Good relationships are like food: They can nourish and sustain you, or they can poison you. It’s crucial to know the difference. And it’s not easy to spot a toxic relationship until it’s too late—until your body is riddled with disease and your mind has snapped under the pressure of emotional abuse. That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge now.
So, What Is a Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship is one that is damaging to your physical, emotional, and mental health. It can be destructive and lead to codependency. Here are some signs that you might be in a toxic relationship:
- You feel like you can’t breathe around your partner.
- Your partner is always putting you down.
- You feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner.
- Your partner is excessively jealous or possessive.
- Your partner constantly criticizes you.
- You can’t do anything right in your partner’s eyes.
- Your partner is manipulative or controlling.
- Your partner sexually assaults or harasses you.
- You have to change who you are to make your partner happy.
If you recognize any of these signs, it’s important to get out of the relationship before it does more damage.
How Can You Safely Leave a Toxic Relationship?
There are ten steps you can take to safely leave a toxic relationship:
1. Talk to Someone You Trust About Your Relationship
It can be difficult to leave a toxic relationship, especially if you’re not sure what’s wrong. Talking to someone you trust can help you figure out what’s going on and give you the courage to leave. It can also help you develop a plan for leaving safely.
2. Make a list of the Pros and Cons of Leaving
This can help you make a decision about whether to leave. If the pros of leaving outweigh the cons, it might be time to go.
3. Create a Safety Plan
If you’re afraid your partner will become violent when you try to leave, it’s important to have a safety plan in place. This might include having someone you can call for help, planning an escape route, or having money saved up in case you need to leave quickly.
4. Tell Your Partner You’re Leaving
Don’t try to sneak away; this will only put you in danger. Instead, tell your partner calmly and firmly that you’re leaving and why.
5. Contact a Lawyer
You should contact a divorce attorney or family law attorney if you’re considering leaving a toxic relationship. They can help you protect yourself legally and make sure you get what you’re entitled to.
6. Have a Support System in Place
Leaving a toxic relationship can be tough, and it’s important to have people who will support you during this time. These might include friends, family members, or a therapist.
7. Don’t Isolate Yourself
It can be tempting to hole up in your apartment and avoid the outside world when you’re going through a tough time. But isolating yourself will only make things worse. Get out and socialize with the people who love and support you.
8. Grieve the Relationship You Thought You Had
It’s natural to feel sad after leaving a toxic relationship. Grieve the relationship you thought you had, and give yourself time to heal.
9. Be Patient With Yourself
It takes time to heal from a toxic relationship. Be patient with yourself and give yourself the space you need to heal.
10. Seek Professional Help
If you’re struggling to cope with the aftermath of a toxic relationship, it might be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can provide emotional support and guidance as you work through this difficult time.
Things to Do After Divorce
The decision to leave a toxic relationship can be life-changing, and there are some things you’ll need to do after divorce to ensure your safety and well-being. Here are a few tips:
1. Change Your Phone Number and Email Address
If your partner has access to your phone number or email address, they might be able to find you. Change them ASAP, and don’t give them out to anyone except people you trust implicitly.
2. Get a New Bank Account and Credit Card
If your partner has access to your bank account or credit card, they might be able to drain your accounts or rack up debt in your name. Close your old accounts and open new ones.
3. Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Companies
If you’re worried your partner will try to access your accounts, be sure to alert your bank and credit card companies. Let them know what’s going on and ask them to monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity.
4. Order Your Credit Report
It’s a good idea to order your credit report after getting divorced from a toxic partner. This will help you make sure they haven’t done any damage to your credit score.
5. Change Your locks and Install Security Cameras
If you’re worried about your safety, it might be a good idea to change your locks and install security cameras. This will help you feel more secure in your home and can provide evidence if things escalate physically.
Leaving a toxic relationship can be difficult, but it’s important to do what’s best for your safety and well-being. These ten steps will help you leave safely and in a healthy way. If you’re struggling to cope with the aftermath of a toxic relationship, it might be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can provide emotional support and guidance as you work through this difficult time.