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How do I recover from a toxic relationship?

Updated: Feb 3



Toxic relationships can be like quicksand, slowly pulling us down, draining our energy and negatively impacting our well-being. Whether it's with a partner, family member, friend or coworker, being in a toxic relationship can have serious consequences for our mental and emotional health.

I want to share with you some strategies to help you to manage toxic relationships, preserve your self-esteem and ultimately find the strength to heal and move forward.

Recognise the Signs

The first step in managing toxic relationships is recognising the signs. To do this, we need to start becoming mindful of our interactions and how we feel after them. Toxic relationships are generally caused by consistent patterns of manipulation, emotional abuse, disrespect and negativity. If you're not sure if you are in a toxic relationship, then these are some of the more common examples:

  1. Constant criticism and belittling

  2. Controlling behaviour and jealousy

  3. Emotional blackmail and guilt-tripping

  4. Lack of respect for boundaries

  5. Dishonesty and betrayal

  6. Emotional and physical abuse

  7. Frequent conflicts with no resolution

  8. Feeling drained, anxious or depressed after interactions

So, what can you do to manage a toxic relationship ?


Firstly you need to:

Set Boundaries and Prioritise Self-Care


Once you've identified that you are in a toxic relationship, one of the first steps that you can take is to set clear boundaries. You have the right to protect your emotional well-being and prioritise your self-care. If you're not sure what boundaries look like or how to set and reinforce them, you can try doing some or all of these:


Identify your limits: Decide what behaviour that you're experiencing is unacceptable to you and what you need from the relationship to feel valued and respected.

Communicate your boundaries: Express your needs and boundaries calmly and assertively. Being confrontational will be counterproductive. Have a clear idea of how you want to conversation to go and don't be crawn into their behaviours. Try to stay present and mindful so that you can choose to respond to the way the situation is playing out rather than allowing yourself to be triggered. Be prepared for the possibility that they will push back and try to resist your boundaries but keep telling yourself that setting boundaries is healthy and necessary and absolutely your right.


Distance yourself if you need to: Sometimes, creating distance from the toxic person is essential for your well-being. This then can give you the space to evaluate the relationship and focus on your healing process.


Have a good support network: Rest in the company of friends, family, or a support group who understand your situation and can offer empathy and encouragement and provide a safe haven for you to regroup and heal.


Practice Emotional Detachment. Detaching yourself emotionally from the toxic person can be difficult but it is necessary for your healing journey. When we're in a toxic relationship, it can be hard to know what to do first so here's how to start:


Accept reality: Acknowledge that the person may not change and it's not your responsibility to fix them. They have learned this behaviour as a survival skill to the life that they have lived so far and unless it's no longer working for them or they have realised that they have toxic traits and want to do the work to change then, it's unlikely that they will be open to making any changes.


Manage expectations: Be honest about the other person and see them for who they are ,not how you want them to be or how you think they should be.Lower your expectations of the person's behavior. This will help you to be hurt less and offers the opportunity for them to pleasantly surprise you.


Focus on your growth: Invest your energy in your personal development and self-improvement rather than trying to change the toxic individual. Take responsibility for your life and the decisions that you have made and reflect on past experiences so that you can use them as opportunities for learning and self discovery. Then you will have a clear understanding of what is working for you and what you might want to work on.


Practice mindfulness: You didn't actually think that this wouldn't get a mention did you?

Do the things that bring you peace and help you to stay present, this helps you to stop replaying conversations and fretting about the toxic relationship.


Seek Professional Support: Dealing with toxic relationships can take a toll on your mental health. Seeking professional support, such as therapy or coaching, can be really helpful in helping you to assert yourself, set boundaries, deal with past issues and unhelpful beliefs and empower you to move forward with a new mindset.

Other benefits can include an objective perspective, sharing an impartial view of your situation which can help you to gain clarity and insight.

Coping strategies: A coach or counsellor can help you to identify healthy coping strategies to manage the stress and your emotions related to the toxic relationship.

Emotional release: Therapy offers a safe space to express your feelings, fears, and frustrations without judgment.


Getting support does not mean that you've failed at life or that there is something wrong with you. It actually means that you are aware and empowered enough to know when you need a helping hand because you want to be more an that should always be applauded. Anyone who invests in their wellbeing and development has understood the power of taking control of their life and this will have a beneficial effect on their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them.

Focus on Personal Growth and Healing

When we are dealing with toxic relationships, prioritising our personal growth and healing is essential. We can:


Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and don't engage in self-blame. Acknowledge or maybe even come to understand that you deserve to be treated with respect and love.


Let go of guilt: It is completely okay to prioritise your well-being and walk away from a toxic relationship. It's also incredibly empowering and develops confidence and resilience.


Engage in self-care: Take part in activities that nourish your mind, body and soul, such as exercise, hobbies or spending time with people who support and inspire you.


Forgive and release: Forgiving the toxic individual doesn't mean condoning their behavior. Instead it's about freeing yourself from the emotional weight that they situation has put you under.

When we hold onto negative feelings, we are the ones that suffer because we are storing all that resentment or hatred, guilt, anger, whatever it may be in our body and we are replaying the events over and over in our mind.

If we can work towards getting to the point where we can acknowledge that the person can only behave in this way because that is who they are, then we can start to find compassion for them because let's face it, their life so far must have been pretty pants if they think that this way of behaving is acceptable and this then enables us to distance ourselves emotionally so that we can forgive and and move forward.


Conclusion

Managing toxic relationships is challenging, but with self-awareness, a commitment to ourselves and to our healing, it is possible to break free from their grip.


Remember that your well-being is a priority, and it's okay to distance yourself from toxic people to protect your mental and emotional health. Surround yourself with positivity and here meditation, affirmations and a gratitude practice may help and seek professional support to support your healing journey.


By taking these steps, you can regain your identity and sense of self, find inner peace and cultivate healthier, more fulfilling relationships in the future.


If you would like to discuss how I can help you further with this, please get in touch.


+44 07974 618499

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