A toxic relationship can scar you in numerous ways, both mentally and emotionally. When the relationship dissolves, you will initially feel overwhelmed by relief and happiness. You will remember what it is like to have freedom and independence as you will no longer be controlled, abused, or criticized. However, these feelings will be short-lived as sooner or later, the trauma will begin to present itself; that is, the relief and joy will become replaced with shame and self-blame. Often, those who have loved a toxic person begin to wonder how they could have possibly fallen in love with them. They will remember all the warnings that their friends and family had given them and how they had ignored them, naively standing up for their partner. Ultimately, they begin to harshly criticize (and even punish) themselves at a time when they should be nothing but kind and patient.
The truth is, you are not naive or weak and you should not blame yourself.
While it is easier said than done, you should understand that you are not to blame for falling in love and trusting someone. Many people struggle to forgive themselves as they cannot understand how they let their partner treat them the way that they did. As a result, they lose confidence in themselves and their ability to make decisions. Forgiving yourself is the first step to understanding that you are not weak or naive. You should realize that not everyone has the strength and courage to love as wholeheartedly and unconditionally as you do; this is not something you should resent, but rather, something to be proud of.
We are not stupid for believing people are good at heart. We are not stupid for loving them and treating them with respect and kindness and expecting the same in return.