11 Tips to Peacefully End a Toxic Relationship
Ending a toxic relationship, while necessary, may not and probably will not be easy. Whether that unhealthy relationship was with a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, coworker or boss, family member or friend, here are 11 tips to help you peacefully end a toxic relationship.
Acknowledge your part
It's not necessarily your fault that you are in a toxic relationship – but many relationships are not toxic from the get-go, and instead slowly become that way over time. Acknowledging that there are things you could've done differently will help you as you move forward into future relationships, so you don't make the same mistakes again.
Focus on yourself
Coming to terms with the end of any relationship, whether positive or negative, can be difficult for all parties. It's important to focus on yourself, and your reasons for ending the relationship, to stay committed and true to what's best for you.
As you prepare to end a toxic relationship, having a reliable support network in place will only help you both before and after. Being able to bounce off ideas and play out scenarios will help you prepare to end your toxic relationship in the most peaceful way possible. And even if ending the relationship was necessary, it's still reassuring and comforting to know that you have people around you that are there for you and will help you deal with the aftermath.
Having an idea of what you want to say, how you want to say it, and a few key things you want to make sure to get across is crucial. Ending a toxic relationship can come with a lot of emotions – both yours and the other person's – and you don't know how they will react. Practicing what you're going to say, and even writing down a few things you want to remember, may help you more peacefully and smoothly end the relationship. You'll also want to prepare for a range of different reactions that the other person may have and steel yourself as much as possible.
Use “I feel” rather than “you” language
When talking to the person you're ending the toxic relationship with, you need to be aware of what triggers they may have, depending on their role in your life. Don't put all the blame for this toxic relationship on them and use language that puts what you're feeling on yourself, rather than entirely on their words and actions. This may make ending the relationship go more smoothly and be safer for you as well.
Once you've identified that you're in a toxic relationship and have come to the realization that you need to get out of it, don't put it off. The sooner the relationship is done, the sooner you can move on with your life and make way for new, healthy, and positive relationships.
Be confident in your decision to end the toxic relationship you're in and don't let the other person sway you if they try to. You are exiting this relationship for YOU and have good reason to.
End a Toxic Relationship in person
Unless you are genuinely fearful for your safety, it is important to end your toxic relationship in person. This is the mature and responsible thing to do and will give you more closure than sending an email or text or doing it over the phone.
Find someplace neutral and private
When you end a toxic relationship, you want to be in a neutral setting. This way, you are both on equal footing. It's also a good idea to end the relationship someplace a bit more private unless you're afraid of the person and their potential volatile reaction – then stick to somewhere more public that will be safer for you.
Even if you don't want to, just as you need to end the toxic relationship and say what you need to say, the person you're removing from your life will likely also have some things to say to you. Allowing them to tell their piece and truly listening will help both of you get closure. However, if what they're saying becomes derogatory, hurtful, or increasingly negative… politely remove yourself from the conversation just as you are from the relationship.
To truly heal and move on from a toxic relationship, it's important to forgive – not just the other person, but yourself. You are that much older and wiser as you end this destructive relationship – and hopefully, you won't find yourself in another one as you've lived and learned.
No two toxic relationships are the same, so it's important to keep in mind the specific characteristics of your personal toxic relationship when you are preparing to end it.
These 11 tips should guide you in making the ending of your toxic relationship more peaceful and help ready you for the next stage of your life, toxic relationship-free.
Michael Saad is a Personal Development Coach that helps people rebuild their confidence and create intentional paths to break from toxic relationships and life cycles.