How to Overcome a Toxic Relationship and Heal

Not every relationship is a good relationship. Almost all of us experience a toxic relationship in our lifetime. It could be a toxic friendship, romantic relationship, or familial relationship.

It can be fairly difficult to get out of a toxic situation for numerous reasons. But getting out may be necessary for your mental and physical well-being.

What Is a Toxic Relationship?

Person with face in hands

Getting out of a toxic relationship requires understanding that you are in a toxic relationship in the first place. A toxic relationship is defined as “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness” (Lillian Glass, Ph.D.).

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

While every toxic relationship looks different, there are some signs to watch out for that indicate your relationship may be toxic. Consider if any of these indicators are a part of any personal situation in your life.

1. You Feel Guilty Doing Things for Yourself

Toxic relationships often require a lot of your time. Many toxic people will get upset or angry if you take any time for yourself, which causes you to feel guilty for doing things without your partner.

2. You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells

One type of toxic person is people that get angry at the flip of a switch. You never know what sets them off, and that leads you to constantly censor yourself in your relationship.

3. They Belittle Your Thoughts and Feelings

Another type of toxic person is the type that constantly puts you down. They tell you that your thoughts and feelings don’t matter. Toxic people do this because it makes you feel like you’re not good enough for anyone else.

4. They Overreact Whenever You Try to Bring Up Problems

If you have tried to bring up problems or issues with your partner, and you end up consoling them at the end of the night, you might be in a toxic relationship. This type of behavior makes you feel unsupported and unable to speak about things you’re unhappy with.

5. They have Controlling Jealousy

Jealousy isn’t uncommon, but when jealousy becomes controlling, it can be a significant problem. Partners who constantly look through your phone, track your location, or worry about the way you dress are not conducive to a positive relationship.

6. They Never Follow Through

In any relationship, reliability is an important characteristic. If your partner often makes excuses for missing dates or important events and doesn’t follow through on their promises to you, you likely have a toxic relationship.

7. You’re being used

One final type of toxic relationship is where one person is using the other person for something. Do you give your time, money, energy, resources, or skills to your partner but get nothing in return? Relationships are a two-way street, and it isn’t good if only one partner is contributing.

6 ways to Overcome Toxic Relationships

If your relationship is making your life worse instead of better, it is important for you to know how to overcome that. Here are six ways that will help you move on and heal from your toxic relationship.

1. Recognize That Your Relationship is Toxic

The first step to overcoming a toxic relationship is recognizing you’re in one. When we experience a toxic relationship, that form of treatment begins to feel normal.

We may begin to believe that all relationships are the exact same way. You need to get out of that mind space by recognizing your partner’s toxic actions, such as the actions identified above.

2. Know that You Deserve Better

Some people choose to stay in a toxic relationship because they don’t believe they deserve or could have a better relationship. There are billions of people in the world; you are not only limited to the relationship you currently have if that relationship isn’t healthy.

3. Weigh the Good and Bad of Your Relationship

This step can be difficult, but it is important to analyze your relationship for its good and bad qualities. If the bad is outweighing the good, ending your relationship might be best. Some toxic relationships can be turned around, but make sure your relationship is worth saving.

4. Seek Help from Other People

Talking to someone outside of your relationship is beneficial for several reasons. First, it allows you to get a fresh outside perspective on what has happened in your relationship.

Second, a friend who has seen your situation can give you honest feedback about whether or not they think it’s toxic. Third, talking to someone can allow you to unpack everything that has happened to you. Seeking outside help from a friend, therapist, or trusted family member is essential to successfully heal from a toxic relationship.

5. Stop Blaming Yourself

Most toxic partners will lead you to believe that you are to blame for the unhealthy relationship. It’s important not to blame yourself. No one deserves to have abuse brought upon them, so it’s not your fault.

6. Focus on Yourself

When leaving a toxic relationship, make sure you spend time focusing on yourself. Focus on feeling your emotions, spending time with people who make you feel good, practicing healthy habits, and taking time to recover.

Few people can help you as much as you can help yourself. Understand that you have been through something that will take time to overcome, and give yourself the space to heal.

Final Thoughts on Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships happen all of the time. The important thing to takeaway here is you don’t have to be stuck in one. You deserve to be treated with love and respect.

When you recognize that and you’re able to end the toxic situation, you start the path to healing. Prioritize your self-care and seek professional help if you need any.

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