How To Heal From A Toxic Relationship – 8 Best Ways To Follow

Break the chains, get rid of toxic people, and move on in your life with these tips.

Reviewed by Michele Waldron, Psy.D, LADC-I, CSCT Michele Waldron Michele WaldronPsy.D, LADC-I, CSCT facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , BSc Reshma Latif BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Last Updated on

Certain relationships drain you and affect your self-esteem even after you get out of them. That is why you need to learn how to heal from a toxic relationship and build yourself back. This emotional journey needs loads of self-love, patience, and time.

When your trust is broken, and you are carrying trauma, it is a good idea to have a good support system and to seek therapy. However, it may seem intimidating – so we suggest taking baby steps. A good place to start is our comprehensive guide on the healing process from a toxic relationship. Read on to rediscover your free, peaceful, and happy self!

Ways To Detox Your Life From A Toxic Relationship

A disappointed woman sitting after fighting with her partner.
Image: Shutterstock

1. Follow The No-Contact Rule

You do not have to look back once you have decided to end the relationship that was no longer serving you. Say goodbye to the toxic person and promise not to connect with them in the future. It may feel a bit hard initially, but this will prove beneficial to you in the long run.

If you cannot break all ties with that person due to personal or professional commitments, try to limit your contact. This type of relationship should be formal and not involve any emotions.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may want to block the number of your ex if they are likely to reach out to you despite your boundaries. Alternatively, if you find yourself wanting to contact them out of habit or grief about the breakup, it is best to delete their number and have an accountability friend who can walk you off that ledge.

2. Have No Regrets

Healing from a toxic relationship gets easy when you do not regret or doubt your decision. Understand no one is perfect, and breakups are a part of life. Do not consider your breakup as your loss but take it as an opportunity to grow in life. Think more about what you do and don’t want in a partner. Come out of the self-blame game and make peace with your decision.

3. Embrace Forgiveness

Forgive yourself and the person involved in the relationship you decided to end. Holding grudges in your mind will not let you live in peace. Forget what and who hurt you in the past and let go of any bitterness.

4. Focus On The Present

Digging up the past or being too stressed about the future will make you feel unhappy even if you have everything you need to be happy. Remember, relationships are important in life, but you should not depend on them for happiness and peace. Think about the good things you have in your life and enjoy them to the fullest. Being mindful of the present will help take away stress, and you will be more at peace.

5. Make Time For Yourself And Do What You Love

A woman showing self-love by hugging herself.
Image: Shutterstock

The entire process to heal from a toxic relationship starts with ‘you.’ You need to love yourself, devote time to yourself, and do what you fancy. Value your self-interest and stop putting your efforts into satisfying the other person.

This is the time to do things for yourself. Pamper yourself in ways that make you happy. Pursue your goals and indulge in things that keep you occupied and satisfied. Do photography, write a journal, or try a dance class. Practice things that de-stress you, like listening to music, enjoying in a hot bubble bath, gardening, watching your favorite show, or whatever floats your boat.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can solo travel to a destination on your bucket list. Going on a trip somewhere can help jolt you out of your misery and provide ample opportunities and challenges so that you are compelled to channelize your thoughts and energies elsewhere. It can also help to be away from familiar surroundings that you may have frequented with your ex-partner and that stir painful memories.

6. Prioritize Your Health Over Everything

Your relationship, be it with your partner, friends, or family members, can affect your quality of life. Research shows that social relationships affect your mental and physical health and impact health habits and mortality risk (1). A toxic relationship can lead to chronic emotional stress, trauma, and health issues.

To overcome the negative effects, practice self-care. Take care of your overall health by eating right, exercising, and following a healthy lifestyle. Get a health check-up done to ensure your physical health is not compromised. Practice meditation and indulge in positive self-talk daily.

7. Focus On Positive People In Your Life

If you are healing from a toxic relationship, you may need support from your near and dear ones. Surround yourself with positive people and ask them to help you get through the tough times. Count on people who care for your well-being.

Spending time with friends and family will boost your mood and confidence. Go out for dinner, shopping, or a simple stroll in the park with your loved ones. Being around positive people will let you see the bright side of life and enhance your self-esteem.

8. Talk To A Therapist

A woman seeking therapy after being in a toxic relationship
Image: Shutterstock

It is wise to consult a therapist if you cannot overcome the negative aftermath of a toxic relationship all by yourself. A licensed therapist will help you develop self-confidence. They might also help you understand what you want from a relationship so that you can make the right move before entering a new relationship.

Anesce Dremen, a blogger, shared her reflections on healing from a toxic relationship. She reluctantly started therapy, where she was finally able to understand the patterns in her relationship. She writes, “As I fought the social taboo of my abusive childhood and the gaslighting of years, I hesitantly embraced therapy and began to notice toxic patterns between relationships: gaslighting, verbal abuse, physical threats, coerced sex, victim blaming, co-dependence, restricted autonomy, and so on (i).”

Getting rid of people whom you once loved can be hard but not impossible. We tend to attract toxic people or deal with toxicity because we value others more than ourselves. Also, if you are a people-pleaser, you find it difficult to turn down their requests. Here are some ways to deal with toxic people and recover from a traumatic relationship.

How To Get Rid Of Toxic People

  • Set verbal and physical boundaries. Let them know what is and isn’t okay with you. Do not let a toxic person become your weakness.
  •  Practice self-compassion, self-care, and self-acceptance.
  •  Surround yourself with positive people and those who genuinely care for you.
  •  Realize that it is not only your duty to solve your relationship problems. It is a two-way street.
  •  Look for people who can be your support system.
  •  Prefer your happiness over other people and their desires.

A toxic relationship can lead to cumulative damage even after you have ended it. It can make you feel like a victim and engender heart-wrenching events like suicide and self-harm. The trauma can even lead to serious mental issues, such as depression, stress, eating disorders, and low self-esteem. The aftermath can also potentially impact your present and future relationships.

To overcome the negative scenarios, realize your importance and worth and become mentally and physically happy and healthy again. Given below are tips for self-care after a toxic relationship ends.

Taking Care Of Yourself After Your Toxic Relationship Ends

A fed up woman holding her head, thinking about her toxic relationship.
Image: Shutterstock

1. Do Not Allow That Individual To Reside In Your Heart

The people we love tend to occupy a place in our hearts, and a part of that goes with them when they leave. But you do not have to think this way! You will undoubtedly feel empty, but give yourself time to heal. You do not have to hate that person – just let them go once and for all.

2. Be Patient With Yourself

Healing from a toxic relationship will not be successful if you are not patient with yourself. Give yourself time to heal, no matter how long it takes. Understand that drifting apart from someone and restarting your life without them takes time. You may get angry, anxious, and frustrated while healing. However, try to stay calm and be kind and gentle with yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, then don’t say it to yourself. Instead, write positive thoughts and read them after walking up and before going to bed.

Kathryn Kozody, a blogger, shared her journey of getting over a toxic relationship. She was in one for years and had developed low self-esteem and self-worth over time. She tried talking to herself daily by looking at the mirror: “Who knew staring in my own eyes and talking to myself lovingly in a mirror would be one of the hardest things I’d try to do. Day by day it got easier (ii).”

3. Embrace Who You Are

Bad relationships can make you feel bad about yourself. You may think it is your fault and what you have done is not right. However, you need to think the other way round! Stay firm wherever you are – unabashed and indomitable.

Practicing self-acceptance can improve your emotional well-being. But that does not mean you do not have to accept your negatives. Embrace your virtues. Also, accept your negative qualities and try to work on them.

4. Do Not Think You Are A Victim

Get rid of your victim mentality, as it will take away your power and independence. Instead, regard yourself as a survivor who has risen from the ashes like a phoenix and is ready to overcome obstacles.

After entering therapy, Anesce decided she wanted to heal and stop feeling like a victim. She writes, “I wanted to heal. I didn’t want to be a victim anymore; I wanted to be a survivor (i).”

5. Make New Memories

A woman taking selfie with her friends to move on from her toxic relationship.
Image: Shutterstock

Let go of the past and plan to live your life in a new way. Make new memories and do new things that intrigue you the most. Take on challenging tasks and indulge in hobbies with people who love you.

If you love traveling, plan a weekend getaway with your buddies. Take photographs on the way, try new foods, meet new people, and participate in fun activities. Once you are back from the trip, relive those moments, and plan your next trip.

6. Overcome Negative Thoughts

Do not allow negative thoughts to rent a space in your mind. One way to get rid of them is by practicing meditation. Start and end your day with a bright smile on your face. Practice gratefulness and take time out from your schedule to volunteer for a social cause.

7. Reckon What You Want From A Relationship

You can start thinking about what you want from your relationship before diving into prospects. Identify your values and look for them in your next romantic partner.

Do you need someone who can help fulfill your professional goals? Or a person who can communicate effectively? Realize that you deserve a healthy relationship and the kind of love and care you are willing to give to others. Do not rush into a relationship simply because you need someone. Take your time to heal and find the kind of person you want in your life.

Kathryn further writes about her journey towards healing, “I allowed someone else to treat me so poorly because I didn’t think I deserved any better. I needed to heal my relationship with myself before I could ever consider entering one with someone else (ii).”

If you are wondering whether a toxic relationship is salvageable then scroll down to the next section.

Can You Fix A Toxic Relationship?

Although fixing a toxic relationship is not always straightforward, it is possible with commitment, and mutual willingness to change.

  • Recognize the problems that are producing toxicity in relationships, whether they are unhealthy habits, a lack of boundaries, or inadequate communication, and address them.
  • Have an honest communication about the issues and discuss concerns and feelings.
  • Respect each other’s boundaries and be aware of the consequences when you cross them.
  • Letting go of grudges and being empathetic towards one another can help rebuild trust and connection in the relationship.

Infographic: 8 Tips To Rebuild Yourself After A Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationships often break your self-worth and leave you with a sense of helplessness. Breaking out of such relationships is a huge step in itself, but it might be challenging to heal from them. The first step towards regaining your self-esteem and restoring happiness is to believe in these possibilities. After that, you might be able to take steps towards prioritizing yourself and rising above your inhibitions. Check out the infographic below to understand how to move on and rebuild yourself after breaking free from a toxic relationship.

8 tips to rebuild yourself after a toxic relationship (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Toxic relationships can negatively affect your mental health and are hard to deal with. They also affect your self-esteem and seem intimidating. But, how to heal from a toxic relationship? Following the no-contact rule, forgiving yourself, moving on, letting go of the past, and focusing on the present may help heal from a toxic relationship. Hence, leave all the negativity and identify underlying issues that cause toxicity in the relationship. Pay attention to your mental well-being and talk to your therapist regarding your mental health. Additionally, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and surrounding yourself with positive people who can give you emotional support may help get rid of toxic people.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to recover from a toxic relationship?

Different people recover from toxic relationships differently. There is no fixed timeline. However, what matters most during the recovery process, is to remember to be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and be patient. Once you focus on your self-growth, you will soon find the trauma of the toxic relationship starting to take a backseat.

Can a toxic relationship ever heal?

Yes. Toxic relationships can heal over time as long as the partners involved in it, acknowledge their mistakes, take accountability for it, apologize for it, and work towards being better partners with love, empathy, and compassion.

Why does leaving a toxic relationship hurt so much?

Leaving the toxic relationship can be painful because being in it could have been mentally traumatic in a way that it breaks one’s self-esteem completely. Sometimes people become comfortable with that pain because they have forgotten how to live differently. And leaving a toxic relationship would mean to start living afresh as if all that pain had never happened. Toxic relationships leave behind visible scars that manifest themselves in unexpected ways and therefore, recovering from them can be as painful as being involved in them.

Can you get PTSD from a toxic relationship?

Yes. Though not necessary, it is possible to get PTSD from a toxic relationship depending on the extent of the trauma.

Key Takeaways

  • While trying to heal from a toxic relationship, it is important to adhere to the no-contact rule.
  • Forgive yourself and focus on the present to feel at peace.
  • Practice self-love and prioritize your health by seeking therapy to heal from all the trauma caused by the toxic relationship.

Find guidance on moving forward from a toxic relationship and flourishing in life. Discover the steps to healing and reclaiming your happiness from the video below.

Personal Experience: Sources


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy
Was this article helpful?
Michele Waldron
Michele WaldronPsy.D, LADC-I, CSCT
Dr. Waldron is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified couples counselor, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and sex therapist. with 16 years of experience. She received her Psy.D from Antioch University, New England.

Read full bio of Michele Waldron