Leaving a toxic relationship, whether with a partner, friend, or family member, is one of the most difficult things a person can do.
However, it is also one of the best things you can do for your emotional and mental health and overall well-being. It can be difficult to know when a relationship has reached a level of toxicity, when is leaving the best option, or figuring out exactly what steps to take to leave.
While every relationship is different, there are some things that are helpful when you choose to leave a toxic relationship.
Read on for 6 tips on how to leave a toxic relationship –
1. Make the decision to leave
It sounds simple, but making the decision that it’s time for you to leave is the most important step as you exit a toxic relationship. Decide that you are going to leave and know that you deserve better than what is happening in this relationship.
Depending on your circumstances, whether you live with a partner, have children with your toxic soon-to-be-ex, or have to continue working with the toxic soon-to-be-ex friend — the specifics of your plan for leaving will look differently.
But, leaving any toxic relationship begins with the decision that enough is enough and that it’s time to seek a way out.
2. Seek help
After you’ve decided to leave, it’s time to seek help and resources to put your plan in place.
Reach out to friends and family members who will support you and may be able to offer any material support you might need. Working with a therapist may also be helpful as you leave and in the aftermath.
If you don’t have access to a therapist, check with your workplace to see if you have an Employee Assistance Plan that offers a limited number of free sessions. If you need help with housing, transportation, and other daily needs, explore whether there are local or state services.
Above all, make sure you have a support network. Toxic people like to separate their victims from sources of support. So, marshall your support network around you.
3. Accept that leaving will hurt
Even though you’re ready to leave the toxic relationship, leaving will still hurt.
Accept that fact and give yourself permission to feel the pain and sadness. Often, a toxic partner, friend, or even family member can become the entire focus of a person’s life.
So, walking out of the relationship will hurt no doubt. But, give yourself credit for being willing and able to do what’s best for yourself, irrespective of the fact that such a step is likely to cause pain, even if it is for a short term.
4. Let it out
Give yourself a safe space to express your feelings. This can be journaling, blogging, drawing, or talking with a trusted friend or a professional. Allow yourself to express the full range of emotions you’re sure to be feeling – anger, sorrow, grief, elation, hope, despair.
Cry as much as you need or laugh as much as you want. Keeping the feelings in or denying them just increases the time you’ll need to heal.
Exercise, especially the vigorous ones such as using a punching bag or dancing, can also be a great release. And this is definitely one of the best tips on how to leave a toxic relationship and survive the aftermath.
5. Think of the benefits
It sounds silly, but think of the benefits of leaving the toxic person. What can you do now that they never let you do, or made you feel bad for doing? It can be as frivolous as sleeping diagonal on the bed or ordering anchovies on the pizza, or as serious as traveling abroad or going out with friends.
Make yourself a list of all the things you’ll be able to do, all the things you won’t have to do or deal with anymore, and all the reasons your life is better without this toxic relationship in it.
Read it over often. You can even post reminders to yourself on post-it notes around your home, or send yourself reminders on postcards in the mail.
6. Give yourself time to heal
Even when you’re the one to initiate a break-up and leave a toxic relationship, you will need time to heal. Give yourself time to heal from the damage caused by the toxic relationship as well as from the pain of the break-up.
Take time off from work if you can, even if it is just for a day or two.
Allow yourself to eat food that sounds good, to rest as much as you need, and to be good to yourself. Bodywork, exercise, and time outdoors can all help, as can time with friends, snuggling with a beloved pet, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy.
You will heal. It will just happen in its own time.
Try these six tips on how to leave a toxic relationship, and you will get to know how easy it is for you to severe the malignant from your life and survive the aftermath of it.