We all have toxic relationships in our lives, whether we realize it (yet) or not. It can be to toxic people we insist on holding on to, or to habits or things we can’t seem to cut out, even if on some level we know they hurt us or hold us back.
We all have to accept when relationships turn sour — when they turn toxic. That is the moment in your life when you decide something has to change, and that you need to let go of the thing that has been keeping you down for so long.
The Life Cleanse: 6 Steps to Letting Go of Toxic Relationships
Sometimes it’s better to end something and try to start something new than imprison yourself in hoping for the impossible.
– Karen Salmansohn
Accepting the problem
Since no two people are the same, what constitutes a toxic relationship is not limited to romantic or friendly relationships. It can to be food, social media, or any other destructive force in your life. The constant need to feed your obsession generates into a bigger problem that shuts you off from reality and that becomes the only reality you want to exist in. Accepting you have a problem with something allows you to take the first step in taking the necessary steps to learning to cope and detach yourself from that person, habit or thing.
Substituting with distractions
Find distractions. When the cravings start, when you want to pick up the phone and call the person who is not your worth your time, or when you’re just falling apart, find a distraction. Go for a run, find a new hobby, try something new that you have always wanted to do but were being held back from doing in the past. Distractions make situations a little bit more bearable and less traumatic. Do what you can to get out of that miserable depressing state.
Cutting back or completely withdrawing
If it’s an abusive relationship, it is best to allow yourself to completely withdraw yourself from it for the sake of your own well-being. Cutting yourself off completely from negativity requires a great deal of strength and self-discipline. I used to believe that it was easier to stay in an emotionally toxic relationship than to be alone. I was more afraid of being alone than detaching myself from someone who clearly didn’t respect me enough. When you realize your worth, you will realize that there is someone out there who will care about you more than you can begin to imagine, and that you just have to be patient and remember that.
If it’s an unhealthy relationship with food or social media — I’ve been through that too. These situations are harder to just completely withdraw from. It is easier to cut back from these slowly. It is very important to sit down and reflect on the root causes of these problems. The search for the truth from within is a hard process but must be done in order for you to not revert back to these toxic relationships.
Feeling the pain
Loss is not easy. It is not a stroll in the park. You need to allow yourself to grieve, to mourn, to feel the pain. It is not healthy to block out the pain, because it will continue to slowly eat at you inside, and sooner or later it will explode. It is harder to pick up the pieces once you’ve hit rock bottom like that. Emotions and thoughts must be dealt with as they come. You will experience a lot of negative feelings, but with time you must be able to control and harness them, and eventually convert them into positive energy. Positive energy that will lift you up and give you a sense of purpose, so you will start living instead of merely existing.
Knowing you’re not alone
Anyone who is going through the process of letting go of a toxic relationship needs to know that you are not alone. I didn’t like talking to friends or relatives about my addictions because of fear of judgement, but I allowed myself to write. I found through writing that I could help other people who were suffering inside to come out and talk about what they were going through. Find someone who is willing to listen to you without getting angry or frustrated with you for repeating certain things over and over again. This may be a friend, relative, partner, religious figure, mentor or counsellor. Whoever it is must be there to offer support and allow you to offload your burden.
Never stop fighting
Every year, month, week, day, minute, second is a battle. Letting go is a mental, spiritual and physical battle. If these three are not in balance then it is so easy to fall back into the trap. Every day you must fight to keep these three in balance and in check. You will have very bad days where don’t even feel like living or getting out of bed, but you have to fight with every ounce of energy you have left to combat that urge and get through the day. Just never stop fighting, no matter what.