Breaking up with an active dysfunctional partner is quite difficult, despite the damage it causes us. Sometimes, as much as we understand the damage they cause, we do not know how to end a toxic relationship. On many occasions, we do not even realize that we are in one.
In this article, we are going to teach you how to identify a toxic relationship and we are going to give you ten tips so that you can leave that vicious cycle behind and you can emotionally free yourself.
1. Stop denying that the relationship is toxic
If the whole planet tells you that you are in the middle of a toxic relationship, it is not because “they are not seeing the whole picture” or because “they do not know the other person, who also has his good side”.
Nobody says that certain redeemable things do not exist. More generally, when the whole planet begins to appreciate that the activity you have with the other is harmful, it is for something.
Stop justifying yourself with excuses. Accept that your relationship is toxic, that it brings you more bad things than good and it is best to end it.
It hurts a lot to realize it, but it is necessary to break the vicious circle.
2. Identify the basis of the problem
What precisely makes a relationship “toxic”? Generally, it tends to be asymmetric or interdependent. One part has too much power over the other, or else both are useless to be functioning independently.
It may be that the “toxic” in your activity has to do with possessiveness and jealousy, or with the need for one to monitor each and every one of the other’s actions. Perhaps it is toxic because one only gives and the other only receives.
Be that as it may, understanding why and how we got to this point helps us to identify the sensitive basis of the problem and to stop justifying it, downplaying it, or ignoring it.
3. Find the “hidden reward”
All toxic relationships leave us some “hidden reward”, a kind of benefit that we do not want to abandon and hence we endure the disadvantages of the relationship. That reward may be something unconscious.
For example, in a toxic relationship filled with jealousy and lack of trust, the hidden reward might be the ability to assert ourselves by having full possession of another human.
In a relationship where there is psychological abuse or excessive control, the victim’s hidden reward may be a justification for not leaving his comfort zone and taking the bridle of his life.
This hidden reward is the author that, although we are aware that the relationship hurts us, we return to it again and again.
4. Find valid ways to deal with the underlying problem
The hidden reward always and at all times responds to an individual background inconvenience. For example, if we have a deep fear of being alone, we will build toxic relationships in which we give too much and demand too little in return.
As if the couple were “doing us a favor” by the mere fact of staying with us. The hidden reward is not having to face loneliness, but if the relationship is toxic it is accompanied by insecurities and discomfort.
If the problem is the fear of loneliness, instead of trying to mitigate it by maintaining a relationship at all costs, we can include it from another perspective. Perhaps learning to be comfortable and happy when we only have ourselves.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
It is easier to build healthy relationships if we surround ourselves with positive people. This applies to love, friendship, work, and even family.
The difference between positive people and toxic people is that the former enrich relationships with their virtues and the latter build relationships based on their flaws and faults.
Forging healthy relationships in other settings helps you appreciate the toxic quirks of your loving relationship. It is easier to hold fast to your resolve to end that relationship if you can see the effects of positive people in your life on a daily basis.
6. Write your future
You have already made the resolution to conclude, but you are afraid that when the anger passes or when you start to miss the other you will lose your conviction.
The best thing is to anticipate the inescapable. If you know that you will soon deal with the enormous temptation to call or look for your ex-, write a letter to your future partner where you remind him of each and every one of the good reasons that exist to sustain the breakup.
It is a kind of withdrawal syndrome. You are going to have anxiety and you are going to wonder how to continue after ending a toxic relationship. It is inescapable, you will go through that unpleasant stage in any way, but you can help yourself not to relapse.
7. Turn the source of the problem into an opportunity
If you have already identified what the sensitive source of your toxic part of the relationship was, and what hidden reward you got from it, you can turn things around and transform the inconvenience into an occasion.
For example, you are terrified of loneliness. That can continue to be a pretext for toxic relationships, or it can be the ideal impetus for you to learn to:
- To be perfectly fine with you without specifying absolutely anyone else.
- Value yourself again and understand that the rest are not “doing you a favor” by being with you.
- Surround yourself with people who do want to contribute positive things to your life, such as recognizing all the good in you.
8. Excuse yourself and forgive yourself
When we are in a toxic relationship, we do and affirm things that we are not proud of. We also make irresponsible omissions or we leave abuses and damages to us.
These failures lead to much guilt and resentment. From guilt and resentment comes the feeling that “there is something left to fix”, and the feeling that there is something to repair is the one who makes sure that we return again and again.
If you want to break this cycle, you must understand that you cannot change the past, but you can learn not to return to make exactly the same mistakes in the future.
Forgiving yourself does not mean being forgiving and continuing with exactly the same attitude. And apologizing to the other does not mean that you will return. Forgiveness for yourself and for the rest means that you are no longer going to let the past catch you and hurt you.
9. Let go
As ending a toxic relationship is not only letting go of the bad things but also the good things, it is very normal that it is painful and that we end up giving in to the urge to hold on and return.
But, according to Buddhist philosophy, clinging to things, people or situations is something that only causes us pain, holds us slaves to the outer planet, and prevents us from “moving forward.”
You don’t have to spend hours meditating to learn to let go. He simply admits that sometimes things are not as we would like and that the people we love are not always and always good for us.
10. Stand firm
Everything good in life involves a bit of resolve and solidity. Learning how to end a toxic relationship is one thing that is going to bring you many benefits. In the long run, it will also help you build a better character.
So as with any goal, stick to your position and don’t give in to blackmail, pleading, or threats. The relationship is over. Respect your resolution.
If the other party refuses to move on or to get over the issue, it is not your problem or your responsibility. Your commitment is with you.