Toxic relationships come in many forms – a client that verbally abused you, a friend that always puts you down, or a significant other that habitually ignores your boundaries. These relationships, even if you recognize that they aren’t healthy, are difficult to let go of. But if you want to reclaim your power and truly heal from a toxic relationship, you have to be willing to ask yourself some tough questions.
What attracted me to this person?
It doesn’t matter if this person was a business partner, significant other, or close friend. You chose to allow this person into your life because you found something desirable about him or her. Maybe you liked the way that your boyfriend made all of the decisions because it made you feel safe and cared for. Maybe you worked with the business partner because you admired her work ethic and found her attention boosted your low self-confidence.
What were the early warning signs I missed?
Most toxic people don’t wake up one day and decide to be toxic toward you. The truth is they’ve usually been toxic to you since the very beginning. You just didn’t notice until six, twelve, or eighteen months down the road.
You have to understand this question is not about assigning self-blame. It’s not your fault that this toxic person was cruel to you. However, if you don’t examine the warning signs then you’ll have left this unhealthy relationship only to be at risk of entering into a relationship with another toxic person.
You can create a pattern where you choose friends, business partners, and lovers that are toxic unless you start learning from these experiences. Maybe the early warning sign was that your significant other was a bit too possessive and didn’t want you to have any male friends. Maybe the early warning sign was that a business partner always gave vague responses and never answered a question directly.
Why did I stay with this person?
Just as important as it is to recognize the early warning signs of a toxic person, it’s also important to understand why you continued in the relationship. Some people stay in toxic relationships because they don’t want to be alone. Others stay because they worry they aren’t strong enough to make it on their own.
Still, a few people worry about what a potential breakup might do to their reputation or how it will disappoint their loved ones. When you understand your whys, you can make more informed choices in the future.
How can I use this to grow?
Once you’ve analyzed your relationship, it’s time to learn from it. Keep in mind this isn’t about indulging in self-guilt or heaping shame on yourself. It’s about using this relationship to grow personally and professionally. Maybe you learned to trust your own instincts or to be your own best friend. Whatever you learned, carry that truth with you and don’t let anyone take it from you.
Healing from a toxic person is challenging, even on the best of days. Sometimes, it may feel like you take one step forward and two steps backward. That’s part of the healing process. Be patient with yourself during this time.
Ready for a little bit of help?
If it feels a little overwhelming or like too much to deal with this on your own, book an appointment to connect. In this hour we will come up with some strategies to help you going forward as well as take a look at how you got here in the first place.
Investment is $100. (Canadian)