3 Things You Absolutely Must Do After Leaving a Toxic Relationship
I am so happy that you are out of your toxic relationship! This is the first step to becoming a happier, healthier you. Post-break up life can be hard. Although your relationship was toxic, it was still familiar and it can be scary when things change.
Moving on is a process. Healing is a process. They always say time heals all wounds and it is cliche but so true. There are definitely things you can do and not do to speed up the process. To get through this, you need to change your mindset. You need to be fed up with dealing with someone else’s bullshit. You have to understand that you deserve more.
And I know you want something different. If not, you wouldn’t even be reading this.
You’re here for a reason. You want to be happy. Healthy. Confident. Feel like your old self again before this hellish relationship.
I’ll let you in on a secret…I do too! I don’t claim to be some kind of love wizard or all-knowing relationship guru.
I am just a girl who has gone through some shit and now wants to share some of my earned wisdom with you. I dealt with my toxic ex for 4 years and have the battle scars to prove it and I really, really don’t want you to make the same mistakes as I did.
So, I am assuming things are finally over with your ex. You know the relationship was really bad but you still can’t help but feel sad and a sense of loss. That is perfectly normal when leaving a toxic relationship but there is NO NEED to react to these feelings. We are thinking with our heads now, not our hearts. I need you to follow these following steps, girl. We are only moving forward, not back, ok? Let’s go.
Do Not Talk to Him
Please go ahead and listen to Dua Lipa’s New Rules. This is your life now. These are the rules we swear by. You can have absolutely no contact with him after the breakup.
If you do, you are in grave danger of falling into the on-again-off-again cycle. You break up one day only to talk to him again in a week and get back together and the cycle repeats.
It is very important to practice non-communication if you truly want to move on. Continuing to talk to your ex will only stop you from moving forward. It will be hard. I am not going to lie to you.
For me, even though my ex was awful to me, I still considered him to be my best friend. He was the person I shared everything with. I would always miss not having him to share my every waking thought with. That said, I broke the no talking rule so many times to my detriment.
I did not want to deal with the pain of the breakup so I would give in and start having “friendly” conversations with Ted. Next thing you know I would be back at his place and the cycle would start all over again.
The on and off again thing is toxic. It is emotionally draining and leaves you feeling insecure. You are always anticipating the next fight or are always trying to avoid a fight. You have your happy days but most of the time you feel absolutely miserable.
This is NOT normal and your relationship should not make you an emotional disaster. A healthy relationship provides love, stability, positivity, and security. Your partner should not be the one negatively affecting your emotional, mental or physical health.
To move on, we have to let go and that means not talking to your ex.
Embrace your Emotions
You may be distracting yourself from your emotions and not allowing yourself to be sad. Maybe you are trying to let go of that anger and resentment that you’re holding onto so closely but it’s not that simple, right?
You can’t fix anger or sadness like you can fix a physical problem. I mean, if you’re feeling hungry, you eat a burger and now your hunger is gone. But how do you quickly alleviate heartbreak? Rage? Disgust? Quick answer: You can’t. You can’t just turn these feelings off like a switch.
What we are NOT about to do though is ignore these feelings. Do not bottle them up, push them deep inside and pretend that you are not upset.
It is okay to be sad. Even if you feel like you shouldn’t be.
When my ex and I broke up, I refused to shed one tear over it. I didn’t think he deserved even an ounce of emotion from me.
But, of course, I was emotionally affected by the breakup even if I would not admit it to myself. I went from talking to him every day to not speaking to him at all. Even with all the fighting and name-calling, I was connected to him and he was a large part of my life that was now gone.
Instead of facing the feeling of loss, I went through the next year carrying the weight of these buried feelings. My ex would pop into my head all the time and I would often feel sad not knowing why.
I tried distracting myself with dating apps and even got involved with a new person only 2 months after the breakup. (Totally do NOT recommend this btw but we can talk about this another time).
I rebounded hard trying to replace and forget about my ex. I would be out with the new guy, yet my ex would still be in the back of my mind when I got home. I really could not get him out of my head and it was killing me!
It was not until I addressed my feelings about the breakup that I could truly start to move on. I had to mourn the relationship. And admit to myself that I was hurt.
I had to let myself cry and break down so I could build myself back up.
I didn’t realize the extent to which he fucked with my head. When I would try to do new things like starting this blog, I would have his negative, toxic voice in my head. Him telling me that I was never going to accomplish anything in life. Or that I would always fail without him. It was so important for me to face these feelings because only then could I start changing and challenging them.
The only way to get over your demons is to identify them and then face them head-on. Journaling helped me a lot with tuning into my own emotions. I would write down my buried thoughts and feelings that I did not want to think about every night before bed. Some nights tears would stream down my face as I wrote but it was a necessary step in my healing process that I tried to bypass.
When you keep your feelings bottled inside, they are going to stay right where they are. Inside of you. Be honest with yourself about your feelings and fears so you can figure out how to conquer them.
Running away from your emotions only holds you back in the long run so after a breakup be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel. Leaving a toxic relationship is gonna hurt making it tempting to push your feelings aside. It is mentally and emotionally unhealthy, though, so we are not going to do it!
Now is the time for you to do what is best for yourself. And properly healing your heart and soul is a major part of that. I promise if you let yourself feel the loss of your failed relationship now, future you will be so much happier.
Forgive the Most Important Person…You
My main focus was not on forgiving my ex. Fuck that guy. I am not sure how long it will take me to fully forgive him but I find myself less angry as time goes on.
What still chokes me up is thinking about how I allowed myself to be treated so poorly. I thought I was stronger than that. I thought I was smarter than that.
I never in a million years thought I would let myself be constantly degraded by a person who was supposed to love me and stick around when things only kept getting worse.
My ex once texted me that I was like a kicked puppy because I would also come crawling back to him. Those words felt like a knife to the gut because I knew how true they were.
I remember thinking how empowered he must feel to say the cruelest things to me without fear that I would leave him. I felt so, so stupid. How could I let that happen? I was so angry with myself. I felt embarrassed that it went on for so long.
The answer was clear… I needed to forgive myself.
Self-forgiveness, for me…. was difficult. I have always been my biggest critic and can be very hard on myself. I could not sleep at night because the same questions would bounce around in my head.
Why did I let him treat me so badly? Why did I let myself be called names? How did I become such a sad version of myself? And so on. It had to stop because it was only making the healing process harder.
There is no value in being so hard on yourself for staying in a bad relationship. You need to change your mindset about the experiences you had. Do not victim-blame yourself.
You had your reasons for staying. You hoped it would get better, you loved him, you thought you could change him.
You definitely did not deserve that treatment. It was not your fault for staying. You should not have been treated badly in the first place.
Forgive yourself for putting yourself through that. And be happy that you finally got yourself out of that situation.
I am so committed to helping other young women get out of and stay out of toxic relationships. Please, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever want someone to talk to. I will literally listen to you talk for hours because I know how much venting helped me when I was going through my breakup.
Don’t let anyone take away your smile, babe. You control your own happiness.