"Now in my life, having my wonderful and supportive husband, we do communicate and talk about so much," Lily Collins shared.
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of emotional abuse that may be distressing to readers.
Lily Collins revealed that she was in an abusive relationship nearly a decade ago and is reflecting on how "toxic" it was and how that affected her. The 33-year-old appeared on the February 8 episode of the We Can Do Hard Things podcast where she spoke of the abuse she endured from an ex-boyfriend in her "early 20s."
Lily Collins Recalls Emotional Abuse She Faced in Past Relationship https://t.co/Zj23NZPSD6— E! News (@enews) February 9, 2023
"For me, my romantic toxic relationship was verbal and emotional abuse and being made to feel very small," she told co-hosts Glennon Doyle, Amanda Doyle, and Abby Wambach. She also detailed how controlling the person was and how she changed who she was to better suit his needs. “I leaned into what it was that he wanted me to be like," she said.
"Wanted me to say or not say. Wear, not wear. Do, not do. There was a lot of control. A lot of emotional abuse,” She continued. "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 who*e and all these things," she elaborated.
How do you find good love after bad?— Glennon Doyle (@GlennonDoyle) February 7, 2023
Today, we’re talking with @lilycollins about the steps to building healthy relationships — with ourselves & others — after living through toxic relationships with both.
Join us at https://t.co/dmVeKdyD6K pic.twitter.com/l10lS5uiwp
The Emily in Paris star said that 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 daughter of renowned singer Phil Collins shared that she learned about how prey refused to eat when they felt under attack after going to therapy.
The stress from the relationship also made her physically sick. "When prey felt threatened, they made themselves as small as possible," she shared. "Possibly by not eating by making themselves look as least juicy and enticing as possible and that's where they felt the safest." Her ex's actions would leave with her feelings of "panic" and "anxiety," she said.
Collins is now in a healthy relationship having been married to filmmaker Charlie McDowell since 2021. They make sure to prioritize healthy communication and behavior in their relationship. But she still experiences triggers from her past. "The situations are completely different 10 years ago to now… That panic is what I can still get triggered by," she explained. "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."
"It's like a millisecond, or shorter than a millisecond," she added. "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***ing hard. It's awful," she said. Now with consistent work and effort, she's doing a lot better.
"I've never had someone other than Charlie witness me in that state probably because I've never felt comfortable enough to be in that state knowing that person is going to leave," she added. The actress said she's in a much better place now thanks to her support system. She further said, "Now in my life, having my wonderful and supportive husband, we do communicate and talk about so much."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo By Gareth Cattermole