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Stuck in a toxic past? Learn "how to heal from a toxic relationship" and tips on "how not to be toxic in a relationship". Time to start afresh!

How to Heal From a Toxic Relationship - Tips & Tricks

Jun 10, 2023

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a toxic relationship? Maybe it was a friend, a significant other, or even a family member that left you drained and emotionally exhausted.

It can be tough to come out on the other side, but the good news is that healing is possible! In this article, we will explore some tips and tricks on healing from a toxic relationship.

So, grab a cup of tea, get cozy, and let's get started on your journey to healing!

What is a Toxic Relationship?

A toxic relationship is any relationship that is harmful to your health or well-being. This can be a romantic relationship, friendship, family member relationship, or even a work relationship.

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A toxic relationship is characterized by patterns of behavior that are harmful to either party involved. These toxic patterns can include verbal abuse and emotional manipulation to physical violence and sexual coercion.

How Do We End Up In Toxic Relationships?

I’ve been into old-school classic rock lately, and Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite genre bands. When I tell Alexa to play Zeppelin, she's learned my favs which start with Tangerine and Kashmir. I feel the music coursing through my veins, and it touches my soul in a way most songs don’t.

One lyric “That’s the Way" has always grabbed me in a special way. The song starts with "I don't know how I'm gonna tell you, I can't play with you no more."

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When you think about it, so much in life is “playing with people.” We fill our lives with responsibilities and balance the 5 areas of life, so playing is essential. It builds many of your cores, contributing to emotions, relationships, and mindsets. I’m the last person to leave out play in my routine.

Still, the play doesn’t always look the same. And who we play with changes too. When we were little, we didn’t care about being cool. We just played with who we wanted and whoever liked the same things we did.

I watch my son Wyatt go through the same thing; it’s so easy for him to meet another kid and go, “Hey, you like action figures too?” And then they can play and laugh for hours.

Then time moves on, and things start changing…

Suddenly it matters who you’re hanging out with. The social hierarchy is extremely important. By middle school, everyone’s figured out their cliques.

And everyone wishes they could belong. It’s just like the old caveman days: the strongest tribe was able to find food and fight the bears. If you were with a weak group, you would unlikely survive. It’s the same situation in the middle school cafeteria.

Even after we graduate and move on with our lives, some relationships are less sought out and more put upon us. Your kids’ friends’ parents, the members of your PTA, coworkers, neighbors, and people you need to be friends with because you want to belong.

And that, my friends, is how many people end up in a toxic relationship. 

I recommend listening to this podcast Love Yourself Everyday | Gamify Your Relationship with Yourself

How to Heal From a Toxic Relationship - Easy Steps

Healing from a toxic relationship can take time and effort, but it's an important step toward finding happiness and fulfillment in future relationships. Here's a guide on how to heal from a toxic relationship, broken down into easy steps:

Step 1: Acknowledge the toxicity of the relationship

The first step towards healing from a toxic relationship is to acknowledge the toxicity of the relationship. It's important to recognize that the relationship was unhealthy and damaging. This can be difficult, as it may involve confronting painful emotions and memories.

Step 2: Cut off contact with the toxic person

Once you have recognized the relationship's toxicity, it's important to cut off contact with the toxic person. This means removing them from your life, whether blocking them on social media, deleting their number, or avoiding places where you may run into them.

Step 3: Seek support from loved ones

Healing from a toxic relationship can be difficult, so it's important to seek support from loved ones. This can include friends, family members, or a therapist. Talking about your experiences with someone you trust can help you process your emotions and move forward. Seeking help is very important for your emotional wellness.

Step 4: Practice self-care

Self-care is an important part of the healing process. This can include engaging in activities that make you feel good, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies you enjoy. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally can help you feel more positive and resilient.

Step 5: Set boundaries for future relationships

As you move forward from the toxic relationship, setting boundaries for future relationships is important. This can involve being more aware of red flags and more assertive in communicating your needs and boundaries.

Step 6: Learn from the experience

Finally, it's important to learn from the experience of being in a toxic or unhealthy relationship. This can involve reflecting on what went wrong, what you could have done differently, and what you need in a healthy relationship moving forward.

By acknowledging the relationship's toxicity, cutting off contact with the toxic partner or abusive partner, seeking support, practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and learning from the experience, you can heal, have an improved mind wellness, and move forward with a positive outlook on your future.

How to Not Be Toxic in a Relationship

Building healthy relationships requires effort and commitment. Here are some steps you can take to avoid toxic behavior in a relationship:

Step 1: Recognize toxic behaviors from past relationships

Reflect on your past relationship and identify any toxic behaviors or patterns you may have engaged in. This could include things like jealousy, controlling behavior, or verbal abuse. Recognizing these behaviors can help you avoid them in future relationships.

Step 2: Seek support from mental health professionals

If you have a history of being in an abusive relationship or engaging in toxic behavior, seeking support from mental health professionals can be helpful. Therapy can provide you with the tools and resources you need to develop healthier relationships in the future.

Step 3: Practice self-awareness

Self-awareness is key to avoiding toxic behavior in a relationship. By being aware of your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you can recognize when you are engaging in unhealthy patterns and make adjustments as necessary.

Step 4: Set healthy boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is crucial in any relationship. This involves communicating your needs and expectations and respecting your partner's boundaries. Boundaries can include personal space, time with friends, or limitations on certain behaviors.

Step 5: Avoid blame and criticism

Blaming and criticizing your partner can be toxic and damaging to the relationship. Instead, focus on using "I" statements and expressing your own feelings and needs without placing blame on your partner.

Step 6: Take responsibility for your actions

Taking responsibility for your actions and apologizing when necessary is important in avoiding toxic behavior. Acknowledging when you have made a mistake, showing empathy towards your partner, and trying to change your behavior can strengthen the relationship and build trust.

Step 7: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family

Having a strong support system can help avoid toxic behavior in a relationship. Surround yourself with friends and family members who support your relationship and can offer constructive feedback and advice.

By recognizing toxic behaviors from past relationships, seeking support from mental health professionals, practicing self-awareness, setting healthy boundaries, avoiding blame and criticism, taking responsibility for your actions, and surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family, you can build healthy relationships and avoid toxic behavior. Building healthy relationships takes time, effort, and a commitment to growth and change.

The Immense Impact Toxic Relationships Have On Our Lives

You might feel like you need to keep your toxic relationships, but you need to get out. Toxic relationships hold you back; they keep you from building the momentum you need to grow and become the best version of yourself.

I remember some of my toxic relationships very clearly; I was young, a mere adolescent, and I had friends who loved ragging on each other.

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I mean, sure, we’ve all had friends that teased each other, but this group was brutal. We were mean to each other; we got deep down into the nasty stuff, and the main goal was to make the other person feel bad about themself. I had so many frenemies. 

I was “friends” with these people for years. And the result was that I became super insecure and upset because I couldn’t brush off the insults as well as everyone else seemed to.

I constantly saw myself as a victim and had so much negative momentum over the years. I was not self-confident, and the world started becoming darker and darker because of these toxic relationships.

Thankfully, I had a moment that interfered with my mentality and would change how I see life forever. My favorite professor understood something was happening with me and suggested I read a book that completely changed my point of view. After I read it, I started stepping out of my failure loop and into my success loop.

The book was How to Win Friends And Influence Peopleby Dale Carnegie. Even though it was written in 1936, it has rock-solid advice that is still extremely relevant today. Carnegie explains how to develop and nurture deep relationships, and those principles stuck with me in college and help me even now. I learned much about true relationships and how I could form and maintain them.

Without that intervention, I would still have no idea how to form a healthy relationship and remain drawn to people who insult me and bring me down. Now, I’ve developed and maintained meaningful, long relationships and built positive momentum in my life.

I recommend listening to this podcast Mindful Communication to Improve Your Relationships and Life

The First Step To Exiting Your Toxic Relationships

There’s a saying that you are the average of the three people you hang out with most. In my experience, that is extremely truthful and a universal principle. It has been proven time and time again.

Take the Core Values Quiz to learn about where you stand in your relationship core, as well as the four others. 

Once you get your result, write down 3-5 people you spend the most time with. It could be your spouse, your friends, or your coworkers. Now rank them based on the questions you answered in the quiz on a scale of 1-5. 

Suppose they fall in the lower numbers, like 1-3, in most of their cores. In that case, you’ll need to remove them from your immediate life so their toxicity and negative momentum don’t continue to affect you.


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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