HOW TO LET TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS GO
Sometimes, the best decisions for us are the hardest. And self-care can sometimes mean letting go of toxic relationships that don’t promote harmony in our lives.
Some people give us energy when we’re around them. They support and love us like a true family member, friend, or significant other should. But others may leave us feeling drained.
Listen closely: you hold the power to choose who you allow into your space, into your life. The energy of those around you can have a strong impact on your heart, soul, and spirit. But not everyone is deserving of full access to your space and time. That’s why sometimes, in order to get better, we have to learn to move on — to let go of what’s holding us back.
But let me also say this: I know it’s not always that easy. Breaking up — whether it’s with someone who is a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, family member, or coworker — is hard. It might feel easier to just stay where you are instead of risking the unknown, working to start over. But you must also think about the state of your health and wellbeing within the equation.
It might not seem like the best time or situation to remove someone from your life. But what is it costing you to stay? Your physical and mental exhaustion? Your guilt, shame, or fear? Numerous attempts to continue fixing something that you already know is broken? Take some time to think about these factors and be honest with yourself.
Ending Toxic Relationships
Think about how you feel about the person in this relationship. Take time to write it down. Be open and write what you’re feeling. Ask yourself honest questions about the relationship and write down the answers without thinking too hard about them. Here are just some examples you could use:
- Do I often think about what it would be like without this person in my life?
- Am I the only one in the relationship willing to make compromises?
- Do I give more energy than I receive?
- Do I have more energy when I’m away from this person?
- Am I different with this person than I used to be without them? Is the difference good or bad?
- Do I easily get apologies when they’re due?
- Am I able to set healthy boundaries?
If these questions bring out powerful emotions in you, that’s completely okay; let yourself feel them and don’t hold them back.
And take a look at what you wrote. Look at your answers through the eyes of someone who didn’t write them. What do you notice? Continue this exercise for as long as you need. It might take some time before you’re ready to really see the truth, so be open and kind with yourself.
Also remember you can decide to end a relationship before actually doing it; sometimes you might have to take extra time. Often the more dysfunctional the relationship, the harder it can be to leave it. Lean on those who you support and who you trust to help during this time.
For additional help with leaving toxic relationships that no longer fit in your life, you might want to work with a professional who can talk you through the next steps — who can remind you of your courage and strength, listen to you in confidence, and help you make a plan.