“It is so hard to leave – until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.” – John Green
Realizing that you’re in a toxic relationship is one of the hardest things in life. But that’s how you start healing yourself and take the first step towards a stronger you. Admitting that you’re with someone who doesn’t love you, treat you right, and doesn’t deserve you is what will empower you to build a better life for yourself.
When you’re in a bad relationship you feel like that’s where you belong. That’s how relationships feel like. That’s how love feels like. But it doesn’t. You hear everyone else telling you that you should leave them but you just can’t think about leaving this relationship, even if you realize it’s unhealthy.
As you decide to stay a little longer, hoping that he or she might finally change, it takes a toll on your mind, body, heart, and soul. It eats away your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth. It drains you of your mental energy and makes you doubt yourself.
Am I perfect myself?
Who am I to judge them?
They have their own way of loving me.
If I leave them, will anyone ever want me again?
I am happy with what I have.
I am happy with them.
You lie to yourself. But you need to tell yourself the truth. That you’re worthy. Worthy of love. Worthy of happiness. Worthy of a better life. Worthy of being with a friend and a more loving & caring partner who makes you their top priority. Leaving a toxic relationship is a difficult process but not an impossible one.
You need to gulp down an extra-large shot of self-love if you want to get through this. Loving yourself is the only way to fight these negative thoughts and get out of a relationship that not fulfilling and utterly toxic.
They don’t deserve you
“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
One more time. They don’t deserve you. They don’t deserve your love. They don’t deserve your time or all the effort you put in to make this relationship work. You are a beautiful and amazing person. If they are unable to see that, then should they be in your life anymore? If they are with you only when it’s convenient for them or when they are alone or when they need something from you, then do they really love or care about you?
Wake up and smell the coffee.
You are just being used by a toxic person who is keeping you imprisoned in a toxic relationship. Is it even a relationship if only one partner is putting in all the efforts to make it work? Whether it’s a close friendship or a romantic relationship, if it’s one-sided then it’s destined to fail. Despite how hard you try, you know deep in your heart this will never blossom into a healthy, happy relationship.
They will treat you the way you allow them to. If your man or woman is unwilling to step up and show that they care, that they are willing to put in the work required to save this relationship, that they value you then it’s high time that you dump their ass. You deserve a partner. Not someone who is there just to enjoy the privileges.
Staying with a person who doesn’t care, love or respect you is an act of cruelty towards yourself. Love yourself and show yourself some respect, even if they won’t. Scratch that. Show yourself some respect, ESPECIALLY if they won’t.
Leaving is not easy, but it’s doable
You accept that they may never love you the way you love them. You’re fine with the way they treat you. You’re happy that they’re with you and you have them by your side. You tell yourself all relationships go through bad phases. All romantic partners fight and argue. But this is not what a loving, caring relationship should be.
This is a one-sided relationship. A relationship where only one partner makes all the efforts to make love last. A love that doesn’t even exist there anymore. Something that should have been left a long time ago. You should have moved on a long time ago.
But there’s still time. There’s still hope. That’s the beauty of life. That’s the beauty of the human spirit.
Here are a few tactics that will empower you to leave a toxic relationship, liberate yourself and show yourself some love and compassion.
8 Step guide to Leaving a Toxic Relationship
1. Start keeping a journal
Start writing. Write down everything you feel without censoring anything. Keeping a journal can help you to express your thoughts and emotions and vent out. You can write about anything you like, even those feelings which you can’t share with your family and friends. The more you write openly and freely, the more you will learn about what you are truly feeling, what you want from a friendship or a relationship, and what you actually deserve.
The journal can also be a great way to document any abuse, mistreatment, or unhealthy behaviors. Moreover, it is also a great way to counteract gaslighting. Journaling is a simple yet effective way to voice your innermost feelings and thoughts that you kept hidden till now.
2. Get some alone time
Once you get in touch with your inner feelings, you will start realizing certain aspects about yourself, your relationship, and your life. This will begin to shift your line of thinking. During this phase, it is important that you stay away from other people who might influence your thoughts and feelings. This includes your besties, your families, and your partner. It is only when you spend more time with yourself and become a recluse, you will realize that you’re in a toxic relationship.
One of the greatest and most enjoyable ways to do this is to go on a solo trip for a week. Not only a quick vacation will rejuvenate your mind and soul, it will also help you to realize how much better your life will be without your romantic partner or close friend. You will find out how strong you actually are and reflect on your life and relationship. Getting some space from others is critical if you want to leave the one who doesn’t deserve you and save yourself.
3. Ignore relationship advice from others
Some people will tell you to leave your toxic partner immediately while others might tell you to hold strong. You may be told things like –
Your partner makes good money.
Men are like this.
Don’t let a woman dominate you.
He/she is totally wrong for you.
It’s better than being alone.
Why don’t you just leave?
You can add some more BS advice to the list. I am sure you’ve heard your fair share of them. But make sure you don’t believe any of it and ignore them completely. Most of the time it will be your friends and family to say these things and they will mean well, but you need to follow your instincts, thoughts, and feelings without being influenced by anyone.
You need to reach a decision by yourself based on what you feel and not on what others tell you. That is the only way to take the right step you need to.
4. Reflect and decide
This is the phase where you need to make a decision. However, in order to do that, you will have to introspect and focus on the past. Calm your mind and think about the beginning of the relationship.
What made you fall in love with your partner?
What made them attracted to you?
Why were they your best friend at one time?
What made you get so close to each other?
Where do you think things started going wrong?
Were they like this all along?
Think about all the good memories and even the bad times. Reflecting on your relationship will enable you to take a firm conclusive decision. If the negatives outweigh the positives, if the abuse outweighs the happiness, then it’s time to leave.
5. Stop rationalizing abuse
When reflecting on your relationship, your mind and heart may focus more on the good times and ignore the bad memories. This is because we subconsciously tend to rationalize the bad behavior of our partners in abusive relationships. You will find various ways to excuse their actions and force yourself to believe that your partner still loves you and cares about you. You may tell yourself that he or she may abuse you verbally and emotionally but they never hit you.
Maybe you always manage to annoy them and it’s mainly your fault. Not theirs. But deep down you know that all these are the lies that you tell yourself to keep the relationship going a little bit longer.
Stop taking the blame for their toxicity. Their bad behavior is not your fault. No matter what you do, you are never at fault. If you are being abused, stop taking the blame and start looking at it the way it is.
“Sometimes, people choose to leave not because of selfish reasons. But they just know that things will get worse if they stay.” – unknown
6. Find strength inside you
Once you’ve taken the decision to leave, you need to find the emotional strength and stability to follow through with your decision. Your partner will try their best to persuade, convince, manipulate and con you into staying with them. They will make tempting promises that they will never keep.
Being emotionally stable will give you the strength to avoid their traps and get out of this toxic relationship. Emotional strength is your weapon against their manipulation and lies.
7. Don’t force yourself
Once you’ve reached this stage of the process, make sure you don’t push yourself to get out of that door. Take the time you need to prepare yourself and move out only when you are ready to do it. It may take a few days or even a few months. The time frame does not matter as long as you’re sure about what you want to do with your life and yourself. However, make sure that you don’t stay longer than you need to.
8. Plan and create the future you want
Make a detailed plan about your future life before leaving. Visualize it and plan exactly how you want your life to be from now on.
How do you want to live as an empowered, independent individual?
What do you want to achieve in life?
What goals do you have?
What dreams do you want to pursue?
What kind of friendships do you want to build from now on?
What type of relationship do you want next time?
Once you know what your future looks like, you won’t regret your decision of leaving them once you’ve walked out of the door. Use your time wisely and plan ahead for your journey into the future alone. Now is the time for you to create the future you want.
Be the fierce, strong person you’re meant to be
“Letting go of your painful past is how you open yourself to a wonderful future.” – Bryant H. McGill
Relationships don’t need to be painful or toxic. They should be loving and caring. You deserve a partner who loves and supports you. Someone who accepts you as you are and lets you be. You need to stop handing them the power over you. Take your stand, stand up tall and leave when you’re ready.
Yes, it will be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it will be more than worth it. And it looks harder from a distance than it actually is. Be the incredible and strong and self-respecting person that you truly are and walk away for good.