If someone’s toxic, leave them. That’s always been my motto, but putting it into practice turned out to be trickier than I thought. This is largely due to how toxic people know when to throw on the charm and be the most loving person in the room. Here’s how I finally cut the strings.
I forgot the good times.
Toxic people are confusing. They reel you in by being amazing and then they turn on their nasty side. But it’s easy to focus on the good parts of them and even hope that that’s who they really are. FYI, they’re not. To get over the toxic guy I dated, I had to remember that the good times had only been an act.
I had to remember I was right.
I’m not usually the type of person to think I’m always right, but with a toxic person, it was crucial for me to remember that I wasn’t the destructive one. Toxic people make you doubt yourself. They’re always ready to turn the tables on you.
I had to stop being a people-pleaser.
One of the things that used to attract toxic people to me was that I was a people-pleaser. When my toxic ex would spin a fake story for sympathy, I’d always fall into his trap. By toughening up a bit, that really helped me to maintain perspective.
I had to make a clean break with mutual friends.
It’s tough to walk away from a toxic person, especially when they try so desperately to get you back. That’s what my ex was doing and I knew the only way to eliminate him from my life once and for all was by making a clean break with him and ending friendships with our mutual friends so I couldn’t get sucked back into the relationship.
I rediscovered myself.
When I was in a toxic relationship, everything was always about my partner. I became a shell of myself. By forcing myself to get back into my hobbies, interests, and try some new things that I would never have tried when I was dating that guy, I rediscovered myself and I discovered new things that I loved about life. It made me realize that I hadn’t been living when I’d dated that guy, and like hell did I want to go back to that.
I stopped separating him from his issues.
The toxic guy had serious issues that he was dealing with and I was used to giving him a get-out-of-jail card because of them. In order to move on, I had to stop making excuses for him. I had to stop separating him from his issues. His problems weren’t making him a jerk—he was one and I didn’t need that energy in my life.
I got real with myself.
It’s easy to shut out your intuition when you’re wrapped up in a toxic relationship, especially when your partner’s gaslighting the heck out of you. Without him distracting me, I could tune into my inner voice. I knew that I didn’t feel good around that guy, and reminding me of this helped me to move on. Best of all, the longer I didn’t see or hear from him, the more that feeling became intense, confirming that I was making the right choice.
I stopped beating myself up.
This was a tough one. A few days after walking away from the toxic guy, I was in tears and felt like I’d made a huge mistake. I called my friend who talked some real sense into me. She said, “Why are you hurting? Is it out of misplaced guilt? That’s not love.” I realized I was making myself the victim because I was so used to feeling like the victim. It was easier to remain so than to take responsibility for walking away and choosing myself.
I had friends on speed-dial.
Related to the above point was how I’d call that specific friend as well as others when I couldn’t deal and I started doubting myself. They always helped me to see the situation with objective, honest eyes. They also helped me to choose things out of love, not fear or uncertainty. Having a support system is so crucial when leaving a toxic person.
I realized I wasn’t his savior.
Too often in that relationship, I was trying to save the guy. By reminding myself that it wasn’t my job to do so, I could stop being a martyr and save myself.
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