Healing After A Toxic Relationship

The worst part is done. The unhealthy person is out of your life. Now, it is time to get better.

First of all, I hope you've never had to suffer through any kind of toxic relationship, whether it be romantic or familial. However, if you have, I'm sorry and I'm here for you. I understand the damage it leaves behind.

If you don't know what a toxic relationship is, feel free to check out my other article related to toxic relationships titled "Why Twilight's Bella And Edward Are NOT #CoupleGoals." I go more in-depth about what a toxic relationship is, some examples within the popular movie Twilight, and what kind of expectations to have for your partner.

My Toxic Relationship Story

It was my first long-term relationship; I spent a little over a year being with someone who had struggles of their own, who was unhealthy for me. Everyone else knew he wasn't a good choice for me, but I, being oblivious to the unhealthy traits he had, stuck it out.

Our relationship lasted through our senior year of high school until the few couple months of going to separate colleges. Classic, right?

He had a drinking problem and I never realized it until someone pointed it out to me. When he was drunk, he would flirt with my friends. Most of the time, I felt like he wasn't as invested in the relationship as I was.

He chose not to talk to me for an entire week and didn't even tell me why until after the week passed. Apparently, it was part of the membership process when he was joining a fraternity.

He frequently expressed how he wanted to have sexual relations with me, even though I was waiting until marriage. Unfortunately, I didn't want to disappoint him or make him unhappy in any way so I finally gave him consent. I gave my entire being to someone who didn't respect me.

That relationship caused me to develop trust issues, relationship anxiety, a people-pleaser mentality, not care about what I want as much as I should, and more issues.

It took at least a year to heal from that relationship, and I suppose I'm still healing. I don't want others to feel how I did. That's why I'm writing this article, to help someone in any way I can so that they don't have to hurt for so long.

Let all your emotions out to heal from the relationship
Image Source: Pexels | Rafael Barros

Here are some steps you can take to help you heal after a toxic relationship:

1. Feel Your Feels

You've just been through so much pain and stress. Take the time to let it all out. Curl up into a ball and cry, scream into a pillow, put on your boxing gloves and whack a punching bag, do whatever you need to purge yourself of all the negative emotions.

Your emotions are valid and supposed to be felt. Bottling them all up is an unhealthy coping mechanism. When it becomes unbearable, the bottle will shatter at the worst time. Give yourself the freedom to feel your feels.

take a moment to calm down
Image Source: Pexels

2. Breathe and release the heartache

After you released every emotion you've ever felt from the toxic relationship, you need to experience peace and calm. Find a quiet place to be alone. After you rein in your thoughts, wait a few more seconds in the silence. 

Deep breath in.

Let it out.

Deep breath in.

Let it out.

Take as many breaths as you want. Find a rhythm to it until you're not thinking about it anymore. If it helps, picture yourself in a peaceful happy place as you do your breathing. Let the peace enter your body and exhale the negative energy. You'll feel better.

realize the unhealthy traits and look out for them in the future
Image Source: Pexels | Alex Green

3. Identify the Toxic Traits

Now that you've taken the time to decompress, you can start analyzing the toxic behaviors exhibited by the toxic person. 

Here are some unhealthy behaviors that may indicate a toxic relationship:

Controlling Tendencies

One example of this is if your partner doesn't let you hang out with specific friends or family members because they "don't like them." They're controlling your actions, what you want to do, and that's not okay.


It bothers me when people consistently lie, especially about insignificant matters. In my toxic relationship, I watched my boyfriend lie to his parents all the time. Observing that behavior made me worry if he's been lying to me about anything or about everything all the time.

Terrible Communication

I've had friends tell me that if their partner was upset with them, the partner would blatantly ignore my friends for the rest of the day or even a couple of days. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. If your partner chooses not to communicate, they don't care enough.

No Support

Similar to the previous trait, if you feel like you can't depend on your partner for emotional or physical support, that's a red flag. I felt very alone whenever I was going through an emotional hurdle during my first few weeks of college, even though I had my boyfriend to rely on. That tells you something about the relationship.

There are all kinds of signs that could hint at a toxic relationship. If you're aware of these signs, you're way less likely to get hurt the same way again.

Holding onto hate will not help
Image Source: Pexels | Min An

4. Let go of the malice you hold in your heart

I'm not saying you should forget everything that happened to you because that's counterproductive. There's no personal growth when you push away all the hurtful memories.

What I am saying is to let go of the malice you hold in your heart for that person. The way that they treated you was wrong. No one should ever disrespect another human like that partner may have done to you. However, you shouldn't have to carry this burden of hate with you for the rest of your life.

Let go of every single hateful thought, feeling, or attitude you have of this toxic person. Remember that they hurt you in more ways than one, but don't keep a heavy heart. It won't help to hold a grudge. There is no healing until you realize that they can't hurt you anymore. So why stay bitter with someone who no longer negatively impacts your life?

5. Forgive and Remember

I took an amazing character values class in high school where I learned how to be a decent human being. One of the lessons I learned was "forgive and remember." You may already know the classic phrase "forgive and forget." When it comes to toxic relationships, you can't forget it.

I'm a strong believer in forgiveness. I was hurt by the same people for far too long, and it took even longer to finally find peace in my heart to forgive them. Also, I'm a huge empath, meaning I feel others' emotions as strongly as my own. I try to understand where the other person is coming from to make sense of their toxic personality.

People struggling, either consciously or subconsciously, with toxic traits are not inherently evil. They are dealing with serious problems and they don't understand how to cope in healthy ways. So, they take it out on someone else. 

Remember what that person did to you. Look where you are now, though. You've overcome a huge obstacle. Have a forgiving heart, but still remember that you should never be treated like that again.

23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

No Saves yet. Share it with your friends.

Write Your Diary

Get Free Access To Our Publishing Resources

Independent creators, thought-leaders, experts and individuals with unique perspectives use our free publishing tools to express themselves and create new ideas.

Start Writing