Letting Go of Toxic Relationships: How To Move ForwardDecember 30, 2020
Identifying and letting go of toxic relationships in your life can be extremely challenging, particularly when you have so much love for that other person. It’s common to get caught in a cycle of leaving and coming back to the relationship which creates more feelings of hurt and grief. To focus on becoming the best version of yourself, it’s important to learn how to recognize and free yourself from the toxic relationships in your life.
Recognizing a toxic relationship and how to move past it
Toxicity can be found in any relationship from personal relationships with family, friends, or a significant other to professional relationships involving a co-worker or a boss. The first step in learning how to let go of toxic relationships is discovering the qualities and traits that make up these unhealthy relationships.
While all relationships can have their setbacks, toxic relationships are defined by their consistency, intensity, and damage. One sign to notice is if you are feeling bad about the relationship all the time. Not just brief moments of anger or sadness toward the other person, but a consistent negative feeling surrounding your interactions with them.
Another trait found in toxic relationships is the “gotcha” mentality. In this mentality, seemingly innocuous statements and questions become traps, and highlighting someone else’s mistakes becomes a way to gain power in the relationship. Additional signs to look for are an inability to communicate needs, an absence of effort from the other person, an unwillingness to compromise, passive-aggressive means of communication, physical/mental abuse, and a lack of privacy and trust.
Once you’ve identified a toxic relationship, remember not to place all the blame on yourself. Relationships are a two-way street and both individuals participated in unhealthy behavior. If you take on all the blame yourself, you may find yourself trying to go back into the relationship to fix all of the things you think you did wrong instead of learning to let it go and move forward. Instead, examine your responsibilities in a relationship and learn from your mistakes.
In order to truly let go of a toxic relationship, you need to cut off contact with the other person. So resist the urge to check up on them or scroll through their social media profiles. A lack of contact will help you get to a neutral state regarding the relationship, which will ultimately assist you in moving on. However, it’s also important for your mental state to receive closure on the relationship. Closure can come in many forms such as recognizing all the ways the relationship went wrong or writing one final letter to express your feelings. Find something you can do to mark the ending of this chapter, and it will help to process the grief.
After you’ve broken away from an unhealthy relationship, lean on your existing support system to help you get through it. Recognize all of the positive connections you do have in your life and let them help and support you during this time. This could be in the form of keeping you accountable or in providing much-needed fun and healthy distractions. Having friends and family by your side during this time will help you heal and remind you what healthy relationships should feel like.
Trails Momentum can help
Trails Momentum is a leading adventure-based program that helps young adults 18-25 find their path to success. Our program’s licensed, experienced therapists guide our students on a journey of growth and healing. We provide a transformative experience, offering adventure, true friendships, skill-building, planning, self-advocacy, and family reconnection. For more information, please call (828) 457-8576.