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Toxic Love

image photography by Natalie Ving

Slime beneath me, slime up above Ooh, you'll love my (ah-ah-ah) toxic love Toxic love -Hexxus

Hello, my name is Joey, and I keep trying to heal toxic men.

These words have been ringing in my ears for a few weeks now, so much so that I knew eventually I was going to have to bite the bullet and write about it. As the threat of isolation looms, and the Universe decided level of Shadow work that this introspective period will inevitably bring hammers at the door, I know that we are all about to be shown who we are, when the obligations of the usual routines are removed, when all distractions are fleeting.

We are about to be alone in the dark with our thoughts in a way that many of us rarely experience.

On a personal level, the process of self evaluation was already in full swing before keys started turning in locks on a world level. I was left in a pile of my own regrets, tears, with a familiar crushing weight on my chest and a bitter aftertaste of regret and shame. Newly single, newly rejected, with all the old insults ringing in my ears, the ones where men I have given too much of myself to in order to try and heal and help them turn around and, as Beyonce would put it, showed their ass and I saw the real them. It had been a steady decline of course, from bad to worse to horrifying, but somewhere in that mess I had become determined that the man I loved was just flailing in his pain and would emerge as I knew him to be if I could just....

Hello my name is Joey, and I keep trying to heal toxic men.

I know why of course. It is not, as has been suggested, me believing on any level that my mother was right to venerate men. I do not put men first or above women. I just happen to be a straight woman who falls in love with men, and so when I am trying to prove that these broken things are deserving of such love, what I am actually doing is trying to prove that I myself am worthy of being loved, because I feel so broken.

I see men who have had similar traumas to my own, and I relate, thinking they're just like me. But shared trauma experience does not mean a person is anything like you, trust me. I fall in love with all the potential I see in people, the incredible person they could be, and in so doing, at some point, the reality comes crashing down around my ears. That, is my fault. The quote that says when a person tells you who they are, believe them, comes to mind, and it is something I am having to work on (again), because I just get swept up in my heart hope, and whilst that's not an inherently negative thing to be naive about, it is naive.

Then the determination comes in, knowing that these men are wounded. They can be healed, and reach that potential, I know they can! They might even make the noises like they want to do that, but, in my experience, them changing is the last thing on their minds. Everyone is a little broken, but toxic people are wilfully so, sometimes facilitated by other manipulators around them to seal the deal.

image by ZokyZoker

Hello my name is Joey, and I keep trying to heal toxic men.

Have you ever been called crazy for having an opinion that was not his? I have. Have you ever been told to change everything about yourself to be 'interesting', and to lose weight and change your clothes? I have. Have you ever had someone drain your finances, stealing your card in the middle of the night and lying through their teeth to your face? I have. Have you ever been compared to other women who are more beautiful than you are, and told you will never be good enough? I have. Have you ever refused to react because you know a reaction - any reaction - is enough to fuel this temper tantrum into an elongated argument? I have. Have you ever heard the tale of how every single one of his exes was a 'crazy' user? I have. Have you been cheated on whilst they tell you that they want to fix the relationship, or are sniffing around other women whilst sending off documents so you can marry them? I have. Have you ever had messages from strangers telling you that the man who you were engaged to a week or two ago is already all over other girls profiles? I have.

Hello my name is Joey, and I keep trying to heal toxic men.

When it gets to its worst, I usually know deep down, and if I am honest, way before that point. I understand and identify patterns in people, so I can usually see all the factors that have led them to behaving like a douche, the woundings, the pain, the life events. I see all the roots and the branches and the leaves when really I should stop smacking my head against the trunk and leave. It hurts seeing all the parts of a person and knowing they can be so much more, and giving so much of yourself because you love them. But they never love you, not really. They love the idea of you, what they can manipulate out from you, how much you give them. That's not love.

Hello my name is Joey, and I keep trying to heal toxic men.

The truth is, I don't really want a project. I have always wanted a warrior, who will fight by my side as if it's just us against the world (even though it isn't, unless this pandemic becomes apocalyptic and if so I guess I am a Warrior Queen by myself,) and has a crazy sense of humour, and is loyal, loving, and optimistic.

But for now, I am learning to love myself better, because that's the problem. I see myself as broken. I believe them when they tell me I am too difficult, too complex, too naive, too fat, too much... and I have to get to the point where I think too much is a tick in the HELL YES box. Which some days, I do. I am not hard to love, no matter what they, or the shadows in me, say. I do not have to prove it by trying to heal toxic men.

I need better. I deserve better, and one day, when I am healed, I will find it. Because Hope is my superpower. And they will never, ever, take that from me.

Love, Joey - The Starry Eyed Witch

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