For the person deep in the throes of a toxic relationship, that familiarity of all that discomfort can be seductive. Simply put, we choose to stay in the horror we know, rather than pursue the unknown path away from the pain.
But sometimes there's a shift, a snap of sorts.
Whether it's an abusive act, an important conversation with a friend or trusted therapist, or just some epiphany that strikes like a bolt, a single moment can turn the tide and finally push us out of the loveless pairing.
Some Redditors took a moment to share the times they finally pulled themselves out of something that was hurting them.
A warning that a few of these stories contain discussions of physical and emotional abuse.
For some, the time to change struck them after a long, erosive process. As the time wore on and on, and their spirits never lifted, they finally made the move to get out.
These anecdotes illustrated that, many times, there are no tricks to this. Only the right circumstances where you feel ready to leap.
No More Wasting
"I just thought about how I didn't wanna keep wasting my time being unhappy. You love them so you want to stick by them and give em chances, but there's a point where enough is enough and you have to value your happiness and peace of mind."
"I knew leaving would be hard to do, but staying in a toxic situation is a lot harder. You have to realize your worth and sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to see it."
Straw that Broke the Camel's Back
"8 year relationship. Not abusive, but definitely toxic due to several instances of catching him lying, messaging other women, manipulating my emotions after I'd confront him, gaslighting, etc."
"Year 7 I decided to focus more on myself, increasing my self confidence, advancing my own career/education. The next time one of those situations occurred, I felt good enough about myself and my position to leave him."
A Sudden Break
"I never did find the courage, just anger."
"Over time the feelings of fear, sadness, and that desperate desire to just make everything okay and happy turned into resentment, contempt, disgust, and anger. I found him repulsive. Just the thought of him touching me made my skin crawl."
"One day he started in on his sh** and I guess the scales finally tipped. I didn't plan it, it just happened. The love was long gone, but now there wasn't even an ounce of affection or caring left. All I felt was hate and rage."
"I remember telling him we were done and to get the fu** out, I remember the look of surprise on his face, and I remember the hate that I felt, but that's about it. Mostly I remember the hate."
"Honestly I hope I never feel that way again, because I scared myself way more than he ever did. I was just barely in control and I think if there'd been any indication that he was about to get physical (and I'm surprised it didn't go that way) I would've ended up in a blind rage and either gotten myself hurt/killed or done something awful."
"Took me years of therapy to sort myself out after that one."
The Days of Disappearing
"I just sort of had an epiphany where I realized I look forward to my alone time, and dread time with her. She liked to throw around crap like 'If you really loved me you'd ____' to get me to pay for everything, or 'If you leave I'll just kill myself.' And suddenly I found myself thinking...good. Fu**ing do it. Please."
"And one day while she was out I packed up all my crap and left. I put most of my stuff in a storage unit and lived out of my car/tent for a month while I saved up for my own place. This was before everyone had cell phones and there was no social media so by just disappearing like that she couldn't do jack."
"Noticed how draining it was & how dangerous even a slight mistake would be before everything explodes again."
"Tired of walking on egg shells. Tired of having to be interested & part of every interest of hers. Tired of not having opinions lest they be the wrong ones."
"Found myself preparing for & thinking, 'what if I slipped up,' since I was physically exhausted - then realized if that would be all it would take for world war 3, it isn't really worth the time & effort."
"By then, I didn't enjoy the relationship. If it was so simple to kick off another fight, it was gonna kick off no matter what I did or didn't do anyway."
"I figured it was gonna be painful, but rather than 'live in fear,' sheer exhaustion drove me to bite the bullet & break up."
"To be fair, the explosion & fury followed, but it wasn't my 'job' to care anymore. Got more important things to do than walk on eggshells & be smothered simultaneously."
A Professional Push
"Therapy. I had to hold myself accountable to someone else, and speak of my own behaviors and dependencies in order to finally end them."
"I was very good at hiding the fact that I was seeing this toxic person from my family and friends, all the while pretending to myself that having the toxic person was worth all of the pain."
"Actually, on World Mental Health Day, I made a choice to be unavailable to the toxic person for the first time in a few years, and that one decision changed the whole course of things. I eventually sat them down and explained that our story had come to an end...walked away that day and blocked them on everything."
"Two months later, I started dating the love of my life."
"Sometimes, you have to clear the road for the good things to arrive."
An Illuminating Trip
"I didn't even realize how toxic it was until she went away for a while, and I just felt like such a weight was lifted. I started meeting people, making friends, etc ... suddenly, I was a happy person, excited to wake up in the morning."
"So, I called her and told her I packed her shit up and she should come get it."
A Non-Collaborative Partnership
"My husband kept making financial decisions without me, and I decided I was done when he bought a $51,000 truck without mentioning it to me first. It feels good."
"The divorce papers get filed next week. Therapy helped me find the courage."
For others, the decision to leave was extremely clear. After all, a history of physical abuse can make leaving extremely urgent, for the sake of safety and an obvious desire to avoid trauma.
Putting Their Foot Down
"She hit me pretty regularly, so I talked with my therapist about it to plan a way out. We came to the conclusion that saying 'you need to stop that or I'm leaving' would be the best thing. So, I did."
"She said 'I could ease up' and I said 'no, it needs to stop entirely. It's not playful. You punch me in the ribs forcefully and have said that you hope it bruises. That needs to stop entirely, or I will leave.' She didn't budge past her previous point, so I left."
"I regret none of it."
No More Accepting
"When I was working out how to handle the next time he hit me, I realised that I was accepting the fact that there would be a next time."
"As soon as I could walk I packed up my kids and left."
Calling in Backup
"After he threatened my life, I had my dad kick him out. I made sure not to talk to him at ALL afterwards. Blocked him on everything. I also got an Apple Watch for emergency reasons bc even though it's been like 6 years since we broke up he still mails letters to my parents house saying he's going to find me."
"Anyway, I was actually scared into leaving him, didn't necessarily take time to muster up courage or anything. It all happened very fast and was quite impulsive."
"The hardest part that took the most bravery was not actually talking to him or letting him call me to 'apologize.' Also it helps to have a good friend you can stay with or talk to for extra comfort and protection."
Can't Risk That
"He shoved me and I fell to the ground. That was after he dropped me onto a couch 'playfully.' "
"I knew it would be a matter of time before he hit me. And I was significantly smaller (5'1" 90lbs)."
"Happy to say I'm now happily married to someone wonderful."
A Tea Too Many
"I was in my early 20s, she hit me one day with a mug full of tea on my back reasonably hard and I twigged I was being abused/in a toxic relationship then."
"I went home, came back the next day and told her that was it. The courage was a simple light switch in my head, I just didn't realise everything was going dark."
"Good luck to everyone out there x"
For some, they never actually did make the bold decision to go through with the breakup. Instead, their partner actually did it on their own.
But the freedom felt after the end was sudden and palpable.
A Rush of Relief
"I didn't. Eventually she broke up with me. It was the most painful relief I've ever felt. I learned a lot, and now I know the signs."
"Would that I could've learned them another way."
It Only Takes a Couple Week to See
"He broke up with me and I cut him off completely. Gave him a month alone thinking that I would annoy him and he wouldn't want me back (dumb) then after about 2 weeks realized how much happier I actually was."
"Never went out of my way to contact him again. He, if course, flipped out and threw a year long hissy fit about it."
"I didn't. The toxic a**hole left me. What she did after that I appreciate to this day: she didn't cut me off but she never contacted me first."
"Eventually I got her out of my system and I rarely think about her now."
"She started seeing the guy she was cheating on me with, and I got forced out. She didn't formally break up with me, just basically let me know she had been cheating on me, again, and that she was seeing him now."
"She threatened to leave me a couple of times before then, but I begged her to stay because she had engrained in my mind that I couldn't live without her, rather than using it as an out. She left me no choice in the end"
To all those out there struggling in something that they feel might be toxic or hurting them in some way, know that it's okay to be confused, it's okay to not know if you're right about how good or bad things are.
But, if it's possible, tell someone. Get out of the echo chamber.
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There's no shortage of excellent horror fiction out there. Recently I read The Terror by Dan Simmons and can't remember the last time I felt that claustrophobic and nervous. But I am also a fan of quite a few classics. Are there any other horror books that capture grief as effectively as Stephen King's Pet Sematary? What other book evokes folk horror as beautifully as Thomas Tryon's Harvest Home? Let's not forget this wonderful classic: The Haunting of Hill House. I could rave about that one (and Shirley Jackson) for days. All of these books left their mark on me and yes, I'd include them on a list (if I were to make one) of some of the scariest books I've read.
People had their own opinions to share––and books to recommend––after Redditor Tylerisdumber asked the online community,
"What's the scariest book you've ever read?"
"Gerald's Game. I've read lots of Stephen King and this one scared me the most. Slept with the lights on for several nights."
Everything about this book is creepy. Don't even get me started on the... degloving. I'm sorry I even typed that word out.
"It's not a long story..."
"The Yellow Wallpaper.
It's not a long story and I'd highly recommend going in knowing little to nothing about it. It's brilliant and terrifying. Published in 1892 as well if that's any interest!"
Few stories make you feel this sad. A pretty stunning piece of work––and yes, unnerving. Can really get under your skin.
"I think it was mainly..."
"For some reason, Salem's Lot by Stephen King.
I think it was mainly because I was on a week-long hiking trip in the Australian bush and it got dark and scary at night. But damn, I had trouble sleeping for a couple of nights. Then the friend I was hiking with read it, and he couldn't sleep either."
This is probably my favorite early King––and for good reason. The sense of atmosphere is impeccable. Those characters are loveable and you genuinely care about what happens to them. Then the book veers from horror into tragedy. It's quite moving.
"Just the knowledge..."
"On The Beach.
It's the most soul-crushing book I've ever read, and there's really nothing scary in it.
Just the knowledge of impending death for everyone that feels so awfully heavy."
This is one of those books that makes you feel hopeless.
It's impeccably written but wow... it's a truly heavy read.
"You never knew..."
It's a classic. I found it to be immensely chilling. You never knew what would happen and the writing instilled a sort of dread. I read it in the dark before I went to bed until I finished it."
A book I can read and re-read over and over again. It's a beautiful horror novel. It's also a really fascinating window into the era and manages to say a lot about social and class mores.
"I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. Very creepy and unnerving, definitely scared me reading it at night."
I wanted to really like this one––unfortunately, I did not––but there's no denying that the first third or so (especially once the two protagonists get to the house) is pretty unnerving. Shame the payoff wasn't all that.
"It was disturbing and horrifying..."
"Helter Skelter. It's about the Manson murders and goes into quite a bit of detail. It was disturbing and horrifying because, unlike the King novels also mentioned, it's true. What they did to Sharon Tate is so absolutely devastating. Pure evil."
This book is gruesome and not for the faint of heart. The level of detail we dive into learning about the Tate-LaBianca murders is remarkable and also rather nauseating.
"So the book's characters..."
"Bird Box by Josh Malerman.
Forget the Netflix movie. The book's monsters are terrifying, in that you simply just don't know what they are or what they look like. They could be anything. What they are is enough to drive people insane by just being looked at.
So, the book's characters have to navigate a world mostly without one of our most used senses, and what's more terrifying than something you can't see?
This leads to some utterly scary scenes in the book that sent my heart racing and I had to put down for a breather."
It's a shame that movie wasn't all that and a bag of potato chips.
"It's a different kind of scary..."
"It's a different kind of scary, but The Handmaid's Tale. Atwood's dystopian nation feels not that far from reality sometimes, and it absolutely terrifies me."
We're going to go there.
Yes, this book is terrifying.
"I feel like the movie..."
"The Ruins, by Scott Smith, messed me up pretty good. My favorite kind of horror is psychological, and while there is a physical "entity" the real horror is the helplessness of this stranded group trapped by something they don't understand. Their desperate struggle to hold on to their sanity and the slow descent into hopeless desperation just really hit hard.
I feel like the movie was a fairly faithful adaptation, although it's been a while since I've seen it."
I love this book and have read it multiple times over the years. It's slow-going... and then the final one-hundred pages are just horrifying.
Well, if you haven't read any of these... What are you waiting for? Get on that. You won't regret it.
But also... the world is pretty scary right now, so we understand if you need to take a step back.
Have some suggestions of your own? Feel free to tell us in the comments below!
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Have you ever traveled to a city you've always heard good things about, only to be totally let down upon arrival?
When a friend insists we travel to certain cities because we would "just love it," they're setting the bar pretty high.
And a city can also boast a rich history or an attraction that makes us curious enough to find out what makes it so appealing.
But, alas, when we finally reach the destination, it's never exactly what we thought it would be.
Curious to hear from strangers online, Redditor tshirtguy2000 asked:
"What city is overrated?"
These are not officially real cities but they do have a rotating population.
It's Always A Party There
"As a former
slave associate at party city. I 100% agree."
"Lego City. There always has to be someone falling into the river."
"Cabot Cove, the murder capital of the world."
"Sure, the murders are all solved, but would you really want to live in a city with that much, easily solved, crime?"
Neighbor To Springfield
Shelbyville. Those f'kers steal trees from neighboring cities.
These were once considered destination cities but their popularity eventually took a nose dive.
"Atlantic City. Venture a few blocks off the boardwalk and it's incredibly depressing. Very clearly an area exploited by the big casinos while the locals have been driven to absolute poverty, while they still force a smile to work the shops that are required for the tourist traffic."
Lots Of Water
"Niagara Falls, Canada. I grew up there. Mayor pumps most of tax $ to casinos and tourism with flashy vegas-esque attractions."
"Myrtle Beach. I'm not even saying that it has a good reputation, I'm just saying that any shred of positive thinking about it makes it overrated."
Where A Creek Is An Exciting Attraction
"Lamb's Grove, Iowa. It's not the paradise on earth that people always say it is. Don't get me wrong, it's got great Chinese food but the motel 6 is meh at best."
Impressions for these cities fell far below expectation.
"Dubai. It's the clickbait of the world. 'We have the biggest/tallest/most expensive YOU WON'T BELIEVE when you see THIS...' It's hot as f*k, everything's a man-made tourist trap; labor exploitation and racism are rampant, and they try so hard to prove to the world how modern and Westernized they are. Really, it's just government propaganda."
"Miami. Horrible place filled with horrible people."
Truth be told, many cities can be overrated.
It just depends on a person's experience, or a resident's perspective about what it is about the location they live in that is nothing worth writing home about.
If I had to choose, I would say Las Vegas is overrated, but that's because there is nothing in Sin City that is of personal interest to me.
I may be severely judged for my opinion, but that is a gamble I'm willing to take.
The opposite sex can be a bit of a mystery sometimes. Our brains work differently just like our bodies and this can lead to certain sensitive questions. Guys tend to be a little less open but today it's time for the ladies to ask away. Even wondered what they really think or feel about their body, yours? Today's the day to get the answers you didn't know you needed.
Redditor William84000 asked:
“Women of reddit, what question do you have of men that you'd really like an answer to?"
His question started an informative thread for women to ask men the questions they've been wondering and receive honest, real-life answers.
“How long does it take to recover if you've been hit in the balls?” Snowy-avocado
“Anywhere from 5 minutes to literally turning to dust like we were Thanos snapped.” secondhand_organsdust whirls GIFGiphy
“The Big Dumb Object...”
“I've always wanted to know: why do you like loud machinery so much? For older men it's mowers, leaf blowers and such. For younger men, it's modified cars and motorbikes. What's the deal with the loud machines?” marshmellow_bunnyx
“Power and tools. Tools are a thing that gets stuff done, and they are loud because they contain the
natural essence power of violent explosions and fire. Most men like powerful things, instead of powerful people.”
“In sci-fi, this is called 'The Big Dumb Object', and is pretty much a trademark of sci fi books written by men” Connect-Zebra7173
To shave or not to shave?
“Does body hair on a woman bother you that much?" reillydean28
“Leg/arm hair? Don't even notice. Armpit hair? Not my thing but not my choice/decision. Pubic hair? I'd prefer not, but it's not going to stop me from getting the job done." wHUT_fun
It’s a power and control thing...
“Why send a d*ck pic?" stavinlawrence
“I think for most men it's a power dynamic thing. Either it gets them off or it just makes them feel in control."
“Then I assume there's the added bonus of if she likes it she might send a nude back. But these losers have a greater chance of buying a "get bigger penis pills" that actually work before a girl appreciates an unsolicited nude." InertialEclipse
"Do you notice the little things?”
“Do you notice the little things about women like a new hair cut, when they wear makeup or a nice outfit?” xforeverlove22
“I can't speak for everyone but for me, nope. Not at all. My uncle had a moustache for like 20 years and one day decided to shave it off. I didn't notice it. I noticed there was a weird atmosphere around me like ‘come on, say something’, so I small talked with him.”
“A few hours later after he left they asked me if I seriously didn't notice that his moustache was gone. My answer was ‘What moustache?‘ And makeup would definitly fly over my head.” PleaseTakeThisName
Lets just not touch people without permission...
“What things have women done that make you uncomfortable?" charloget
“Had a few grab my junk at random. Even had a couple that just forced a kiss on me. I don't usually experience women trying to pick me up, but the few times I did was never great. It was either negging, overly sexually aggressive and always in a group." bahamabanana
On today's episode of sink of float...
“Do penis' float like a buoy? I heard they do but have never been able to verify it.” TheFantasticV
“I mean it's buoyant but it can't really do much besides lazily sorta half float there. Still amused the f**k out of my wife to learn.” secondhand_organsGiphy
Everyone just wants to be loved...
“What makes you feel loved?” linedizzy
“A compliment, a hug or a kiss we don't have to initiate.” Nuitari8
“Do guys care if women get cosmetic procedures done?” dookieconductor
“I don't necessarily care about the work itself, I'd be more concerned about understanding why she felt like she wanted to get it done and help her feel body positive for whatever work has been done or if she feels like she needs work.” -notjosh-
Math will kill a mood everytime...
“What does it feel like when you're having sex and you're trying not to 'get there'? Is it frustrating? What do you do/think about to keep it from happening?" uhohoreolas
“I sometimes do math like 333*3... But often I am fine with just controlling things to focus mostly on her pleasure instead of mine. Tho sometimes she is excited and ends up moving in unaccounted ways while I am a hair away and there is no stopping it. I definitely don't find it frustrating. It is still very enjoyable." Fkire
Some of these Q&A's were unexpected but now we know! This important thing here though is knowing it's ok to ask questions sometimes.
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Everyone's got their own favorite food.
What are two foods that actually taste great together......even though most people don't eat them that way?
Breakfast is the most wonderful meal of the day. As the wise Leslie Knope once said, "Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?" So mixing it up can feel blasphemous, but what if it's tasty?
Jam It On
"When I was growing up, it was standard procedure for us to put grape jelly on scrambled eggs. I did it when I went to college and everyone at the table stared at me. I still like it."
"That sounds gross af, but not too gross that I don't still want to try it. Haha"
Bringing People Together
"Peanut butter and maple syrup."
"My husband and I both grew up eating PB and syrup on our waffles. We took that as a sign it was meant to be."
"Peanut butter and syrup on waffles is one of the single best things I have ever had, also growing up with it"
Mustard?! Don't Let's Be Silly.
"Mustard with scrambled eggs. Actually I haven't had it in a while but from what I remember its really good"
"Mustard with eggs period"
Sauces and dips are critical to enjoying some foods. Mess with it too much and you risk ruining the delicacy. So that's why it's reassuring to see these people offering up their new spins on dip combinations.
Only For The Elegant Dining Experience
"Hummus and salsa mixed together with tortilla chips."
"Fancy bean dip."
Peanut Butter With Everything!
"Peanut butter and cheddar cheese (like the proper brick kind, not kraft cheese slices). When I was a kid I sometimes made myself pb and cheese sandwiches. They're very filling but delicious!"
"Toasted English muffin, butter, peanut butter, raspberry jam and marble cheddar on top. Lord have mercy on me."
"Add a litte hot sauce on the peanut butter."
Better Than Garlic Sauce?
"I already posted but I'm eating pizza with my friend right now and he likes his pizza with hummus."
"Hummus is good with so many things."
"So I make spaghetti noodles, but break up the raw noodles into smaller pieces. Once they're done I put in a an egg or two (mix it around) and let it cook. I swear it's not that bad. My Nonna always makes it for me when I go back to the Midwest to visit. It's good with parmesan cheese too."
And then there's these taste combinations. Mixtures so strange, you might just be willing to walk away from your phone or computer and try one now.
Sweet And Savory?
"Watermelon and feta cheese."
"With red onion and balsamic vinegar."
"Thats like the most basic summer thing in Greece, Balkans, Turkey together with some Uzo or Raki"
Who Lives In A Cheddar Under The Sea?
"Pineapple and cheddar."
"A guy at work introduced me to dipping a peanut butter and honey sandwich into chili. That was surprisingly great."
A Creative Spin On An Old Favorite
"Root beer float except with cherry Coke and chocolate ice cream. I was in middle school on a field trip, last in line at the cream shop, and ordered this after everyone else had done the standard root beer and vanilla. One of the cool girls who had never spoken my name before gave me this piercing look and asked if I would switch with her. I instinctively knew I would get zero benefit from this deal, so I said "Nope, ya gotta just remember it next time." That felt good."
Keep an open mind. Don't do this for every meal, sure, but always be ready to try something new.