No one wants to be stuck in a mentally, emotionally or spiritually damaging relationship. Love can be ups and downs, but happiness is supposed to prevail. If you want to work on it instead of giving up for good, these 10 tips will help you fix your toxic reltionship!
1. Decide if your relationship is fixable.
Yes, you can fix your toxic relationship, but only when both of you are committed to make the change. It requires lots of open communication, self-reflection, honesty and even professional help, individually and together. You both will need to put efforts into examine your own actions and doing inner work. If either of you are not willing to go an extra mile to change it, the relationship should be ended sooner rather than later.
If it takes too long to see any improvements, your relationship might be too toxic to salvage. Move on for your own benefits!
If your relationship involves physical violence or any abusive behaviour, it needs to be intervened immediately. You need to seek help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline or your local helpline as soon as possible because your relationship is way too harmful for you.
2. Be willing to end it.
Ask yourself this question: “Am I alright if the relationship is ended? Will I able to walk out of it if nothing changes?” Only when your self-esteem and self-confidence are good enough, you can confront your toxic partner. Your partner will not bother to change their behaviours if they think they can get away with it. So, show them that they will have to face consequences if they don’t improve themselves. If you don’t think that you can cope up with the break-up, seek support from professionals.
3. Find the ABCDs during an argument.
If ABCDs (Accusations, Blame, Criticisms, and Demands) seem to be rampant in your relationship, you need to talk with your partner to end it. Pay close attention to your behaviours during an argument. If you regularly find yourself resorting to ABCDs, you are actually escalating the argument. Keep it in mind that it is not you vs. your partner, it should be you both vs. the communication problem. Reconnect with your partner naturally by using that collaborative mentality.
4. Use your voice.
If you walk on eggshells just to avoid upsetting your partner, eventually resentment will be built up. Take note if you are too worried to get responses from your partner about something. You are supposed to feel relaxed in a healthy relationship. If you can’t even be your true self or bring up concerns when needed, your relationship needs to be worked on.
Sometimes you partner doesn’t mean to make you tread lightly. So when you are upset about anything, don’t keep it for yourself. For more effective communication, you can thoughtfully exercise your voice and express your feelings as well as your concerns that their behaviours might create distance between you two. Ask them to recognise how their words/actions are affecting you so you can regain trust in the connection.
5. Learn to take up space.
If you want your needs to be cared for, you need to honor them. If you sacrifice your opinions, likes and dislikes in order not to hurt the other’s feelings or make them upset, eventually they will be forever neglected. You surely don’t want to be on the receiving end of an one-sided relationship. Don’t let this behaviour perpetuated, your partner’s toxic patterns and cycles need to be recognized immediately. Don’t hesitate to show them how you feel and take up space in the relationship so you can feel included too.
6. Look for professional help.
You know you’re in a toxic relationship when you keep feeling worse about yourself. If you find your self-worth, confidence, or body image negatively affected, you need to seriously reconsider this relationship. Or when the constant state of unease hits you because you’re trying so hard to feel good enough being around them. In a healthy relationship, you can be true to yourself and it’s already good enough.
A mental health professional will know how to help you resolve your injuries, such as personal or intergenerational trauma. To improve your relationship, you both will need to adopt new, healthier cycles to communicate and connect.
7. Regain trust in yourself and stand your ground.
You might have heard about gaslighting as well as how it damages your sanity. Don’t take that emotional abuse! Don’t let them make you doubt your own sensitivity level and judgment or you will quickly grow to distrust your feelings and thoughts. When it happens, learn to trust yourself and your own experience again with cultivating mindfulness practices.
Keep a notebook (or your smart phone) beside and write down what you’re being told and what is actually happening. You then can easily spot the inconsistencies and make it harder for the gaslighter to distort reality next time. Show them that their perception is not your real experience, and you will not engage until they stop speaking to you disparagingly and start to listen to you.
8. Learn to express criticism on healthier ways.
You need criticism for a healthy relationship, but it must be constructive. Judgmental or condemnatory criticism on a regular basis is alarming and needs to be stopped. If your partner complains about almost everything you do, you will eventually feel unappreciated. In order to change that, both of you need to be willing to listen to each other’s point of view during a conversation as well as learn how to express criticisms in a “compliment sandwich”.
9. Don’t be afraid of uncomfortable conversations.
Little white lies play a big role in a toxic relationship. Sometimes you lie in order not to waste time explaining the truth. You think it is the best way to avoid your partner’s caustic reactions. But no strong relationship is built up from weak connection. And there will be no connection between you two if you can’t even telling them your own opinions, thoughts and feelings. Learn to speak your mind and stand strong when uncomfortable conversations come.
10. Plan to change after every conflict.
Do you resort to ABCDs during a conflict? After escalation and rupture, can you find a resolution? Do you just move on, forget about the conflict, instead of seeking a change to prevent it from happening again?
Not everyone knows how how to honestly and directly talk about an issue without escalating it. If you are one of them, it’s time to learn. Set up a safe space so you two can share your feelings, desires, and needs without resorting to those toxic ABCDs. Practice it with patience and positivity, you then can approach conflict in a much healthier way.
Fixing toxic relationships is obviously not a piece of cake. But as long as you two are willing to work hard on it, the results will be satisfying for both. If you find it difficult to live the rest of your life with that relationship, look for changes, don’t settle for less!