Written By: Yareli Bautista, YWFC LA Community Organizer
Throughout my teenage years, I learned and adopted a lot of bad habits. These habits led to decisions that caused trauma and hardship in my life. Recognizing the importance of taking accountability for my actions was an important realization. This included challenges such as not knowing how to love myself, extreme people-pleasing, difficulty saying “No,” addictive behaviors, and other self-destructive habits. I didn’t have positive role models to influence me. I didn’t know how to look for the signs, so whenever I found myself in toxic situations and surrounded by people who didn’t care about me, I would end up sticking around for too long or think I could change someone else. This led to instances of being played by “friends,” harassed, and even sexually assaulted.
We all reach a point where we want to give up because we can’t understand the root of our pain and how to heal or what to heal. So, let’s talk about Boosting Your Own & Others’ Power to Heal: Acknowledging the Hurdles For Those Not Quite Ready for Change. This concept centers on understanding that not everyone is ready for change, and there are limitations to what we can do to help them along that journey. In navigating relationships and life situations, it is crucial to understand when to step away from those who do not contribute to your personal well-being. Acknowledging the limitations of changing others without their willingness is really important.
We all need healing, growth, and the space and time for personal development. The key is the transformative power of willingness. We cannot force change upon others. It’s important to understand toxic relationships, recognize signs and red flags, and highlight the importance for young people to distance themselves from such relationships. To me it’s really important for the youth to have understanding so we don’t keep repeating traumatic cycles.
Here are some examples of what toxic relationships can look like: Disrespecting Boundaries; ignoring your boundaries, and making you uncomfortable. Controlling Behavior; excessive control over you and your choices. Constant Criticism; frequent negative comments about your appearance, abilities, and others. Unhealthy Jealousy; excessive jealousy, possessiveness, or suspicion without valid reasons. Manipulative Tactics; using manipulation, guilt-tripping, or emotional blackmail to get what they want. Violent or Aggressive Behavior; any form of physical violence or aggressive behavior. Gaslighting; a form of psychological manipulation in which they try to make themselves the victim and cause self-doubt and confusion and place you as the villain.
If you are experiencing these things in a relationship, whether that is a romantic or familial relationship, it is SO important for you to break the cycle of violence with this person.
Prioritizing your self-healing creates hope for what lies beyond toxic relationships – Healing oneself from relationships like these is crucial because unresolved trauma can accidentally affect our closest relationships. Without addressing our own pain, we risk transferring it to family, friends, and partners, extending a cycle of unnecessary suffering. By prioritizing personal healing, we break this cycle and contribute to creating healthier, more compassionate relationships. In essence, our decision to heal is a transformative act that not only benefits us personally but also positively impacts those we care about.