“Losing will not always amount to a loss, sometimes you have to lose those toxic relationships and bad habits to create a space for better things.” – Gift Gugu Mona

Toxic relationships can be difficult to let go of. Many people get caught in a cycle of going back to relationships that are not good for them. This only creates a cycle of grief and hurt. There are ways to let go of toxic relationships.

Psychologists have worked with people who have had this problem enough to be able to write an entire handbook on the subject. Here is some key advice to letting go and freeing yourself from the grip of a toxic relationship.

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Here Are 5 Ways To Let Go Of Toxic Relationships

1. Recognize that it’s toxic

The very first step to freeing yourself from a toxic relationship is to admit to yourself that the relationship isn’t okay. You may notice the signs of a toxic relationship and try to justify them to yourself. If you notice that uncomfortable feeling in the back of your mind, it’s called ‘cognitive dissonance’, and it’s your brain trying to protect you from what you know is true.

Take note of the things in the relationship that make you feel this way. Accepting that your relationship is toxic is the first step. Before you can really be free, you have to be aware of all the things that are harming you.

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2. Don’t blame yourself

Relationships are a two-way street. Two people are participating in the relationship, which means that two people are participating in all of the disagreements, arguments, and behavior. You can’t take the blame fully on yourself. If you blame yourself for all of the problems in the relationship, you will find yourself going back to try and fix them. Recognize that sometimes, both parties are at fault for a toxic relationship.

Acknowledge your responsibilities – but only your responsibilities. You don’t need to be putting up with anyone else’s problems in a toxic relationship. When you’re not to blame, there’s no reason to hoist it on yourself.

3. Cut off contact

Cutting off contact is one of the best things that you can do when trying to let go of the toxic relationship. Keeping in contact is only going to make letting go harder. This includes checking up on toxic people who are no longer in your life. Resist scrolling through their social media or asking your mutual friends how they’re doing.

According to Sarah Newman, M.A, you should always follow your gut when it comes to cutting people out of your life. Even though it may sound extreme, Newman advises loosening the ties when it comes to a toxic relationship. In order to move on, you need to be in a place where you’re able to feel neutral about the lack of contact, rather than pain.

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4. Find closure

Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D., says that closure is one of the best things for moving on from a broken and toxic relationship. Bockarova acknowledges that closure can help people reconstruct their entire lives in a healthy and productive manner. Finding closure is one way to help you let go of a toxic relationship.

For a lot of people, closure comes from within and recognizing all the ways that the relationship went wrong in the first place. For others, writing one final letter or having the other person acknowledge their toxicity can bring closure. Whatever it is, closure is important for moving on.

5. Use your support system

The most important thing in leaving any toxic relationship and letting it go is having someone there to catch you if you fall. Letting go of toxic relationships can be jarring, especially if they’re long-term. Get together with friends and family who can help support you during the more difficult times.

They can also help keep you accountable when it comes to not checking up people that you have already cut off. Support systems are invaluable when it comes to letting go of toxic relationships. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people who love you most.

Final thoughts

Once you know the signs of a toxic relationship, the next step is letting it go. If you’re having trouble letting go of a toxic relationship, these are the ways that psychologists have found work best for all kinds of people, and all kinds of toxic relationships. Whether these are romantic, platonic or familial, letting go is a process.