Toxic relationships aren’t healthy for anyone, but simply leaving a toxic relationship can be very difficult. Here are some tips for safely exiting a toxic relationship.
How to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship
Ask for Help
No matter what type of toxic relationship you’re looking to end, be it a romantic, familial, or social relationship, you’re going to need support. Talk to your friends, family, or therapist and be open. It’s common for a person in a toxic relationship to obscure the reality of their relationship from friends and family. Open up your communication and talk to a person you can depend on for advice, support, and accountability. It’s not easy to talk about these things, but having a person on your side in this difficult time is indispensable. A good friend or therapist can also help you further on in the process of exiting a toxic relationship as well.
Tell Them How You Feel
This may be the hardest but most important part of beginning to exit a toxic relationship: sharing your feelings. It’s important to tell the person with whom you are in a toxic relationship how you feel. Expressing this is difficult and depends on a variety of factors. If the person is prone to anger or violence, do not engage them in person. Physical, sexual, or emotionally abusive relationships need to be left immediately. Telling that person how you feel can be done from a safe distance, after you’re safely away from that person. In these cases, write down how you feel and send it to them somehow — a text message, a letter, whatever’s comfortable for you. It’s important to explain how you feel in a way that isn’t accusatory. Further blaming a person in a toxic relationship for things they’ve done will not help. Explain how you felt in the relationship, but limit it to your response to things. Avoid saying, “You did this” and instead say, “I felt like this.” Toxic relationships of most natures are very difficult to mend. Exiting safely requires you to clearly express that you wish to end the relationship. Be clear and firm.
Stick to It
Now that you’ve exited the relationship, you need to make sure you stay out of it. One of the main reasons a person stays in a toxic relationship is their ability to see the good while overlooking the bad when it’s convenient. You may miss the person with whom you had a toxic relationship. It’s only natural to miss someone you had an intense connection with, but going back to that person is not healthy. This is where that support structure can come in handy again. Those people you shared your feelings with, the ones you counted on for advice and support in the early stages of exiting the relationship, can help hold you accountable. They can help to remind you of why you left in the first place when all you can think about is going back. You didn’t decide to end your toxic relationship overnight. You planned, you shared, you made up your mind after considering the other options. Commit to that decision, and don’t go back. You’ll be happier for it, even if it hurts at first. Professional help in the form of individual counseling can be greatly useful when recovering from a toxic relationship. You can learn how to forge better, healthier relationships and explore what made the previous relationship toxic. Making sense of what went wrong and how to avoid the same thing going forward is much easier with a therapist on your side.
Leave Potential Danger
Exiting a toxic relationship is very difficult, and it can be unsafe. If you feel or know that you’re in physical danger with a person, leave immediately. Do not make a list of pros and cons. Don’t try to confront your abuser in person. Extract yourself from violent situations before things escalate. Get out, and then focus on healing. Nobody deserves abuse of any form, and recognizing this might take some work after a particularly toxic relationship. Give yourself time, but do not hesitate to leave a person who makes you feel unsafe.
Toxic relationships are not good for either party involved, and exiting them is usually the only right choice. If you are ready to exit a toxic relationship or need help moving on, call us at SOL Mental Health today. Our mental health professionals are ready to help.