7 Reasons To Leave A Toxic Relationship And How To Get Help
Toxic relationships can be defined as a relationship between people who do not support each other, where there is conflict and undermining, where there is competition, where there is disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness. When it comes to toxic relationships, it can sometimes be difficult to realize that you are in one. For many people, it is hard to recognize that the relationship is toxic because the person will not show signs of abusive behavior right away and their behavior gradually worsen with time. Other people are good at hiding the signs and are manipulative, subtly convincing you that you are to blame for the behavior. All these reasons make it important to know some of the signs of a toxic relationship and why you want to leave as quickly as possible. This article explains why and how you should leave a toxic relationship once you identify you are in one, including a list of reasons to leave, strategies to stay away, and how to get help.
If you are experiencing any kind of abuse or violence at home or elsewhere, you can anonymously call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) for advice and assistance.
1. They Are Abusive
The most serious sign of a toxic relationship is any form of violence, including physical and psychological abuse. Psychological abuse can be further broken down into emotional abuse. Read the following to understand:
Physical abuse could encompass several different things, from hitting and kicking (what most people think of when they hear the phrase) to sexual assault, pulling hair, biting, scratching, shaking, and pushing. Any physical contact that is not wanted or intended to control, demean, or punish is considered physical abuse, and it’s extremely damaging physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
This form of abuse occurs when someone tries to control you in all aspects. They may make sure that they always know what’s going on in your life. It’s normal for a partner or a friend to want you to be safe, but when they monitor where you are going, with whom, and when; this can be considered mental abuse. that you make or decisions that affect you, threatening you, treating you as though you’re unable to make your own choices, or claiming that everyone else agrees with them are all types of mental abuse as well. They may be jealous, blame you for the way they treat you, or guilt you into anything they want.
Emotional abuse is one that many people overlook or do not recognize. This type of abuse encompasses methods of dehumanizing you, keeping you completely isolated, ignoring you, withholding affection because of ‘bad behavior.’ They may turn others against you or claim that your feelings are wrong. They may interrupt you or be indifferent to what you’re experiencing or feeling. These emotional abuse types (and more) can make you distrustful of your own emotions and may make you feel even more overwhelmed or even unstable.
2. They Keep You From Your Friends And Family
This can be a subtle sign of a toxic relationship, especially when your relationship is new. It may begin with them saying they simply want to have more one-on-one time with you, with no interruptions from your friends and family. However, when you notice that they are asking for exclusive time with you and try to keep you from see your friends and family, they are showing signs of toxicity and abusive behavior.
They may not want you to spend time with family and friends because these are the first people who will recognize changes in your behavior and draw attention to it. As a result, they try to isolate you by convincing you that your friends and family don’t care about you or that you should be spending all your time with them. This causes you to withdraw from the people that you love and who love you.
3. They Keep You From Your Hobbies
An abuser will attempt to keep you away from anything that doesn’t fit their perception of what you should be. That means they may try to push you toward certain hobbies and activities and pull you away from others. Activities that put you in direct contact with people they don’t want you around will be discouraged or outright forbidden. But they may push you toward activities that keep you under their control or control of their family or friends. As a result, you lose out on time with friends or time doing things that you enjoy.
4. They Keep You Unhappy
Being in a toxic relationship is not going to make you happy. Even if you’re convinced that this is what you want or this is where you need to be, it’s not going to be a happy situation. You’ll constantly be waiting for something to happen. You’ll be on pins and needles, wondering what they’re going to do next. You might feel anxious, afraid, sad, lonely, isolated, or any number of different emotions, but the abuser does not care about you being happy. Instead, they only want control, which means you’re never going to achieve happiness while staying in the relationship.
5. They Keep You From Your Potential
You could be doing great things, whether that’s being an amazing friend or a great dancer or a spectacular businessperson or anything else. It doesn’t matter if it’s only important to you or something important to the world. An abuser doesn’t want you to have success or enjoyment outside of them because you might decide to leave. As a result, they keep you from achieving anything too great, and that could be depriving you or many other people.
6. They Set A Poor Example For Your Children
If you remain in a toxic relationship, even if it hasn’t evolved to the level of abuse, you teach your children that this is what a relationship looks like. As this is the main relationship that they see in their lives, they learn that this kind of relationship is the “norm.”
7. They Keep You From Seeing Your Worth
It’s nearly impossible to feel like you are worth anything when someone is constantly controlling you or telling you that you aren’t worth anything. When you’re struggling through a toxic relationship or abuse, it feels like everything they say must be true, and you likely end up with low self-esteem as a result. This keeps you from trying new things even if they don’t actively forbid it because you don’t believe that you can do it. And that effect can last long after you leave the relationship.
If you have experienced or witnessed domestic violence and need help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-TALK (7233) is available 24 hours a day.
When it comes to getting out of a toxic relationship, it’s important that you are very careful and that you have help. This cannot be easy if your relationship has caused you to distance yourself from family and friends but realize that these people love you and want to help you if you give them a chance. Here are suggestions to help you plan:
Take Someone With You
One way to practice a safe exit when you is to take another adult along with you. This makes sure that if you run into the other person, you can safely leave the situation. There will be someone there to help you get away in case of violence or a physical altercation and someone who can encourage you in case of mental or emotional abuse.
Tell Someone You Are Leaving
Even if you decide not to bring someone along with you, you must tell someone you plan to leave the relationship. This makes sure that someone is expecting to hear from you and know if anything goes wrong. You do not want to enter a situation like this without knowing what is going on and when you should call for help. Be sure to communicate your plan and decide on a safe place to go. This can be a family or a friend’s home.
Do Not Go Back
Your ex-partner will likely try to convince you that you need to come back to them. They may try using physical, mental, or emotional intimidation or blackmail to do it. Once you have decided to leave, however, do not return to the relationship. You deserve to live a healthy and happy life, which will not happen when you are in a toxic relationship.
It is vital you do not go back to your toxic relationship. However, staying away completely is just as important. Do everything in your power to stay out of contact with them. If possible, you want to cut them entirely out of your life. If you must be in contact, only interact with them in public places. Consider getting a restraining order if you believe you or people near them (such as your children) are in danger. Do not hesitate to contact the authorities during any moment you feel unsafe.
Getting Professional Help
If you have experienced or witnessed domestic violence and need help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) is available 24 hours a day.
Therapy can provide you with support and a safe space to talk about your experiences. Finding a therapist you trust can help provide you with guidance on how to deal with or leave your toxic relationship, or they may point you to services that can help you with your situation. Furthermore, if you are a survivor of abuse, you can find healing from your trauma and experiences through these services. Counseling can help you to heal from your past and history of abuse and find ways to move forward so you can enjoy healthy relationships. You can also attend family counseling services if your family was affected by the violence as well.
If you having a difficult time leaving your toxic relationship or are still recovering, seeking help from a professional will help you in so many ways. Online therapy can be a safe and accessible option if you are unsure that you want to meet with a therapist in-person. Current research has shown people who attend online therapy feel they are able to trust their therapist to a greater degree and feel safer due to the unknown nature of these visits (in contrast to in-person office visits). Rather than attending in-person therapy sessions— which can be difficult— you can connect with a therapist from the comfort and safety of your own and personal space.
Online therapy is both confidential and flexible, so you can schedule sessions with a compassionate mental health professional when you have safety and quiet. You can also choose to connect via video chat, phone call, or text messaging, so no one else needs to know about any support you choose to pursue. You deserve to feel safe and heard. If you are experiencing a living situation that feels unsafe or abusive, an online therapist through ReGain may provide you with the guidance and encouragement you need to make a positive change.
When it comes to leaving a toxic marriage, partnership, or any relationship, it can be extremely difficult. It can be terrifying for several reasons, not just because you fear the ex-partner will come after you. Just getting out on your own after your ex has treated you the way they have can be daunting. But you can do it -- you can turn your back on toxic love. And you can get professional help to move you along.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the signs of a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship can be any relationship in which the bad moments outweigh the good. Toxic relationships can mentally, emotionally, or even potentially physically damage the partners involved. It’s important to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship signs to keep it from turning into a dangerous relationship. Signs include:
You feel continuously unhappy. According to Time, the most prominent trait of toxic relationships is the lack of joy.
You notice your mental health worsening. You may notice a shift in your mental health for many reasons, but a toxic person can have a large impact.
You spend less time with friends and family. An unhealthy relationship can take time away from the healthy relationships in your life and make it difficult for you to surround yourself with positivity.
You feel mentally or physically abused. The most severe toxic relationship can become an abusive relationship. If this is the case, it’s important to plan to leave as soon as possible.
Anyone can experience abuse, not just those in a relationship. If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing a toxic relationship that could involve intimate partner violence, consider seeking professional help or calling the Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).
How do you recognize red flags in a relationship?
It is important to keep your eyes open for any red flags that may take it from a healthy relationship to an unhealthy relationship in any new relationship. Red flags in a relationship can look different to every person, as we all have different boundaries.
However, some common red flags in a relationship that anyone can look out for include:
“Love bombing:” this can include anything from rushing into a relationship very quickly to excessive gifts, compliments, or physical touches. At first, it may seem nice, but it can be a warning sign that they are attempting to influence you or compensating for bad behavior.
Not taking your boundaries seriously. Maybe you’re not a big fan of public displays of affection, you don’t want to use social media, or you always have Sunday dinners with your mom. No matter what, your partner should respect these boundaries and see them as signs that you prioritize your own self-care. If they don’t, it could become a dangerous relationship quickly.
Making fun of you or pushing you during sex. It can take some time to figure out another person’s style in the bedroom, but this doesn’t mean your partner should make comments that are hurtful or do anything that isn’t consensual. If this does happen and they refuse to apologize or change their behavior, it is usually an even bigger red flag.
Not taking you seriously. According to Self, minor things like frequent eye-rolling can be a major predictor of divorce. In a healthy relationship, partners will take the time to listen and try to understand even when they disagree. A toxic person may roll their eyes at what you have to say without regard for your opinion.
Is it okay to leave a toxic relationship?
One of the scariest things that people in a toxic or even abusive relationship may have to face is deciding to leave. No matter what, your health and safety are vital, and you have the power to decide to leave.
It is okay to leave any relationship you want to, but it can be especially important to leave if you suspect a toxic relationship. If you could be experiencing intimate partner violence, consider the Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).
It is always okay to leave if the relationship is not what you thought or needed. If you need help figuring out how to leave a toxic relationship, a therapist can be a great source. ReGain offers virtual sessions with licensed therapists to help you figure out how to leave a toxic relationship and eventually surround yourself with the positivity you deserve. Your intimate relationships can have a real impact on your mental health, so you deserve to make those healthy relationships. Talk to a therapist at ReGain today.
How do you leave a toxic relationship when you love someone?
Learning how to leave a toxic relationship when you love your partner can be an incredibly difficult task. However, deciding to leave doesn’t necessarily mean that you love them any less, only that you prioritize your health and wellbeing and want to surround yourself with positivity. Realizing that you deserve this positivity, and maybe eventually a healthy relationship, can be the key to starting to move on.
Another thing to remember is that it is not your job to change your partner. Even if you love them, they are responsible for working towards their mental health. Leaving does not mean that you will get into a new relationship right away; in fact, after you plan to leave a dangerous relationship, it is often best to surround yourself with friends and family, as well as work and hobbies you enjoy. At the end of the day, figuring out how to leave a toxic relationship will make you a happier and healthier person and allow you to find a healthy, new relationship with someone that will treat you right.
If you have difficulty ending a relationship you know you want to leave, talking things out with friends, family, or a therapist can help you find the best course of action. Reading about relationships in blog posts or articles could provide you with new ideas about why you deserve what you want.
How do you let go of a bad relationship and move on?
It can be very difficult to let go of a bad relationship and move on, especially if it was a potentially abusive relationship. One of the key steps is to take notice of your emotions and keep track of your process. Intimate relationships can change us for the worse sometimes, but the more time you take to work on yourself, the more growth and empowerment you will feel.
It can be helpful to talk to a therapist through this process. They will help you keep track of your growth and aid you in healthily managing your emotions. Therapists at ReGain are licensed professionals who can give you expert advice on moving on from bad relationships. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
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