Moving on from a Toxic Relationship
Relationships aren't easy. A toxic one is a thousand times harder; and what might be one person's version of toxic can be quite different from another person's. So, how do you know if you are in a toxic relationship? And, is there a way to recover fully from it?
Keep reading to find out how you can move on from a toxic relationship and to the path of healing.
Understand why you're staying in the relationship.
You're staying in the relationship because you want to feel loved. There's a good chance that you've been hurt before, and now you're afraid of being alone. You may also be scared of change—even if it's for the better! It can be hard to trust yourself enough to know that an unhealthy relationship is toxic for you. This is especially true if the other person has been manipulative or abusive in the past. If your partner was previously manipulative or controlling, it would be difficult for them (or even yourself) to realize this behavior has not changed-even if they try very hard at first.
Acknowledge that it's toxic.
When you're in a toxic relationship, it can be hard to see how unhealthy it is. Toxic relationships don't always start as toxic; they develop over time. Often, one of you becomes more invested than the other, and your partner starts taking advantage of your feelings for them. If you have these signs in any of your relationships:
- You feel bad about yourself when you're with them.
- You're afraid of what they'll think if they find out something about you.
- They make jokes at your expense or embarrass you in front of other people.
- They ignore or humiliate you when they're mad at something else.
If any of those are true, then there's a good chance that person is not healthy for you to be around. Now that we've covered how to recognize whether or not our relationship is toxic, the next step is to acknowledge that fact!
Cut off communication.
Once you decide to break up with your toxic partner, it's essential to cut off all forms of communication with them. This includes:
- Texting, emailing, and calling them (unless it's about logistics)
- Blocking them on social media (and unfollowing anyone mutual)
- If living together, do not speak about anything except logistics for the duration of your relationship outside of work hours (and only if necessary—don't bring home drama). The goal is to minimize interactions so that there are no opportunities for conflict or manipulation. The less contact you have with each other, the better! It might be difficult at first, but it will get easier over time as you see results in fewer arguments and more peace in your life overall.
Look at what you have to gain!
This is an important step, but it's also optional. If you're not one to visualize things, you can skip this step and go straight to the next one.
If you have a journal, write down all the things you have to gain from leaving a toxic relationship (as opposed to staying in it). This can include anything from “I'll never get my confidence back." to “I don’t have to worry about being cheated on again,” How many items you want on your list is up to you—the more happy thoughts, the better!
Take time to focus on yourself.
You may be feeling guilty about spending time on yourself, especially if you have kids or other family members who depend on you. But focus on what's best for you! It's vital to your mental health that you find ways to take care of yourself during this transition period.
- If there are things that give you joy, do them! Go out with friends or have a day alone where no one else can reach you. Watch your favorite TV show, read an article online about something you find interesting, paint your nails—whatever it is for yourself! You deserve some fun amid all this stress.
- If there are things that need doing around the house (or office), tackle those tasks. Take care of those dirty dishes and clean up after dinner, so they aren't sitting in the sink overnight while everyone sleeps soundly beside them. Do the laundry today because tomorrow will be hectic enough without having to deal with dirty clothes piling up too!
- If there are bills/errands/chores/responsibilities that need taking care of ASAP before they fall through the cracks again, Well, then get out there and DO THEM NOW instead of waiting until tomorrow when everything else has piled up even higher than it already has been these past few weeks.
Find a therapist to talk to.
The first step to moving on from a toxic relationship is finding someone to talk to. There are many different types of therapy, and they all have different methods, but they all have the same goal: to help you feel better about yourself and your life. It would be best if you didn't think of therapy as a sign of weakness, because it's incredibly common for people in toxic relationships to seek out therapy.
There are many avenues for getting help if you're looking for it, including talking with friends and family members who know what you're going through or even visiting a doctor or therapist if you feel like things are too overwhelming at home (or wherever). If these options don't seem like good fits for you, then consider finding an anonymous support group online where people are going through similar experiences and looking for healthy relationships in their lives. The sooner one seeks out support from others who understand what they're experiencing firsthand, rather than waiting until later down the road when things get worse before seeking help from outside sources, the faster recovery will be, so start today!
Know what's best for you and do what's best for you.
If you're in a toxic relationship, it can be hard to admit that the relationship is unhealthy. It's important to know why you're staying in it and what you're doing that makes it so hard to leave. Some people fear change, while others may feel like they don't deserve better or have low self-esteem. If this is the case for you, seek help from a therapist or talk with friends who have gone through similar situations before—you'll find that many people understand and want to help!
But if the problem isn't something as simple as low self-esteem and poor communication skills, then maybe your ex isn't worth saving after all. In this case, remember: you don't owe anyone anything! You deserve love too! And remember: Never let anyone tell you who your value is because only YOU know what's best for yourself!!