Healthy relationships should bring support, love, and joy into your life. But sometimes things can go wrong, and you may feel stuck with a partner who doesn’t bring out the best in you. If you’re unsure how to leave a toxic relationship, several signs can help you recognise when it’s time to let go.
Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship
Author and psychology expert Dr Lillian Glass first coined the term “toxic people,” which is also the title of her 1995 bestselling book. She defines a toxic relationship as having the following attributes:
- No mutual support
- Frequent conflicts
- Attempts to undermine one another
- Unhealthy competition
- Lack of respect
- No sense of unity
Every relationship has ups and downs, but a toxic one can make you constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner. These other red flags signal you’re in a toxic relationship:
- Persistent feelings of anxiety or unhappiness
- Gaslighting and blame
- Loneliness or isolation
- Presence of dishonesty
- Constant criticism
You can experience unhappiness, discontent, or exhaustion in an unhealthy relationship with a partner, friend, or family member. But you do not feel unsafe or threatened, a critical difference between a toxic and abusive relationship. When a loved one tries to control you through harmful actions or words, these patterns signal abusive behaviour, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development.
How to Move on from a Toxic Relationship
If your efforts to discuss problems or establish boundaries have been ineffective, it may be time to let go. Recognising and acknowledging toxic behaviour is the first crucial step towards leaving a harmful relationship. These steps may give you strength and clarity you need.
Keep a record of how you feel in the relationship.
Take stock of emotions daily. Start a journal and use writing to sort out your thoughts. You can also record voice messages about events in your day and the feelings attached to them. Over time, this written or audio tracker can help you identify toxic behaviour patterns and how often they occur.
Set a deadline.
When you’ve been in a toxic relationship for so long, you can lose sight of your needs and gradually believe it’s the status quo. Set a time frame to give the relationship all you’ve got, including how to prepare to say goodbye.
Give yourself time to reflect.
Breakups are hard, whether it’s romantic or familial love. But moving on from a toxic relationship cause even more emotional scars. Allow yourself to grieve and avoid negative self-talk. Instead, focus on letting your wounds heal. Trust your intuition and remember that you deserve better.
Look for the lessons.
Instead of blaming yourself or feeling regret, turn this tough time into a learning experience. Take the time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you managed to come out of it in one piece. You might even be able to help others how to leave a toxic relationship one day.
Ending a toxic relationship can make you feel lonely, but you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. Find time to connect with trusted friends or family. Find a support group that can provide guidance and empathy. Surround yourself with a solid network that will help pull you through.
Rebuild your relationship with self-care.
Make up for lost self-love time, end enter this chapter of your life with confidence. Visit the salon and get a total makeover. Give your crooked teeth the smile transformation they deserve from ClearCorrect dental aligners. Focus on your personal growth – explore your passions, learn a language or take up a new hobby. Channel all your pent-up aggression and take up a martial art to give relationship trauma a K.O.
Knowing when and how to leave a toxic relationship takes time. The process can mentally and emotionally drain you, but the result is always worth it. Take things one day at a time and remember to be kinder to yourself. Binge-watch your favourite shows or take a relaxing bath whenever you want. Healing is a journey, and you should be proud of yourself for taking the first step.
Dr. Lenore E. Walker | Educator & Forensic Psychologist | Official website. (2021, July 6). Dr. Lenore E. Walker.
MSF | Domestic Violence Overview. (n.d.). Ministry of Social and Family Development. https://www.msf.gov.sg/what-we-do/break-the-silence/domestic-violence/overview
Toxic People: 10 Ways Of Dealing With People Who make Your Life Miserable. (2015, September 2). Everand.