Toxic Relationships, Breakups & 20-Something GROWTH | with Shelby Bisaccio

If being in your 20s is not a clusterf*ck. You’re doing it wrong.


Okay, I’m totally kidding!! But I do think that many of us can look back on a point in our 20s and say, man… that was messy. The beautiful thing about these times in our lives is that they can produce some really incredible transformations.

I sat down with one of my good friends Shelby over a glass of wine on my living room floor and we talked about it all: break-ups, our careers, our 20s, having kids, growing up through chaos and… plucking our eyebrows.

The story I want to share with you today is that of toxic relationships. There are two types of people who come from a result of toxicity: those who get poisoned and their outlook on the world becomes tainted, and those who see the situation as a learning experience and choose to grow. Shelby is one of the latter…

Shelby and I just so happened to go through really tough breakups at the same time. This was where our friendship truly began to bud…


Immediately after the breakups we both felt the same thing – I’m never going to feel that love for someone again. Boy, were we wrong!

If you’ve ever struggled with a relationship that was toxic, verbally abusive, or a constant power struggle, head over the Podcast to get the full scope of her story. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

Looking back on it now, I wasn’t truly in love… I just didn’t want to be alone. When someone gives you so much attention that you’re not used to getting – you feed off of it. When they pull that away, you cling on to it.

It’s no secret that when you don’t hold a high value on yourself, you allow less than you deserve. Many of us have experienced this in a relationship. I don’t think we always understand the concept of self-love and our worth when we are entering our first string of relationships. So, when someone comes along and seemingly gives us everything we think we want, we fall hard.

I knew that relationship should have ended before it started. We were both having a hard time in our lives. I didn’t have great relationships with my parents so I clung to him because he was there. I knew he was cheating and his stories weren’t adding up, but I had the rose-colored glasses on and thought it would end up happily ever after – if only I just endured the rough patches.

If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship, it’s a vicious cycle of ups and downs, break ups and make ups, love & hate. You hold on to the “good times” to keep grasp of control and to justify staying. You know in your heart that you deserve so much more, but you ignore your intuition and keep allowing yourself to ride the cycle.

The moment he saw me pulling away, the name calling started. The verbal abuse began which lead to a lot of self-doubt on my part. The break-up hurt, but believing what he said about me hurt the most.

Too many times I have experienced and witnessed young women (including myself) placing too much value on the words of their significant other. I want so much to teach these girls & women that we get to decide who we want to be, we have control over our lives, and there is NO room for toxic people like this in our lives.

I knew I had to let him go… but I didn’t want to. Eventually I did and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

I asked Shelby “What made you feel like growth started to really take off after the breakup?” She told me she just came to the realization that we will always go through painful relationships, and it’s just another stepping stone in life. Can we just take a moment and clap for Shelby?!… not everyone has this moment of clarity so early in life.

After the heartbreak, I truly felt like that’s when I became an adult.

This made me think… Those situations help you grow as an individual. Everyone has their shit. If you don’t use what you’ve learned  you may not even be open to growth.

At the end of the day, you’re going to be okay. You may feel like you have a whole in your heart, but you’re going to be okay… and its going to be better!

Heartbreak is something we can all relate to, but realizing your self-worth amidst the mess of a toxic relationship is an incredibly big mountain to climb.

Every unwanted situation, every dark place & emotion is a gift. It’s a clear indicator of what you don’t want in your life. It’s not hard to recognize, but it’s not always easy to believe that you can have better.

Trust me when I say, you can.

The only reason I know exactly what I want in this life, is because I am very clear and have experienced what I don’t want. These situations are opportunities to look back and say “I don’t want this, I won’t live like that.”

Don’t settle until you get what you do want.



Affirmations from Shelby:

I will succeed in life.

I will find a meaningful relationship

I will find a meaningful career.

Everything I have gone through, I have gone through it because I am strong enough to handle it and I will help others through it.


Journal Prompt:

Identify one period in time that was most transformative so far. What have you learned, how different are you now, what can you celebrate from your transformation?


Shelby Bisaccio  \   @shelbybisaccio


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Journal Theory

Hi There! I'm Jordan Laine Thomson. A writer at heart, an emotional exhibitionist, a proud mama, semi-cool wife, and world's worst small-talker. I believe I've been put in this earth to share my gifts with others through written & spoken word. I have a knack for people, despite my shy & introverted tendencies. Multi-passionate does not begin to describe my personality, it just makes things more confusing. It's my mission to inspire you to write, share & evolve.
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