3 Tips for Breaking Away From Unhealthy Relationships
We’ve all had our fair share of less than perfect relationships. Whether it’s with a friend or a significant other, sometimes the chemistry just isn’t a match. But going beyond the normal ups and downs of human companionship, there are some relationships that are actually harmful to maintain. They could take the form of a partner who constantly criticizes or belittles you, or in extreme cases is physically abusive.
These unhealthy relationships can be tough to break away from. Oftentimes, people feel stuck with an abusive partner because they see no way out, or lack the self-esteem required to make a clean break. Of course, some abusers intentionally manipulate their significant others to make it harder for them to leave by isolating them from close friends, family, and other pillars of support.
Here are five tips for breaking away from those unhealthy relationships:
Identify the Problem
This may seem obvious, but it’s crucial to recognize a bad relationship for what it is. Ask yourself if you’re truly able to be yourself around your partner. Do they belittle you and your accomplishments or support you and nurture your growth? Is everything always about them? Does it seem like you can’t even enjoy happy moments around this person?
If so, you might be in an unhealthy relationship. Your partner should be there for you and encourage you to live a healthy, happy life. You deserve someone who respects you and shows that respect with their words and actions.
Re-Establish Your Support Group
As previously mentioned, abusers often keep their partners away from friends and family. Without the support of the people who care about you, it can be difficult to work up the courage to do what needs to be done. It’s also more difficult to validate your feelings and confirm to yourself that your relationship is toxic.
Whether it’s your mother, workplace friend, favorite Aunt, or even a counselor, you can get help remembering who you are and what it is you want out of a romantic partner.
Make the Decision and Stick to It
Now that you’ve identified your relationship as unhealthy, and you’ve made decision to leave your partner, it’s crucial that you stick to your decision and resist the temptation to backslide. It’s all too common for people to be convinced or coerced back into a toxic relationship.
Now that you’ve identified the problem and have your support group, it’s time to make a plan. In some cases, a simple conversation will suffice. Not all unhealthy relationships are necessarily abusive. Sometimes stress, emotional immaturity, or other factors can taint an otherwise healthy pairing.
However, if you find yourself in a physically dangerous situation, you need to be prepared to get out quickly and safely. Stash a bag of clothes and belongings at a trusted friend’s house in case you need to make a quick escape. Tell your support network of your plans, and make sure they know specific details in case something goes wrong. There’s also no shame in asking them to come along with you when you break things off or move your stuff out.
If physical abuse has been persistent, you can take advantage of domestic violence laws in your area—but be sure you’re somewhere safe. Sadly, many local police forces don’t have the resources to ensure your protection around the clock. If you have nowhere else to go, reach out to a domestic abuse shelter in your area. The trained professionals at these facilities will help you get over your abusive relationship and start life again.