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The Shame-Free Way to Leave Unhealthy Relationships

It’s hard to walk away from unhealthy relationships the instant a warning sign pops up. Us survivors will often tell ourselves “I’ll never let anyone do this to me again,” but when it comes time to actually walk away…we hesitate anyways. 

Why? Because after a life with so little love, we want every bit we can get. Even if the person providing it isn’t all that good for us. 

I talked about how us survivors tend to settle for less than we deserve last month, but leaving toxic people goes beyond this. It needed a blog of its own.

We also struggle to leave because grief hurts. We don’t want to deal with yet another loss in our lives, not after all we’ve been through. 

This keeps us in denial. We focus on their (often empty) apologies more than we focus on their hurtful actions. If we can convince ourselves they might change, it’s okay that we stay close to them, right? That’s often our logic with unhealthy relationships.

Leaving any person is a challenge—but it’s one you’re strong enough to face. And this blog will help make it easier. 

If you want to make sure you only seek healthy relationships in the future, check out this blog too!

How to Identify Unhealthy Relationships

The very first thing you need to do is become certain that this relationship is not good for you. If you have doubts, it will be so much harder to leave…and you’re far more likely to regret your decision, too. 

So, get as clear as you can on why this relationship is unhealthy. Keep a journal of all the problematic things they do so, when they try and convince you they’ll never do these things again, you have something to look back on. Something to remind you why it’s right to leave.

Pay special attention to these huge red flags, too. 

They breach boundaries more than once: 

Us survivors might not be great at setting boundaries, but we (like every person) do have them. And we express them, whether aware of it or not. If someone repeatedly does something that makes you uncomfortable, especially if you’ve brought it up to them, it’s likely an unhealthy relationship. If you’re not sure they know they’re hurting you, read this blog on how to set a boundary and go from there!

They breach any serious boundary:

Serious boundaries are things that are basically traumatic or something no kind person would do. If a partner throws something at you in a fight, they spread a nasty rumor, or they don’t listen to you saying no in the bedroom—this is a sign you should leave immediately. Anything threatening your life or health automatically means you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

Anything threatening your life or health automatically means you’re in an unhealthy relationship. Click To Tweet

They criticize you a lot: 

Giving feedback is a natural human thing to do, but if they’re overly critical, it’s time to leave the relationship. Unconditional love comes without criticism. Of course, figuring out what is mean and what is them trying to help may be challenging. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Unfair criticism is picking on how you look at the beginning of a date, rather than saying “That doesn’t look great on you” after you asked their opinion while shopping. Unfair criticism is saying you’ll never reach a goal, instead of helping you try and supporting you along the way.

Basically, if you ask for feedback, that’s fine. 

It’s always okay for them to give feedback with their own boundaries too. Sometimes a person setting a boundary with us can feel harsh, but it’s a healthy thing. Simply ask yourself, “Are they expressing a need, or are they just saying something painful even though it doesn’t affect them?”

This blog can help you sort through the stress of other people setting boundaries with you.

They’re violent: 

This is obviously similar to breaching serious boundaries. Any sort of violence, including emotional violence, is a huge warning sign. Things like gaslighting, manipulation, or making you feel ashamed of who you are. Maybe they ghost or ignore you, even after they promised to respond or show up. If someone makes you feel unwanted, it’s likely some emotional violence is present. 

Of course, there’s no requirement for someone to always be available to you. Feeling unwanted can be a trigger from our past, even when someone is actually very good for us. So, be sure to examine if their actions were intentional (like deliberately ignoring you when they promised to call without a valid excuse) or not (like taking their time to respond to a text cause they’re busy).

Physical and sexual violence, of course, also fit in this category.

If you need feedback on if some behavior is wrong or not, post in the Uncover Your Joy Facebook group here!

Grief is temporary but, if you stay in unhealthy relationships, you’ll be hurt a lot more. Click To Tweet

The Easier Way to Leave Unhealthy Relationships

Once you know a relationship is unhealthy, it’s time to work on leaving. You no longer have doubts—so now you just need to get out. 

The biggest struggle here is facing the grief. It’s scary to leave someone because, well, it will always hurt at least a little bit. We never want to lose people we’ve connected with and, unfortunately, most unhealthy relationships were first built on a loving connection that deteriorated. 

The key is accepting grief. There is no way to prevent this from coming up when you leave someone. It will be a part of that experience and that’s okay.

Instead, it’s about getting the courage to face it anyways. Grief is temporary but, if you stay in unhealthy relationships, you’ll be hurt a lot more. It might feel less intense at any given moment…but the amount of pain is definitely greater when you stay in these relationships.

So, choose to face this short-term grief. That’s an act of self love. It’s short term pain for long term gain. Love is in your future. It’s just not with these toxic people by your side.

If you’re struggling to find the strength to leave unhealthy relationships, this program will uncover your inner power. 

If the grief every gets too intense, here’s how you can handle it with love, too.

Do you have a relationship with some red flags in it? What’s holding you back from leaving? Comment below or make a post in this group—and you’re sure to get some support. 


How close are you to thriving after abuse? Take the quiz here!

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