You’ve finally realized that you are in a toxic relationship. Let’s just take a moment to give you a big pat on the back for ending up here. Right here on this page. Because even searching for the phrase ‘how to leave a toxic relationship’ shows that you are taking the first step in the right direction.
Thinking about stepping out, and actually stepping out are two very different things. To everyone around you it might seem like the easiest thing to do. But at this stage, after you’ve invested so much of your being to this toxic partner – how can you just tear away?
You can! Just like many other men and women before you, you can step out of it. It’s going to be very hard, it’s going to be challenging, you are going to be faced with even more toxic behavior. Throughout the entire break up process, you should just remember how strong you are.
No matter how tired, drained, empty, soulless, or hopeless you feel; find that last bit of self worth inside your belly and scream – FUCK IT! I’M OUT!
How do you actually do it? Especially if you are living together, sharing children, or you’ve been together for a long time, it might seem impossible to end a toxic relationship.
Make Your Decision then Be Quiet
Chances are, at this point, that you’ve had many brawls – some might even have ended up physical. Avoid any further confrontation about topics you’ve discussed a million times before. When you’ve tried therapy, talking softly, discussing problems, and perhaps even actively trying solutions which have ended up fruitless – it’s time to just let it be.
Make your decision and make it final. Then be quiet. You can confide in a trusted friend or family member, saying that this is what you are planning to do – you are finally leaving.
Breakups are painful under normal circumstances, breaking away from a toxic person is even worse. They’ve been controlling your mind for such a long time; don’t think that it will be any different when you try to leave them. It’s going to be a toxic breakup too.
That is why you want to be a smooth criminal. When you break away, you want it to be clean cut – never looking back. Once you’ve made your decision and are 100% certain, you can move towards the next step.
No big steps have ever been taken without planning ahead. Couples in healthy relationships respect each other. When a break up is on the table, it can actually be discussed. Sure, the significant other will definitely oppose the breakup. Chances are it will be an uncomfortable yet adult discussion. You’ll be able to make plans together on how you are going to handle moving out, getting your stuff, etc.
There’s no way in hell, that you can discuss a break up with a toxic person. You need to plan ahead if you want to ensure that the break is clean. This might sound brutal – sure. But this will be the only way in which you can get out of it.
Sit down and think about everything you need to start afresh. Do you have enough money saved up? Do you have a place to go? Are your devices unlinked with theirs? Before you change your social media profile back to ‘single’, make sure that all these things are in place.
Plan ahead by making sure you can move out of the apartment without having to return for some of your things, or even having contact with them. Putting everything in place might take a few weeks or even months, in the long run it will be worth it.
Before you break the silence, you need to find a confidant – someone you can trust wholeheartedly. Chances are this toxic partner has obviously isolated you from the world, hopefully you have someone that you can turn to. Even if your toxic partner estranged you from your family members and friends, chances are they’ll understand and accept you with open arms when you ask support during the breakup.
Having someone to lean on during this time is important. As the toxic partner has tried to establish themselves as your only life line. You’ve become accustomed to their roller coaster of emotion – making you feel good and bad all at the same time. Remember, that consistency is key. A healthy partner won’t build you up only to put you down again.
Support can be divided into a few different forms:
Emotional Support: Someone who listens to everything you’ve been going through. A great listener who can sympathize and console.
Financial Support: You might need to spend a few dollars for either transport, rent, moving, or getting back on your feet. It’s always best to try and save up before leaving, but if you need a cash injection find financial support.
Honesty Support: Your mind is jumping in all different directions. Don’t forget that it’s called a toxic relationship for nothing. Toxins can make our bodies and hearts ache, once you are no longer in the presence of a toxic partner you might even experience withdrawal symptoms.
During this stage of hesitation, you are going to need someone who doesn’t mind hitting you with reality. I remember there was a time where I had to assign one of my friends to remind me about all the reasons why I’m leaving and why I’ve broken up with them.
Protection: If you are in a situation where you fear for your safety, you are going to need people who will step in when the situation calls for it. Your ex might even want to blackmail or threaten you. Don’t retaliate alone, just call in the troops.
Physical Support: If you need to move your belongings you have to call in some man power. Having physical support will make you feel empowered and part of a team. Not alone anymore.
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable and ask for assistance. It’s okay to find support in those around you. It doesn’t make you weak.
I’ve contemplated about this for a very long time. How do you actually go about the break up? Over a text? Do you tell them in person? Don’t you tell them and just leave?
In both of my toxic relationships (I know, I made the same mistake – twice – don’t worry I’ve education myself on the signs of a toxic relationship and won’t make that mistake again.) I tried to break up in person. This never ended well. It would always result in the other person throwing a tantrum, crying hysterically, making false promises, and trying to convince me to stay – which I almost always did.
This is why I’ve come up with this ‘recipe’ to cut off and move on as soon as possible:
- Make your decision
2. Plan ahead
3. Break up & Leave
4. Don’t look back
Don’t leave a long window of time in between the actual break up and you actually leaving. This will give the toxic person too much time to get inside your mind and gaslight the living sh*t out of you.
I think a conversation no matter in which form is the best way to go about it. A quick conversation. Either over the phone, video call, or in person. Then RUN! The best way to break away is to rip off the band-aid and get out.
Don’t Believe the Lie “I Will Change”
They won’t! Toxic people are usually extremely selfish, self-entitled, controlling, and aren’t capable of self reflection. They will only make empty promises in order to get you to stick around for longer.
If they wanted to change, they would’ve have done it months ago. You’ve asked them numerous times to treat you better, to stop doing certain things – to which the answer is always the same “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again”. Whether it’s another pathetic, empty apology or an emotional outburst – don’t believe that this time they will change.
Someone who is toxic, need to fix themselves first before embarking on any other relationships.
In many cases, you won’t get the answers you are looking for. Questions like: Why did you lie to me? Why didn’t you try harder? Why this? Why that? It’s okay to let sleeping dogs lie and just accept the fact that you won’t ever be able to understand why they’ve done the things they have.
Don’t Look Back
Once you’ve gone through all the steps, don’t look back. Studies have proven that toxic relationships and partners are somewhat of an addiction.
It’s like they’ve become a bad habit, an addiction you can’t control. Perhaps, after you’ve went through the entire break up process, you might even want to go back. I’m guilty! I went back more times than I can count.
Many toxic relationships are on and off roller coaster rides of emotion. I read numerous times that once a cup has been broken it will stay broken no matter how many times you try to fix it.
Healing a toxic relationship is possible, only when both partners are willing to admit mistakes, grow together, and change. If everything you’ve tried in the past, didn’t work. Nothing you do now – will.
It’s best to break it off completely:
- block them from all social media
- unlink any devices you might share
- make sure you have all your possessions and they theirs. You don’t want anything to be a leverage used to initiate contact again
- no contact
Toxic relationships leave us in debilitating states. It was a traumatic ordeal and it should be handled as such. Get professional help, rewire your mind, and keep moving forward.
Just like with any breakup, it’s going to be a long painful road ahead. Time will heal. Take the necessary steps to learn, to grow, to embrace.
It’s a common trait that certain people, myself included, attract toxic partners. When you are overly empathetic, honest, trusting, and kind – chances are you will attract someone who wants to take advantage of you. That is why it’s so important to be aware of the signs, setting boundaries, and knowing your worth.
Please save yourself from future pain, by investing only in people who deserve your love and who love you with good intention.