It's Not Normal, It's Toxic Podcast

8 Reasons I Left

September 28, 2022

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I'm Dr. Heidi — toxic relationship and emotional abuse (graduate) specialist. I'm here to help you find freedom from your situation. 

Meet. Dr. Heidi

There were many reasons that I stayed in an unhealthy relationship for so many years (see episode “8 Reasons We Stay). Listen now to the 8 reasons that I finally left the toxic relationship of my past. They may sound similar.

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Key Tips and Takeaways from this episode

  • Courage is the heart to act in spite of fear not in the absence of it
  • Why my physical health was being jeopardized my mental health
  • How pride got in my way
  • How the fear of being alone paralyzed my decisions
  • AND MORE…..

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Full Transcript


Welcome to it’s not normal, it’s toxic, rid your life of toxic people. I’m Dr. Heidi. I am a toxic relationship awareness and healing specialist. My mission is to provide hope, healing and freedom to those whose lives have been affected by toxic relationships, emotional abuse, and narcissistic behaviors. Though I am not a licensed mental health professional, I have been there, I have done the work and I have healed. I am someone who has spent several years walking a similar path to yours. My role is to provide you the education to understand your situation for what it really is, to help you regain your own power. And ultimately, step into your new life of freedom. You can find me and all my services at coaching with Dr.


Hey there, everybody, welcome back, you’re listening to it’s not normal, it’s toxic, rid your life of toxic people. This is Dr. Heidi. Now, as I said on the last podcast that I did, which was a couple of weeks ago, I believe one of the reasons that people relate to me and my work. And to what I’m saying is because I’ve been there, I felt it, I did it, I failed. And I did it again. You know, and there’s some days now that I think about it, I still fail, and I have to do it again. Triggers show up years afterwards. And you know, that is one of the things that makes me the most angry is that I feel like this should be over with. And I know when you guys listen to me, you think Oh, but she’s so strong. If you would have seen me 14 years ago, you would not be saying that. So just know that to this day, I still do struggle with some of the things that you guys are struggling with today. In that previous podcast, I talked about the reasons why we stay. And they were things like we stay because the investment and the obligation and children pride, maybe fear of being alone, we obviously stay for financial reasons. We don’t want it to be our fault. And a lot of times we stay because we fear the unknown. Now all of these seemed very valid reasons to stay. And when I was in it, they to me were very valid reasons to say but that is when I didn’t know what I know. Now. I also understand that every situation is different. Everybody listening is in a different phase of their journey. Everybody listening may not be dealing with the intimate partner that you are trying to break up with. It may be family members, it may be friendships, it may be social circles, it may be possibly a job type situation. But we’re not all in the situation or the position right now where you can picture yourself making a change. And when you listen to the eight reasons we stay, I’m sure a lot of you could relate because I bet a lot of you use those eight reasons for justification of why you’re still in it. But just know that someday you are going to be in a place where you are ready to make a change, where you can see a change on the horizon. And the more you learn, the more powerful you become. And the more powerful you feel in this, the less these type of things hold you back. Now when I left my former toxic relationship, well, for the last time, I can say full disclosure. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Now, everybody’s story is different. And everybody sees different things as important in their life. But it was the hardest thing physically and emotionally that I’ve ever had to do. Doing it was hard. Making the decision was hard. Letting go of the familiar was hard. Rebuilding myself and rebuilding my life. And continuing to push forward in that through all the years afterwards, including now is fucking hard. But by the time I did it, there was not much left for me, except doing it. My life was not my own. My physical health was being jeopardized my mental health. I don’t even want to talk about that. We’re all being severely affected. My kids were being affected. My work was being affected, my friendships were being affected. Now we talked about eight reasons why we stay and eight reasons why I stayed so long in one of the relationships that I was in, today, I want to talk about eight reasons why I left. Again, I am very aware that all of you are in different places. So I’m not saying this, like, this should be easy. Why aren’t you leaving? Why aren’t you doing things the way I did? I’m not saying that at all. All I’m asking you to do is think about it. Eight reasons why I finally left the toxic relationship of my past. Number one, the time and energy that I had invested in it, I had made an investment in this relationship. I had poured my heart and soul into it, I put time in it, I put energy in it, I planned, I dreamed, and I hoped that someday it was gonna grow into something beautiful. That was worth all the investment, right?


I invested in something that I believed in. But like anything, when you no longer believe in it, it’s time to make a change. When you invest, say financially, and it doesn’t produce, we pull our investment out and we move it right because we invested believing that we were going to get rewarded for it. When we invest in a job opportunity that is not fulfilling, we pull our investment, we quit the job and we find something new that is going to reward us for our investment. The same was true for my relationship. Okay, no matter how much I invested, it never grew. It never blossomed. It never changed. It never gave me a return on the price of the investment. It was finally, years later, clear to me that I was investing in potential. And that I and this was potential that I was never going to see. It was time for me to pull out and invest in something else that rewarded me back for my investment. And my new investment was in myself. For me being able to invest in myself, I was able to find growth, I was able to find happiness, I was able to find the return on the investment. So all in all, I had made a bad investment. But it realized it wasn’t too late to reinvest. So I left. The second reason I left a former toxic relationship in my life was out of obligation. Now, I had stayed out of obligation to but the difference was where I chose to place my obligation. I am an emotionally wired person. So my obligation to others is huge. 25 years in healthcare, and me doing the job that I’m doing now you guys might not realize there are some days, I get over 200 texts from my private clients. I wake up some Monday mornings, and there is a string of brand new emails. But my obligation to my mission and my obligation to the things that I have said I wanted to do over ways the 200 texts in the string of emails, I love it, I’m obligated to helping people who are walking a path similar to mine. However, in my former relationship, all of my obligation and all the good things that come from standing behind my word and my vows and my commitments and my missions. It was just being taken advantage of and being used against me. I was being manipulated for the good qualities that I have. I was being manipulated for being loyal for being true to my word for being committed, and for being obligated. And when I left the feeling of guilt, because of these clouded perceptions of obligation was almost unbearable. I mean, who walks out of a 12 year marriage, who walks away from the business who walks away from their kids. The guilt was absolutely heart wrenching, until I could see that I had been obligated to all of the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. I was actually obligated to that relationship to prove that I could do it. To prove I can hold up to my vows to prove that I was good enough to prove I could be accepted to prove I could pass all the tests. My obligation was not based on my end integrity are what I stood for. It was based on fear. Fear of not staying true to obligations that I had set forth to stay true to. I left, because I was forcing obligation in the wrong direction. I wanted my rather I wanted my obligation to be to the things that people in my life, to be supported by the integrity that I had and to be supported by my values. My obligation in that relationship was not supported by anything about me. So I left. Now, the third reason I left the relationship was because of my children. I stayed because of the kids, no one wants to be the one that breaks up the family. No one wants to be the one whose children are now from a divorced home. And I stayed, because I was afraid it would be worse on


them. If I left. I needed to protect them. I needed to cover up his behavior. I needed to make excuses for him. And I needed to try to build the relationship that he had with his kids, by reminding my kids how much he loved and cared for them. How many of you have done the same thing? I think back on the things that I told my kids and in my head thinking, why am I trying to give them false hope. And it was one day that I realized, even if I was there, I was not able to protect them. They were in his life for the same reason everybody else was to supply him with what he needed. I looked at the relationship, this was the only example of a relationship that my daughters had. So they thought it was normal. I looked at myself in the mirror one day, did not even recognize myself, let alone the example I was giving my kids as a mother was not at all what I wanted them to see. I was not giving them an example of a safe place, or protected place. Someone who stood up for herself. I was not giving any of them. Any of that. I looked at how much I had covered up his behavior, how much I had made excuses so the kids wouldn’t think it was so bad. And in doing that, I totally thought I was protecting them. In reality, I realized they needed to see relationships that were normal. They needed to see loving relationships, happy relationships, supportive relationships, peaceful relationships. And I was not showing them any of that. They needed a mother that could provide them with a safe place where they were loved unconditionally, no matter what. And I also knew, and this actually worked out very well for me, I knew they had to see Him for who he really was so that when they were 18, they would have the knowledge to make the decision themselves on the type of relationship that they wanted to have with him. So I left. I stayed out of pride. I stayed to avoid all the I told you so’s I wanted to prove all the people who had been warning me about, I don’t think this relationship is right for you. Are you sure this is where you want to be for the rest of your life. I was going to prove them wrong. So I stayed on a pride. And then I realized that’s not pride at all. There is nothing admirable about staying in an abusive relationship or a relationship that was unhealthy for me. There was no one out there asking me to prove them wrong. There was no one placing bets on whether I was going to make it in this relationship or not. So what was I doing? My pride was telling me to stay and let’s just show them what I got. There’s a quote about pride. It says pride will cost you everything and leave you with nothing. My pride to prove that I could stay in that relationship destroyed the pride that I had in myself. I needed to become proud again of who I was of where I was going of what I stood for. I needed to be proud of the life that I had created for myself that was given to me for a special purpose. So I left I stayed because I was worried worried I was going to be alone. I hear this all the time from clients, I’m scared that I’m going to be alone. Then I realized I was already alone. I was alone with all of my faults, I was alone with all my problems, all the criticisms, I was alone with all the lies, I was alone with the infidelity. I was alone with the manipulation, the control, the blame, the denial, I was alone with zero boundaries. I was in a relationship, and I was completely alone. No one knew and those who did did not understand. The part about being alone that also ties to this as the toxic personality is very good at telling us that we should be super grateful for this relationship. Because no one else is going to love somebody like us.


You are never going to find a relationship that is healthy, because you are the problem. So we become worried that that’s true. And we hang on to this not realizing we’re already alone. I was completely alone. While I was surrounded by people. And I realized that being alone and being lonely, were two different things. I was pretty sure I could handle being alone. But I could not handle being lonely anymore. So I left. I stayed because of the financial situation. Now I had access to money. I made money, I was very capable of that. But in our situation, it was all funneled through a business. And all of the finances were heavily monitored. At least the ones that I used, no matter how hard I worked, you know what I earned, the new ideas I had that brought a new income, what I deserved, it was never quote, really mine. One day, I just it just made it made more sense to me to be able to work and be rewarded rather than work and be monitored. So I left. Now, those of you who don’t know that much about my story, I left with nothing. Pretty much nothing but my clothes, some furniture, my decorations for my house. And I moved. I started over, I got creative. I stressed I changed directions. I stressed again, I tried something different. I stressed, I changed things up again, I stressed but I made it I made it because I was determined that I could do it myself. So I left. I stayed because I didn’t want it to be my fault. I didn’t want to be the one that broke the family. I didn’t want to be the one that went against my marriage vows. I didn’t want to be the one that walked away from everything. I didn’t want to be the change be the one that changed my kid’s life. Not knowing how it was going to turn out. I did not want to take the blame. I wanted people to know that I had left for valid reasons. No one saw what really went on. And if you told them like many of you, they look at you like you have three eyes because the toxic personality is so nice in public. They’ll help anyone they’re such a good person, right? And then I realized, you know what? Everything during this relationship had been my fault. I was to blame for most things. For the things that had gone wrong for the things that didn’t work out for the things that happened on a day to day basis. It was my fault. It was always my fault. So I decided what the heck’s the difference? It has always been my fault. So if this needs to be my fault, I am totally okay with that. So I left I stayed in that relationship out of fear. It was not always fear for my physical safety. It was fear of making the map fear of upsetting him fear of pissing him off fear of causing conflict. Literally fearful of everything. I was scared to make decisions. I was scared to do something on my own. I was scared to take care of myself. I was scared of his reaction. I got used to predicting his behavior, being in that relationship. So I felt safer. Being closer knowing that what his reaction would be, so I could be right there to fix something to take the blame or to adapt to it. Then I realized, I’ve never been able to control this reaction ever. Yet I’m spearing his reaction with no way to control it. The only thing I have control of is my response to it. And what I chose to do in the relationship is to respond and adapt to keep the peace. And I did that out of fear. It is always easier to stay in something that is familiar than to step into something that is unfamiliar. And even though it was bad, and I was living in fear, at least I had learned how to function in it. Me stepping out of it was unknown territory. So it was always easier for me to go. Yeah, but I figured this out. So I know I can make this work and I don’t know that I can make that work.


Courage is the heart to act in spite of fear not in the absence of it. I embraced my courage instead of the fear and I left. Now, you may have already noticed that the eight reasons for me leaving were the same. Eight reasons that I stayed in the previous episode. It is never going to be a perfect time to remove yourself from an unhealthy relationship. From an unhealthy job from an unhealthy friendship from an unhealthy family dynamic or from an unhealthy social circle. There is never going to be the perfect time. But if you are one of the ones that’s in the fog right now, of trying to make that decision, even though some of these things seem insurmountable, please look at every reason you are staying and ask yourself if it is the same reason you should be leaving