Working through the self-doubt and building up the courage to leave.
Recently, I wrote about the subtle signs/red flags that indicate you may be in a toxic relationship.
After it was published, many of the comments/responses I received were from people who were in the midst of preparing to leave but were struggling to break the bond.
The truth is: I have been in the same situation and completely understand.
It is extremely hard to leave a toxic relationship especially when it has involved emotional or physical abuse.
However, I promise that you can overcome this.
You can work through the self-doubt and build up the courage to leave. Things are going to be so much better on the other side.
Here are some steps you can take to build up the courage to finally break things off for good and begin healing from a toxic relationship.
1. Write down how the relationship makes you feel
The following is an excerpt from my diary near the end of my most toxic relationship.
I feel an ache whenever I look at him. Since the night he told me he would never change and that love isn’t compromise, I feel just… heartbroken. I’m scared to have any kind of future with him and this feels like a one-way street. I’m so tired of trying so hard for someone that can’t even get off his bed to greet me when I walk through the door.
There are so many red flags in my words.
When I had a record of the painful events that had transpired, it made me realize how toxic my relationship was and it helped give me the strength to leave.
2. Take a look at who your closest friends are
Often, we surround ourselves with people that are going through similar situations in their life.
This was extremely detrimental in my toxic relationship because being around women who were allowing abuse/manipulation in their lives cultivated a false sense of normality.
On the other hand, if you ensure that your friends are people who don’t allow toxic behavior into their lives, then you are going to eventually follow their example.
It’s said that we are a combination of the five closest people to us and I cannot agree with that more.
3. Work on loving yourself/using positive affirmations
The more that you work on building yourself up, the more confident you are going to become in the decision to leave.
A fantastic affirmation I came across that is meant to help counteract the fear of leaving a toxic relationship is:
“I deserve someone that makes me feel supported and loved for who I am.”
Just because someone has tried to fill your head with lies doesn’t mean that you need to accept them. You deserve to be happy, and you should not continue to settle for anything less.
4. Have an exit strategy
When I was younger I was living with an emotionally abusive boyfriend that struggled with alcoholism and due to his job had a lot of guns lying around the house.
Even though I was quite young and inexperienced, I knew that I needed to be careful about how I handled the break-up.
I was terrified of his temper and the unpredictable mood swings that always came along with his alcohol consumption. I didn’t want to put myself in a dangerous situation and knew that springing our break-up on him while we were alone wasn’t a good idea.
I got a new place lined up and rounded up some friends to help me get my things while he was at work. I have no regrets to this day as there was no one who could predict how he would have reacted either way.
5. Prioritize self-care and your own time, after you’ve left
Now is the time in your life to be selfish and to put all of your needs first. It may be tempting to fill every second of every day with activities or to go out and party so that you aren’t stuck thinking about what happened with your relationship.
I’ve been there and I can tell you that it doesn't make the hurt go away, it is just a temporary distraction that will make things worse later on because you aren’t facing your feelings.
You’ve spent all of your time and energy on someone else and not focusing on your needs is only going to make it that much harder to move on.
Not thinking about what has transpired in our relationships and reflecting on the mistakes we made is how we end up in toxic situations over and over again. By prioritizing yourself you can not only gather up the strength to leave a toxic relationship but also focus on your self-growth.
Here is what I wish for you.
I wish for you to move on from what no longer serves you.
I wish for you to find the strength and courage inside of you that is just waiting to burst out.
I wish for you to find healing.
And I wish for you to never again accept a relationship that does not contain the love and respect that you deserve.