Identifying Toxic Relationships and How to Safely Exit

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Relationships can be tricky to navigate with all the emotions involved, but there are surefire signs to be aware of what will let you know if you’re in a toxic relationship.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the main themes of toxic relationships. If you are feeling any of these, it’s time to put yourself first and exit the relationship.

Here Are 3 Ways to Identify Toxic Relationships:

  1. Violation of Boundaries 

The first sign to notice that shows you may be in a toxic relationship is that the other person consistently violates your personal boundaries, especially after making it known that their behavior makes you uncomfortable. When the other person continues with their unacceptable behavior towards you, it clearly shows they have no respect for your space.

  1. Feeling Manipulated 

“Toxic” people will reject or diminish your feelings with phrases like “You’re being overly emotional.” They will twist information to somehow make you feel like it’s your fault. They will deny things they did or said and put words in your mouth to push it back on you. This type of behavior is called “gaslighting” and is a manipulative technique used to give power and control to the toxic individual and diminish your sense of self-worth in the relationship.

  1. Makes You Feel Bad 

When a relationship makes you feel bad, insignificant, unworthy, or like you can’t do anything right, it’s not the right relationship for you, in fact, it’s quite toxic for you to stay in. Being in a constant state of unhappiness, victimhood, and even fear is not an acceptable way to live.

If you have lowered your standards to make the unacceptable acceptable, and your life is getting worse in the relationship rather than better, it’s time to consider making an exit plan.

How to Safely Exit Toxic Relationships:

  1. Get Support 

The first step is to seek healthy support before you even talk to your partner about leaving. You can turn to positive friends, family, or support groups to give you the space where your feelings are heard, validated, and honored, thereby giving you the strength to make the change.

You also have the option of seeking therapeutic support from a professional. Not only will a trained therapist be able to identify a toxic relationship, but they also have procedures for helping you to make a safe exit, cope with your emotions, and break the pattern that attracts those types. With all these options, you will find people who are on your side, who will help you boost your self-esteem, and support you in creating healthy boundaries for the future.

  1. Tell them, “It’s Over” 

Once your support is in place, it’s time to talk to your partner and tell them the relationship is over. Remain objective as you tell them how you feel and use non-threatening statements like, “I feel this way when…”, rather than blaming statements like, “You always do this…”. Stand strong in your words and be prepared to face some resistance from your partner. They are not going to be happy, but your happiness is now more important to you than theirs is. Know the outcome you are aiming for and don’t let them manipulate you back into the relationship.

  1. The Aftermath 

Many mixed emotions will surface as you will be relieved to be out of the relationship but sad about “losing” your partner or not having your expectations met. It’s natural to want to gravitate back to the relationship since it’s so uncomfortably familiar. This part of the process can be complicated and isn’t easy to go through, but many people find themselves much happier once they make it out on the other side.

During this tough time, continue to get the help of your support network to encourage you through this process and remind you that something better is coming along. No matter the emotions, remember that your well-thought-out decision was made for you to better your life and live more happily. No negative person is worth giving that up for.

  1. Breaking the Patterns 

Once you’re away from the relationship, you will get greater clarity on why you allowed that person in your life in the first place. You can learn from those “mistakes” and decisions and recognize the red flags to look out for next time. As you reflect on your life and heal those parts of yourself that attracted such a toxic person, you’ll be more likely to attract a more loving mate in the future. As a general rule of thumb, when you cultivate self-love, others will love you as you love you, so start within.

While recognizing toxicity and moving through the process of exiting a toxic relationship, forgive yourself for your choices, and remember a toxic relationship simply means you and your partner are not a healthy fit for each other and leave it at that. Judging, blaming, criticizing, and other such actions will only make it worse. Take the high road.

By recognizing the signs above, you’ll be able to tell when your partner is trying to use their control tactics on you to keep you feeling small and powerless. You will be able to tell when they’re trying to reel you back into the relationship or twist your words around, so you somehow feel wrong for wanting to leave. Ignore their toxicity and move on with your life, from a place of self-love. There is no longer a need for self-sacrifice in relationships.

It’s time to break free from the patterns of toxic relationships, go within to heal yourself, and then reemerge as one who knows they deserve genuine love and respect from a romantic partner.

Emotional traumas from the past need to be healed to have a happier, more wonderful now and future. You deserve to be loved as you love.

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– The Wellness Universe

*Originally published on March 23, 2019.

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