5 Steps to End a Toxic Relationship

A good relationship can transform your life and leave you amazed. A bad relationship will leave you listless, depressed and heartbroken. Toxic relationships are more common than you can imagine and their effects are crippling.

Unhealthy relationships are confusing for people on the outside. I mean, you’ll obviously think, ‘if the relationship is so bad or if the partner abuses them, they should leave!’ 

The reality, however, is more complicated due to factors like emotions, finances and children.

Understanding Toxic Relationships

What exactly is a toxic relationship? A relationship that’s harmful to your well being. 

Some of the signs of toxic relationships such as inappropriate sexual behaviour, infidelity and physical abuse are obvious.

The other, less subtle signs such as controlling or manipulative behaviour, dishonesty and disrespect can be harder to detect. 

As a result, your mental health starts deteriorating.

Why is it Hard to End a Toxic Relationship?

Every relationship that we have has a set of patterns. Some people get so caught up in these patterns that it’s almost impossible for them to let go and start afresh. 

They feel trapped emotionally or financially. Victims of abusive relationships are the worst hit and generally take an average of  7 attempts to end the relationship before they actually end it. 

Here are a few common reasons why people find it hard to end a toxic relationship:

  • Codependency
  • Shame
  • Finances
  • Love
  • Children
  • Fear

If you’ve been in a toxic relationship long enough, then it can be incredibly hard for you to imagine a life that does not revolve around your partner.

You may start believing that you’re the cause of all the problems and will leave you questioning everything.

Complications may arise if your partner suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). 

5 Steps to End a Toxic Relationship

Ending a bad relationship can be daunting. Here are a few things you can do to make the entire process easier:

#1. Surround yourself with people who love you

If you’re planning to end a toxic relationship, the first place to start is by building a safety net. 

Make a full proof plan of how you are going to deal with the transition including common concerns such as where you’ll stay and what possessions will you take with you?

Don’t try to end your relationship in the heat of the moment. Plan everything beforehand to be prepared to face any challenges that may arise later on.

#2. Be Independent

Be independent


If you’re someone who has been dependent on your partner financially, it’s time to become independent. 

Figure out ways to support yourself. 

Go to college, get training, apply for jobs—do everything in your power to carve out a way to your freedom.

There are plenty of jobs you can apply for that require no special skills such as:

  • Babysitting
  • Selling homemade products online
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Blogging
  • Bookkeeper
  • Proofreader
  • Freelancing

You can hone your skills by practising more and watching online tutorials or enrolling in free courses. 

The best part is, you can start earning from the comfort of your home. So, if your partner is controlling and doesn’t allow you to step out of the house that often, you can still pursue any of these jobs.

#3. Seek Professional Help

There are times when you’ll feel overwhelmed that you may even consider ending your life. 

Toxic relationships can become extremely messy and can wreak havoc in your life. 

A study conducted by the Medical University of Vienna found out that people in unhappy relationships are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. 

Before things go too far, confide in someone you can trust. A therapist is a safe place to start.

You can also confide in any member of your family or a friend you trust.

Recovering or leaving a toxic relationship requires constant support. You can also consider reaching out to counsellors or support groups who have experience in relationship issues. 

If you feel threatened, immediately inform the local authorities. 

If you’re ending a toxic marriage, then hire an experienced family law attorney early on.

#4. Go No Contact

No contact


Every article or book that you’ll leave about ending a toxic relationship will have this in common: they’ll all ask you to stop talking to your partner.

Not even a single text in the entire day.

Nothing. Na da.

Toxic people are extremely cunning and will do anything in their power to manipulate you back into their life. 

If you truly want to call it quits, you’ll have to go no contact.

If you need to co-parent, keep the communication to the bare minimum.

Don’t answer any questions you want to and avoid talking about anything but your kids. And even when talking about your children, keep your responses monosyllabic.

The key is to not give them a chance to show that you’re interested. If they get a tiny hint that you’re interested,  they’ll go above and beyond to conquer your love.

The entire cycle will repeat itself and you’ll be exactly at the same place where you first started. 

#5. Practice Self-Love

Toxic relationships are detrimental resulting in poor boundaries, loss of confidence and identity.

You might even feel ashamed and blame yourself for getting (or staying) in such a relationship.

It’ll take time for you to be able to accept what has happened and let it go. 

The process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, during which it’s crucial that you practice self-love.

Treat yourself. Do the things that make you happy. Spend time with yourself to understand what you want to do with the rest of your life and set goals accordingly.

The Takeaway

Being in a toxic relationship is hard and you’ll often feel trapped. However, you deserve to be happy and get rid of all the negativity. 

Ending a toxic relationship will require a lot of courage and is a brave step to take and you’ll be able to do it.

Believe in yourself to be able to live life on your own terms and be happy again. There are a lot of good people out there so don’t let this bad experience sabotage your journey.

If you’re having trouble creating boundaries or suffering from low self-esteem, reach out to a mental health professional to help you start a new life. 


Author Bio: Shristi Patni 

Shristi is a content writer and owner of F and B Recipes. She enjoys creating a List of Citrus Fruits or a list of “Things That Make Happy”. Formerly the Chief Content Officer at Raletta, she is currently working on her second cookbook.