The emerging blogger series is aimed at community building by giving mental health bloggers who are early in their blogging evolution the opportunity to have their work seen by a wider audience. It’s also a way to introduce readers to some newer members of our community.
This post is by Chloe of GAD, Pure OCD, and Me.
My toxic relationship, warning signs and the after effects
In this post I am going to be writing about a previous toxic relationship I have had. I’m not going to be using his real name for confidentiality however those who know me well will already know. I will be referring to this person as Bradley (Struggling to think of a fake name).
I met Bradley on a night out, I was with my friends and he was with his. I’d seen him around in weeks previous but never dared to speak to him. This night I mustered up the courage. He was very drunk, shy and awkward. If I’d met this man now and he was as drunk as he was, I would have walked away but we live and learn don’t we? He walked me home that night back to my flat and we bumped into my dad and his mates on the way back. As you can imagine, there was some interrogation tactics from my dad and his mates as my dad wanted to protect me. They asked Bradley what my name was… and he’d forgot. Warning sign number one that I ignored and thought maybe it was nerves or something, but I did have to tell him my name again. He didn’t come inside my flat as my dad made sure of this as he could see from the pub he was at. I can’t say I blame him after Bradley couldn’t remember my name! Therefore, I gave him my number and went inside.
We started texting and arranged to meet up. However I was impatient, so I asked him if he wanted to come for tea instead and I would cook. I remember waiting hours for him to arrive, it was 11pm or around that time before he bothered to turn up for tea, he’d been in the pub after work. I don’t remember if this was the first time I cooked tea or another time soon after that has blurred into one. Anyway, another warning sign I ignored.
This then became a regular occurrence, I would have to wait hours and hours for him to arrive. He would text saying he is just having one last drink in the pub at 9pm and then would walk round, he then wouldn’t arrive for another 2 to 3 hours. I still don’t know why the hell I let this happen. I’m worth more than that!
The first proper warning sign that made me have doubts, happened when I was out with my friend and him. It was a Wednesday night and the pub was dead. A song came on that was a complete throwback and I said “Ooo” excitedly as you do. He then said “What you “Oooing” at, go and fucking get with him instead then” and accused me of looking at another man. There was no other man there though, we were outside on our own.
As the months went on, he was increasingly paranoid, I would be on the phone to him and there would be no other noise in my flat, the TV was off and I was alone, yet he stated that I had another man there who was laughing at him in the background. This happened one day when I was at work at a care home, I made a quick phone call to him as I was the only staff member down that end of the building and all the residents were in bed. Coronation Street was on TV in the background. He accused me of being with another man, I explained that I was at work and the TV was on, he then called me a “fucking lying bastard” and put the phone down on me.
Over the months, I would try and arrange days out with him and every single time I did, he would turn up very late and make us miss the train that we’d arranged to get. He never apologised for this, only made excuses. We split up numerous times over the years, we were on and off more than a light switch! I just kept going back and I don’t know why. Sometimes I would tell myself I am overthinking or overreacting as a result of my Relationship OCD, however, it wasn’t Relationship OCD. These was doubts and signs I should not have ignored.
We had huge constant arguments over the years. I’m not perfect and I behaved in some ways that I am not proud of at all, but no one has ever triggered me and angered me to the level that Bradley was able to.
Over the years, things got worse, not better. There was a time when I lived in Sheffield during university. I had a flat share with my friend Hannah. Hannah was away so it was just me and Bradley staying in the flat. I had picked up a shift on bank at the hospital and was going to be out all day, I asked Bradley to pick up some food shopping whilst I was out therefore I left him my key. I told him that I would be back at 8pm. When my shift finished, I texted him and attempted to call him to say I was on my way home but got no reply. There was a locked gate outside my property which led to a concrete area then the stairs to my flat. He had the keys for this gate and the front door. I tried to phone him to let me in and there was no answer. I kept trying and trying, probably over a hundred times and there was still no answer. An hour went by and I was freezing and just wanted to get inside. I resorted to banging on another person’s gate and they took me round the back of their property to chat, I explained my situation and asked if there was any way I could get into the concrete area of my flat round their property. They said there wasn’t however they offered me up to their flat for a drink and were quite persistent with this. There was about 3 young men drinking and smoking weed. I realised I was at risk and quickly exited the property. I then had to phone the police to tell them my situation and I stated that I was concerned as Bradley has some mental health issues of his own. They stated that unless I think Bradley has committed suicide (which I didn’t think he had) then they can not help break into the property and that I would have to find a way to get in myself. I then resorted to really bashing on the gate in the hope that Bradley would hear. This caused the neighbour to look out his window, I explained what was happening and he opened the gate for me (it was a shared gate). By this time, 2 hours had passed. Bradley answered the door wet and in a towel, he had been in the bath. As you can imagine, I went mad, screaming and shouting. I asked him why he hadn’t even started to worry and wonder where I was as I’d finished work over two hours ago, he didn’t have an explanation other than not knowing what time it was and that he’d been sleeping most of the day and then was chilling in the bath. Obviously the lack of care for his own girlfriend and the lack of remorse made me fill with rage, I chucked his bag down the stairs and told him to get out.
The next bad times started when we moved into a new flat together, the first one with both our names on the tenancy, the one I could make my home. He had started drinking alcohol and going to the pub more often than he usually would. The pub him and his mates went to was just down the street from our new flat. Straight away I discussed this with him and said I did not want him to start going to the pub all the time with us being this close, as I always got left at home on my own all night as me and his family and friends didn’t see eye to eye. They were all into alcohol and would encourage him to stay at the pub all night, after telling me he’d only be an hour or so then he would come home and spend time with me. My free time was limited as I was doing my nursing degree, so I was often doing assignments until all hours of the morning and would be attending placement. He said he wouldn’t but this was a lie.
He started to go to the pub every Friday and would come back absolutely wasted. He would then vomit on many occasions which I struggled with my emetophobia and then he would spend all the next day in bed, no matter what plans we had. So this took up a whole weekend. As you can imagine, whenever he told me he was going to the pub, I would become soooo anxious knowing what was going to happen. We’d have huge arguments about this. I would often spend all evening crying and having panic attacks because he wouldn’t come home and I knew he was wasted again. There was then no Friday that was left for me and him to enjoy, even when he’d promised to spend time with me instead, he would lie and sneak around. He was also drinking at home every night by this point, at least 4 cans a night. Then he would fall to sleep and I would be left to walk the dog late at night as we didn’t have a garden. I would often be out alone at 2am with the dog. He always refused to help me care for the dog, even though he’d had the dog since he was 17. Luckily, this dog was my world, my baby and I can say I gave him the best life I could whilst I spent time caring for him. When I used to say I was going to walk the dog, he would ask me to go to the shop for more beer for him. I would refuse to do this as I noticed he was pretty much a low key alcoholic by this point, his life with me was going down the shitter and he was wasting so much money. He would then kick off at me and get angry if I did not get his beer. I was afraid of this so I often gave in anyway.
I would often visit my friend in Leeds to get away for a night or so. During this time, Bradley would always go out drinking. His phone would then be off for days at a time before he would eventually contact me, sometimes he didn’t at all. As you can imagine, this caused even more anxiety.
I was having psycho-sexual therapy during my relationship with Bradley, for my vaginismus. The therapist had said that it would be very helpful if he could attend an appointment with me. He booked a day off work so that he could do this. The day before, we went out for a few quiet drinks in the pub. We ended up bumping into his mates. I noticed it was getting later and he was starting to get drunk, I knew that if he got drunk then he would let me down the next day therefore I asked him to come home. He made a show in front of everyone and made it look like I was being controlling, even though he knew why I was asking. He finally agreed to get food and go home. As soon as we were in the door, he said he is going back out again. I begged for him not to and was crying by this point, as I knew he’d come back in a mess. He made sure I was well in the property then ran back out and didn’t roll in again until later that night. He was very drunk by this point. The next morning came and he refused to get up, he had a hangover, so I had to explain to my therapist why he wasn’t there. I was so embarrassed and ashamed as she was already aware of his alcohol problems. (I will speak more about vaginismus and my experiences with this in terms of relationships in another post. )
Summer came around and it was nearly my birthday, we had talked about going away on holiday as we were yet to go on holiday out of England and our birthdays were within the same month. However he had other ideas, he came home and told me that him and his friend were going away instead. I obviously protested to this, stating that it was mine and his birthday that month and I thought he were going away together instead. He basically made it clear that he will do as he pleases regardless. My birthday came around and I did not get a card or present from him. I’m pretty sure he spent most of the day in bed! I knew by this point our relationship was pretty much over. When he went on holiday with his mates, I would barely hear from him other than late at night when he was drunk and got lost from his friends and wanted my help. During this time, my best friend Sophie had thrown me a late birthday party as she knew how poop my birthday had been. There was a fair few friends there, male and female. Bradley called me when I was at the party, he wanted to know exactly who was there. So I was honest and he started shouting and swearing at me, because I was around other males. This was the point where I knew I couldn’t do this anymore. I turned my phone off and enjoyed my day. I will attach photos of this day to my post! It was one of the best days I’ve ever had and I’m super glad I did not let him ruin that for me.
In the 2 weeks after this, things were awkward as hell. I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore. There was some days that I stayed at my parents yet I still had to muster up the courage to leave. At the end of the month, I decided enough was enough.
Since then, my relationship OCD has targeted this past relationship at times and made me overthink about if things were my fault etc. however this has gone now and I’m happier than ever. I now have a whole new lease of life with Kieran and he’s shown me what a happy, loving relationship really is.
In terms of damage to my mental health, I haven’t got away free. As a result of this toxic relationship, I have some trust issues. The issues mainly revolve around alcohol. For example, when I know me and Kieran are going out and will be drinking, I get incredibly anxious about Kieran getting drunk. Sometimes it is because I am scared of him vomiting but mainly it’s because I’m scared of a change of behaviour and personality because of my ex. I’m also scared that I will be let down in some way or another. Kieran has never let me down or changed when drunk and he is seriously the best man I have ever been with but this doesn’t stop the anxiety, as this is ingrained into me and will take time to resolve.
Warning signs to be aware of
- When your partner is paranoid to the point of making false accusations
- Timekeeping issues e.g partners who leave you waiting around for hours with no solid explanation or apology for this- this shows a lack of respect towards you
- Name calling and swearing especially during seemingly normal conversations such as within this post
- When your partner expresses no signs of remorse when they have let you down or been abusive e.g. when I was left outside my own property for two hours etc.
- Alcohol- When your partner gets angry if they don’t have alcohol, those who drink on a daily basis to a reliant level, those who show a lack of respect to you when under the influence of alcohol
These are just a few warning signs for you guys to look out for especially if you have just started dating someone new and suffer with Relationship OCD as I passed a lot of my thoughts about Bradley off as intrusive thoughts, ignoring warning signs which lead to me being in a volatile, abusive relationship for years.
Happy photos of my late birthday celebrations (as mentioned above)
Visit Chloe on her blog GAD, Pure OCD & Me.
Thanks so much Chloe for participating in the emerging blogger series!
You can find a listing of all of the series posts in the community features directory.
Do you want to be the next emerging blogger?
- you have a personal (rather than business-oriented) blog that’s focused primarily on mental health/illness
- you’re a new(ish) blogger, with WordPress following <100 preferred
Interested? If you fit the criteria above:
- email me at mentalhealthathome (at) gmail (dot) com
- let me know the topic you’d like to write about and include your blog name/URL