Are you currently in a toxic relationship? If you think you are in one, what makes you so sure that yours is a toxic relationship? Here at Trusty, we focus on helping you identify toxic relationships and offer advice on How to Fix a Toxic Relationship for those in one.
Everybody yearns to be in a healthy relationship. In such healthy relationships, almost everything works out. And even though there are usually some unavoidable bumps in the relationships, these do not significantly affect the relationship.
However, the same cannot be said for toxic relationships. Unlike healthy relationships, which bring joy to both partners, toxic relationships only work to bring unhappiness and drain the partners. But what is a toxic relationship?
Indeed, there is no perfect relationship. Even the most compatible couples experience some problems and bumps in their relationship. However, just because you and your partner argue sometimes doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a toxic relationship.
The main hallmark sign of a toxic relationship is constant unhappiness and sadness. If spending time with your partner always makes you feel drained, sad, and depressed, then this is a sign that you are in a toxic relationship.
According to Melody Li, a registered couple’s therapist, “Toxic relationships happen when people are stuck in harmful relational patterns and cycles. In romantic partnerships, physical or sexual attraction can be a powerful force that draws folks to stay in toxic relationships.”
Yet, this does not mean that all toxic relationships are doomed. No matter how bad you think your relationship is, it can still be mended. So, don’t be quick to give up on your toxic relationship. With enough time, patience, and effort, the relationship can be saved.
1. Avoid Dwelling on the Past
When you decide to work out your problems and fix your toxic relationship, you will undoubtedly have to address the past at one point or the other. However, this does not mean that you make the past the sole focus of fixing your relationship.
When you dwell on the past, it will prevent you from fixing your toxic relationship. Therefore, avoid continually referring to the past when trying to fix your relationship.
2. Show Your Partner Compassion
Since toxic relationships are so tiring, you may sometimes find yourself blaming your partner for all the stress you are undergoing. However, before you can judge your partner for being the cause of your toxic relationship, try cultivating some compassion.
Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. What potential factors could have motivated them to act in such a way? Could they have just had a bad day at work? Or are they going through some tiring family drama? Trying to understand why your partner acted in specific ways can help you know what to fix in your toxic relationship.
3. Start Therapy
As odd as it may sound, starting therapy can help both of you fix your toxic relationship. Sheila Tucker (www.psychologytoday.com), an associate family and marriage therapist, says, “Couples therapy will help both partners better understand the relationship and the role they play.”
Therapy encourages openness among partners. The more open you become with your spouse, the easier and faster you will solve your problems. Therefore, getting couples counseling should be among the first steps you take to mending your relationship.
4. Find a Support System
While therapy can help you fix the toxic relationship, you also need to find a support system. Your support system may include trusted friends or family members. Alternatively, you can join a local support group for people dealing with issues in their lives and relationships.
When you find a support system, talk to them. Open up to others and let them know your true feelings. Talking out your feelings with trusted friends can help ease the pain and heartbreak, leaving you in a better position mentally to fix the relationship.
Debbie Mandel (www.turnonyourinnerlight.com), the author of ‘Addicted to Stress’ and a radio host, comments, “You did not marry your clone. So, be specific when communicating with your spouse. Do not take for granted that he or she has read your mind or intuits what you want.”
Yes, healthy communication is an essential key to fixing a toxic relationship. When talking about your problems, use more you ‘I’ than ‘You.’ For example, instead of saying ‘You never listen to my opinions,’ say ‘I feel that my opinions are not taken to consideration.’
Such respectful yet meaningful communication can go a long way to helping you fix your toxic relationship.
6. Be Accountable
To fix a toxic relationship, you must both accept one fact: both of you have contributed to the relationship’s toxicity. As Lawsin, a relationship advisor, puts it, “Both partners must acknowledge their part in fostering the toxicity.”
When both of you are accountable, you will avoid blaming each other for the relationship’s problems. In turn, this will help you mend your toxic relationship quickly.
7. Heal as an Individual
Before you can fix your relationship, you need to fix yourself first. Otherwise, you can’t fix both you and your partner if you can’t fix yourself first.
Identify your needs in the relationship. Where do your boundaries lie? Even after figuring out what your needs and boundaries are, revisit these. Evaluating how you feel times you an excellent opportunity to rebuild your damaged relationship.
8. Don’t Take Everything Personal
It’s not always about you. So, when your spouse does something wrong, stop taking things personally. Instead, understand that your partner might be going through some stress, hence the reason for their actions.
In simple terms, avoid jumping to conclusions each time your spouse says or does something wrong. Be more understanding and complain less.
9. Do Away with the ABCDs
Every toxic relationship has one thing in common; they comprise one or more of the ABCDs. The ABCDs are:
To fix your toxic relationship, have a one-on-one talk with your partner. Talk about how both of you will work to end the ABCDs behaviors in your relationship. By doing so, you will improve your relationship and connect deeply with your partner through the process.
10. Don’t Remain Silent
Another key to fixing a toxic relationship is speaking up. Most people worry too much about upsetting their partners, hence hold back from speaking up about their true feelings. However, walking on eggshells will only make your relationship more toxic, rather than save it.
Beth Sonnenberg (www.psychnjhelp.com) a psychotherapist, says, “Once you think that your feelings don’t matter, won’t be heard, or are not worth sharing, you open the door to harbor negativity and resentment.” Therefore, if you are to fix your relationship, you need to speak up about your feelings.
11. Learn to Trust Yourself
To fix a toxic relationship, you also need to believe that you can mend things. Most of these relationships involve gas lighting, a strategy that leaves the victims questioning their judgment and sensitivity levels.
If you were a victim of gas lighting, you need to learn how to trust yourself. Trusting yourself will help you develop the right attitude when it comes to mending the relationship.
12. Learn Positive Criticism
As discussed above, toxic relationships are filled with accusations, blames, and negative criticism. Defining criticism, Gomez, a relationship expert, says, “Criticism is when a complaint is expressed as a character flaw.”
Instead, learn the art of correcting your partner with positive criticism. Make your compliments a good ‘sandwich,’ which involves praise. Learning to give such kind of criticism will help to minimize the problems in your relationship.
13. Be Honest
One main characteristic of a healthy relationship is that the partners are honest with each other. Those small white lies you tell your spouse are what eventually cause relationships to turn toxic.
Therefore, if yours is already a toxic relationship, you can start fixing it by being honest with your spouse. Such honesty is fundamental, as it helps you connect with your partner better.
14. Set a Plan for Change
Having been in a toxic relationship for so long, you may have gotten used to all the arguing and fighting. Therefore, each time such conflicts happen, you ignore the problems, and each person moves on. But is this how you should handle problems?
To mend your relationship, you will need to do more than ignore problems; you will need to set a change plan. Together with your partner, sit down and discuss any goals of change each of you has. Write these down, then try as much as you can to put these into practice.
With such a well set out a plan, you can rest assured that your efforts of mending the relationship will be to no avail.
15. Maintain Love and Respect
When people stay too long in a relationship, they tend to become so close to each other to the point of losing respect for one another. Respect is the key to a happy and healthy relationship; hence when it is lost, the relationship turns toxic.
Even if you have already lost respect for each other, you can still fix it. All you need to do is change how you perceive your spouse. Remembering how excellent your partner was and what qualities drew them to you can help you revive the lost love and respect.
16. Cultivate Emotional Independence
When you are emotionally independent, your happiness, sense of fulfillment, and confidence are not dependent on others. On the other hand, being emotionally dependent on your partner leaves you vulnerable to getting hurt.
Therefore, if you are to fix the toxic relationship, you first need to cultivate emotional independence. Hence, you will no longer blame your partner for your miserable state, and you will be able to handle your problems more maturely.
17. Be Patient with Your Partner
The process of fixing a toxic relationship requires effort from both individuals. Yet, even when both of you are doing your best to mend the relationship, you need to remember that the situation won’t change overnight.
Therefore, you need to be patient with each other. Be flexible and give your partner time to improve.
‘Fixing a toxic relationship.’ Such a simple thing to say, but how hard putting this into practice can be! Yet, with hard work, determination, and effort from both parties, you can save your toxic relationship.
What you need to do is to cultivate the right qualities. Be compassionate. Learn how to communicate and give positive criticism. When things get hard, talk to a therapist, or find a support system.
Also, learn to trust yourself. Be more honest with your spouse, and don’t remain silent when you have something to say or complain about. More so, don’t forget to set out a written plan on how you intend to fix your relationship.
When you do all that, no forgetting to be patient with your partner, you will eventually fix your toxic relationship. You deserve to be happy! You deserve a good relationship that makes you happy! So, start fixing that toxic relationship today, and who knows? The relationship could turn out to be one of the best that you will ever have!
What do you think about the above seventeen tips on How to Fix a Toxic Relationship? Let me know in your comments below.