If you are in a healthy relationship, you genuinely enjoy your partner’s company. You make decisions together and talk about any issues that may come up, trying to figure things out together. While small disagreements are normal in any relationship, if you find yourself constantly arguing with your partner, even about the smallest things, you may be in a toxic relationship. Dreading spending time with your significant other, being constantly unhappy in your relationship, and feeling exhausted after spending time with them – these are all signs of a toxic relationship.
According to statistics, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 3 men will, at one point in their lives, be in an unhealthy relationship. Therapists say that, oftentimes, people will find themselves in toxic relationships for a very long time (even years), without realizing that what they are experiencing isn’t normal. But once you realize that you are in an unhealthy situation, getting out is your best option. Here are a few pearls of wisdom that can help you recover from your toxic relationship.
1. Talk to Loved Ones
Research suggests that approximately 50% of adults experience some form of psychological aggression from a romantic partner, making toxic relationships pretty common. According to relationship therapists, a toxic relationship can be highly addictive, which makes moving on from it even harder. You may become prone to anxiety and depression after such an experience, so finding a support group to help you through it is a must. Therapists agree that opening yourself up to the right people is crucial to your healing process. Start processing your toxic relationship by acknowledging what you have been through and focusing on positive things, such as spending time with your family and friends.
2. Move in (Temporarily) With a Friend or Family Member
When you leave an emotionally abusive or toxic partner, they might feel like they have lost control and will try everything to get it back. This means that your ex might try to win you back with gifts, grand gestures, apologies, and promises that they will change. If this doesn’t work, they will start guilt-tripping you for leaving, and blaming you for everything that went wrong in the relationship. These tactics can become effective if you don’t have someone to help you recognize what they really are. If you live alone and you start feeling a bit sad or lonely, you might start to glamorize the past and give in to the temptation of replying to your ex-partner. This is called a trauma bond.
3. Stay Away From Social Media for a While
Recovering from a toxic relationship is not something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of work and willpower. Which is why you should stay away from anything that might trigger you and bring back memories. Social media can impede your healing process as you can mostly see happy people and couples in love, and you might even stumble upon a picture of your ex with someone else. Psychologists say that when you see your ex-partner happy with someone else, you are conditioned to believe that you are the one to blame for the end of the relationship. You start to think that maybe it was your fault, and they are actually great people. Which is a very unhealthy thing to do, and it can block your healing process.
4. Find a Reputable Therapist, Specialized in Relationship Trauma
According to psychologists, if you grew up in a toxic home environment, it is natural that a toxic relationship will feel familiar, and you will subconsciously feel drawn to these types of relationships, which makes them very difficult to break away from. As brutal as it may sound, people choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven all the time. Which is why it is crucial to take time to acknowledge and process what you have been through, even if it becomes very painful. While on your own, you might not be able to identify the manipulative tactics your ex used on you. However, working with a therapist who specializes in relationship trauma can help you realize that what you have been through is not normal and that you can start healing from your breakup.
5. Make Self-Care a Priority
If you have been in a toxic relationship for a long time, it is very possible that your self-esteem has been damaged. Psychologists say that you might start blaming yourself, thinking that you didn’t try hard enough to make things work and that your ex is all you deserve. This is obviously not true. It is just an effect of the manipulation you have been subjected to for a long time. This is why, in order to heal, you must make yourself your number one priority. Start by scheduling time each day for meditation, exercise, spa treatments, journaling, or any other restorative practice you prefer. Put on a nice outfit, even if you are not leaving the house. This tactic will make you feel good about yourself, and slowly you will start regaining your self-esteem.
6. Learn the Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
A healthy relationship is based on respect and equality, while a toxic one is all about manipulation, control, criticism, and power. To make sure you never end up in this situation again, you need to learn the signs of toxicity so you can build healthy relationships in the future. Working with a therapist who specializes in relationship trauma can not only help you identify toxic traits and manipulation tactics but can also teach you how to avoid falling into the same trap again.
7. Keep Busy With Fun Things
Healing from a toxic relationship has to start with you. You need to start devoting more time to yourself and keeping yourself busy doing things that you love and that matter to you. There are so many things that are better than being in a relationship, so try something new every day, until you feel like your old self again.
Ending any romantic relationship is difficult, but getting out of a toxic one is much harder. A toxic relationship can take a big bite out of your self-esteem, so ending it is always your healthiest option. This may be easier said than done, but there are a few things you can do to help you in your healing process. Surrounding yourself with people who genuinely love and care about you and talking to specialized therapists are essential to recovering from a toxic relationship. Making yourself a priority is the way to regain your confidence, and learning to identify toxic traits in a person can help you stay away from unhealthy relationships in the future.