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Ex-terminate toxic bonds

Thursday, August 10, 2017

As harmful as a toxic relationship is, coping with its aftermath can be equally painful. Komal Soni’s 8-step recovery plan will help you reclaim your sense of self and leave the dark past behind

A toxic relationship can be debilitating, leaving you with little or no self-esteem. A relationship can be toxic in several ways, but it usually involves one partner who is controlling, insecure, overly possessive or completely disrespectful towards the other person in the relationship. A partner who insults, taunts or humiliates you in private and belittles you in front of friends and family, who cheats on you or who makes false or empty promises (an unreliable partner) is considered toxic. A toxic relationship is abusive in nature, either emotionally or physically, sometimes both. Recovering from such a relationship can be difficult, and may take a while, but recover you will. Here’s how!

Step 1: Cry your heart out
A good cry never hurt anyone. It can actually have a healing effect on the road to coming to terms with the loss of a partner you loved and with whom you shared your most private self. Just remember not to blame yourself for the failure of the relationship. It is only after you’ve grieved that you will truly be able to move on. Watch a weepy romantic movie, listen to heartbreaking songs, allow yourself to be sad and let the tears flow. And, when the crying gets too much, get some sleep to recharge your depleted batteries.

Step 2: Block your ex
A classic sign of a toxic relationship is the ex’s inability to let you go. You’ll have to be the stronger one and shun any communication with your ex. Chances are your ex will call and text you a million times, promising they’ve changed their ways, claiming they want to give it another go. Do not give in! Delete your ex’s number and block them on all social media platforms.

Step 3: Make a list
Lists give you clarity. Write down all the nasty, terrible things your ex did or said to you. All those times your ex put himself or herself before you. How they tried to control you or demean you. Remind yourself why you wanted out. It’ll keep you from reaching out to them and drive you to focus on yourself and your recovery.

Step 4: Write poetry
Many an awful poet have been born out of heartbreak. You have a desperate need to vent your frustration and give voice to your anger, pain and helplessness after a toxic relationship ends. Put pen to paper and release those pent-up emotions. No matter how bad the poetry, it’ll do you good to let it all out.

Step 5: Spend time with friends & family
One thing that a lot of people who have been in a toxic relationship have in common is that their ex has cut off their access to friends and family during the relationship — through cajoling, emotional blackmail or just sheer force. And, even though it may be a bit daunting to reconnect with them after having neglected them all this time, you must reach out to your friends and family after breaking it off with a toxic partner, letting them know what you’ve been through. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t understand. Let them help you find your way back from the dark place you’d been in during the relationship. You can depend on them for solid advice as well as the love and compassion you need to get over your toxic ex.

Step 6: Meet new people
While old friends will help you reclaim your lost identity, it is also important to meet new people. Socialising with a new group of people will boost your self-confidence and put some distance between you and your traumatic past. Go on; accept the invitation for an evening out with colleagues that you’ve been turning down because of your insecure ex. Mingle with your friends’ friends, make new pals and watch the new you take shape as the horrors of your past slowly start to fade from your memory.

Step 7: Start dating again
Toxic relationships often leave you with a sense of little or no self-worth. After the constant put-downs from your ex, you start believing that you’ll never be good enough for anyone, which is why, as soon as you are ready, start going out on dates. Let yourself be romanced, even if it’s by someone who’s not usually your type. It may be a while before you’re ready for a serious relationship again, but in the meantime go have some fun. Enjoy the attention. And, learn to trust again.

Step 8: Be happy
After getting out of a toxic relationship, it’s imperative that you surround yourself with as much positivity as you can. Engage in activities that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Go dancing with your friends if that makes you happy. Enrol in a book club if reading is your thing. Take up painting or yoga. Go shopping. Pamper yourself!

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I am a robust, healthy man in my early thirties.
Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
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