Sherry Gaba, LCSW and Transformation Coach
Author of Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to find Everlasting Love
And Wake Up Recovery for Toxic Relationships, Codependency and Love Addiction
A toxic relationship is destructive on so many levels. Not only is there the loss of self and self-worth, but there is also the loss of enjoyment in life, the ability to be with a loving, positive partner, and the loss of your own sense of joy and purpose.
This New Year, creating the intention to walk away from a toxic relationship is the best possible gift to give yourself. Like any type of change it is not always easy. There will be times when you may be tempted to give the partner another chance, to make those old excuses, or finding yourself being pulled back into the relationship throughout their manipulation and lies.
Creating a way to stick to your intentions to get out of the unhealthy relationship allows you to develop a plan to address these feelings as they arise. Building on your strengths and learning how to thrive in your own independence starts with accepting help and support from others. This is the best way to make the changes you want to see in your life.
Find a Support Network
It is very common to want to hide challenges and negative experiences from others, particularly if you are concerned about being judged or having people give you the old “I told you so” message.
Rather than seeking support from those people who are not helpful in your personal growth, connect with a support network of people who are there for you. This could be family members, friends, or even people in groups that are committed to supporting each other in healthy endeavors and positive personal changes. My inner circle Wake Up Recovery is just that; a tribe of like minded souls breaking free from codependent or toxic relationships.
Support people can be those you see every day or those you connect with by phone or online. Ideally, look for people you already know and trust and are comfortable in sharing your goals and objectives. They should also be people who truly have your best interests in mind.
Work with a Therapist
It is very common for people in toxic relationships to blame themselves for staying and also blame themselves for leaving. Working with a therapist is essential to identify the underlying thoughts that may be hampering your healing and recovery.
People in toxic relationships also need to learn to love themselves again and to feel comfortable and confident in setting boundaries, putting their own needs first, and in evaluating what they want in future relationships.
A therapist using talk therapy techniques can help you to identify thinking distortions or beliefs that may be limiting your ability to change and choose healthy partners in the future.
Add in Fun
Toxic relationships pull all the joy out of life. These relationships permeate all aspects of your life, robbing you of enjoyment and a zest for life. A great way to help you to get out of a toxic relationship and make positive changes is to find ways to have fun and joy in your life again.
Fun and joy can be different things to different people. For some, it may be getting out in nature and enjoying time hiking, kayaking, walking the dog, or any other similar type of activity. For others, it may be taking up a hobby, traveling, or perhaps just taking some time to do what you want for a change.
Develop a Gratitude and Mindfulness Practice
Being able to spot things that you are grateful for throughout the day is an injection of positivity in your life. By focusing on what you have and what is here right at this moment, you can avoid dwelling on all the lost opportunities in the past.
Becoming more mindful of all the wonderful things that occur throughout the day is another way to become more grounded in the present and less focused on the past. Enjoying the freedom, the opportunities, the positive people, and the new things you are doing helps you remember how far you have come in your journey and why it is so important to keep moving forward.
Websites reviewed in writing:
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Sherry Gaba, LCSW and Transformation Coach