In my experience helping run a drug and alcohol clinic, I have seen my fair share of toxic relationships. If dysfunctional people love each other, they will do everything from lie, cheat, steal, and even go to prison for someone they love.
If you love a toxic man or woman, it doesn’t make you weird or stupid. It makes you normal. Attraction and love don’t occur in our logical brains. Rather, they happen in the limbic regions of the brain. So, when you saw that tall, handsome bad boy or the crazy woman with a smoking body, your brain sent pleasure chemicals your way and you bonded with him or her.
Of course, if you ended up in a relationship, the reality hit hard: lying, cheating, abuse, and other dysfunctional behaviors. Maybe you even left your toxic partner. But, you still have feelings and it’s very frustrating! Not everyone knows how to get over a toxic relationship, which is why I’ve written this article.
These tips should help you kick those toxic exes to the curb for good. Remember, however, that it’s tough to truly get over a toxic relationship.
Progress, Not Perfection
Since the good feelings for your asshole ex are literally embedded in your brain, realize that you might never truly “get over” him or her. You will probably still have good memories and contradictory feelings. And, that’s OK.
Focus on progress, not perfection. As long as you’re moving forward in new relationships, thinking about him or her less and less, not stalking the person on social media, and so on, you’re doing the right thing.
Think about most toxic things in life. They don’t always clean up quickly. Sometimes it takes years to cleanse a toxic element from your system or another environment. Look at your old toxic marriage or relationship the same way: it might take awhile to fully detox.
Work On Self-Improvement
People in toxic relationships are typically co-dependent. That means they need the other person to be happy. In other words, their happiness, and even reason for living, is dependent on others. Obviously, this is extremely toxic. The antidote to toxic co-dependence is to establish more independence.
Not only that, but most people coming out of toxic long term relationships or toxic marriages have gotten so down in the dumps that they’ve let themselves go. They’ve aged prematurely, gotten on medications or illegal drugs, and gained weight. In addition, they’ve lost family and friends.
If you’re trying to get over a toxic relationship, pursue self-improvement activities. Get healthy, workout, take a class, learn a new skill, or take up meditation. Even self-care would be helpful. Go to a spa, run outdoors, take a trip with friends, and so on.
The key to being successful is to think about yourself first. That sounds selfish, but most toxic relationships involve putting yourself last.
Embrace Being Single
Since your toxic romance involved being too focused on being in a relationship, the key to getting over your toxic thinking that leads to unhealthy relationships is to embrace the single life. This is especially true if you’ve gone from one dysfunctional relationship to another.
Embrace your hobbies and what you love, whether it’s sports, movies, or anything fun. Don’t be looking to meet someone. Instead, focus on enjoying life without being tied down to a partner. Detoxing from relationships in general will cause you to stop being so desperate when you decide to date. It might be hard to not be rushing into a new romance. But, resist the urge!
Rely On Family And Friends
A good friend of mine was in a toxic relationship and I almost never saw her. Her boyfriend kept her under his total control, his jealousy making her cut off all contact with friends and most contact with family. Of course, everyone was worried.
When she finally got the courage to dump him, she felt ashamed that she had lost contact with most of those she loved while she was his girlfriend. As a result, she isolated herself and dealt with the pain of breaking up without help.
Likely, you’re in a similar situation, having ignored family and friends to immerse yourself in a toxic partner. And, you fear their judgment if you try to reconnect. However, don’t let that stop you from reaching out to loved ones in your life. Your family and friends can be vital supports as you fight the urge to get back with a toxic ex.
One of my clients was dumped by a toxic girlfriend. Even though it was a blessing in disguise, the pain was real. He was depressed, anxious, and unhappy. He wanted her back in the worst way, and, being a terrible person, she continued to lead him on.
All he did was work with no social life. So, he’d go home and overthink about the break-up. Alone with his thoughts, he couldn’t stop dwelling on the relationship. My advice to him was get out of the house and keep busy. He joined a basketball league, went to a yoga studio, and reconnected with an old friend.
He found that keeping busy with positive activities helped distract him from his ex girlfriend. And, sometimes toxic relationship recovery is just a matter of being distracted for awhile because…
Although your brain might still be addicted to your toxic ex, the biggest factor in getting over him or her is time. Over time, the feelings of attraction and love will fade. The longer you can rebuild other relationships, keep busy, work on yourself, and, quite simply, stay away from reconnecting, it’ll all get easier.
As the ancient wisdom says, “this too shall pass.” In other words, if you’re feeling lousy trying to get over your toxic ex, you’ll need to stick with the fight knowing that those terrible feelings will, with time, go away.
I know many people who have had pain in their past when ending toxic marriages and relationships. But, they now look back and realize they made the right choice. They fought through the pain to be stronger people.
You too will make it and your life and future relationships will be better. In a few months, when your toxic relationship is in the rear view mirror, you’ll be much happier.