Many people find themselves in toxic relationships but can’t seem to get out. Some go as far as gaslighting themselves into believing that their relationship isn’t toxic. Others straight-up ignore this reality and prefer living in a state of ignorance. In doing all this, these individuals are only harming themselves, as toxic relationships can lead to serious problems in one’s life.
In this article, we present a few helpful tips to help you break free from a toxic relationship.
Acknowledge the Toxicity
The first step in freeing yourself from a toxic relationship is to acknowledge the toxicity. As explained by Grace Counseling, many people find themselves in toxic relationships without even realizing it. At times, individuals in such relationships tend to make excuses or downplay the negative aspects, hoping that things will change.
However, by facing the truth, you can start to reclaim your power and take control of your life. Reflect on your relationship dynamics. Identify the warning signs of toxicity, such as constant criticism, manipulation, lack of respect, or emotional abuse. Understand that you deserve better and that it is okay to prioritize your well-being.
Breaking free from a toxic relationship is often a challenging and emotionally turbulent journey. Therefore, it’s essential to reach out for support from people you trust like your close friends, family members, and professionals. As you seek their support, they can help you navigate the toxicity in your relationship and help you work out ways to break out of it.
In an article for Newsweek, psychotherapist Dr. Stephanie Sarkis says that people in toxic relationships might think that they are alone. They might also think that no one will believe their side of the story.
However, Dr. Sarkis goes on to explain that because of such thoughts, it’s vital for these people to talk to a trained mental health professional. That’s because these professionals can act as a neutral third party and help them work their way out of the toxicity, even if it means breaking the relationship.
Toxic relationships often lack healthy boundaries, leading to a constant cycle of hurt and disappointment. Therefore, you need to take the time to evaluate your own boundaries and assert them with your partner. In doing so, you can not only communicate your needs and expectations but also hint at where they might be going wrong in this relationship.
Of course, establishing boundaries won’t mean that your relationship will get better and the toxicity will go away. At worst, the toxicity might increase, depending on how your partner perceives this action of yours. Thus, if you’re confident that you want to get out of the toxic relationship, don’t set up boundaries thinking that they will fix the relationship. Instead, do it so that you can implement your exit plan with a bit of ease.
Create an Exit Plan
When you’ve decided to leave a toxic relationship, it’s important to plan your exit strategy carefully. This is particularly crucial if you anticipate resistance or potential danger.
Start by confiding in a trusted friend or professional who can offer guidance and support. Secure any important documents or belongings you may need during the transition. If necessary, consider finding a safe place to stay temporarily, such as with friends or family or in a domestic violence shelter.
Develop a support network and share your plans with those who can help you during this period. Remember that your safety is paramount, and seeking professional advice, such as from a lawyer or counselor, may be necessary.
A study published in Psychology Today shows that over 60 percent of teens stay in toxic relationships even when many of them have the option to get out of it. It’s not just teens. Many adults behave somewhat similarly. Given how harmful such relationships are to one’s mental and often physical well-being, it may come off as strange as to why they insist on staying in them.
However, there are a few reasons behind this sort of behavior, and Tribune Online sheds light on them quite nicely. Low self-esteem, emotional manipulation, the fear of being alone, and the unrealistic expectation that things will eventually get better are some of the reasons why many end up staying in toxic relationships. They do so without realizing that they’re only harming themselves.
That’s why it’s vital to identify the signs of a toxic relationship and get out of it as early as possible, and following the steps discussed above, one can do just that. It won’t be easy, but once you’re out of the toxic environment, you’ll feel much better about yourself and life in general.
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