How to End a Toxic Relationship

Couple arguing

Image Source/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Any relationship -- one between husband and wife, parent and child, or siblings -- may be toxic. At the root of every toxic relationship is one simple truth: This person does not make you feel good about yourself. The very nature of a toxic relationship makes it extremely difficult to walk away from, because the toxic person is the one with all the power. However, ending a toxic relationship could be the best thing you ever do for your self-esteem and emotional health.

What Is a Toxic Relationship?

A toxic person in your life is likely to make you feel hurt and used. She may take everything from your relationship, but give nothing back. You may feel drained after spending time with her. Perhaps you spend time with her out of obligation, rather than desire. She may constantly put you down or disappoint you with her actions. These are all common signs of a toxic relationship, according mental health writer Therese J. Borchard's article "Your Deplete Me: 10 Steps to End a Toxic Relationship" on the website PsychCentral.

Stop Making Excuses

You may have been making excuses for someone's toxic behavior for months or even years, both to yourself and other people. If your partner is the toxic presence in your life, staying with him and putting up with his behavior may have been preferable to going it alone. However, you owe it to yourself to move on, says life coach Lisa L. Payne in a blog post titled "How to Kiss a Toxic Relationship Goodbye, Once and For All" on the website YourTango. Keep telling yourself that you deserve better.

Get to the Point

Ending any kind of relationship can be difficult. If you are ending a romantic relationship, how much time and effort you spend explaining your decision depends on how you have been treated by your partner. If her behavior was abusive, it may be in your best interests to simply leave without confrontation. If you have a face-to-face conversation, do it in a private, quiet place with no distractions, advises couples counselor Elly Prior in "How to End Your Relationship" on Professional In order to avoid further conflict, focus on how you are feeling about the relationship rather than how she has behaved. For example, say something like, "I feel insecure and unhappy in this relationship, and I've decided I need to end it." Stay calm and keep it simple, but make it clear that you are ending the relationship.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

Spend time with people who make you feel appreciated and loved. If your toxic relationship was with a partner or relative, you will need a great deal of support to move on and resist the temptation to fall back into the relationship. Seek out those who will be a positive influence on you, advises Borchard. The last thing you want to do is replace one toxic relationship with another. Focus on boosting your self-esteem by doing things that make you feel good about yourself. Treat yourself with love and kindness, and you will come to realize that everybody in your life should treat you the same way.