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How to Overcome The Pain of a Toxic Relationship

How to Overcome The Pain of a Toxic Relationship

Okay, you’ve finally done it—you’ve worked up your courage and left the toxic relationship behind. But what about moving forward? The breaking of any relationship, especially a toxic romantic relationship, can leave pain that may seem unbearable. However, moving past that pain is easier than you might think.

Ignite and Reaffirm Your Self-Esteem

It might sound ridiculous to some, but take time to tell yourself that you are smart, beautiful, and worthy of a good life and good relationship to boot. Say it out loud or within your mind, in the mirror, shower, car, wherever you feel comfortable. If you need to, create an affirmation to repeat to yourself on a regular basis. Maintaining your self-esteem, especially in the wake of a toxic relationship, can be difficult, but it’s essential for those who need a reminder of their worth as a person.

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Go Beyond the Traditional Support System

Whether or not you have a good support system from family or friends you can still create support for yourself. A relationship counselor who earned their master’s degree in social work online says that exercise, meditation, and hobbies can all be excellent ways of coping with emotional pain. Simply adding a one-hour event into your schedule could be one hour that is pain-free. Don’t feel obligated to participate in activities you don’t enjoy just for the sake of exercising. Instead, discover what interests you. Whether it’s yoga, aerobics, swimming, tennis, or even extreme roller skating–whatever form of exercise appeals to you is the one you should be doing. If you’re not the athletic type and would rather meditate, find the method that works best for you. Not all meditation has to be done in cross-legged science–meditation takes several forms, of which there is sure to be one which appeals to you!

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Make New Friends

Your friends that you have right now are probably fantastic people, however, it is often through meeting new people that you can rediscover your lost self and begin to move past the pain. Your friends may have been a support group during the toxic relationship—and they should continue to be—but it is easy to dwell on the past and your old relationship when talking to them. Keep those friends close, but look for other people and groups to relate to. By putting yourself out in the open and making some new friends or acquaintances, you are opening new doors and shutting out the pain involved in negative memories. You may also find that new friends offer a fresh perspective on your situation which could help you overcome some of the residual pain.

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Ask For Help

You’ve been hurt but that doesn’t mean you’re broken. Your family, friends, and even YOU are waiting for you to ask for help. It is okay to ask for help and no, you won’t sound weak doing so. It takes immense strength to ask for any kind of help, so in a way, asking for help is making you stronger and thus it can be used as a tool to counter the lingering pain. Those who care about you will not judge you or dismiss you for asking for help because that’s not what caring people do! They will be cheering for you every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to ask them for the occasional support.

Moving past the pain of a toxic romantic relationship seems like a battle that is unwinnable. However, if you invest in a good support system and believe in yourself you can take small steps to minimize the pain and eventually leave it far, far behind.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Kara Masterson

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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