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Steps to Leave a Toxic Relationship

Leaving a toxic relationship can be very difficult, especially if you've had a traumatic experience in the past. Leaving a toxic relationship is not simply a decision but a changing process

This article will look at signs of a toxic relationship, why it’s hard to leave a toxic relationship, and the steps to leave a toxic relationship.

“Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can come together” ~Marilyn Monroe.

Relationships largely occupy our minds and emotions. When they go wrong, they can leave us heartbroken, listless, and depressed. If a relationship becomes toxic, that is, it impacts your health and well-being; the brave step to take is to leave. 

Leaving a toxic relationship can be very difficult, especially if you’ve had a traumatic experience in the past. Leaving a toxic relationship is not simply a decision but a changing process.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

It’s often hard to know whether your relationship is toxic or not because of manipulation involved in partner toxicity. Make a pro/con list to help you know if your relationship is toxic.

If your partner does the following, then your relationship is toxic:

  • Cuts you off from finances, friends, and family
  • Doesn’t respect your privacy
  • Is jealous and controlling
  • Makes all the decisions
  • Is unfaithful
  • Threatens you
  • Destroys property
  • Talks down to you

Why it’s Hard Leaving a Toxic Relationship

People are often tied in toxic relationship patterns that can be hard to get out of. Reasons why it’s hard getting out of a toxic relationship include;

  • Oxytocin- is a hormone the body releases during moments of intimacy. Oxytocin causes you to be more trusting and promotes bonding, making it feel impossible to leave your partner. The hormone is most common in women.
  • Children- for couples with kids, leaving can be very challenging because of the perceived negative impact on them or concerns about custody.
  • Finances- it can be hard for a partner who is financially dependent on the other to leave.
  • Shame- many people hide their relationship issues from their family and friends. As a result, they silently suffer in their relationships as they are too ashamed to seek help.
  • Fear- when in a toxic relationship, one partner is manipulative to the other. This can be through emotional, physical, or financial threats if the other talks of leaving. This can make the manipulated partner afraid of leaving. 
  • It will stop mindset– society discourages giving up. One may decide not to leave, hoping their partners will change.

Steps to Leave a Toxic Relationship

Ending a toxic relationship can be complicated. Here are some steps you can take to make the process easier;

Build a Safety Net

If you’re thinking of quitting a toxic relationship, you must make plans to deal with the transition.

Ask yourself the following;

  • Where will you stay?
  • What possessions do you need?
  • If you have kids, will they be affected by the transition?
  • Are you financially stable?
  • Are there any threats when you leave?

Don’t rush while answering these questions to build safety boundaries. This process should be well thought out.

Let Someone Know

No more secrets. 

Find friends and family members who you truly trust, let them know what you are going through. Definitely, they will help you with the process.

It’s also advisable to inform your partner of your decision to leave. This helps you know their response and know if there are any threats or not. If you feel threatened by your partner, inform the local authorities for help.

If you have kids with your partner, it’s best to tell them about your decision. This way, you’ll get their opinion and support that will help ease the transition process.

Seek Help

People in bad relationships need social help from family, friends, and professionals to cope with change. Changing is not simply a decision but a process.

Join support groups and counselors who are experienced in relationship issues. A therapist also can guide you and help in creating and meeting your goals. If you’re leaving your marriage, an experienced family attorney may be necessary. 

Make a Decision 

After building a safety net and informing the right people, decide whether the relationship is worth fighting for or you’re better off by yourself. Remember your partner’s response when you expressed your feelings. 

Did they:

  • Make excuses?
  • Ignore you?
  • Blame you?
  • Harass you?

These are some signs that you should leave the relationship and get better yourself.

If the person apologized and agreed that there is a problem and needs to seek help, then maybe the relationship is worth fighting for. The toxic partner may benefit from therapy sessions, exercises, or taking steps to regain self-awareness. 

Surround Yourself with Positivity

After deciding whether to leave or solve issues, practicing self-care and surrounding yourself with positivity is very important. You can do this by:

  • Spending time with friends and family who make you feel good.
  • Treating yourself with things you love, eg, favorite meals.
  • Performing acts of kindness to the less fortunate.
  • Appreciating the great things you already have.

Going through a toxic relationship accumulates stress. Surrounding yourself with positivity helps replace these negative emotions.

Stick to Your Decision

Many times after leaving, you begin missing your partner. That’s normal.

Wanting the person back in your life can be tempting, but remember, the decision was after a long thought-out process. Stick with your decision. You made it to better your life. 

If you want to stick to your decision, it’s best to stop talking to your partner. Toxic partners are very cunning and can lure you back in using emotional blackmail. Stop any form of communication unless you have kids and need to co-parent. In such cases, only talk about the kids.

The Bottom Line

Being in a toxic relationship is not only hard but also makes you feel trapped in it.

If you’re in a toxic relationship, take a brave step to leave – find happiness because you deserve to be happy.

There are good people out there, people who can make you feel comfortable and happy. Don’t let your toxic partner sabotage your joy. If you are having trouble creating boundaries and coping with the transition, reach out to a mental health professional.

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Samuel Njoroge

MODEL: Samuel Njoroge

Samuel (he/him) is a freelance writer, blogger, copywriter, and marketer. And a career spanning three years and enjoys crafting error-free content that increases subscriptions and sales. Samuel excels in mental health, self-improvement, technology, and marketing topics.