After investing much time and energy into a relationship throughout what many couples deem the honeymoon phase, only to have a partner reveal themself to be toxic is devastating.
In one breath, you want to try to make a go of it because you spent so much time cultivating a familiarity and comfortability that was easy.
But gradually, that ease was switching to a stress you don’t quite understand but are defending with excuses of work pressure, family issues, anything that doesn’t lead back to the two of you simply being a toxic combination.
What steps can you take to heal following the ending of a toxic relationship? Find a few things you can do to cleanse your mind, body, and spirit from the unhealthy union below.
Can toxic relationships be healed?
Unfortunately, toxic partnerships don’t show themselves when dating is new or in the months when couples are enjoying getting to know each other.
These generally hold off for as long as the infatuation stage lasts or until there’s an agreement that the two will remain exclusive and develop a semblance of commitment.
Even at that point, it’s not a sudden unmasking ceremony. It happens gradually with little incidents over time. It seems the more time the unsuspecting person invests in a relationship, the harder they want to try to make it work instead of having to start from scratch with someone new.
When something no longer serves your mental well-being, it’s for your greatest good to leave it. You might have believed that things would work out initially, but you can’t keep fooling yourself if things continue to worsen.
You’re not to blame when it turns out you’re not a compatible match, nor that this could have the potential for being controlling or, worse, abusive. But it is within your power to cut ties and find your path to healing from that point.
If the person you’re with isn’t easy or throws their power around, not only will walking away be made more complicated than it needs to be. But healing will also take time and require you to have patience with yourself. Check out these steps you can take to help you navigate the healing process.
Identify in your mind what actually occurred
As is the rule with every relationship, people tend to question whether things were really that bad. That couldn’t be more true than in a toxic partnership. Mates look back to wonder if it wasn’t somehow their fault, and maybe the toxic individual wasn’t so poisonous, perhaps not bad at all.
It’s natural to go through this thought process, but it’s essential to recognize these aren’t facts. You need to look at the reality of the situation “head-on” if you hope to figure out when things began to turn toxic and why.
Narrowing it down to an approximation allows you to see the partnership for what it genuinely was – damaging. You can start to cleanse when you see it for the unhealthy union it really was.
Break all points of contact; there’s no reason to remain friends
As a couple, the interaction between the two of you was unhealthy, making it unwise to continue any sort of relationship, including being friends. For a complete break, it’s vital to eliminate any possibility for contact.
That means blocking their email, deleting and blocking their mobile number, unfriending them in any social network you participated in together, and avoiding all public locations that you might have frequented as a couple.
If the individual has a connection you’re unable to break easily, perhaps you attend school together, maybe an extracurricular activity or volunteering, or maybe even work together. Or they could live in your apartment building, it won’t be easy.
Still, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth making lifestyle changes in order to break away from the person.
That could sound drastic, but sometimes extreme measures are vital in order to move on from something creating mental unwellness. If you need to move, change your career, or transfer schools, those might be changes that need to occur for your best interest.
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A support system is always beneficial when healing
If you were together for an extended period, you’d likely have mutual friends. These won’t make the ideal confidants when attempting to work through the breakup.
Friends familiar with both of you will have opinions, judgments, and difficulties in being impartial. That’s not the sort of support system that’s helpful in the healing stages.
The friends you need close to you are those who are unfamiliar with your ex. They can actively listen to what you’re dealing with, really hear you, and make suggestions if you want advice or just be there.
Many times, just going out to dinner to talk things over with a friend or having someone stay over now and again until you can adjust to being alone works wonders.
Another good source is seeking the assistance of a personal counselor. That’s beneficial in helping you identify the toxicity and offering tools for avoiding self-blame and moving forward with the healing process.
Going through a breakup, whether toxic or not, is stressful. Stress, particularly high stress, is tough on general health, making it imperative that you find ways to cope in order to reduce the levels as much as possible.
Some methods for letting go of stress include meditation and journaling or exercises, with journaling being especially beneficial in releasing a lot of emotion.
The idea is to write down everything you’re experiencing each day emotionally. When you exhaust your feelings, you can read it to someone. So you can discuss it and then rip it up or simply burn it after you read it silently.
Another critical step is to visit with your medical provider so the professional can monitor the levels and establish a wellness program. You must maintain a routine of rising at a usual time and lying down at a reasonable hour with an uninterrupted period of eight hours of sleep.
- Read on: How should a wife treat her husband?
You also want to avoid unhealthy substances and indulging in junk foods. Instead, it’s essential to maintain a wholesome, healthy diet plan.
The priority when healing, specifically from a toxic relationship, is to avoid the mindset of a victim. It would help if you tried very hard to consider yourself a survivor and look toward the future in that context.
Look for the lessons
It will be a tricky part of the healing process, but a necessary component is that you examine the partnership in its entirety. You’ll need to focus on things you can presently let go of in your life that you might still be holding onto that no longer serve you.
After reviewing the interactions, you can further ask yourself where you might have missed the red flags. The idea is to be better prepared in the future if you face similar circumstances.
Think about ways to grow from the experience, so you don’t settle into a pattern with similar people. You’ll have to wait to go through this process until the healing reaches the acceptance phase, where you can be much more objective in your thought process. You want to avoid the point when you are prone to self-blaming.
The gist of this step is to come to terms with what is in the past so you can then leave it there. Moving forward means maintaining a robust and healthy presence in the here and now without delving back into what was.
That allows the opportunity to find new romance with minimal likelihood of a repeat of similar behaviors.
Toxic relationships are not something that presents themself off the cuff. In the initial phases of a romance, couples show what they believe the other person wants to see in a mate in order to make a good impression.
The problem when putting on airs is the pair continues to see each other throughout what deems a honeymoon phase without seeing authenticity in either person.
The genuineness doesn’t rear its head until the point of exclusivity and commitment, which seals the union. When partners start being real, they can then determine if they’re actually compatible.
Two very different personalities are obviously going to create a toxic combination, one where the individuals likely bicker and fight more than get along.
The problem is now everyone is being honest, expressing their likes and dislikes, and bucking the other person’s opinions. If one of them happens to be in any way controlling, it can lead to anger or even potential abuse.
The ideal scenario when you recognize that you have nothing in common is to mutually decide to walk away. But what would be even better is if people avoided pretense when dating from the very beginning.
You must be as authentic as possible from the start. If you don’t like something or disagree with your date, speak up. You could otherwise waste a lot of time and energy on someone who is a poor influence on your mental wellness. Let them like who you genuinely are and vice versa.