Healing from a Toxic Relationship: How to Move Forward

A woman who is in the final stages of healing from a toxic relationship
Want to find healing from a toxic relationship? Accept that with every ending there’s a new beginning you can look forward to.

We all hate endings.

Think about some of your favorite shows, movies, or books. Some conclude with a “happily ever after,” while others end ambiguously or with characters facing unfortunate fates.

Regardless of whether it ends happily, letting go is usually difficult. This is because endings signify no more next chapters, nothing to look forward to.

The same applies to breakups.

Even when a couple ends their relationship on good terms, they can’t help but experience grief. That’s because they’re leaving behind good memories to pursue what’s best for themselves.

But what about toxic relationships?

Yes, you may have hated being in the relationship, which is why you decided to leave. However, it can feel confusing as to how you can deal with the pain of it being over.

You might even find yourself wanting to return to your toxic partner. This way, at least, you can hold on to the hope of change.

After all, you’ve become accustomed to how they treat you, so maybe you can attempt to ignore their toxicity. Meanwhile, if you choose not to go back, you’ll find yourself stuck, unsure of how to move on from your relationship ending.

That being said, healing from a toxic relationship can be challenging because it feels like having to start again from scratch.

Still, leaving and moving forward to healing is necessary for your well-being.

Instead of returning to your toxic relationship, allow yourself to have a fresh start.

Here’s how.

Realize that You Deserve Better

One of the stages of healing from a toxic relationship is experiencing self-doubt.

During this stage, you start questioning your decision to leave, with thoughts like:

  • What if they’re the only person who’s willing to be with me?

  • What if I caused their behavior?

  • What if I’m not showing them enough love?

Initially harmless, these “what-ifs” can transform into “maybes.”

  • Maybe if I come back and ask them to change, they will.

  • Maybe if I fulfill their every need, we can fix our relationship.

Before long, you might act on these thoughts and return to your toxic partner.

Knowing how to get over a toxic relationship when you still love them is difficult because emotions can cloud your judgment.

However, before your “what-ifs” become “maybes,” ask yourself: Is enduring their abuse worth losing your happiness?

Remember, you matter the most. Realize that you deserve someone who can reciprocate your love.

If you fear nobody else will be able to do so, how will you know without even trying? Choosing to return to a toxic relationship only closes the door to finding someone better.

A woman who found a better partner after going through self-doubt, one of the stages of healing from a toxic relationship
Tread lightly as you navigate the first stages of healing from a toxic relationship. Your emotions can sway you into coming back.

Seek to Understand

Knowing how to heal yourself from a toxic relationship starts with trying to make sense of your ex’s behavior.

Learn about terms like gaslighting and blame-shifting, and why people use these tactics.

By doing so, you gain a realistic perspective, which prevents you from holding on to false hopes of change and allows you to see your ex with all their flaws in the relationship.

More importantly, it gives you control over your emotions.

If guilt and self-blame are preventing you from healing after a toxic relationship, understanding their behavior makes you realize that it’s not your fault that they are the way they are, and that there’s nothing you can do if they’re unwilling to change.

You were a victim of toxicity, but you are not a martyr in love.

Distance Yourself

Make way for healing from a toxic relationship by distancing yourself both physically and emotionally from your ex.

Follow the no-contact rule by blocking them on social media, including their emails and phone numbers. Also, ensure that your loved ones are aware of your situation to prevent your ex from making use of other avenues of contact.

However, if you still need to maintain contact due to parental responsibilities, or legal or financial reasons, they may attempt to hinder your healing process by trying to win you back.

In such cases, keep your discussions brief and emotionless, as if you’re communicating with a business partner.

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Give Yourself Closure

Another example of knowing how to heal after a toxic relationship is seeking closure from your ex.

However, most toxic partners do not take accountability.

If you’re seeking closure to achieve healing after your toxic relationships, be the one to grant it to yourself.

Consider writing a farewell letter to your ex, expressing everything you wish to say, then burn it. Or, you can document your feelings and experiences in a journal and shred it when you’ve finally moved on.

A woman writing a letter, following one of the ways on how to heal after a toxic relationship
Wondering how to heal after a toxic relationship? Find closure through a farewell letter.

Prioritize Yourself

Healing from toxic relationships requires focusing on yourself.

Throughout the relationship, it’s likely that you placed your partner’s needs and desires above your own.

Now that you’ve left, it’s time to make yourself a priority and move towards healing after a toxic relationship.

Reconnect with your loved ones and engage in activities that bring you happiness. More importantly, practice self-compassion.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t only mean fulfilling your needs and desires. It also means placing yourself at the top of the list of people you need to be kind to and forgive.

Remember, you are only human; therefore, you are bound to make mistakes, one of which might be staying too long in a toxic relationship. However, you did what you thought was best at the time.

Reframe Your Thoughts

Ending your toxic relationship is necessary to pave the way for a new beginning.

With that in mind, redirect your thoughts away from dwelling on the past. Instead, focus on the present and how you can shape your future.

Take the lessons you’ve learned from being with your ex and apply them to your life and future relationships.

This way, you can look at your situation in a new light.

A woman reconnecting with her friend to achieve healing after a toxic relationship
Find healing after a toxic relationship. Prioritize yourself.

Acceptance and Moving On

Upon leaving a toxic relationship, it can be difficult to accept your situation. Feelings of pain and longing may overwhelm the sense of relief you’re bound to experience.

These emotions, in turn, might tempt you to consider returning to your ex.

However, accept your ending as it is, start anew, and reclaim yourself and your happiness.

You’ll know you’ve moved on when you’re comfortable being single, dating without anxiety, gaining a clear perspective on your past relationship, and pursuing new, ambitious goals.

For some, this transformation can happen in a matter of days, while for others, it can take years to witness signs of healing from a toxic relationship.

That being said, prioritize self-care and allow time to do its work. Avoid rushing the process of healing from a toxic relationship.

Lastly, if possible, seek help from a professional who can support you through this challenging phase of your life.

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