Exit and heal: Signs that tell you are in a toxic relationship and things you must do after ending it

Did you manage to get out of a toxic relationship but don’t know how to overcome the trauma? Here are some tips that will help you navigate life in a better way

Dr Vihan SanyalUpdated: Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 06:07 PM IST
article-image

What is a toxic relationship?

Toxic relationships exist in schools, workplaces, families and in romantic relationships. For a relationship to be classified as “toxic”, it needs to make a person feel unloved, unsupported, feel trapped, controlled, misunderstood, subject of constant ridicule or made to feel small. It includes childhood neglect, abuse and bullying.

Common signs of a toxic relationship

  • Being blamed without it being your fault.

  • Being controlled.

  • Being isolated from family and friends’

  • Being gaslighted.

  • Being disrespected.

  • Needs being ignored.

  • Being lied to.

  • Being resentful and holding grudges.

  • Fault finding and being blamed for everything.

  • Lack of trust in the relationship.

  • Jealousy.

A traumatic relationship can be long-standing and leave long-lasting emotional scars within a person. A person may end up suffering from a range of mental health disorders like anxiety, panic disorders, clinical depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders and personality disorders.

The slightest incident, a word or an image can trigger a memory of a traumatic relationship a person might have endured years after the end of a relationship. It is important for people who have been subjected to toxic relationships to seek professional help from a mental health care provider.

A mental health specialist can help the person process and deal with the residue of the traumatic relationship. Unprocessed mental images of events and unprocessed emotions can linger on in a person’s subconscious mind for years to come. It can continue to influence the day-to-day behaviour of the person in forms of temper tantrums, anger and rage until a person learns to deal with the trauma they have been holding onto. Untreated trauma is likely to affect a person’s future relationships and it can become a never-ending pattern of failed relationships.

Here are a few things one should do after exiting a toxic relationship:

  • Do not contact the toxic person. End all forms of communication with them. The relationship is over and you have attended the funeral of the relationship. There is no going back!

  • Remember your reasons for ending the relationship. Even if you didn’t get the closure you hoped for, it’s time to move on.

  • Be socially active with supportive friends and family members.

  • Become selfish and prioritise yourself. Spend more time engaging in activities you enjoy. Take a sabbatical from work for a while; go on a holiday, spoil yourself at every opportunity.

  • Stop blaming yourself for the relationship not working out. Stop living in guilt.

  • Learn ways of keeping thoughts of self-doubt from restricting your growth.

  • Learn to forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself. Respect yourself.

  • Learn to let go and free yourself from your past.

  • Be patient. It is likely to take time for you to heal from the trauma.

  • Don’t be in a rush to jump into another relationship. Take your time. The loneliness you may feel is better than being in another toxic relationship. Besides, you may need to work on yourself and deal with the trauma before starting a fresh relationship.

  • Be assertive in your communication. Stop yourself from getting bullied.

  • Ensure you are following an active and healthy lifestyle.

  • Be focused on the present and the future. Not the past.

  • Be clear of your wants and needs.

  • Have a clear vision of the future.

  • Talk about your feelings with a mental health professional.

  • Remember, with time you will learn to trust again. Don’t close yourself to the world.

(Dr Vihan Sanyal is a Mumbai-based Psychotherapist and the Founder of Mind Factory)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

IPL Final: Sanjay Manjrekar says Jos Buttler will have to be extremely cautious against this player

IPL Final: Sanjay Manjrekar says Jos Buttler will have to be extremely cautious against this player

Missing woman judge found hanging at brother's house in south Delhi

Missing woman judge found hanging at brother's house in south Delhi

Arvind Kejriwal holds rally in Haryana; here's what the AAP chief promised

Arvind Kejriwal holds rally in Haryana; here's what the AAP chief promised

Mumbai: Latest Updates - Truck rams into metro pillar on Ghodbunder Road, driver critical

Mumbai: Latest Updates - Truck rams into metro pillar on Ghodbunder Road, driver critical

Now Mumbaikars can report violations by remaining anonymous

Now Mumbaikars can report violations by remaining anonymous