Putting the Shattered Pieces Back Together

Embracing healing and learning to trust again

Zita Fontaine

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Photo by Ross Sneddon on Unsplash

There are so many layers of healing after a traumatic, toxic relationship. So much healing to be done, so much effort, so much time — and so many different aspects. Had I known about this when I got out of my abusive relationship, that five years later there would still be open wounds and scars… I am not sure I would have been able to even start it. Every week seemed way too long, the results were showing extremely slowly, and as the months and years piled up on top of each other, I started to see that it has only been the tip of the iceberg.

Healing is a never-ending process, and I am not sure we ever heal completely; it’s more like we learn to live with the wounds, tending to them whenever necessary, avoiding further injury to the most sensitive parts, and just accepting and loving the process.

I have done my fair share of healing — endless hours of therapy, coaching, meditation, new habits, a new attitude, and a better life. And my life did get better. It never got back to the way it used to be — which I honestly consider to be a good thing, as there have been patterns that I didn’t want to repeat anymore.

Some patterns I could identify and break — taking my time, learning to love myself better and more, honouring my needs, managing my own expectations, and navigating around people better.

But there’s only so much you can do on your own. You can recognize some patterns and even break them, heal them, but there will be quite a few others when the only way to learn and heal is within a relationship, with all its potential triggers and conflicts.

Am I seeing red flags because that’s all I know?

Being in and getting out of a toxic relationship has its obvious lessons. The first and foremost is learning how to never get involved in another one again, by recognizing the warning signs (red flags) early on. To walk away, to set boundaries, to speak up. Before that toxic relationship, I had no idea what kind of red flags exist, the whole concept of manipulation and abuse was unknown to me. I did not recognize the signs, and I didn’t even know I should have been looking out for them. Later on, I paid…

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Zita Fontaine

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail