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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.

More on How to Leave a Toxic Relationship

Featured photo credit: Max via unsplash.com

Reference

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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 April 19, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

Reference

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