How To Leave a Toxic Relationship and Why We Stay | Tainted Love


Many of us stay long after realizing our relationship is destroying us — how to leave when every part of you wants to stay

Simply knowing for certain that our relationship is toxic, beyond the point of repair, seems impossible. We have already covered how to know if you are in a toxic relationship.

Here we will explore the next step.

When you finally do accept that your relationship is indeed toxic and repair is of no avail, how do you leave?

For those of you who have never been in an extremely abusive relationship and are thinking “Well that’s easy. You just leave.”, I assure you that it is never that easy.

For many of us, leaving a loved one who is harming us is the most difficult thing we have ever done or will ever do.

Even when we think we have made the decision, we change our minds or go back.

There is always a glimmer of hope that things will be different.

We have this belief that unconditional love means we stay and remain loyal; that if we are just good enough or try hard enough, things will get better.

Those who love someone who abuses them are plagued with inner conflict.

What if I’m not supposed to leave and I ruin the relationship with the love of my life?

Maybe I’m being over sensitive?

Is it me?

What if I give up too soon?

We remember the good times. We have a good day and think things are getting better. We read another article about how to repair our relationship. We try, one more time. You see, the thought of abandoning this person we love and hurting them brings incomprehensible pain. We hang on to hope that if we just don’t give up, everything will be okay.

We think that love conquers all and maybe, if we just love a little more, clean the house better, make ourselves more beautiful, have more fun together, be loyal enough or just be a better partner — love will heal our broken relationship.

This internal war between loving someone else enough and loving ourselves keeps many people in a relationship that leads only to emotional and spiritual decay.

Fixing yourself will not fix others.

For those of you who have accepted this and made a decision to get out of a toxic relationship and take your life back, here are a few things that I found helpful for myself and for many of my clients.


4 Things to Help You Leave

  1. Make a list of every reason that you have decided to leave. If you are beings called names, write them down. If your partner is cheating, write every incident down. If you or your children are beings physically abused, write down every incident you can think of. Write down how these things make you feel. Write every horrible thing you can think of. Carry this in your pocket at all times. Every time you consider changing your mind, read it.
  2. Build a positive support network. It is best to avoid people who trash talk your loved one as this will bring about defensiveness in you and trigger rationalization and justification. Choose people who will help you focus on yourself, why you have to get out of your situation and what you will receive in your new life. Ask them to check in with you on a regular basis and hold you accountable for your thoughts. Tell them everything. Then, if you think of changing your mind, call them.
  3. Fantasize as much as you can about your new life. Write it down. Doodle everywhere about it. Allow yourself to fall in love with the idea of freedom and everything you want for your life. When you start to fantasize about the life you wish you could have with your abuser, catch yourself, and instead think about the life you will have without them.
  4. Make a list of every quality you wish to have in a partner. Do not be modest. Write down every single thing you want, every detail, every attributes. Then, look at the list and identify positive traits that you want in someone else and don’t have within yourself.

Practice being everything that you want.


Focus on yourself, focus on yourself, focus on yourself. Then focus on yourself more. You may have to take more drastic steps in addition to these.

I was so attached to my toxic partner that I had to move away for months. Be creative. Maybe you cannot do that. Do something, anything to remain in the solution.

Remember, no matter what, that you do not deserve to be abused, taken advantage of or hurt.

You do not have to be perfect to deserve love and respect.

It is not your fault.

You deserve your life back. You can have your life back.

It will hurt. You will cry. You will want to crawl into a ball and disappear. That is okay. Just keep going. It will pass and you will be free.

Written by Holly Kellums

Originally published on Medium
Featured image by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash

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Published by hollykellums

Internationally Published Author * Influencer * Recovery Coach * Human Potential Activist

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