are left dealing with the consequences good or bad.

I started seeing my ex-husband when I was 18 years old.  I thought at the time that I was a strong person who was independent and confident in who I was.  I had unwittingly chosen to get involved with someone who was very much like a family member.  It was a toxic relationship, but felt right because it felt so familiar to what I had experienced growing up.  When I was 27, we got married.  We had 3 children and by the age of 36 I was in the process of a horrible divorce.

My ex-husband was full of vengeance and determined to demolish my life.  He said he would bankrupt me, he put an enormous amount of fear into me with his hateful actions and the future looked bleak at best.  The hatred raged on for more than 8 years.  The first two years I lived like a zombie.  I was so scared and broken down that I was literally numb.  I felt like I could not go on.  What saved me was my children.

Every decision I made was based on the kids.  I would ask myself if the way I was reacting would honor my children or disappoint them.  I literally lived through their eyes as a way of pushing myself through the ordeal.  I wanted so badly to fight back and be as mean and cruel to my ex-husband as he was being to me.  Not only did my feelings toward my kids stop me from unleashing all of the rage and hatred I was feeling, but something deep inside my soul kept me from becoming that person.

I have no idea where this voice came from, but I heard it often in my worst moments.  It would tell me to feel sorry for my ex-husband.  To understand that what he was exuding was what he felt about himself.  I knew that I never wanted to regret anything I would say or do.  I never wanted to feel embarrassed, ashamed or loath my decisions so I tried to remain peaceful.

Being peaceful in the midst of chaos is something I did but still can’t wrap my head around.  I have no idea how I managed it.  I did avoid as much as I could.  I wouldn’t answer phone calls or letters, instead I let my attorney deal with those issues.  In court it was even decided that the relationship was too toxic at the moment for communication so everything had to go through the attorney’s.  I allowed myself to heal.  I became very introspective and learned why I had picked that relationship, what my part in the whole mess might have been and how to move in a direction where my future would not be defined by my past.

It was a lot of work and completely exhausting to hold back and find peace in my head whenever things took a turn for the worst.  I have never had to feel the disappointment of my children, family or friends for the way I acted while going through the divorce.  I am grateful that I was able to find myself and feel my way through the divorce.

All of these years later, I am happy and feel peace surround me and comfort me.  I am in a good marriage and have a lot to be thankful for.  I can see now more than ever how lost my ex-husband had been and how he is just now starting to question himself and his actions.  This is something I was sure I would never see.  I was convinced that there was so much utter hate in his world that he would never be able to dig his way out of the world he created for himself.  I have watched his next 2 disastrous marriages fall apart.  I have seen the lack of closeness he has with the kids.  He is still unaware of how to have a healthy, close relationship.  Trust is something that doesn’t exist in his world. I feel sorry for him.  I wonder sometimes if he will ever be able to get out of the prison that is his life and truly find joy.

I see where karma has fit into my life.  I am now seeing that what I had put out into the world came back to me in a gentle way.  Although my ex-husband has his own demons to deal with, he is finally starting to show self-control when speaking with me.  I don’t feel the hatred anymore.  I only feel a lost soul who has not found his place in the world.

I never thought I would ever in my entire life be able to be forgiving or have any sort of conversation with my ex-husband.  All though I do not look to speak with him, it does happen because of the kids.  I can get through a conversation without hanging up in tears or feeling threatened.  I feel strong and secure in my place in life and I’m grateful for staying true to myself.  Knowing how I wanted to  honor myself and show myself to the world has been the best thing I could ever do for myself.  I am proud of who I am and how the children view me.  I look forward to continue to learn and tweak my personality to find the best person I can be.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

21 thoughts on “Staying True To Yourself When Confronted By a Toxic Personality

  1. Stopping by from SW. Ah, yes, have dealt with many a toxic personality in my time. My mantra: boundaries and limits … boundaries and limits …

  2. Hi, Wendy:
    Good thoughts. Wanted to add that the voice in your head was most probably God in His best way. He is so loving and tender, and it shows a great deal of maturity on your part to have listened You anchored yourself in the “better thing” and you came out ahead. Nice to hear a good ending like that. Blessings and growth to you!

  3. Hi Wendy, What a wonderful post. I love how you were able to see beyond your ex’s toxic behaviors to the core of a hurting soul. Your story makes me think of the axiom: “Hurt people, hurt people.” In other words, those who are hurting, lash out and hurt others. I hope your ex finds the healing he needs.

  4. Congratulations.

    When you understand that others who act poorly are only ever doing so because they are at a low point emotionally it is easier to deal with. This is something society needs to begin understanding because we do a disservice to so many, beginning in early childhood. They are in a bad emotional place and misbehave and what do we do? We make them feel worse, keeping them in that negative emotional state and ensuring more undesirable behavior.

    The same individual makes totally different behavioral decisions when happy than when in depression or despair. The same individual cannot even see options for better behavior when in despair or depression that they would have full access to when happy.

    When this is really truly understood at a deep level it is easier to deal with an unhappy person on many levels. We understand that their poor behavior is about their low emotional state ~ not about us nearly so much. We also understand that if we can somehow inspire them to feel better that their behavior would improve. It is not our job to make them happy but it is often our joy to help a loved one feel better if we can see a path.

    At their core everyone is beautiful. It is only the layers of disconnection from their authentic self that makes them appear otherwise.

    Your Inner Self was calling you strongly to be true to your true nature and it was good that you listened to the call. Your life has been better for it.

  5. Good for you staying true to yourself and viewing your ex-husband with compassion. This has been a long road for me and I’m so impressed that somehow intuitively you knew what you needed to do!

    • Thanks. It seemed that holding onto the hatred would be so exhausting and miserable. My big influence though was the kids. I never wanted them to look down on the choices I made or the way I handled myself.

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  7. Whenever I read blogs like this I can’t help but think that the old saying, “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger” may be an old saying, but it’s spot on! Survival is underrated. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. This is so relevant to me. My mother sounds just like your husband; bitter, vindictive, and to to such the happiness out of you, because if they can’t be happy, no one deserves to.

    You sound like an amazing person

    • Thanks for the wonderful compliment. My mom was like this too. Unfortunately, back when I was fresh out of high school I thought it was normal. My ex was a carbon copy. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I learned that people could be nice, trustworthy and loving. I hope you find someone like that. :)

  9. You are so right. Toxic relationships give a choice. We can sucunmb to what they suroiu d us with or hold strong and be true to orpursleves. I believe a quiet strength takes the most courage. It goes unseen and unrecognized for many years until something triggers an understanding in ourselves and the one’s close to us. The payoff is huge. Bravo for holding fast to who were and who you wanted to be. I know it was easy. :)

      • I apologize for my jumbled message … Sigh! I am aflexed with dylexia and if i’m not careful I will send a mangled mess and not even see it. I should have proof read it more carefully before pressing submit. What I meant to say was, and imply, was how brave you were and how hard it must have been.

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