Figure out why the relationship is destructive.,
Know that no relationship is perfect.,
Watch out for manipulation.,
Recognize the cycle of abuse.,
Know when to end the relationship.,
Know how to cut things off.,
End the relationship.,
Leave the area.,
Do not go back.,
Expect conflicting emotions.,
Get to work.,
Try to reconnect.,
Don’t shut yourself off.
Sometimes, a relationship will go sour. Can you determine why? Figuring out what went wrong doesn’t mean you’ll fix it, as sometimes it’s not able to be fixed, but identifying what makes you feel this way can be a huge help.
Do most conversations that start off friendly or romantic end in fights?
Does your friend or partner not listen to what you say or take you seriously?
Do they mock you, belittle you, put you down, or tell you that they wish you didn’t exist?
Do they play mind games or manipulate you, and “expect” you to know something that you have no way of knowing, such as what they’re thinking?
Do they physically or sexually abuse you, or threaten to do so?
Does the relationship as a whole just cause you to feel drained, exhausted, worthless, or like you’re trying so hard for something that isn’t giving you results?;
, There’s never a relationship that’s always happy and cheerful, and healthy friendships or relationships do have the occasional argument here and there. In addition, stressful situations and hard times can make a person act like they “aren’t themselves” and cause you two to get into fights. However, there’s a difference between a fight here and there, and a destructive relationship. If the number of days where you’re fighting are outnumbering the days where you aren’t, or if your friend or partner is causing you serious physical or emotional harm, it’s time to think about whether the relationship is healthy.
For example, if you’ve identified that many of the conversations end in fights, but nothing else, it’s quite possible that the relationship is just in a bad place that may fade. However, if the fights contain verbal or physical abuse, manipulation or mind games, or leave you feeling depressed and like the relationship isn’t worth saving, then it may be time to cut the relationship short.
, If you have determined that the relationship is abusive, and you tell your friend or partner that you wish to leave, they may manipulate you into staying by begging, crying, or threatening you or others. Don’t fall for it. Yes, the person can change like they say they’re going to, but what’s the likelihood of them doing it?
Recall all the times this person made you feel bad about yourself. If they’ve made you feel bad or harmed you many times, they’re not likely to stop because they know you won’t leave.
On the flip side, if you are the one belittling or hurting your partner, then it’s best to cut the relationship short yourself. Don’t tell them that it’s their fault. Be honest. Tell them that you don’t think it’s safe for you to be friends with them or dating them, and you need to cut contact in order to try and work on yourself. Then do it. Don’t transfer this behavior to somebody else.
If your friend or partner actively prevents you from leaving, such as by taking important things like car keys or money, or threatening serious harm to you, get to a safer place such as a parent’s house if possible and call authorities. If the relationship is that destructive, there’s no way of getting out safely by yourself.
, If you have determined the relationship is destructive, keep an eye out for what is commonly called the cycle of abuse – the honeymoon period, the tension, and then the blowup. It’s very common for a destructive relationship to have this pattern with one or both parties, as they can be rather emotional.
, Depending on how destructive this relationship is and if you and the person live together, you may not be able to do it face-to-face. While a face-to-face discussion is best for other situations, it isn’t worth the risk if you suspect it won’t go over well.
If your friend or partner is significantly abusive, do not do this face to face. They likely know you well enough to manipulate you into staying around, and if they can’t trick you, you may end up getting emotionally hurt or physically injured. Try to avoid over the phone if the person is verbally abusive, as well.
If you live with this person and suspect they’ll stop you from leaving the house, wait until they leave and call someone you trust to come get you. However, if the situation is desperate, you can try going to a neighbor’s and phoning a person you trust there, or the police.
, Depending on how you plan to leave, you will have to know how you’ll do it and how to stay calm. If the relationship is destructive and the other party agrees that it’s best for it to end, it may be calm, but it may not end calmly.
Think of how the person may respond and come up with answers to those responses. However, keep in mind that they may throw you for a loop by asking a question or saying something you didn’t expect from them. Remember to stay calm, no matter what they said to you.
If you can’t end things face-to-face, it’s best not to end it officially at all, as this requires leaving something behind. Even something like a note or a voice memo can work against you if the person takes it to someone else to try and track you.
, If you’re ending it face-to-face, approach the person. Tell them calmly, “I don’t think this relationship is healthy anymore. I think it’s best if we go our separate ways.” Be aware that they’ll likely be upset by this, but stay calm regardless of what they do.
If the person is not verbally abusive, but is physically abusive, do not carry it out face-to-face. However, a lot of people who are physically abusive will also be verbally abusive, so in this case it may just be best to flee without telling the person if you fear getting hurt.
, If you don’t live with this person, it may be easier to get away from them, since it’s possible you may only have to see them at school or work. However, if you live with the person, you will need to make plans on how to get away if you’ve deemed it necessary. You don’t necessarily have to move into a new home or apartment, but staying with another friend or a family member will suffice.
Do not leave any traces of where you will be going. If you are discussing this with the person you plan to be staying with, discuss it in person or over a phone call so that you don’t leave evidence in texts or letters that you will be leaving. Don’t write it in a journal or anywhere you suspect the person may look. If they suspect you will leave and want to prevent you from doing so, it will give them pointers as to where to wait for you or cause them to harm somebody.
If you think this person is going to stalk you, file a restraining order. While a piece of paper may not do much to deter the stalker, it will be evidence to the police that this person is harassing you.
, If the person pleads with you that they can change, don’t believe them – there’s a reason you’re leaving, after all. Why would you be leaving the relationship if you didn’t feel it was destructive?
If the person threatens to commit suicide over you leaving, make it clear that you don’t control what they do, and believe it yourself. Remember that you don’t have control over anyone that isn’t you.
, Even if you know the relationship was destructive and extremely unhealthy, you may grieve the loss. Let yourself grieve, but don’t let the grief consume your life. After at least a week, try to get your life back in order.
Do not return to the relationship, no matter what you’re feeling about it. If you find yourself remembering all the good parts and thinking that maybe it can work if you just change this one piece of it, recall what made you want to leave in the first place and how often it would happen. Do you really want to be friends with or dating someone who doesn’t treat you like you’re worth all that you are?
, After you’ve had some time away from the relationship, find something to occupy your time. You can go to schoolwork, your job’s work, resume an old hobby or pick up a new one, or anything else you want to try.
Do not take up destructive habits. If you begin to drink excessively, use drugs, or begin injuring yourself, then get help immediately.
, Maybe while in the destructive relationship, you abandoned old friends or family members. Try to reach out to them and apologize for shutting them out. If you want, make plans to see them, and make sure to have fun while doing so!
Keep in mind that depending on how you treated your friends, they may no longer trust you or want to be your friend. If they forgive you, don’t jump right back into how things used to be – take some time to rebuild the friendship and trust in it.
, Depending on how destructive the relationship was and how long it lasted, you may be scared of opening up to people again, or feel like what they said about you was true. However, remember that not everyone will treat you poorly, and you are not somebody else’s words or actions. You are you, and what happened in your past does not make you undesirable, dirty or worthless. Keep yourself open to new people.
If you feel constantly sad, empty, guilty, or worthless, or if you feel anxious or jumpy all the time, try to see a therapist. It’s possible that a destructive relationship can cause mental disorders, such as depression.
If you begin engaging in self-destructive habits, such as self-injury, reckless driving, reckless spending of money, or abusing alcohol or drugs, get help immediately. Nobody should make you behave in ways that are destructive to your health.