8 Steps to Healing From a Toxic Relationship
Recovering from the breakup of a good relationship is hard, but healing from a toxic relationship can be even harder.
A toxic relationship is mentally, emotionally, and possibly even physically harmful. If you’ve been in a harmful relationship your self-esteem is at an all time low, you may have been manipulated or controlled, your trust is broken, you feel lost, and you feel completely drained.
A breakup can be a traumatic experience for many people, but even knowing that the relationship was bad for you, it can be hard to leave and find yourself after all that time spent with someone.
What do you do after letting go of a toxic relationship? First, have a ton of compassion for yourself and let yourself grieve. Second, make self-care a priority, do things that make you feel good. Third, look for opportunities grow as a person and heal any wounds from the relationship. Fourth, create new routines that give you purpose and structure.
We’ll discuss how to do all these steps and more.
It’s not easy for anyone to get over a toxic relationship. It can be difficult to find the motivation and time to heal after such an emotional roller coaster, but the sooner you start, the easier it will be to move on.
Ways to Heal Yourself After a Toxic Relationship
1. Give Yourself Compassion
Self-compassion is an important step in healing from a toxic relationship. When you feel bad about yourself and your situation, try not to judge yourself and give yourself permission to do whatever feels good.
Any breakup brings a lot of difficult and conflicting emotions. Sometimes you feel angry, sad, regretful, or relieved. It’s important to remember than any emotion you feel is ok. It’s ok to grieve for the relationship, even if it was terrible.
No one deserves to be mistreated or manipulated in a relationship. When you are trying to find your way out of a toxic situation, it’s important that you not take responsibility for the person who hurt you.
Yes sometimes we stay longer than we should, or we contribute to the drama in some way, but if someone crosses the line into being just cruel you shouldn’t take on that baggage and blame yourself for their behavior.
Remind yourself that it’s not your fault.
Instead of blaming yourself for what went wrong, give yourself love and compassion. You truly do deserve it even if you don’t always feel that way.
Join the FREE Self-Love Challenge
2. Stay off Social Media
It is a totally normal response to a breakup to want to go on social media and see what your ex is doing. It’s a way of coping with the loss, but it will only make you feel anxious and depressed.
After a toxic relationship, stay off social media for a while. Block your ex on all the platforms and then delete them from your phone for a week or two.
If you’re feeling better then reinstall those apps, but if you’re not keep them off your phone until any temptation to check on your ex passes.
3. Practice Self-care
There is no right or wrong way to recover from a breakup. However, it can be a lot easier if you practice self-care.
Self-care is important for your physical, mental, and even spiritual health in normal times, but it is especially important after ending a toxic relationship. Make it a priority to be kind to yourself.
You are the only person that knows what you need to do to cope with the pain of your breakup, but here are some ideas for practicing self-care after a breakup:
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Watch your favorite childhood movies.
- Spend some quality time with friends.
- Eat the foods you love, even if they’re bad for you.
- But also eat some healthy meals too because they make your body feel better.
- Break out into dance on your bedroom floor.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Go for walks in nature.
- Reread your favorite book (but probably not a romance novel).
- Cry, scream, and punch your pillows if you need to.
- Get a massage or go to the spa.
- Journal whenever you need to get your feelings out.
What matters is that you are actively trying to heal rather than letting the emptiness consume you. Even if you just feel like crying in bed, make yourself do something for your physical and mental health.
4. Talk to Friends & Create a Support Group
Having a support system after a breakup really helps you move on from a toxic relationship.
Breaking up with your partner can leave you feeling isolated and alone, so it’s important to connect with loved ones. Talking with friends can help alleviate these feelings and promote healing. It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling sad, lonely, or angry; it’s always healthy to share with those who care for you and understand how you feel.
Communicating to a friend about how you’re feeling will help you feel better, and a friend might be able to offer objective advice or just listen and understand.
If someone in your life is not being supportive, take a break from them.
5. Look for Opportunities to Grow
After a breakup can be a good time to work on your own personal growth and find out who you are outside the relationship.
Every relationship you have throughout your life holds a lesson, and finding that lesson can be a way to grow and make the relationship a learning experience, instead of just being hurt by it.
What did you learn about yourself in the relationship? Where do you need to improve? What cycles do you need to break? What within you can be healed right now, instead of being left to fester and infect the next relationship? Shadow work can be a great way to heal old wounds.
Focus on what you want from yourself rather than what you wanted from your partner. How can you give yourself the support and love you wanted from them? How can you fulfill your own needs, instead of relying on someone else to do that?
If you’re looking to grow as a person, you may want to take on opportunities that will allow you to explore yourself and your interests. Consider what new opportunities might be available in your life and try them out.
For example, if you enjoy cooking, you might enroll in a cooking class. If you enjoy singing, find a choir near you and join on the weekends. And if art is one of your passions, volunteer at a local museum!
6. Find Things to Laugh At
One of the hardest aspects of a breakup is the feeling that you will never be happy again. Maybe you won’t be in the mood to do this right away, but after a few days seek out things that will make you laugh.
Watch old movies or go to a comedy show. Watch pet videos on Youtube. Spend time with a friend who always makes you laugh. Read some jokes on the internet.
Just look for ways to laugh, it helps you release the energy you’ve been holding in a really positive way.
7. Create New Routines
With a breakup comes the disruption of many of our routines, which can cause us to lose our sense of identity. Part of this is because the things you used to do with your ex become habitual and comforting, so when those routines are suddenly not possible you feel like you’re adrift.
When our routines are interrupted, it can be difficult to find your sense of direction, and this makes sense since routine is what gives us normalcy in life.
An important part of the recovery process is to create new routines in order to start filling the void left behind by your ex-partner. Creating new routines will help your mental state during this time. It gives you purpose and allows you to focus on something other than what you miss.
This will seem hard at first because you probably can’t even remember what you did day to day before you got in your relationship.
Make a few of the self-care activities part of your daily routine, as well as any personal growth activities like reading self-improvement books. Maybe now is the perfect time to start exercising or learn how to make healthier meals. Challenge yourself to meditate or do yoga everyday.
Choose a few activities you’re interested in and decide that at a certain time everyday you’re going to do those things.
8. Get Therapy if Needed
If your relationship was seriously damaging to your mental health, then seek out professional help.
When a toxic relationship destroys your self-esteem you can feel too vulnerable to share details with friends and loved ones. It can be difficult and uncomfortable to talk about how deeply you were hurt by your ex partner, and not everyone has people they can fully trust to withhold judgement.
A therapist you trust will listen without judgement and offer better guidance for how to heal yourself.
Of course therapy may not be available for everyone, but here are some online resources:
I truly hope these tips help you in finding peace after a toxic relationship. Remember that it will get better, in time you will be healed and feel like your old self again.