11 Ways Toxic Relationships Mess With Your Head You After They’re Over

Yes, toxic relationships can be traumatic, but once the toxic person is out of your life, make sure you’re not getting stuck in the negativity or carrying it into your future by thinking certain thoughts. Here are 11 to be aware of.

  1. “I’m not worthy of someone better.” You might think that if you deserved someone better, you wouldn’t have attracted the toxic guy in the first place. But don’t let your past determine your future. The fact that you finally kicked that toxic guy to the corner shows you that you’re learning that you deserve better from a boyfriend. That’s the first step to finding the right person.
  2. “He was right about me.” Toxic guys can be manipulators of note. They know how to make you think you’re worthless, and those feelings and thoughts can stay with you long after the relationship ends. Make sure to remind yourself of why you’re an amazing person and how he was the damaged one, not you – no matter how much he tried to turn the tables on you.
  3. “I’ve got baggage and it’s holding me back.” Yeah, you might have some baggage after that relationship (a side order of low self-confidence to go with your depression, anyone?), but that’s totally normal. It would actually be disturbing if you came out of that relationship without any baggage. You’re human, after all. The point is that it doesn’t have to hold you back. It can actually help you to grow.
  4. “I’m depressed. There must be something wrong with me.” It’s also normal to feel down in the dumps after your relationship with a toxic guy comes to an end. While you’re probably expecting to feel elated that he’s out of your life, it’s normal to feel depressed. You’ve been through a lot, but don’t blame yourself for it. Love yourself and treat yourself with the care that he wasn’t man enough to give you.
  5. “I should’ve tried harder.” Maybe you tried to fix the toxic guy and it didn’t work. Now, you’re saddled with feeling that you should’ve tried harder or done more. This can send you into a spiral – or worse, make you try to get him back. Don’t! You know in your heart of hearts that there was nothing you could do. Only he can save himself. Honestly? Now it’s time to focus all your time and energy on saving yourself. You matter.
  6. “I’m not going to be happy ever again.” It’s common to feel like this dark cloud will hang over you forever, but that’s not true. Slowly, your happiness will come back. In fact, now that the a-hole’s out of your life, it’s going to be an even more amazing sense of happiness and well-being. You’re going to look back on this time in the future and think, “Wow! If only I’d had some faith that things would get better.” They get a lot better.
  7. “My friends will judge me.” It’s not easy to feel comfortable around loved ones when your toxic relationship comes to an end, especially if you cut your friends out of your life. But if they’re real friends who deserve to have you in their lives, they won’t judge you. They’ll support you.
  8. “I’m going to get hurt all over again.” Stepping back into the dating scene after dating a toxic guy can feel like stepping into a minefield. There’s always that fear that you’re going to get hurt again or find yourself caught up in another harmful relationship. The trick is to take some time off dating to concentrate on, and love, yourself. Build yourself up before you put dating pressure on yourself.
  9. “All men are jerks.” It takes one bad apple to make you fear the whole basket is rotten, but don’t let one man define all the other men out there. Come on, it’s impossible for all men to be evil manipulators! In fact, if you keep an open mind, you’ll see that there are actually really good people out there. Not everyone is going to want to hurt you.
  10. “I’m going to buy three cats and call it a day.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it sounds like a great plan for the future. But, it’s not the only possibility for your life. Don’t let a toxic jerk mess up your dreams for the future. If you still dream of having a healthy, happy relationship, understand that it can happen for you. In fact, you’ll be better equipped to spot it when it does happen because you’ll be able to sniff out the toxic guys from a mile away and avoid them in favor of the good guys, thanks to your experience with that toxic jerk.
  11. “I’ve got bad taste in men.” Again, it was just one guy who entered your life and hurt you. It doesn’t mean that you’re to blame for what he did. Most toxic men enter your life looking like your dream guy, after all. They don’t just come along and treat you badly, otherwise you’d never have been manipulated into being with them. So give yourself some slack. If you really do feel like you could spruce up your dream-guy list, go ahead and make some changes. It can’t hurt.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.