I don’t know if you have heard of the phrase "toxic relationship", much less “how to fix a toxic relationship”. If you haven’t heard of it, then let me tell you what it means. Basically, a toxic relationship is any relationship with any individual in your life where you feel uncomfortable, queasy, uneasy or even scared around the other person. It’s the type of relationship that doesn’t give you any peace of mind or emotional satisfaction, which is full of arguments, fights, power plays – you name it, and a toxic relationship has it all. Let me explain it in detail.
How to Fix a Toxic Relationship
Identify if you are in a toxic relationship
Sometimes, we get so used to the abuse or mental torture that we accept it as part of our relationship. But that’s not true. To spot a toxic relationship, the first thing to do is to analyze your feelings about the relationship as well as the person involved. Does he make you happy, or does your heart sink every time she enters the room? Relationships become toxic because of many reasons. Sometimes it may be because he physically assaults or abuses you, sometimes it’s because she verbally abuses you, manipulates you emotionally or it could even be because he’s excessively dominating, obsessive, jealous or controlling in nature. It’s up to YOU to see the signs and know that you’re part of a bad relationship.
Make up your mind to fix the relationship
So you’ve decided not to walk out on the relationship but work on it instead. Bravo. Know that it’s going to be very difficult but if you manage through, you’ll do it with flying colours. Professional counselling is of course the best option for any couple, but if you feel that it’s too early or expensive for you, then here’s how to fix a toxic relationship on your own. But know that you cannot do it alone; the relationship can only be fixed if your partner is willing to work at it as well.
Begin with compassion
You cannot work on a toxic relationship with toxic/negative emotions in your mind, like anger, revenge or frustration. You should begin by showing your partner love, understanding and compassion.
Sometimes people are who they are not because they want to be that way, but because circumstances moulded their personalities for them. By beginning on a positive note, you automatically ensure higher chances of the relationship working out in the end.
Establish ground rules
It’s tough, especially for relationships that are old. But you have to do it. And it’s one of the most essential steps on how to fix a toxic relationship. And let me explain it with an example. If he wants you to constantly keep him updated about where you are or who you’re with, before putting your foot down, tell him gently but firmly, "Babe I know you worry about me a lot, but sending your texts becomes problematic for me, especially when at work. My boss has already caught me twice texting to you and I fear the third time might become the axe for me. If there’s an emergency, you will always be the first person I contact. But until then, please understand my position."
Put your foot down
So now that you’ve asked him not to force you to constantly update him, wait and watch to see if he understands where you’re coming from. If he doesn’t, it’s time to just put your foot down. The next time you’re sitting together and he argues with you on the topic, simply say, "I’m not comfortable arguing over this topic again and again. If you bring it up again, I’ll leave." If he doesn’t listen, then just leave. A proactive step from you is going to shock you and in all likelihood, anger him. So when this happens, you have to…
Become distant and remain this way till he understands you’re serious about your boundaries. If his negative emotions are the fire, then your negative reactions to them are the fuel to his fire. Since you take away the fuel, the fire is not gonna burn for very long.
You’re not a victim
Never ever think that you’re a victim. You’re not. You are in total control of yourself. It is in your hands to take the relationship forward or kick it in the curb. You aren’t a helpless damsel in distress. No. You are in charge here of everything, including your relationship, actions, reactions and your emotions. Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
You’re not his savior
Like you control your emotions, he controls his. You aren’t responsible for his words or his actions. I know you love him deeply and think it’s impossible to survive without him. But guess what honey? It’s impossible to survive with him as well. Don’t think you can “save” him – it’s one of the biggest lies people tell themselves to stay in their toxic relationship.
Don’t forget your other relationships
Sometimes we women begin obsessing so much over how to fix a toxic relationship that we start to ignore or sideline the other healthy relationships that we do have in our lives. Hun, don’t be that girl, ever. Continue living your life normally. And if at all possible, hang out more, meet new people and make more friends. That’s because a support system is essential for someone as emotionally exhausted as you. Not to mention the varying perspectives and insights these people can give you about how best you can handle your relationship.
Always have “me time”
Well now you know that you have to focus on the healthy relationships in your life, what about the relationship you have with yourself? Don’t be afraid to be alone. It actually gives you a lot of time to think, introspect or even just have a few hours of peace and quiet. And you don’t need me to tell you how good that is for you, do you? You’re one half of the relationship and in order for it to survive, you need to function well as an individual.