Fortunately, this brief moment of clarity gave me the courage to leave this highly toxic relationship. For a few days, it felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I could finally breathe. But, my feelings of relief didn't last long. As time went on, I felt worse and worse. I couldn't think straight, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, I had no motivation or energy. I was anxious, depressed, frustrated, confused, and replaying everything that had happened over and over in my mind like a broken record, constantly mulching things over, doubting myself and trying to put the pieces of this unsolvable puzzle together.
Like most, I didn't take the time to heal. Instead, I started dating again immediately, thinking this would make me feel better. And it did for a while. Every potential partner represented renewed hope for future happiness.
After a few months, I met a good man and within a few years, we got married and had two beautiful children. We were both successful in our careers and everything looked good on the outside. But, on the inside, I was still struggling with anxiety, insecurity, self-worth, and the feeling that I was an impostor that didn't deserve any of the good things that were happening in my life. Sadly, I projected my unhappiness and dissatisfaction onto my husband, putting the burden on him to make me happy. He tried his best, but it was an unfair and impossible task.
I continued in this downward spiral, and by the time I was 30, I hit another breaking point. There were a lot of stressors hitting me all at once, but beyond this I'd realized that I had created my whole life around my fears and insecurities. And I just knew that I couldn't go on living like this.