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Published on October 1, 2020

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner

Learning how to leave a toxic relationship is never as easy as saying, “Hit the road, Jack!” – especially not when you are in love with your partner.

If you’ve been in a toxic relationship, you know exactly how emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting they can be. But if a toxic relationship is so taxing, why is it so hard to leave?

In this article, you will find out why it’s difficult to leave a toxic relationship and how to leave a toxic relationship for good.

How to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you are in a toxic relationship or not. It is often because of the manipulation involved in partner -toxicity.

Another reason why it may be difficult to admit that you’re in a toxic relationship is that there isn’t any outward abuse. Your partner may not hit you or cross any obvious sexual boundaries,[1] but that doesn’t mean you’re in a healthy relationship.

Making a pro/con list can be a helpful first step when learning how to leave a toxic relationship.

Pros might be that your spouse makes you laugh, you enjoy the same hobbies, and you love them.

But, what are the cons of being in your current circumstances?

When you make out this list, it’s important, to be honest with yourself. Does your partner do any of the following?

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  • Doesn’t give you privacy
  • Cut you off from friends/family/finances
  • Prevents you from attending school or work
  • Is controlling and jealous
  • Makes all the decisions in your relationship
  • Pressures you into things you aren’t comfortable with
  • Makes “jokes” or criticizes you
  • Is unfaithful
  • Talks down to you
  • Destroys property
  • Sends threatening text messages
  • Invades your privacy (checks your phone/social media/follows you)
  • Threatens to do something horrible if you leave the relationship
  • Gaslights/acts like the things they are doing are not a big deal

If these toxic behaviors remind you of your spouse, this may be the wake-up call you need to take action and get out of your dangerous relationship.

Why Do People Remain in Toxic Relationships?

One of the main culprits is oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone in your body that releases during moments of intimacy. This could include making love, holding hands, kissing, or even cuddling with someone.

When oxytocin is released, it causes you to be more trusting of your partner, even when trust is not warranted. This sneaky little hormone is also guilty of promoting bonding, which can make it feel impossible to leave your spouse, even when you know they aren’t good for you.

In addition to the effect of oxytocin, here’re 5 more things that make leaving a toxic relationship difficult:

1. Abuse Weakens You Emotionally

Emotional abuse can be devastating to everyone, leaving the individual weak without self-esteem, making starting afresh a difficult decision to make.

2. It Can Be Life-Threatening

Leaving a toxic relationship can be dangerous, leading to all sorts of consequences, even death. Research shows that a toxic partner kills a larger percentage of women in weeks after leaving a toxic relationship than when they remain in the relationship.

3. The “It Will Stop Mindset’

Society has ingrained in us a “don’t give up on anything” mindset in which people follow even when they recognize it might result in something catastrophic. That mindset is also followed by having the thought that the abuse will stop eventually.

4. Social Pressure

There is always that social pressure from friends, family members, etc., to want a relationship – this pressure only makes the situation worse.

5. Social Reaction

People often don’t want to admit to anyone that they are going through a hard time, which cuts across relationships. People in toxic relationships don’t want to admit the kind of abuse they are going through because of fear or shame of being blamed or judged.

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The Effects of Emotional Abuse in a Toxic Relationship

1. Fear

This is a constant concern or awareness of danger. You start to have trust issues with anyone you find yourself with that building a relationship becomes issue overtime.

2. Shame

You don’t feel free to interact with anyone who knows what you have gone through like Friends, family members, etc., which often can result in loneliness.

3. Confusion

Your mind consistently wonders, and you seem to lose concentration and cant focus on a particular task.

4. Drugs or drinking

Abuse often results in excessive use of drugs and drinking. Thought that it could take away the pain is a delusion.

5. Suicide

When the pain and trauma get too much, it can often result in the party taking their lives.

6. Sleep trouble

You don’t get to enjoy sleep as you are supposed to. Thoughts and anxiety become the order of every moment.

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship

1. Know That You Deserve Better

Months or years of being told that you’ll never find anyone better than your spouse can wear on you, and you may even start to believe it. But this isn’t true.

Tearing down self-esteem and self-worth is what abusers do to keep their victims trapped in the relationship.

Let “I deserve better!” become your daily mantra. Remind yourself of your worth every day.

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You’ve tried your hardest to make your relationship work, but sometimes love is not enough, and you need to move on for your own mental and physical wellbeing.

2. Build a Support System

The emotions you go through for a toxic breakup are much the same as going through a breakup of a healthy relationship. You will feel conflicted, lovesick, relieved, depressed, and more.

Leaving a toxic relationship is especially difficult if you have been financially reliant on your ex – but don’t despair!

Instead of focusing on why this will be hard, focus on building a support system you’ll need when you take the plunge. Research shows that friend and family support during trying times lowers psychological distress.

Having a support system around will make it easier for you to move on.

3. Be Firm About Your Decision

Breakups are hard, no matter what the circumstance is. You’re leaving a life that you’ve grown accustomed to, and even if you know the relationship is no longer safe, it still sucks, leaving the life you’ve built for yourself.

There may be times when you are tempted to get back with your partner, but stand firm! You deserve a partner who loves and respects you.

Do not give your ex any false hope of getting back together. Be firm in your decision to leave the relationship and don’t budge.

4. Cut Off Contact

One of the biggest times for how to leave a toxic relationship would be to cut off all contact with your ex once you’ve broken up.

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Keeping in contact with your ex opens the door for you to get back together. Plus, seeing your ex across social media will make the memory of the relationship feel fresh in your mind. Here’s what to do when you experience that.

Instead of dwelling in the past, focus on the future, keep yourself motivated. Delete your ex from social media, block them on your phone, and find ways to avoid seeing them in person. These actions will make it clear that you want nothing to do with them.

5. It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken

If you’re at the point of breaking up, you’ve likely tried all of the tricks to get your spouse to change their toxic ways.

Maybe you went to therapy, took a relationship class, or made date nights a priority – but nothing worked.

Your partner is not going to change, and it’s important to remind yourself of this often.

You did everything you could to help them and reason with them, and it didn’t work. Do not expect miracles after a breakup.

Even if an abusive ex changes their ways, it is likely only due to the shock of the breakup. If you got back together, their likelihood of returning to their toxic behaviors is incredibly high.

Learning how to leave a toxic relationship is one thing, but following through with it is an entirely different story. If you are having trouble leaving an abusive or toxic partner, reach out to a trusted friend, family, or call/text/chat with an abusive relationship support line like Day One.

Final Thoughts

It is often a feeling of attachment or loneliness to wanting to get into another relationship immediately one gets out of a toxic one. Please take things easy, learn to discover yourself, and think of how the last one ended so you don’t experience the same thing. Take your time to heal completely from previous relationship hurts and pains before thinking about going into a new one.

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More on How to Leave a Toxic Relationship

Featured photo credit: Max via unsplash.com

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Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

How To Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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