I find myself sometimes reflecting negatively on the times I desperately tried to prepare an exit speech in a relationship with someone abusive. It has taken me years to unpack my trauma and to identify one of my many symptoms of PTSD: trauma bonding. What this means to an abuse victim is the explanation for loving, supporting, consorting with, and having trouble leaving an abuser.
Similarly to romantic relationships, it can be really hard to detach from a friendship or blood relative even though the relationship is clearly toxic. When you are a victim of a toxic relationship, you often start to mimic or adopt certain unhealthy behaviors like outbursts of anger, disassociation from toxic events, and cyclical manic/depressive mood swings.
According to an article on Business Insider .com, "An abusive relationship with a narcissist or psychopath tends to follow the same pattern: idealization, devaluation, and discarding. At some point, the victim will be so broken, the abuser will no longer get any benefit from using them. They may have totally bankrupted them, or destroyed their confidence, or worse, and they move on to their next target."
So how does the mindset of a victim become so distorted that they find it hard to break off the relationship or go in circles mentally trying find ways to cushion the blow?
Why would it seem rational to prepare an exit speech for an abusive lover, friend or loved one?
The answer is simple.
A rational mind decides it is the right thing to do to explain to someone why something must come to an end. "We want to have closure when we end something with someone we have invested ourselves in", says Jean Soto, "and an exit speech is a form of validation in which a victim finally gets the floor to expose and validate a dysfunctional situation."
A healthy minded person wants a valid explanation, and an apologetic one at that, which then makes the victim almost feel like they finally lifted the veil.
But it never comes...
"When you make the decision to cut off a toxic person, just do it and move swiftly with no exit speech in your pocket." - J.S. , Jaded Savior
It is really important for abuse victims to grasp the understanding that the abuser in their life is not capable of taking real responsibility of their bad actions or words. There are no apologies in the world that can make up for an abuser hurting his victim. And no explanation can be a valid excuse for what they have done.
When you make the decision to cut off a toxic person, just do it and move swiftly with no exit speech in your pocket. You have to prioritize yourself and your safety, without the preparation or delivery of a last words speech. Someone who has abused you will only retaliate to your heartfelt words with the same painful approaches they had all along.
It is common for a narcissist for instance to use manipulation and gas lighting on their victim, then flip their mood and offer small morsels of emotion when their partner seems conflicted or ready to flee. A narcissistic person will not have a real apology or explanation ready, as they are naturally sociopaths and void of the ability to sympathize.
This is so dangerous for victims, especially those who are highly emotional or susceptible to the emotional abuse of the narcissist.
So say nothing. Ask nothing. Just leave.
An abusive family member might also make you feel the need to prepare an exit speech because of the lengthy role they have played in your existence (possibly your whole life). If it's a close relative, like a parent or grandparent, you may have the urge to give them a piece of your mind.
However, this is a toxic game to play and will only result in more difficulties for you to break ties and avoid them in the future.
Hard lessons learned.
So what happens when you do finally leave?
It takes time and a lot of inner work, but once you leave a toxic relationship you finally are free from the abuse and the constant roller coaster of emotions. If you had been around this person for long enough, you may have gotten used to that roller coaster ride and even started to be dependent on it.
That is because you were emotionally starved and insecure in the relationship from the abuse, which made you continually accept any kind of affection or slight kindness from your abuser. This roller coaster of good and bad times is unacceptable and you know this, but you did not leave it before hand because you knew consistently that the "good" would come back around. And that made it worth it to tolerate the bad.
Just how bad did it get? Once you are away from your abuser and you have time to breathe again on your own, you will find yourself having many moments of clarity.
Once your freedom to go places, your ability to maybe spend money or spend time in your own way is now possible or you just have your voice in your own actions back --- you may not know what to do with it at first.
It takes time to regain self esteem, self worth, self love and acceptance of your entire self post trauma. This is all normal.
You might be breaking your head wondering why you did not give some kind of speech or last words to that person to address what they have done to you and what it made you suffer through. This step in grief and awareness may not even happen for several months after leaving your abuser.
Once you know what they did to you was wrong, no matter what kind of relationship you were involved in, you might experience an urge to reach out to them.
It might start off innocent. A quick "hey" text.
This is quite common in survivors of rape or sexual abuse. Victims may want to reach out to their abuser, if it was a significant other or partner they once shared feelings with or reciprocated love with.
But this love and affection was one sided, because a healthy relationship is completely empty of abuse, narcissism, neglect, ghosting, gas lighting or toxicity. A healthy relationship would not have resulted in them hurting you or abandoning you.
So you spiral after that "hey" and it turns into "why's" or "how could you" arguments that fuel more rounds of harmful manipulation and abusive tendencies from them.
This is all you can ever expect from someone who is mentally unhealthy.
Just to clarify, someone who has been abusive is mentally unhealthy.
I wish I could spare millions of their time and broken hearts, telling them to save all of their energy and words for someone healthy and happy to come into their lives.
The best kind of revenge you can have on an abuser is to live a happy life.
Not for them, but for you.
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: email@example.com
EMPOWERING MINDS SINCE 2019