A toxic relationship is a relationship that is emotionally damaging to at least one partner. Toxic relationships deplete you of your energy, infuse you with negativity, bring unnecessary drama or conflict to your life, trigger feelings of low self-esteem, insecurity, resentment, or frustration. Toxic relationships stifle your personal growth, make you feel less than, or even worthless outside of the relationship with the toxic counter-party. Toxic relationships consistently lead to these negative feeling states despite your concerted efforts to work out any such feelings and engage honestly anew.
It’s important to realize that toxic people are often unconsciously making you feel how they feel about themselves; in other words, it is more about them than it is about you. It’s important for all of us to routinely take inventory of our support systems and care enough about ourselves to free ourselves from negative relationships. This creates space to establish and nurture positive relationships.
Here are 4 tips to help you End Toxic Relationships Now:
1. Just Say No
If you are invited to an event by a friend, and you know the toxic person will be there, but you’ve decided maintaining distance is best – Just Say No. When your friend asks if you’ll be coming, just calmly say, “No. I cant make it. Thank you for the invitation.” There is no need to apologize or explain. You can just politely say No.
2. Use The Phrase “I Can’t”
You will no longer allow yourself to suffer, act out of guilt or manipulation, or cede even the smallest bit of your own mental health by agreeing to requests from a toxic person.
By saying “I can’t” you establish a boundary for yourself and the toxic person.
I’m often asked if it is dishonest to say, “I can’t continue in this relationship.” Or, “I can’t take over your shift on Wednesday.” Or, “I can’t lend you money.” I’m frequently asked if it is dishonest to use the words “I can’t”, if you may be physically able to comply with a request. For instance, saying “I can’t lend you money” when you may physically have access to money, even though it’s earmarked for your rent. You can’t do something that you are physically unable to do (this part seems obvious to most everyone), or would almost certainly be physically injured doing (I cant lift a car off the ground). And, just the same, you can’t do something you are emotionally unable to do, or would almost certainly be emotionally injured by doing.
3. Use the ONE Conversation or One Notification Rule
When you have decided to end a toxic relationship, you’ve accepted that you can’t change someone else, but that you can change yourself. You are not responsible for the toxic person’s actions, or how they’ve made you feel. You must be responsible for your actions. The brave action you’ve decided to take is to remove yourself from the toxic relationship, so you can end the emotional damage and begin to heal. (During the healing process, you may consider why you allowed such a relationship to develop, but more on that later).
It is common to struggle, initially, with how to end a toxic relationship. What, specifically, to say? You may initially feel that you need to explain why you’re ending a relationship that continues to make you feel less than, exhausted, unloved, worthless, full of rage, exasperated, or unsafe to the person who makes you feel all of those things. You may feel stuck wondering how you will rise to the challenge of explaining all of this? How can you make her see? You may feel you need the toxic person to agree with your plan. Or at least understand it, before you can end the relationship. You may worry that leaving is cruel, that others may see you as disloyal. And you may feel overwhelmed.
Stop! This is a trap! A toxic person will not become less toxic (see above) — not this time either. This can be painful, but the pain will subside in time. Believing you need the toxic partners agreement or understanding, worrying about what others may think, and even attempting to have failed conversations about ending a toxic relationship, but ultimately not leaving, are all common pitfalls. They are all just exhausting diversions, unfortunately, that cause you to put off the only thing you really need to do.
What can you say? “I need to let you know that I can’t continue our relationship, or our relationship as it is, or I can’t continue to engage with you.” Say as much or as little as you feel you need express in the form of a statement. The only thing you need to say, if you choose to say anything at all, is that the the relationship is over. The counter-party rarely has the same wish or view. However, they don’t need to have the same view. One conversation or statement is absolutely sufficient. More than one and you’re right back in the relationship. You can calmly and firmly say as much or as little about what you have experienced and how it has made you feel, as you wish. The only thing you need to say, though, if you feel you need to say anything, is that it is over.
And right here, you will begin to reclaim the first corner of your own self regard. You will begin to, once again, believe you deserve more than to be emotionally extinguished in the service of any relationship. As you leave, you’ll be taking the first necessary steps to reclaim a healthy relationship with … YOU!
**Ignore the single conversation rule & reduce the number of communications to zero with any person who has been violent towards you, has threatened violence, or any person you suspect may react violently, for whatever reason, to your decision to end the toxic relationship.
4. Remember, You Come First
Always remember that no one will treat you the way you deserve to be treated unless you first do so yourself. A great first step in doing this is to release toxic relationships!
The endings of relationships can be hard. Many of us want to avoid the pain of processing the termination of a relationship. Problems do not go away unless they are addressed. You must care enough about yourself to free yourself of negative relationships. You must have the courage to find your voice and address these relationships honestly and directly. You must also have faith that by letting go of these people, you are freeing up your energy for new and positive people to come into your life.
Phone me at 917- 609- 4990 to arrange a consultation. For additional information about ending toxic relationships, building self esteem, and becoming effective in your relationships email me at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff