You got this, girl.
A toxic relationship can be one of the most emotionally-taxing things that we can experience. They can leave us feeling drained, angry, worrisome and stressed. Because a toxic relationship can feel so incredibly overwhelming and confusing emotionally, there are times when we feel as if we will never be able to not be affected by the person's toxic behavior.
We may feel that there's no way we can ever truly heal. But here are steps we need to take in order to help ourselves heal from a toxic relationship:
1. Set your own boundaries, and stick to them.
When a person exhibits toxic behavior, we find ourselves confused about what it is we need. This is because the person has used emotional manipulation and guilt in an attempt to make you feel like your feelings, needs and thoughts are wrong so they can get what they want.
The key here is to recognize when the other person is being toxic and set a clear boundary when that happens by saying something like, "Don't talk to me like that" or "I don't appreciate your comment." It's also good to follow up that statement with a comment like, "If you don't stop, then I will leave."
Most of the time, the person is probably not going to accept or respect your boundary. So it's very important to be very firm and follow through with what you say you will do.
2. Create a distance between you.
Regardless of whether the person is really respecting the boundaries you set with them or not, it's vital to create at least some distance. In creating distance, you will give yourself the opportunity to fully focus on and deal with your own stuff, which is something you can't do when in a toxic relationship.
3. Commit to taking care of yourself and your body.
Make your own self-care a daily commitment. Start every day with a meditation or prayer. Go for a daily walk out in nature. Do yoga. Go for a run or do some other kind of cardio. Eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods.
It's also important to start a practice of regularly checking in with your body. Before you sit down to eat a meal or when you notice that you're stressed, stop and focus on your body, and ask yourself, "How does my body feel?" The more and more we take the time to tune in and ask ourselves how our body feels, the easier it is to calm down and find peace.
4. Seek out a support system.
Because these relationships are emotionally draining, it's important to find a support system when learning how to cope. Find a therapist or coach who specializes in relationships and boundaries. Find a therapy group with other people going through a similar thing.
You can also seek out friends who can empathize and help you through the process. Just be mindful about falling into the whole "blame game" trap with friends, because it happens very easily. Own your own experience and take personal responsibility for what happens to you in your life.
This article was originally published at Jennifer Twardowski. Reprinted with permission from the author.