When all you will ever get from them is a heart attack

What you need to know:

He grieved for several months but then decided to date again following pressure from his friends and family

If there is anything James ever regrets doing, it was to re-invite Dorine into his life.

See, James had been widowed for several years, having lost his wife of three years to cancer.  Their relationship was the envy of everyone in the neighbourhood.

They had it all; good jobs, nice house, international schools for their children’s education, until she died after just a month in hospital.

He grieved for several months but then decided to date again following pressure from his friends and family.

It did not take long before he bumped into Dorine, a high school crush who had since navigated herself through three different relationships over a period of six years. 

Each relationship brought forth a child, the longest of those having lasted just about seven months.

He listened to her sad, messy love story and decided that he would take her out of her misery.

And so, she moved into his house and hoped for better.  But the telltale sign that this, like her three other relationships was not going to work started manifesting the moment she walked into the house.

It became worse the moment she became pregnant, only three days after the last of her three suitcases was rolled past the front door.

Bad to worse

Yeah, these two were not a good pair together at all. See, Dorine is naturally bad, a toxic person whose relationships were often unhealthy and non-functional. 

She is the type that picked up fights on the whim, was highly envious that she thought everyone around James was out to get a piece of him.

Hers was the kind of envy that kept her from thinking positively.

At one point she accused James’ boda guy of ferrying to him other women.

Subsequently, the reliable boda guy was banished from ever riding into their compound let alone transporting James. 

But then James thought it was a phase that would go after the birth of her fourth child. 

It did not.  Instead it became worse that she drove James’ teenage children out of the house and brought in her own.

But that was not it. Dorine often said things that made James unworthy both directly to his face and sometimes in passing.  

He started feeling disrespected and felt his needs were never met.

At some point, neighbours stopped dropping by because they were no longer welcome. Those that made it past the gate were forced to sit on mats in the compound that they started talking.

Eventually the whole neighbourhood got to know - which then got to James - that he started feeling drained and unhappy every time she was around her.

He stopped coming back home most nights and instead opted to sleep in the back seat of his car at the washing bay only to come home in the morning for a fresh change of clothes.

Feeling drained around someone you share a bed with is one of the signs of a toxic relationship.   A toxic relationship can be described as one in which a couple does relate in a healthy way.  With such unions, conflict easily arise and there is always a lack of support from one of the parties.

The negative emotions outweigh the positive ones and the relationship itself becomes a huge drain of energy.

On the other hand, a healthy relationship is supposed to help transmit energy back as opposed to taking energy away.

“If your relationship feels like it is literally sucking the energy out of you, that is a prime sign of toxicity, says Ginnie Thompson, PhD, a psychotherapist it might even manifest physically, like if you are tired all the time.

Toxic relationships can actually make our bodies unhealthy - it is vital to pay attention to these signs and to how our bodies are reacting, she advises.

This might include letting go or seeking therapy otherwise all you will ever get from such a relationship is a heart attack.


Counselling. Toxic relationships wear people down and have serious effects on one’s self-worth and feelings of dignity. They can be traumatic and leave permanent emotional damage. If you think your relationship is toxic, start seeking help from blogs, books, and professionals. The fog of abuse is hard to see through, and getting clarity from outside is crucial.


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