If you're beginning to question your sense of self and wondering who you are, it may be as a result of the relationship you're in. If you've left a relationship and have no idea of how to behave now that you're out of it, there's a good chance that you were stuck in one of these relationships.
All relationships have their moments. What healthy relationships allow us to do is slam doors occasionally, and for it not to be the end of the world.
When you're in a toxic relationship and you're treading on eggshells and too scared to say something in case you're ridiculed/ignored/berated, then that's an entirely different matter. You know when you leave these relationships that there's the initial sigh of relief, and then we start to wonder. "What am I supposed to do now?"
Here are 5 types of relationship to avoid and to understand. If your personality is being subsumed by that of your partner, or was controlled by them before you left, then it's time to look at you and what you need.
1. The carrot-dangler
This relationship is awful. The perpetrator keeps you on your toes, waiting for a few crumbs from the master's table. They tell you things like, "in the future, maybe we could do xyz together." The day for that to happen never comes. They know exactly what they're doing; they're controlling you from a distance, playing puppet master while you hope for the best. They constantly disappoint you, and then redeem themselves unexpectedly so that the cycle starts all over again. They've got you, hook line and sinker, and have no intention of letting you go.
This level of control is about their low self-esteem and not yours, and their need for attention. Their deficiencies manifest themselves in how you start to feel about the relationship. Once you recognise this, you can let go.
2. The controller
The controller is a different sort of toxic partner to the carrot-dangler, although they both have control at the heart of what they do. The controller likes to get into your head, and make you second guess yourself. They say things like, "if you think that dress is OK, then wear it." And so your doubt sets in. They also tell you how well you're doing... and not in a good way. It's almost as if they're saying, "I like you, no matter what the others think." This sort of behaviour binds you to them over a period of time, because they're eroding your confidence and making you lean on them.
See this for what it is. When they put their head on one side, and say, "awww, you'll be OK, no matter what", they're telling you that they will take you under their wing, and they've got you. Fly away.
3. The narcissist
Ever felt completely secondary to a partner? As if you're not much more than an accessory? Do you know that your toxic partner likes themselves more than they will ever like anyone else? Then you need to understand, right now, that you will never be good enough for them, no matter what you do. This sort of partnership has led many wonderful people to believe that they're useless; and if you have a jealous narcissist, then you're theirs to treat badly, no one else's. You are a reflection of them.
Recognise you will always be the runner up as far as they are concerned. Are you willing to put up with this for your whole life?
4. The silent one
Sulky partners are a nightmare. They sulk at perceived slights from you. You will spend your time playing "guess what mood x is in tonight." They will walk around with a face like a smacked arse, and will say, "nothing" when you ask what's wrong. Be sure, you've done something, and you're being punished. You could have left the cap off the toothpaste or shagged their best mate, the reaction is the same, disproportionate, and unfair. And I'm guessing you haven't shagged the best mate.
Spending your life racking your brains over what you could possibly have done this time to warrant the silent treatment turns you into a nervous wreck. Call them out on it...
5. The blamer
When you take the brunt of the situation when someone (or the toxic partner) has done something wrong, then you are the scapegoat for their life. You end up being on the receiving end of everything, because you're there. It all becomes your fault, and if you defend yourself or disagree, then we get the silent treatment once more. Somehow or other, what's gone wrong for them, or they've overreacted about somehow becomes about you, your fault, and because you're in the world. It's unreasonable, it's unfair and it shows they can't accept responsibility or filter out annoyances.
If it becomes your fault, "you're the one who wanted this" when, for example, he fails a credit check to buy your engagement ring in instalments... get out of the relationship before you get stuck! Don't accept this behaviour! (just an example, my friends... ).
If your toxic partner is or was all these things; well done on recognising it. So what next?