How to Break Your Toxic Relationship Cycle Once and For All
By: Dina Blas
Do your romantic relationships keep you feeling exhausted and stressed out? Are you being mistreated in your relationship but decide to stay anyway? Do you date the same type of unhealthy person every time? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be stuck in a toxic relationship cycle.
So how do you get out of an unhealthy relationship? Before you work on this question, keep in mind these two thoughts.
First, acknowledge that you are making a choice to stay. Maybe you said yes to being in this relationship even when you saw the red flags or you stayed when you wanted to leave. There is no judgment or blame. This is just an acknowledgement. Second, look at how you attracted this type of person in the first place. There may be something about the energy you are putting out into the world that continuously brings back the same type of destructive person over and over again. Energy doesn’t lie.
So, in order to change this habit of attracting toxic people, you must first take the time to understand “why” you have this habit in the first place. It would be easy to tell you what to do but if the underlying reason or belief system is not addressed, it will keep happening. Right?
Now, I have to warn you. Going deeper means admitting what has happened to you in the past, taking responsibility for your own actions, and making a decision to change.
Let’s get started. Find a quiet and comfy spot; grab a pen and paper or your journal, and your favorite non-alcoholic beverage. Now, take 3 deep long breaths and tell yourself “I am strong, safe, and worthy of a healthy and loving relationship.”
The following process may dredge up some sensitive emotions and memories so please be gentle with yourself. Take a break if it gets too hard for you. Come back when you’re ready. And remember, the healing process is a journey, not a sprint. Ready? Let’s begin.
Step 1: Know your Toxic Cycles
Take one piece of paper and divide it into 3 parts. In the first part write “Step 1 – My Past Toxic Cycles” and I want you to list all the negative experiences and situations you’ve had in your life. Remember to list everything that pops into your head. Don’t be selective. Just dump it all out.
In the second part write “Step 1 – My Present Toxic Cycles” and I want you to list all the negative experiences or situations going on in your life right now. Include romantic relationships, co-workers, family, friends, situations, etc. List them all.
Finally, in the last part, write “Step 1 – Similarities”. Now look at both prior lists and find the similarities between your past and your present. For instance: Are you working at another job you hate? Are you dating the same type of man/woman? Did your mother yell at you when you were a child and now you are yelling at your children?
Take a deep breath. What did you find out about your life so far? Are there any patterns that repeat? Take note. What emotions were triggered? Write those down. No matter what you uncovered, this exercise is to help you become “aware” of patterns of behaviors in your life. That’s it.
Step 2: Taking responsibility
Now that you have found something(s) that keeps occurring over and over again, it’s time to talk responsibility. I know it’s easy to blame someone else for your unhappiness but if you take a closer look, you will realize that you were right there for each of your current situations. Again, there is no blame here. This is just an observation.
Remember, the past cannot be undone, edited, forgotten or erased. It can only be accepted.
So, take another piece of paper and write, “Step 2 – My Responsibility” at the top. Now I want you to look at ALL the romantic situations past and present from step one and list your role in each of them. What could you have done but didn’t? What did you allow but shouldn’t have? When should you have said “No”, but didn’t? And so on. Again, there is no blame here. You are merely identifying areas that need your attention.
The truth may hurt but it will help you heal. Owning and accepting your responsibility gives you an opportunity to change what you don’t like. Remember to take a few deep breaths to settle yourself.
Step 3: Making a commitment to change
As you can see, there is always more than one person responsible in any given situation. When you take charge of your life and own your actions, you are able to adjust the behaviors you don’t like quickly and effortlessly.
So what behaviors would you like to change? Yep, it’s time to grab a third piece of paper and write at the top, “Step 3 – My commitment to Change”. Now start a list of behaviors you’d like to change. For example: 1) I will no longer say yes when I mean no, 2) I will speak up when I am upset and not let it fester inside of me, 3) I will treat myself better so others will treat me better. Now it is your turn. Write as many as you can think of and then add more over time.
Having a written list like this allows you to have a focus point when you start to slip into your old habits. Remember, your situations won’t change unless you do. Your list should be quite long. If it’s not, you’re resisting the need to be a part of your own solution. Why is that? This is another question that requires some deep thought. Spend some time on this. Allow your feelings to emerge, as they will.
Step 4: Hire a life coach or therapist who specializes in this issue
Find someone you can work with you to go deeper and can provide a safe place to unwrap the emotions and situations you have held on to that keep you stuck in toxic relationships.
Having someone to vent to and explore these exercises in more depth will lead to drastic improvements in all your relationships, especially the one you have with yourself. Permanent and loving change is right around the corner if you commit to putting your needs first and allow yourself the appropriate time to heal.
Remember, in order to truly heal your wounds, you must move “through” that which you resist the most. When you do, the loving energy you emit into the world now will attract those with the same loving energy. If this happens, you will know something has changed.
Wishing you the best on your brave new healing journey,
Dina Blas is an Inner Healing Life Coach, Reiki Practitioner, and Meditation Teacher, who helps her clients who have experienced childhood trauma break their toxic relationship cycle and rewrite their new love story. Learn how to let go of your past and step into your power by contacting Dina at her website or by joining her private Facebook group for loving support and encouragement during your healing journey.