Lily Collins is opening up about her not-so-fond memories of an emotionally abusive ex in a relationship she now realizes was “toxic.”
According to People, the “Emily in Paris” star discussed that relationship during a recent appearance on the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast.
“For me, my romantic toxic relationship was verbal and emotional abuse and being made to feel very small,” Collins told co-hosts Glennon Doyle, Amanda Doyle and Abby Wambach during her candid appearance on the podcast.
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He would call me ‘Little Lily.’ You should be ‘Little Lily’ and he’d use awful words about me in terms of what I was wearing and would call me a whore and all these things,” she recalled of the relationship, during which she was in her early 20s.
According to Collins, her ex’s “belittling words” made her become “quite silent and comfortable in silence and feeling like I had to make myself small to feel super safe.”
The relationship led Collins — who previously opened up about overcoming eating disorders — to therapy, where she learned about how prey refused to eat when they felt under attack.
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That experience, she said, led her therapy, where she experienced an epiphany about how her own behaviour was similar to that of an animal under threat by a larger predator.
“When prey felt threatened, they made themselves as small as possible,” she explained. “Possibly by not eating by making themselves look as least juicy and enticing as possible and that’s where they felt the safest.”
Even though she’s now in a healthy relationship with husband Charlie McDowell, Collins admitted the trauma from the past still emerges from time to time.
“The situations are completely different 10 years ago to now… That panic is what I can still get triggered by,” she said.
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“Even if I’m in the most healthy relationship, there can be a moment that happens throughout the day where history comes back like that,” added Collins. “It’s like a millisecond, or shorter than a millisecond. And your gut reacts, your heart starts beating, and all of a sudden you’re taken back to that moment where they said that thing to you 10 years ago, but you’re not in that situation now and that’s the trigger and it’s f**king hard. It’s awful.”