You were feeling stifled and cowed down in your relationship and finally managed to break free. Now, you need to figure out how to stop going back to a toxic relationship.
We all are familiar with the “happily ever after” fairy tales. Even the evil people in those stories are transformed by love and affection and turn out to be the most loving and caring partners. The moral of those stories is that love can conquer anything.
Unfortunately, this rarely happens in real life. People find it hard to let go of their troubles and emotional baggage. People do change but for this to happen, they need to be convinced that a change is necessary and believe that they can make it happen. Again, change in the basic behavior of a person doesn’t happen overnight or without any effort. After all the hard work and time invested, the change may not be what the person desired.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, hoping for your toxic partner to change may not be a realistic idea. Because there is no guarantee that your partner would want the change or work towards it. And, all this while, you are the one who will have to bear the brunt of their toxic behavior.
The emotional trauma of an abusive relationship can have far-reaching effects on your psyche. If you continue in such a relationship for a long time, the damage can be permanent. From low confidence and self-esteem to anxiety and depression, the toll is quite heavy.
The worst part about being in a toxic relationship is how it affects your relationship with yourself. Things about yourself that you were proud of and loved, may disappear forever, making you unrecognizable even to yourself. Moreover, your deteriorating mental health can also have a considerable effect on your physical health.
All things considered, it is best for you to stay out of a toxic relationship. It isn’t easy when ending a toxic relationship. There is always a good chance that you will go back to your toxic partner. This article offers you a few tips and suggestions on how you can stop going back to a toxic relationship.
Ways to stop going back to a toxic relationship
Congratulations! You found enough courage to walk out of the toxic relationship. You did the right thing by prioritizing your safety, mental health, and well-being. However, the story doesn’t end here. Your toxic partner is going to come back at you with tactics to get you back. They can be quite persuasive and you may buckle under too much pressure.
The question before you now is “What can you do to ensure that you stay away from your toxic partner?”. How can you stop going back to a toxic relationship?
Let’s get started.
1. Live in the present
Though this may sound weird, this is one of the most useful suggestions to stay away from an ex. After you walk away from a toxic relationship, it is natural that you miss your partner, though it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. Your mind will keep drifting back to the “good old times”.
The human mind has a mysterious way of forgetting bad happenings and remembering only the happy ones. Ultimately this will lead to you gaslighting yourself. You will be convinced that the relationship was not all bad. You may even try to find excuses for your abusive partner for their hurtful behavior. As a result, you decide to give it one more try. You go back to your toxic partner.
Avoid all this by learning how to live in the present by practicing mindfulness. Stick to the facts before you rather than pick and choose the feelings. Instead of glossing over what actually happened in the relationship, be pragmatic in your approach. Try to answer these questions.
How did you end up where you are now in life?
What guarantee do you have that it will be different now?
Have you noticed any changes in your abusive partner?
Without any concrete changes, it would be foolish of you to consider going back.
2. Reconnect with yourself
When you are stuck in a toxic relationship, you may have lost touch with your needs, feelings, and thoughts. In fact, you may even have lost your identity. The first step after walking away is to rediscover yourself. And, decide how you want to be treated by your partner and set up clear boundaries.
After being in an abusive relationship for long, you may have forgotten how it feels to be in a healthy relationship. Do your research and get a better understanding of how a healthy relationship works. When you are in a healthy relationship, you should feel calm, happy, and content. Conversations are easy, natural, and grounding instead of confusing.
Do you think your relationship was a healthy one? How did you feel when you were with your abusive partner? If the answers are not positive, abandon the idea of going back. Even if your ex was caring and loving, their toxic behavior was undeniable. Remind yourself that you cannot choose only the good characteristics of a person.
Don’t bother going back. It’s not worth it.
3. Grieve the loss
Healthy or toxic, when the relationship ends, you will feel a sense of loss. Even when you know that you did the right thing by ending it, you’re still going to hurt. Remember that denying the loss and hurt can only make matters worse. Grieve the loss and then, you will find it easier to let go of it.
Just because you’re feeling the loss and hurting doesn’t mean you should consider going back to your toxic ex. You lost your dreams of a beautiful future with your partner. Allow yourself to feel the pain of the loss and process the grief.
At the same time, don’t allow yourself to think that you will remain single for the rest of your life. Believe that you will find love again, this time around with the right person.
4. Turn to your friends and family for support
Don’t feel ashamed to face your friends and family. They may have warned you about your toxic ex but you didn’t listen to them. After all, they are your friends and family. They will forgive you and will support you when you need them. Set aside your ego and allow them to help you get through these tough times.
Your loved ones would only want you to be happy. They want the best for you and would do anything they can to ensure your safety and happiness. They would be proud that you showed the courage to walk out of the toxic relationship.
In case you are reconsidering your decision to end the relationship, your loved ones will help you see the reality of the situation. A reality check would be enough to stop you from going back.
5. Impose no-contact
After ending the relationship, it’s better to cut off all contact with your ex for a while until you heal the wounds. This is especially important in a toxic relationship. When you were in a toxic relationship, you were neglecting so many things including your own needs and feelings. You will need time and space to recover from the trauma.
Your natural curiosity will drive you to find out about what your ex is up to now. From searching their social media pages to enquiring with your mutual friends, you will find ways to know more about your ex. This is not doing you any good. Thinking constantly about your ex is not helping you heal.
Only a strict no-contact rule can help you in finding peace after a toxic relationship.
6. Think of yourself, for a change
All the while you were in a toxic relationship, you neglected yourself. So much that you consider self-care and self-love selfish. Even if taking care of oneself is selfish, it’s ok for you to be selfish.
You may feel the urge to find excuses for your ex’s toxic behavior and fault yourself for not giving your ex enough time and space to change their hurtful ways. Just remind yourself that you are the one who endured trauma inflicted on you by your ex.
Wanting to be safe and happy isn’t selfish. Safeguarding your interests and protecting yourself is also not selfish. These are basic self-preservation techniques.
7. Seek help
If you have a good support system, don’t hesitate to get help and support from them. Set aside your ego and embarrassment and approach them for your own sake. Talking about your feelings can help you a lot. Don’t think of this as burdening your loved ones. They would be only happy to be of help to you.
If this is not helping you feel normal, you may try getting professional help. Therapy and counseling can help you make sense of what happened to you and what is happening now. This can help in clearing your mind space of unwanted thoughts and emotions. You would also get guidance on how to heal and what to do about the future.
Final thoughts on finding peace after a toxic relationship
You may have found the courage to walk away from your abusive partner in one of those moments. However, as reality sets in, you may start regretting your decision. With all kinds of thoughts and feelings flooding your mind, you’re not so sure about your decision to end the relationship anymore.
Breakup is never easy, especially if you’re in a toxic relationship. You’re just being human to have second thoughts about it. Take it easy and cut yourself some slack. Try some of the suggestions mentioned above to stop yourself from going back.