EPISODE 006: Leaving a Toxic Relationship and the Metamorphosis that Came Afterwards


In this week’s episode, Callie Butler, opens up about leaving a toxic relationship she lost herself in, her journey through the abuse until she realized she needed to leave; and transforming from a self proclaimed “empty gray husk” of a person into her true self whom she never truly knew until she learned the value of self love and having a relationship with herself. 

Related: My Teen Mom On Growing Up and Letting Go of Abusive Relationships

In this candid conversation, Callie explains how leaving a toxic relationship put her in a desperate situation, which forced her to spend time in nature, the Unitarian Church, focus on veganism, and transform her career into a purpose-driven pursuit. Callie explores how these changes led to being healthier and happier than she has ever been and more herself than she has ever been. Callie has learned how to accept help and still consider herself independent.

Tune in to see how Callie learned the difference between being committed to a relationship and being trapped in a dangerous relationship.  



  • “Being human is about strength and fortitude, but also about the beauty in vulnerability…” Callie says she’s learned this over the years.

  • Callie details the dissolution of her marriage and how the transition to being unmarried took form, prompting authentic self discovery.

  • The most important thing in life is connection. “The relationships we share with others are the currency of our lives.”

  • A before and after marriage exploration.

  • A take away for listeners is that “Desperation” led to an unhealthy relationship. Avoid getting into relationships out of necessity. 

  • Isolation and lack of connection led to a challenging time. It came over time and through multiple forms of intimidation and manipulation.

  • Distance - being out of the abusive situation - provided clarity. Callie viewed herself as a strong woman, shouldering the emotional work in a relationship - the point is, it’s not always clear you’re in an abusive relationship. 

  • Lesson learned - helping other people is a wonderful thing to do, but it doesn’t have to come at the price of your own self. In her marriage, there was no price that was too great. Identity was secondary to the relationship. 

  • Callie details the form the abuse took - emotional and physical events. She was scared to leave.

  • A brain lesion, a prognosis of 6 months to live, and Callie’s response to it clued her in that she was on the wrong path.

  • When your’e significant other puts a tracking mechanism on you, something isn’t right.

  • Leaving for a weekend trip turned into never going home.

  • Callie spent 45 days in a domestic violence shelter. When she first went in, she felt like a sham. But says, “…it took me a little while to realize I was exactly where I needed to be.”

  • Nature and hiking helped Callie get herself back. 

  • After leaving the shelter, a clean slate offered the new beginning Callie embraced, including veganism, patience, and physical activity that transformed her life.

  • Callie asked herself, why did you choose this? And the answer to her question led her to realize she needed to love herself to avoid toxic relationships.

  • Healing occurred for Callie through engagement with her church, teaching, and learning.

  • Callie explains her views on veganism and the empowerment it brings.

Related: How to Live a More Fulfilling Life - The Impact of Veganism and Compassion with Denise Brown


  • Use the tools like a domestic violence shelter without letting shame stand between you and your ability to take control of your life. In the absence of shame and fear of vulnerability she would not have suffered as long as she did.

  • Familiarize yourself with the available resources.

  • Reach out to people who care about you.

  • It’s ok to be vulnerable, make mistakes, and find yourself in a situation that’s not ideal and recognize it doesn’t make you reach to ask for help.

  • To make change in your life, such as transition to veganism, create an incremental plan.

  • Surround yourself with positive messaging. (I love following Callie’s positive posts on Facebook!)

  • Invest in a friendship with yourself, making it a priority in your life. 

  • Always be willing to examine the nature of relationships in your life to ensure healthy connections.