Love might not always feel like a fairytale, but one thing it should never feel like is imprisonment. Toxic relationships can make blind you to who you are, induce feelings of shame and potentially lead to physical abuse.
Last week we showed you the signs of a toxic relationship. This week, we show you how to get out of one.
1. Determine that you’re in a toxic relationship
Pay attention to your feelings and ask yourself if your partner displaying any of the behaviors we talk about on our previous post: 6 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship
2. Journal your emotions
The next time your partner makes you feel bad about an expressed interest, or sighs with reluctance at the mention of meeting your family, write down how his or her reaction made you feel.
Studies determine that expressive writing “helps people to organize thoughts and give meaning to a traumatic experience” and “fosters an intellectual process.”
Toxic relationships prevent personal growth, so keeping a journal of your feelings can help you navigate your true feelings and increase your awareness about what this person is doing to you.
3. Stop denying it
Accepting that you’re in a toxic relationship is hard, but a crucial step toward getting out and moving forward.
4. Identify the benefits
You’re obviously with this person for a reason. He or she might make you feel attractive or important, or supports you financially.
Whatever the benefits are, be aware of them. Doing this will help you realize the things holding you back from moving on.
Remember that letting go of an unhealthy, toxic relationship will only open the door for a healthier one.
5. Know your value
The cycle of a toxic relationship goes like this: The toxic partner manipulates and controls you – making you feel distressed and upset – then, when you express your wanting to leave, he or she uses charm and seduction to lure you back in.
This is not how a healthy relationship goes. You are valuable and should always know that.
6. Set a vision
Define what you want from life and relationships. Make a conscious decision to leave conflict, drama and controlling behavior in the past and draw your own conclusion of what you want to do next.
7. Surround yourself with positive people
Connect with friends and family whom you have strong, positive relationships with for support. Remember that the quality of these relationships matters. Toxicity is contagious. Seek those relationships in which you can confide in that person.
8. Have the conversation
At this point, you know what’s best, so be firm. Sappy romantic charm cannot lure you in again, tell yourself.
Focus on stating how the relationship is making you feel, instead of pointing the finger at your partner. Blame is a dangerous game because it usually backfires.
Once you’re out of the toxic relationship, you can see more clearly. Reflect about what went wrong, the mistakes you made, the red flags that went unnoticed.
10. Love yourself
You deserve love and the freedom to express yourself, and your toxic relationship was only holding you back. Remember that…and move on!
Take time for yourself now.