Toxicity is something that we have to deal with regularly, especially in the form of a human characteristic. There are toxic people present at work, at school, at colleges and, every other place that you can think of. However, when it comes to relationships, specifically personal, toxicity can be a very damaging trait and its outcomes can be outrageously dangerous. So, you should advisably stay away from the sphere of toxic people and end toxic relationships as much as possible. Indisputably, ending a toxic relationship is the best way out of it but in most cases, it proves to be a herculean task. Burning bridges with a toxic person you were in a relationship with could also be an emotionally challenging process.
Dr. Sonal Anand, a psychiatrist of the Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai argues that not only a toxic relationship but any pessimistic or bleak situation might retard our mental health. She also states that a toxic relationship just intensifies the emotional baggage. Thousands of psychiatrists across the world have pointed out the ill effects of staying in a toxic relationship for a long period. They have demonstrated over time how it not just affects you mentally but also physically in equal amounts. Toxic relationships are also detrimental to the mental landscape during the formative years(12-19) of an individual’s life.
Steps to end toxic relationships
These are some steps by which you can end toxic relationships without inducing self-damage:
- Identify that you are in a toxic relationship
- Accept that your relationship is toxic
- Grow a habit of journaling your emotions
- Try adopting the Gray Rock Method
- Try securing financial independence
- Take clinical help if necessary
- Start maintaining a boundary
- Prepare yourself for a retaliation
- Embrace yourself and never look back
Identify that you are in a toxic relationship
This is the first and most crucial step to end any toxic relationship. You need to recognize the symptoms to label your relationship as toxic. Small fights and misunderstandings are very natural and common to all relationships but people often fail to trace the boundary between these little struggles and hardcore toxic characteristics. Some very prominent signs of toxic behaviour as suggested by famous psychotherapists might look like the following:
- They try to dominate you and reduce you to a subservient position
- They apply the trick of “poison delegation” which is to ask you to do something for them and then severely criticize whatever you have done
- They will sexually manipulate you
- They are in a persistent effort to prove you wrong
- They won’t bother to explain in case there is a misunderstanding
- Unprovoked jealousy would also be a chief characteristic that they would exhibit
- They would constantly lie to you
Accept that your relationship is toxic
However difficult and absurd it might initially seem to accept that your relationship is a toxic one, stick to the process of acceptance. Do not tend to normalize something that might harm your personal growth and your mental health. Even if with a dreadfully heavy heart and gallons of suppressed tears, try to accept it, try to understand that it will bring no good to you later on, and thus, the best way out is to part ways.
Grow a habit of journaling your emotions
This can prove to be an extremely effective method. While you might consider it to be a waste of time, journaling your emotions at any suitable point of the day helps you chart your emotional landscape. For example, if you suspect that you are in a toxic relationship, you can write down about your interactions with your partner, your feelings, your confrontations, if any, and then analyze how you reacted to them. If you notice a negative pattern over a considerable stretch, then it’s a clear indication that it’s time to leave.
Try adopting the Gray Rock Method
As suggested by many American psychologists and family experts, abusive and toxic people are attention seekers and they enjoy messing with people who provide them a lot of attention. If you are around an abuser or have a toxic partner, then all you should do is be calm and still as a gray rock and blend in the surrounding atmosphere like you are invisible. Stay neutral and unaffected by any emotional turbulence. This is a hugely protective measure because the abusive person you are attached to will be irritated by this boring demeanour of yours and move on to other people who satisfy their needs.
Secure Financial Independence
The foremost requirement to step out of any kind of toxic bond- either romantic or familial, is to secure financial independence. You may take a hundred steps and make thousands of decisions but at the end of the day, if you are not sufficiently equipped to meet your financial needs, you ultimately fall prey to your partner’s toxicity because you rely on them for your expenditure. If you are not earning or earning very little, try to save up for the future because this relationship has to end and you will no more have the luxury of falling back on them for the money you need.
Take clinical help if necessary
If you are sure of being trapped in a toxic relationship and all you collect in a day is endless abuses but are not being able to help yourself out of this predicament on your own, it is always a good idea to seek professional help from a psychologist or a psychotherapist who would help you smoothen the journey and alleviate your pains.
Start maintaining a boundary
Setting strong and definite boundaries is essential to cut off ties and reduce communication. State it loud and clear that you are not available for them anymore. It might seem to be a herculean task at the beginning, especially where a married couple is concerned and children are involved. However, try maintaining a declared barrier and refrain from engaging in any kind of sexual activity during this period. Most importantly, do not discuss your daily activities with your partner. This paves the way for permanent closure to your relationship.
Prepare yourself for a retaliation
The moment the abusive person discovers that you have made up your mind to leave this relationship and are acting accordingly, they might come up with a strong retaliation which can also tantamount to violence in some cases. You should not, however, be affected by their continuous efforts to multiply their toxic behavior. Do not lose your calm and get provoked- the exact motive they want to exact out of you. Instead, retain your patience and apathy which will help you emerge out of this toxic relationship with all the resilience that you need to make yourself future-ready.
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Also read: How to deal with toxic relationships
Damayanti Dubey is a final year English major at Loreto College, Kolkata. She is a writer by passion and loves to indulge in languages, especially English, Bengali, and Urdu. She aims at exploring all of their intricacies and nuances. Damayanti is a disciple of Padma Bhushan Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and is a national scholar of Indian classical music. She has always believed that a sound mind, free from the clutches of regressive and negative thoughts is the key to living a healthy life and makes efforts to promote mental wellness through the power of her words.
Damayanti believes in thinking beyond boundaries.