It might be one of the hardest things to do, but leaving a toxic relationship preserves your self-respect and dignity.
I have been in my share of toxic relationships in my life. In fact, most of them were like this. From the outside looking in, you might think it’s easy to leave these unions, but it’s not. Leaving a toxic relationship requires planning and tact. It’s far from easy but it’s necessary for both your physical and mental health.
Why is leaving so difficult?
Leaving a toxic relationship is so difficult because it’s usually not all bad, all the time. What I mean is that toxic relationships operate on extremes – there are really good times paired with almost unbearable intervals.
Just when you think things are horrific, your partner will switch it around and make things good again. Leaving a toxic relationship is so hard because you really don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. This type of relationship will leave you confused.
Here’s how you can break free
Breaking free will not be easy. In fact, it could quite possibly be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. All the good memories sprinkled among the dysfunctional episodes will make you question your desire to leave.
Fortunately, if you stand your ground, you can make the change. There are a few ways you can do this.
1. Keep a list
One thing that happens when you’re in a toxic relationship is your perception gets skewed. Family members and friends often notice toxic traits before you do. Have you noticed how a friend tells you that he notices negative things about your mate, but then you counter that with a random good quality in your mate’s favor?
For instance, your friend may say your girlfriend is manipulative, and you say, “Yes, but she has a good heart and I understand why she reacts in certain ways.”
What you’re doing is making excuses for her behavior. If you keep a list of all the negative things your friends and family members notice, and then be honest with yourself about these things, you might be able to see a bit clearer.
This helps you see things from a logical standpoint and not a biased perspective out of codependency. Over time, if your negative list gets too long, you will be able to make an important decision about how to leave the toxic relationship.
2. See leaving as good
Leaving a toxic relationship is not easy because, for some people, being alone if frightening. If you find yourself staying just because you’re afraid of being on your own, then you are definitely staying for the wrong reasons. One way to learn how to leave a toxic relationship is to see leaving in a different light.
Leaving a toxic relationship doesn’t always mean going through a negative consequence. Sometimes leaving means a brand new start. If you learn to see ending a relationship in this manner, you will never again hesitate when it’s time to go.
3. Fill the voids
Even toxic relationships have good sides. This is one reason why so many people decide to stay in these unhealthy marriages and such. So, in order to understand what’s going awry, you must first understand what things you can do for yourself or by other means.
Say your boyfriend is making you feel bad about yourself, but yet, he’s a good confidant and works hard to help you meet your financial obligations. Just because he has these good traits does not erase the way he verbally and mentally abuses you, and you must weigh these things fairly.
You must realize that you can find support from others and you can meet your own financial demands. All this can be done without having to endure insults and demeaning behavior from your mate. Learn to fill the voids and you will learn how leaving a toxic relationship is the best possible action.
4. Surrounded by positivity
When you realize that leaving a toxic relationship is a priority, you should make another smart move. Make sure you surround yourself with positive people to help you get through the ordeal. During the leaving process, your toxic partner may take several actions to stop you.
They may even promise to be a better person and treat you better. The truth is if they can do this now, why didn’t they practice this behavior before?
Your positive friends and family will help you remember why you are making the decision to leave. They will help you stay strong and keep you occupied so you cannot be further manipulated. This may be a fragile time in your life and you will need a good backbone of friends and family.
Support of this nature will also help you feel less alone while trying to transition to a different lifestyle.
Just in case your support team is limited, you will need a backup arsenal of positive affirmations. Yes, they do sound cheesy at times, but let me tell you something, they work! When you start to say negative things about yourself, you can transform those words into positive mantras.
For instance, if your toxic partner always said you were selfish, then counter that with, “I have a healthy love and appreciation for myself”.
Now, you must remember to check yourself when you truly are selfish, but there is nothing wrong with having a good self-image and caring about you and your possessions. So, when it’s time to go, speak only positive things over you and your life.
Write your mantras in a journal, post them on your refrigerator with a magnet, and even put them on slips of paper at the edge of your mirror so you can appreciate yourself while reading them. It works, just try it, and it can help you move on.
Just leave if it’s time to go
When you realize there is more negative than positive emotions coursing through your relationship, then it’s time to consider a new life. Don’t let weaknesses keep you bound to someone who really doesn’t care for you.
Instead, do self-inventory and find out why you’re allowing yourself to stay in an unhealthy and toxic relationship. When you see the truth, you will be set free!
By Sherrie H.