How to Free Yourself From a Toxic Person.
At some point in life, most of us will become entangled with someone who just really isn’t good for us*. You know the person; you meet them and sparks fly, the attraction is off the scale and you can’t seem to get enough of them. It may be the way they look, smell, or move that drives you crazy with lust. The chemistry is amazing but as the relationship evolves it becomes more and more apparent that they are just not good for you. They may be emotionally or actually unavailable. They may be an addict. They may be hurtful or manipulative. Kelsey ‘radicalselflove’ Grant calls these people our ‘wound mates’. They are difficult to get over because they trigger a wound deep inside of us, usually from our childhood, and our instinct is to replay our past trauma through the relationship to try to get to our desired ending. There are ways to stop yourself from getting into these kind of entanglements but that’s for another post. This post is about how to get yourself out once you are in one. Here are five tips to help you get out of there.
1. Stop sleeping with them.
After orgasm a woman’s oxytocin levels rise for two weeks and a man’s for 2 days. This hormone is often referred to as the ‘love hormone’ and recent studies have shown that it can help us to become more accepting of others. In short, this chemical affects your brain chemistry to make you more trusting. You can’t see someone clearly with this going on in your noggin. Stop sleeping with this person and you will start to see them more clearly. Then…
2. Turn the lights alllll the way on.
Once your brain is back to its normal hormone levels, really look at this person and their behaviour. Look at the way that they make you feel when they are unavailable, won’t commit, put you down or manipulate you and really see their behaviour for what it is. You are worthy of happiness and of being treated like the precious jewel that you are. You don’t deserve to be second best, to be manipulated, criticised and or undermined. Think about what you would tell your best friend if they were being treated the way that you are. What would your advice be? Speaking of which…
3. Listen to your friends.
Most of us have at least one friend who will tell you the truth about your situation and the person, even though this can be bloody awkward. I am lucky enough to have one of these and she will tell me exactly what’s what when I need it. I am not saying that I am not resistant to her advice but I know that she has no reason to tell me that a bad bloke is good and that a good bloke is bad. Realise that your friends have your best interests at heart. Phone them when you’re feeling weak so that they can remind you of all the shitty things that this person did. They’ll soon have you back on track.
4. Do things that make you feel amazing.
These don’t have to be expensive, there are things that we can do to access a state of joy (see My Self-Care Seven) but if you do have the money and you want to treat yourself to a holiday, shopping trip, spa day, adventure, whatever it is; do it. Spoil yourself and relish every second of it. Create a life that is so big and beautiful that you don’t have time to think about this person.
5. Remove them from your field of vision.
Hide or delete them from Facebook and Instagram, take down photos, archive Whatsapp chats, delete texts, delete their number and call history. Just make sure that you don’t keep stumbling across reminders of them all the time. Blocking can feel like an aggressive act and I used to have a problem with it because of this but my mind-set has changed now; this is a boundary to help you to get over them and an act of self-care, rather than aggression. If you have children with this person this can be extremely difficult as the likelihood is you will need to see them. In these instances, you need to have boundaries of steel. If you have family or friends who can support (be there when you exchange children, help with pick-ups and drop offs etc) ask them. Keep conversations about the children. But do make sure that you put the social media boundaries in place.
Once you’ve started these, give yourself time. At first it will feel like you’ll never get them out of your head. Then there will be days where you have some clear mental space. Sometimes it will feel like one step forward and two steps back but gradually, you will start to heal and the hold that they had will dissipate. If you do see them, you will feel so good in your new self that you won’t want to jeopardise it again and you will find yourself setting boundaries where before you couldn’t. Over time you will heal and your self-love will grow and you’ll be able to make better choices with the wisdom that you gained. Good luck, I’m rooting for you.
*This post is about unhealthy relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship please seek help. Resources below.