I’m in an abusive relationship with my toddler

Merry Christmas to us.

Not really, but hear me out.

For close to two years I was in a legitimately abusive relationship. It teetered on physical abuse, but mostly just emotionally. This was a very volatile person. Someone who, out of nowhere would go bat-shit and break stuff, throw things, and call me horrible things. This would be followed by a period of pretending I didn’t exist, which could stretch on for days and was even more hurtful. Ultimately, I could make the torment end sooner if I just apologized first, which, as stubborn as I was, and as defiant, felt better to me than being iced out. This is in the way that when you are slowly tortured, you’re more apt to confess to something you didn’t do.

Here are a few of the horrible things I did to warrant this treatment:

• not asking a particular question when I took my laptop to the Mac store

• taking a walk outside

• calling this person’s name out loud in a store when I wanted to get his attention to show him a sweatshirt I thought he would like

I never was able to devise a reliably predictive system to determine what would set him off, and as a result I spent the majority of our relationship affecting a quiet, pleasant demeanor and walking on eggshells.

I found myself doing the same thing the other day with my two year old and its giving me PTSD.

Things that launch my two-year-old into a tantrum include:

• His ice cube melting

• Not getting to wear the shark shirt because it’s dirty

• Having to put his snack down on the counter to pick up his Monster Truck

Basically, like, every third thing that happens.

Anyway, the point is, I came to the realization that my ex was a toddler, emotionally speaking. I could have saved myself so, so much emotional exhaustion and devastation if I could have just reacted to him the same way I do to my two year old’s mood swings: Which is with mild irritation, inconvenience and, occasionally, amusement.

I want to avoid toddler meltdowns, sure, but is it life-crushing? Ha ha no.

The difference is that my self-esteem and self-worth was entirely wrapped up in that relationship. My acceptance of myself was conditioned upon how he treated me. And, like, I love my two-year old, but I could give a damn if “mama’s mean” because I won’t let him play with scissors.

I wish I could have had this attitude with that stupid ex-boyfriend because it would have saved me a whole lot of heartache. I probably never would have bothered with him in the first place. Hindsight, amiright?

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