Lily Collins is opening up about the long-lasting effects of a past "toxic" relationship.
On the latest episode of We Can Do Hard Things, the 33-year-old Emily in Paris star sat down with podcast hosts Glennon Doyle, Amanda Doyle and Abby Wambach to discuss her experience with an ex-boyfriend from her early 20s, who would regularly put her down and leave her feeling "anxious" and "panicked."
"For me, my romantic toxic relationship was verbal and emotional abuse and being made to feel very small," Collins said, while revealing that he'd "belittle" her by saying she was "Little Lily" and "use awful words about me in terms of what I was wearing and would call me a whore and all these things."
As a result, she recalled becoming "quite silent and comfortable in silence and feeling like I had to make myself small to feel super safe," before alluding to her struggle with an eating disorder by relaying something her therapist told her.
"When prey felt threatened, they made themselves as small as possible," as Collins explained. "Possibly by not eating by making themselves look as least juicy and enticing as possible and that's where they felt the safest."
However, Collins also said that "the situations are completely different 10 years ago to now" with husband Charlie McDowell, though she still sometimes experiences a sense of "panic," even "in the most healthy relationship."
"There can be a moment that happens throughout the day where history comes back like that," she continued, as she described what happens during these "awful" situations. "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."
That said, Collins went on to say that she's open with McDowell about these moments of panic, adding that "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 concluded, "Now in my life, having my wonderful and supportive husband, we do communicate and talk about so much."
You can hear Collins tell her entire story on the latest episode of We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle below.
If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Photo via Getty / Sean Zanni / Patrick McMullan
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