How to Recover From a Toxic Relationship: 15 Effective Ways
Rather than blaming yourself for relationship problems, simply acknowledge if it is toxic and put an end to it. Once you do that, you can focus on how to recover from a toxic relationship, as that will be important.
Finding ways to move on is important because that’s the only way to repair the damage caused by the toxic partner and improve your emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Now that you have put an end to the toxic relationship, it’s time to take some steps toward reclaiming yourself and restoring your self-confidence, self-esteem, the pursuit of self-growth and the sense of self-worth that belongs to you.
Below are points of advice to begin your recovery and healing from the damage rendered by your toxic relationship.
What is a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships are those that leave you feeling emotionally drained and spent.
It is difficult to recover from a toxic relationship as the actions and words of the toxic partner impact your self-worth and confidence. Emotional and often physical abuse damages one’s perception of themself.
Unlike a healthy relationship that enhances one’s life, recovering from a toxic relationship is complex because fear and manipulation keep you bound to your toxic partner. And even when you finally manage to end a toxic relationship, it can be complicated to recover from it.
Related Reading: The Psychology of Toxic Relationships
5 tell-tale signs of toxic relationships
It can be tricky identifying that you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship. Your love for your partner may cause you to be in denial or even make excuses for your toxic partner.
The signs of toxic relationships listed below should not be ignored. They can have a long-lasting impact on one’s happiness and perception of themself.
Several reasons can help you identify toxic behavior in relationships. Click here to find out 40 warning signs of unhealthy relationships and start finding a way to recover from a toxic relationship.
Also Try: Am I in a Toxic Relationship? Quiz
Read the signs mentioned below and see whether these prominent ones apply to your relationship or not:
1. Unhealthy communication pattern
Notice the way that you and your partner have conversations. If you are in a toxic relationship, your communication with your partner will often turn hostile, irrespective of the topic.
The harsh or volatile nature of your conversations with your toxic partner may involve hurtful things being said about you, which would hurt your mental health. The words may continue to impact you even when you are trying to recover from a toxic relationship.
Related Reading: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships: How to Differentiate?
2. Feeling drained
Does spending time with your partner leave you feeling emotionally and physically drained? If yes, unfortunately, you are in a toxic relationship.
It takes a lot of mental and physical capacity to deal with a toxic person’s unhealthy demands and behavioral patterns. After they leave you would usually feel completely exhausted and spent and yet relieved that you can recuperate and relax a little in their absence.
3. Controlling behavior
A big sign of a toxic partner is someone who tries to control every aspect of your life and conduct. They do not respect personal boundaries and demand that you live by their standards and rules.
Advice and suggestions are different from demands and orders. A toxic person will demand that you do things their way and ensure that their order is followed by force, coercion or manipulation.
Related Reading: 25 Signs You’re in a Controlling Relationship
4. Afraid of their reaction
Take a moment and think about your reaction to being around your partner. Are you constantly afraid that they may not like what you say, do or think?
Toxic people scare their partners by their volatile reactions over every little thing their partner does. Once you know that your partner is prone to irrational and extreme reactions, you tend to be afraid of being around your partner and their reactions to everything you do.
5. You can’t get anything right
Toxic personality types will always find faults in your conduct or words. They find a way to blame you for everything.
A toxic partner will disregard, ridicule and criticize your actions in such a way that it makes you question your worth and intentions. They forcefully assert their opinion about your life and actions while finding minor details to criticize.
15 ways to recover from a toxic relationship
Moving on from a toxic relationship requires consciously processing the past and finding out how to heal from a toxic marriage or relationship.
Initially, these things may seem hard to implement, but you will slowly find ways to follow these with ease. These steps are bound to help you move on from the toxicity of your past, so read on:
1. Re-create your identity
You have to accept that you are no longer in a relationship, meaning you are free from the toxic partner.
Then you have to re-introduce your new self to the people who care about you and those you think need to know who the new you is. In other words, re-introduce yourself to all those who make up who you are as an individual.
You must realize that your purpose and identity cannot revolve around another person.
2. No contact
Change is not instant; it is a gradual process. It is so tempting, but do not call, text, email that person no matter what. Nothing! Unfriend the toxic person on Facebook, block their Twitter feed and resist the urge to look them up on Instagram.
Yes, it hurts not communicating with your ex, especially if you have been in a toxic relationship for years or if they claim to still be in love with you.
If you really want to recover from a toxic relationship, you need to stop any form of communication with your ex. Stop texting, delete all contacts from your phone, stay away from the places where they usually spend time.
If you receive a text from your ex, it’ll make you remember the things you like about them and immediately feel like you want to get back together. But, this would be a short phase, and soon you would find yourself exactly where you started, wanting to break up.
3. A full detox
Toxic relationships infect and contaminate. To recover from a toxic relationship, be sure to get rid of toxicity and the negative energy unhealthy relationship causes. Engage in some type of movement or mental activity to cleanse and renew yourself after leaving the toxic relationship.
Follow through by cutting contact with the toxic partner. Examples of activities to cleanse your mind and emotions include yoga, tai chi, aerobic exercise, meditation, journaling, detoxification, talk therapy, or religious practices within a supportive faith community.
Related Reading: What Makes A Relationship Toxic
4. Confidence boosting decisions
The major reason a toxic partner belittles or counts you as nothing is because he/they feel you cannot survive without them.
Broaden your scope of knowledge about things you avoided doing because you were too timid and scared. Set goals and objectives to tackle and complete small tasks, followed by more significant tasks to create a feeling of accomplishing something on your own without depending on anyone.
You are responsible for whatever needs fixing and replacement in your life, your financial debts, your career, taking care of your body and so on. You will feel much better and have more confidence in yourself once you start doing things independently.
5. Be around people with positive energy
It is known that negativity and drama are a feature of a toxic person. When you are healing after a toxic relationship it is imperative to fill the void you’re feeling with people who will have a bright, positive presence in your life.
To recover from a toxic relationship you have to fill up your schedule with friends who understand that you are going through a toxic relationship recovery and are willing to help you out of that dark place.
You don’t need to be alone in this. Call your friends. They care about you and want to be with you, and I am sure they don’t want you to get back in that relationship again. Research shows that genuine friendship has a positive impact on life satisfaction levels.
You will probably crave attention in this period, so feel free to tell that to your friends. Call them, text them, spend more time with them. If you have a single friend, too, it would be perfect.
Go out together and tell them to keep your phone away from you. And most importantly, have fun, joke, laugh, as it is the best medicine in the world.
6. Be your own best friend
The primary reason people stay in unhealthy and toxic relationships is that they are scared of being lonely. They cannot be alone because they have not developed a best friend relationship with themselves.
If you want to recover from a toxic relationship fully, try to reach a point where you can enjoy your own company. And if that doesn’t help, know that being alone is healthier and preferable to being in an unhealthy toxic relationship filled with lies and negativity.
7. Give love a chance once more
Because you have had a relationship with a toxic partner does not mean there is no Mr. or Ms. Right for you. You should not dwell on past experiences but instead move on. There are a billion men out there and one of them could be the right person for you.
Of course, you should have alone time, but you should keep an open mind when you feel ready to see and date other people.
In other words, when you overcome your emotions and decide to date, carefully consider the personalities of the people you have dated before and work to engage in new and different types of personalities. As it is said, humans can thrive well in Isolation.
8. Make a plan for the future
Maybe now is not the moment to move on, but slowly thinking about what you could be doing in the next six months can make you excited about the future. It will help you keep in mind that there is life after this challenging phase.
Also, always remember that you want to feel better and take a step forward; you do not want to be back with your ex again.
Keep this plan in mind every time you feel the urge to call your ex in the process of recovering from a toxic relationship. And when the moment comes, and it feels right, in one month or a year, start pursuing that plan.
Before you know it, you will feel like a stronger, happier, wiser version of yourself and everything will become possible again; just hang in there.
Related Reading: Dreaming Together: 3 Essential Tips for Having a Happy Future as a Couple
9. Let yourself feel everything and vent
Positive and negative feelings exist for a reason and have an important function in our lives. They help us distinguish right from wrong. So, shutting down your emotions makes you completely blind to realize what is good for you and what is not.
If you allow yourself to feel the pain this relationship has caused truly, you’ll be less likely to repeat the same mistake. Whenever you feel like going back together, the memory of the high pain will alert you that it may not be the best choice.
So, suppressing emotions is the worst thing you can do, and by doing so, you are just postponing your recovery because eventually, you’ll have to deal with it.
Write a diary, cry, watch a sad movie, write songs, whatever you need to get in touch with your emotions and get them out of your system.
10. Forget closure
You may find yourself yearning for some form of closure from toxic, manipulative relationships, but that is a vicious cycle that you don’t want yourself involved in. The relationship’s toxicity will seep back into your life if you try to find ways to keep going back to your past.
There is often no closure for situations where a partner was mentally or physically abusive towards you. No apology, explanation, or actions will erase the abuse you’ve experienced.
Searching for closure may lead you back into a relationship with your toxic ex, with a false sense of hope or denial. So, don’t rely on the closure to start your healing process.
11. Practice self-care
Recovering from toxic relationships requires learning to love yourself again. A toxic partner’s harsh words and conduct often make people doubt themselves and hurt their confidence.
To get rid of any negative thoughts, you should take up self-care activities that will help you gain back your happiness. It will give you a way to forget the past and rejuvenate yourself.
Relax and take a moment to give yourself some care and attention. You can visit a spa, go to a treat, start exercising, meditate or take up other activities that will make you feel special and indulged over.
Related Reading: The 5 Pillars of Self-Care
To learn more about the fundamental components of self-care, watch this video:
12. Celebrate your win
When you are trying to recover from a toxic relationship, you should celebrate every little step you take towards moving on. It will motivate and encourage you to keep moving in the right direction.
For example, you can give yourself a little gift every week if you don’t reconnect with your ex. The goal and the celebration upon meeting it will give you a sense of accomplishment that will keep you going and help you recover from the toxic relationship.
13. Hear yourself
A toxic relationship puts you in a negative state of mind, and you may remain in that state even after you have broken up with your ex.
So, take a moment to listen to the words you say to yourself and how you react to yourself. If you find that you are being extremely negative and criticizing yourself over everything, you need to stop.
Be gentle and kind to yourself when you think or talk to yourself. Don’t be too harsh and judge yourself as you are still trying to heal after a toxic experience. Kind words of encouragement are what you need, not further criticism.
14. Establish new boundaries for yourself
Toxic relationships harm one’s mental health and that’s why you need to establish new boundaries that would safeguard your mental health.
You have a right to tell people to respect your limits and what it takes for you to feel safe. And by doing this, you will heal from the impact of being in a toxic relationship and safeguard yourself from getting into another unhealthy relationship.
Related Reading: 6 Types of Boundaries in Relationships & How to Maintain Them
15. Fight the guilt
Don’t blame yourself for the behavior of your toxic partner. You may feel guilty about being with someone who hurt you or not ending the relationship sooner. But there is no need for this.
You were not the one in the relationship exhibiting unhealthy behavior, so you should not feel guilty about past events. Your love for the other person may have made you overlook certain things, but that is not your fault.
To recover from a toxic relationship, don’t let the guilt of choosing someone who turned out to be toxic, ruin your present.
Identify a toxic relationship and try to get out of it at the earliest, as it has the potential to ruin your confidence, happiness and self-esteem. Take the steps mentioned here to heal from the toxicity that an unhealthy relationship leaves you with while remaining patient throughout.
Share this article on
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.