Janis has extensive experience as a licensed professional counselor in assisting clients recover from the pain of unhealthy relationships.
Toxic Relationships: How to Heal From Long Term Damage
So often, a woman will stay in a toxic relationship far beyond a time frame that is considered healthy. Her friends and family see her descending into a state of inertia, as if she has become a prisoner of her situation and of her own apathy. The unfortunate reality is, in a lot of cases, that women in toxic relationships that have become abusive, are literally in a prison out of which they see no escape.
The state of feeling paralyzed as a victim in a toxic or abusive relationship is not just a women's issue. Men can feel trapped in the same type of scenario, in the role of victim. Staying too long in an unhealthy love relationship, whether male or female, can render long term consequences for the mind, body and spirit.
The negative impacts of holding onto "toxic love" in a relationship extends far beyond one's gender, sexual preference, marital status, or type of commitment. All types of relationships may become subject to the sting of abuse or toxicity, where the dynamics between two people become unhealthy. Unfortunately, the consequences of staying in these types of relationships for too long are seen when it's almost too late. Much damage to the person's psyche has already been done by the time they make the decision to get out, be it physical, emotional, or verbal damage.
This article will identify that period of realization which focuses on the moment of "knowing" it's time to leave. Fears that keep persons paralyzed will be explored, long term damages of staying will be identified which accompany the decision to save one's self. A poem is also offered to creatively express the moment of inner strength that catapults the bound person to freedom. A four-step plan for healing and recovery is presented at the end of the article.
Reasons Why People Stay in Toxic Relationships
It's easy to question and pass judgment on those who remain in bad relationships for extended periods of time. When there is little, if any, experience with or knowledge about this type of relationship, it won't make any sense to the on-looker as to why people stay.
But there are valid reasons why people choose to stay or are forced to stay because they feel they have no other choice.
It is important to have an understanding of the complicated dynamics of the toxic relationship before making generalizations about how people should handle their toxic situations. It is also important for the victim to not be made to feel guilty about the reasons he or she has stayed. Some of the most common reasons people stay include:
- Fear - The reality of fear is a very real issue for men and women who find themselves entwined in relationships that have become physically and verbally abusive. As a result of receiving threats or being assaulted, they actually fear for their safety. Or, in many cases, where violence is absent, they have a basic fear of making it on their own and fear independence.
- Emotional Dependency - It may be hard to believe that otherwise accomplished individuals can feel a strong need to have someone there with them to make decisions, provide emotional support, and to be a companion. The thought of being alone produces more anxiety for them than does the unhealthy environment they share with the toxic partner.
- Financial Dependency - Economics play a huge role in what binds and keeps two people together in an unhealthy household. Lack of financial resources makes it almost impossible for an abused person to leave a toxic situation.
- Family Stability for the Children/Pets - Many unhappy partners will make untenable sacrifices to maintain a stable environment to avoid creating undue interruption in the lives of family members. More than ever, decisions about resolving toxic relationships revolve around what will happen to the family pet.
- Societal and Religious Expectations - Keeping personal business secret, maintaining the facade that "all is well," and keeping the promise of the vow are strong holds on many partners who choose to stay in bad relationships. They cannot bear the shame and guilt which is felt by disappointing family, friends, and God. People stay in order to live up to the expectations of staying together, for better or for worse. Even if the couple isn't married, the rule is that it's better to be coupled than to be single.
- Love - Although it may be labeled as "toxic love," some people stay in unhealthy relationships because they truly do love their partners. They are committed to the relationship, actually have had good times together, and are invested in a future with what they view as a partnership.
"Toxic Love Endures Forever"
Toxic Love: The Moment of "Knowing" It's Time to Save Yourself
More often than not, persons who decide to get out of toxic relationships have been thinking about it for a very long time. During this period, they may also come to find themselves living out roles in which they don't recognize themselves anymore. These roles most often take on the label of "codependent," "abused partner," or "victim."
Prior to making the decision to walk away, they have gone back and forth about the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. But in those extended bouts of indecisiveness, they more than likely have already lost a lot. The following list includes some of what the codependent, victimized, or abused person in a toxic relationship has already compromised by staying in it for too long.
- A Clear Identity
- Confidence and Self-Awareness
- Ability to Assert Opinion and Point of View
- Good Level of Self-Esteem and Healthy Self-Image
- Financial Savvy and Independence
- Ability to Make Decisions
- Physical and Mental Health
The reality check comes at the eleventh hour when the damaged person becomes keenly aware of her losses in the moment of "knowing." The loss of such traits noted above affect a person's ability to interact with others. It affects one's ability to be productive and perform without anxiety. Having no self-worth hinders a person's ability to be successful and accomplish goals with confidence. It is no longer possible to operate on "empty" as one's self-worth and value continue to plummet.
At the moment of epiphany, damaged persons begin to feel a need to reclaim the self and stand erect, on their own two feet, without having to lean on OR hold up anyone else. They begin to see that survival is dependent upon one's ability to breathe alone. The poem "Breathe Again" expresses the resilience of the survivor who makes the decision to leave and save the self.
A Poem For Healing From Toxic Love
Losing air and shape
Descending slowly to where?
I tried so hard in desperation to stay afloat
For what? Where is my incentive,
As I hold on to un-reciprocated love?
I wanted so much to save us, to save you
But now I give in to saving myself.
I couldn't bounce without the air of your breath
I lived for only you, in love and loyalty
And I willingly forgot about me
Now I remember.
Like a newborn gasping for air
I must relearn how to breathe again on my own
4 Steps Toward Healing and Recovery
Now that you've read the poem, it's time to take some steps toward reclaiming yourself and restoring the dignity, confidence, and sense of self-worth that belong to you. Read the following points of advice to begin your recovery and healing from the damage rendered by your toxic relationship.
1. Create a support network - It is vitally important to have a support system to help you step mentally outside of your toxic situation and see it for what it is from a new angle. When you're too close in proximity, you may not see the damage to which you've become either accustomed or numb. A support network could include a support group, good friends, or family members you can trust.
Your support network can also include resources such as self-help books you can have available at all times to continually work your program of recovery.
A popular self-help book called Dark Souls: Healing and Recovering from Toxic Relationships, by Sarah Strudwick, provides a look at traits and dynamics between you and your partner. It offers the reader a clearer understanding of the relationship and the damages that result.
2. Re-establish your identity - Re-introduce yourself to all that makes up who you are as an individual. What are your likes and dislikes, your favorite things, your interests, and your accomplishments? Realize that your purpose and identity cannot revolve around another person only. You must maintain a part of your own identity in a relationship.
3. Make decisions for yourself to boost confidence - Increase your knowledge about things you avoided doing because you were too timid; set goals to tackle and complete small tasks, followed by bigger tasks to create a feeling of accomplishing something on your own.
4. Cleanse your mind, body, and spirit of toxicity - Engage in some type of movement or spiritual activity for cleansing and renewal after you have left the toxic environment/relationship. Follow through with cutting contact with the toxic person. Examples of activities include yoga, tai chi, aerobic exercise, meditation, journaling, detoxification, talk therapy, or religious practices within a supportive faith community.
You are now on your way to moving toward true independence, freedom, and love of self. Take your time as you exhale . . . and learn to breathe again.
[Janis Leslie Evans, M.Ed., N.C.C., L.P.C., is a licensed professional counselor in private practice, specializing in relationship conflicts, unresolved trauma, grief and loss in Washington, DC]
How to Know if You're in a Toxic Relationship
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: I just got out of a very toxic relationship that lasted three years and I finally left about a month ago I feel lost and depressed. Any advice?
Answer: First of all kudos to you for getting out. You are now allowed to feel what you've been suppressing because it wasn't safe to feel in an emotionally toxic environment. Expect to be overwhelmed by symptoms of depression. It may more accurately be emotional exhaustion and grief. I recommend you see a good therapist to help you put all of those feelings into words, as you release 3 years worth of pain. Your goal is to find yourself again.
Question: I got out of a toxic relationship 10 months ago, but ever since I've been feeling depressed, I really can't get over my ex because I still miss them, any advice?
Answer: Even though the relationship was toxic, it's normal to miss the good things about your ex. That's what made it toxic; the duality of the positives and negatives. It may take longer than expected to transition from a relationship that wasn't good for you. The compassionate side of you cared about him as a human being who had good qualities. Embrace the good experiences as blessings and learn from the complexities of being human. It's okay to miss him.
Question: For background information, I have been in abusive and toxic relationships most of my life. I have been sexually, physically, and mentally abused in each of them. I'm finally in a healthy relationship, but my past relationships continue to haunt me, causing me to fear his anger among other things. How can I fix my problems with my old relationships reoccurring in my present one?
Answer: If you haven't tried counseling, this would be a good time. It will take patience with yourself and the support of a good therapist to break through the conditioning you received from the abuses you endured. There's an expectation that you will be hurt again which is a normal trauma response. You can unlearn the victim response by focusing on your strengths and resilience. You also have to change your beliefs about what you deserve and expect from a healthy relationship. Give your self time to heal.
Question: My sister told my daughter that it was ok for her not to like me. Why would she say that?
Answer: It's hard to say with little background information. But it sounds like there is a relationship issue between you and your sister.
Question: I'm a young mother of 5 children. I am in what people call a "situation-ship" where I don't want to be with him and he really doesn't want to be with me. We argue every other day and have been in physical fights before. I'm just drained. The only reason I give a little life to the relationship is because of my kids and my fear, I guess, of being alone. But I continuously let him back in. I just want him to leave me alone. It's too many battles at once. What should I do?
Answer: This is a very complicated situation, especially with 5 children. You can either choose to work on getting support and counseling for yourself or you can ask him to join you for couples and family counseling. There will be a lot of healing that will need to take place individually so you will have the emotional strength and support to make the best decision for you and your children.
© 2015 Janis Leslie Evans
asia on July 11, 2020:
before i ever met my toxic person i was out going wild loved myself everything im 18 almost 19..never had a toxic one until him see i have been with this man for 9 months how how we met was crazy wild awesome it was love we met in court then i went to his house that day ran out his door like a crazy persn i was nerves said my ride is leaving an got up an ran lol then weeks later he came to take me home i lied bout my age i was 17 told him in was 18 almost 19 an i ran away from home i was staying somewhere was there for 1 month had him come get me an dtake me home an i had a pickup order on me he didnt know so he came to get me an i had this guy there needing a ride so we took him dropped him off he liked me then got mad at told us to go do whatever then called the law an told them i was with mitchell san his son works at dispatch so he called mitchella n asked if he waas with me he lied..lol an his me from the law us just meeting an we yeah i eneded up staying at his house for 5 days and god it was love.. until they cops showed up n toook me to kail an told the guy i was staying with my real age so i went an got out 30 days later an m mitchell waieted for me,,so we been together everysince an it got toxic bad i couldnt talk to anyone look or nothing without him getting mad he wanted me at his house with him everyday all day....and there was abuse we fought alot like physically i had to go the hospital he has too...and we fight all the time argue but i love him but i dont know how i am anymore everyone said i have changed i couldn't even talk to my family.. nothing but im inlove...an recently we split apart cuz his mom n dad owns his house but he rents it and they hated the fights my family too so i had to leave but i would sneak up there at night an live by daylight until his mom cought me an every since it has got worse the accusing of hoeing and shit on both our parts but we was truly crazy over each other but..,and now he really did cheat sent me a video of him fucking a girl...and im crushed...idk wtf to do guess in his mind i did so he did idk,,,yall,,
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2019:
First of all, good for you for taking the difficult step of leaving an abusive relationship. Depending on the extent and nature of the abusive, the symptoms of the trauma can last for years. Try to focus on your inner strengths that gave you the courage to leave and use those strengths to fight the memories and the residual trauma. Be gentle with yourself and know that it takes time and patience to heal. I hope you have a good counselor and support network to help you along this difficult journey. I wish you peace. Thanks for reading.
Katie on October 15, 2019:
I left an abusive relationship about 3 years ago. But, I have a small child and share custody with my ex. He still controls and manipulates and I still feel depressed, Anxious, confused, worthless, And hopeless that it will get better. I hate that I feel this way. I wonder why I can’t just get over it and stand up to him without fear. I wonder why I cant just live my life without thinking about the past and all the terrible ways he hurt me. To other people I look Like I’m doing great with a good job, house, and raising a cute well behaved kiddo. But, I’m dying on the inside. The flashbacks still come. 3 years later. Ugh.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on September 07, 2019:
You're very welcome. Good for you! Thanks for reading.
prayforhealthylove on September 06, 2019:
Thank you!!! I'm releasing my life of a life-long toxic "friendship"
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 27, 2019:
Good for you. Sounds like you've done the work and set yourself free. You value yourself more than the toxic relationship. Thank you for reading, I appreciate your comment.
Oc on August 27, 2019:
To get rid of the toxic relationship with the man, I often reminded myself of his every weakness. I ordered myself to stop all missing him because it was crazy. Just looking at each of his weaknesses, I gradually forgot his advantages. I tell myself there is no shortage of good men in this world. I also look at my own advantages and strengths and find it a pity that he lost his precious gift. At first, everything was not very familiar, but the self-ordered quickly helped me regain my spirit and comfort after 1 week and the longer the time, the more I felt comfortable and his silhouette was fading in me.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 21, 2019:
Thank you so much for your generous comment. Kudos to you for getting out of an unhealthy relationship. It is common to have mixed feelings and to grieve the loss even if the situation wasn't good for you. Your critique is noted. There is a lot more that needs to be written about men who suffer in unhealthy relationships but are reluctant to speak out. I was careful to use "persons" and "partner" to be inclusive of all relationships. I've worked with men in toxic relationships as well as same sex male couples who are in similar predicaments. Hopefully, the literature on this important topic will grow. I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment. I wish you continued joy.
Graeme on July 21, 2019:
Very touching and helpful. I lived as a kept man for 25 years only to catch my ex having an affair with my friend and neighbor.
I am still struggling with the fact that I miss my old girl friend from before the real abuse started, More profound is the fact that I could love and trust someone I couldn't stand to be around ?!?
My new freedom is a new joy - mixed with grief and loss.
One constructive criticism; it's much harder for a man to reveal and deal with the multiple emotions and judgement.
Your writing feels a bit bias, and doesn't address same sex couples.
Room to grow for us all.
Peace and love.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 30, 2019:
I'm so pleased to know that you found this article helpful and validating of your decision. I'm impressed with your courage and strength to put your own mental health and emotional well-being first. This is whyI I do what I do. Continue to take good care of yourself and heal. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I wish you peace.
Karina p. on May 27, 2019:
This helped me feel a little better. After 2 years of a toxic relationship I decided to finally leave. It hurts because I know her mental illness plays a huge part in it all. My ex has agoraphobia and as well as a few more mental illnesses. Her mental illness is so bad that we could barely leave anywhere. I could not work which kept us both isolated from the world. We were constantly stuck inside and of course that itself can become toxic. We argued so much and we’ve had a few physical fights before. I left everything behind to be with her. I moved all the way from Pennsylvania to Cali to be with her. I could feel myself changing, I was waking up miserable everyday, I barely had motivation to do anything, I also started developing anxiety and the only thing that was keeping me there was how much I loved her and being too comfortable. It hurt more than anything to leave but I believe she has to heal herself first before she can be in a relationship and I had to heal myself because I stared to become toxic as well. She’s a little upset I left because she wanted me to stay and be friends for a while but how can someone expect you to stay when you see them as more? Anyways I appreciate this a lot. It’s made me feel a little more okay with my decision.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on November 20, 2018:
You took a huge step ending the relationship and it's only been four months. So be patient and gentle with yourself. You are where you should be emotionally. Healing takes time after being in an emotionally abuse relationship. You have to relearn who you are without the cruel way he defined you and your worth.
Be courageous and ask your parents if you could see a counselor to help you get past the damage. You may be able to ask a school counselor to find a support group or community resource you can attend anonymously.
Take good care of yourself with support. You don't have to figure it out alone. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I wish you well.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on November 04, 2018:
You are very welcome. Glad to know you are free from what sounds like an unhealthy situation. Thank you for reading, so happy you found it helpful and va!idating. I really appreciate your comment.
Uryviel on November 03, 2018:
I just ended a 3 year relationship with a drug addict. I know he really loves me coz of the things he does for me and my son from a previous relationship. However, he has a really bad temper which was brought by his habit. He has not hurt me physically but tend to be destructive with material things that I bought or saved up for. He does not listen. We moved to another city early this year hoping to start anew but he was able to find new dealers within days of moving. I sent him home last Friday.
I still love him and I miss him but I also feel free! This article is an eye opener for me. Thank you.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 29, 2018:
Leaving a relationship takes a lot of planning and access to resources. It may take some time to build your own security before you're ready to leave. Look into expanding your opportunities for gainful employment through training, certificate programs, etc. Check with your local employment agencies. Also, consider getting in counseling to receive support on building your confidence and resources as you move forward.
Hendra on October 29, 2018:
How u leave and get a job?
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 21, 2018:
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It is a testament to your optimism about healing yourself and being in a healthy relationship. You've done really well.
To let go of the residual hatred, you must realize that the hate is now unnecessary. You don't need it anymore. It is taking up prime space in your body that should be housing the joy you get from your new relationship. Make a decision to open spaces in your body and soul to receive what is good. As you said, "I finally can breathe fresh air." Exhale the hate and make more space for the fresh air. Thank you for reading, I wish you continued peace.
A Peden on June 20, 2018:
I was 20 when I got out of a toxic relationship over a year ago. I had never had panic attacks before that relationship, then they were happening on a regular basis. I had also attempted suicide during that time period. Realizing how far I had gone, that's when I decided to leave the relationship. I had found out afterwards that she had been cheating on me anyway.
Now, as of late, I have been in a new relationship for just over two months now. For so long, I hated the other girl for driving me to my lowest point in my life. I still find hatred from time to time. But I realized that it isn't healthy. This new relationship has been one of reprieve. Among my friend group, she is definitely the least cynical, and the happiest person I know. She takes the edge off of my cynicism and helps me learn not to hold on to hate and not live in the past.
Everything I learned from my previous relationship I'm using to build something with her. Trying to make sure that my wounds don't turn into the worst parts of my personality and instead turn them into the best parts. I haven't felt so hopeful in a long time, and I finally can breathe fresh air.
My only question: How do I fully let go of this hate inside me? How do I not let this previous girl's actions and my own previous actions control my thoughts anymore?
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 15, 2018:
I'm glad to hear the article helped a little but I can clearly see that your internal struggle continues. It's so difficult when children are involved. But besides the children, it sounds like the experience has impacted how you see yourself and what believe you've become. The fact that you reached out after reading this article is a sign that you still have a sliver of strength left. Use this sharing as a step forward to getting help. Find a therapist who can meet with you and help you heal. I wish you well, thanks for reading.
Lisa on May 15, 2018:
15 years and all of my adult life so far I'm more entangled than ever. Made a decision to leave yesterday. I have three Kidd, my youngest is 4 months old. The toxic relationship I've lived for so long has changed me. I feel cynical, hopeless I've given up on happiness. I've become toxic too. I let rip yesterday said every Mean thing I could think of, cajoled, derided, threatened. He taught me well in this respect. I'm at my mums noe it is a safe harbour but I can feel my kind being drawn back to the question should I try again... Reading this is helping a little but I have so little strength left to hold up my head tight noe, just enough to ensure my Kidd are well and happy but I sm struggling with a sense of utter dejection knowing there are no more chances its so toxic it would be madness to keep trying
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 06, 2018:
Absolutely, Julia. Heal yourself first. I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for stopping by.
Julia on March 06, 2018:
I myself am still in a toxic relationship. I've just recently realized I need to get out of it. I need to heal on my own before I can be with my soulmate
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 23, 2018:
You've made my day, Anna. I'm so glad you found this article to be a helpful resource on your healing journey. I wish you peace in your recovery. Enjoy your day.
Anna on February 23, 2018:
Thank you so much for posting this article, I am going through recovery after a deeply toxic relationship and bitter break up and searched for something to help keep me on track with my emotions today, this really helped x
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 01, 2018:
That's so good to know, Kari. I'm glad the poem resonated. Continue to take good cads of yourself. Thank you for stopping by and reading this article.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on January 01, 2018:
I love the poem, and I see myself in it. I remember how I gasped for air like a newborn. How I willingly forgot myself. Now I am trying to repair myself and my life. I am sure I will.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 20, 2017:
Thank you for sharing your experience, Bobby. So glad you are healing. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read this article.
Bobby on October 20, 2017:
Good Words! As I heal, I find myself looking for why I couldn't fix this abuser. Frankly, she couldn't be fixed. Toxic people are selfish and it's all about them. After a year and a half I left. She came back a few months later and I took her back. Now a year later, she still treats me as optional but denies it. I wasn't moving forward in my life. I often waited for her to let me see her. This is no way to live. I quit seeing my friends and family. I quit loving myself. She was not truthful more than once and it hurt. She didn't have much love for me or it didn't seem so. After I blew up on her, I cut off contact, started working out, got a new job, started seeing my friends and family more...a lot more. Never let anyone take your happiness. Its yours!! But folks, it hurts like hell thinking I could have made it work. I still love her but I'm happier not worrying about where she's at or who she's with. She will eventually fade and I'll get better.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on September 09, 2017:
You're very welcome.
Anh Nguyen on September 08, 2017:
it's very useful. Thank you so much.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on September 17, 2016:
You're welcome. Glad I was able to help. In time, you will fill the void with renewed purpose.
Christ i on September 16, 2016:
Thank you for your help today. I really needed this. I myself am experiencing the loss of my loved ones. Im having trouble finding my purpose. I feel empty and lost. Ive isolated myself. Thank you again for your advise.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 11, 2016:
Thank you kindly, Aaron. I really appreciate your critique of this article. I use it to supplement my work with clients who have been damaged by the toxic relationship dynamic. They find it helpful so your comments are validating. Thank you for visiting.
Aaron Seitler from Manchester, United Kingdom on July 11, 2016:
Fascinating work here and very applicable. Because we've all seen the movies and we all think we 'know' how to deal with a relationship when it becomes toxic, when this is not necessarily true, we can either mishandle these situations or become impotent. I agree with the elan that this hub advocates.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on April 02, 2016:
Great comment, Stacey. I appreciate your visit.
Stacy Deason on April 02, 2016:
love has many faces, sometimes pleasant sometimes unpleasant, ups and downs are a part of every relationship, but don't run blindly behind your love. If a person don't value your emotions, it may be a waste of devoting time for him/her in false hope.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 27, 2015:
Glad you liked it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on October 26, 2015:
relationships are complex
pride, love, hatred, ego
economic culture, have,
no single resolve.
very informative hub janshares.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 30, 2015:
Pride is a tough one, Dana. It does so much damage. I hope your friend will one day find peace. Thanks for your generous comment.
Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 30, 2015:
I have a friend who was desperate to get her boyfriend to marry her. She played all kinds of games and used emotional blackmail to get him to the alter and finally she won. This guy was a cheater who already had one ex-wife and five children. Against all advice she married him and seven years later she's miserable. She comes from a family of long-stable marriages; also, they're very religious. But I think her true reason for staying is pride. She would rather be miserable than admit everyone else was right.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 07, 2015:
Thank you so much, Stacie L, for saying so. My hope is that it opens eyes to what people may not see and that they get some help. Thanks for stopping by.
Stacie L on June 07, 2015:
Many adults do not recognize a toxic situation due to their upbringing.
They know it doesn't feel right but think it's their problem so it may never improve.
Self awareness and the need to heal is the first step.
These are good points you discuss in your hub and it could help others recognize their own situation and get help.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 31, 2015:
You're welcome, word55. Thank you for stopping by to read it. Very true in some cases that unresolved emotional damage can block blessings later on.
Al Wordlaw from Chicago on May 30, 2015:
Hi jan, this was very good. Some people will say, "that's life" but a lot of people end up emotionally damaged and won't give the "right person" the opportunity to enjoy them. Thank you for sharing.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 30, 2015:
You are very welcome, Motherbynature. I'm so pleased it resonated with you. You are so right about the support system being a part of the problem sometimes and just as toxic. I'm glad you were able to free yourself from toxic situations. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and vote. My hope is that this article touches many people who need the validation and push to save themselves.
Liv Carradine from Los Angeles, CA on May 30, 2015:
This is so needed. I voted up. People underestimate how important it is to have a support system. Sometimes the support system lets people down and guilts them into staying in a toxic situation. Many people, myself included, have endured being used and mistreated by people and then reached out for help only to hear "She's your sister/aunt/cousin. Make it work". That makes it difficult to realize that your feelings are valid. It makes you think you might be overreacting even though your gut is telling you that feeling terrible all the time is not normal. Thank you for writing this.
Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 17, 2015:
Pleasure is all mine :)
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 17, 2015:
Oh, so beautifully stated, Akriti. I appreciate that comment and your visit.
Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 17, 2015:
Very honestly written. Toxic relationships are never worth it. People should stop working them out .Instead focus on the beauty life has to offer.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 19, 2015:
I wish her well, MsDora. Hopefully, you can get it to her somehow. Thanks for reading, appreciate the visit.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 19, 2015:
Presently, I know a young woman who is in a toxic relationship with one of my relatives. I wish I could get her to read this! You laid it out very sensibly. Thanks for these steps toward healing.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 18, 2015:
Insightful wisdom you share about toxic relationships, Dr Billy. Thank you for that and for you visit. So glad you liked it.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 18, 2015:
Thanks, Jeb. I'm grateful for your visit and that generous comment. I hope it reaches and benefits the people who need it the most.
Dr Billy Kidd from Sydney, Australia on March 18, 2015:
Good Job, janshares!
One thing to remember is that we all have a love style. It's the way we approach romantic relationships. It's a long-term thing and a product of growing up. It's difficult to change a love style. That's why we find ourselves in the same kind of relationships over and over.
Jeb Stuart Bensing from Phoenix, Arizona on March 18, 2015:
This is an eye opening informative work of writing. My Sister was in an abusive relationship several years back, which had changed her perspective very much when it came to other relationships later down the road. You have shared a very soulful way of coming to terms with yourself and the relationships which can be toxic.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 17, 2015:
What a sad story, pstraubie48. You did all that you could by reaching out and letting her know you were there for her. I really appreciate your lovely comments, vote up and the sharing. You are a blessing anytime you visit me and bring angels. God bless you and your family.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 17, 2015:
This is so so important. I served as a parent liaison for a school system which involved being available to parents for whatever reason. I had this one young Mother (older than me but still young) who came in with black eyes and bruises on her arms (who knows what was covered) and she refused to leave. No way to support herself with the kids..and so on. I told her I would help her (as part of my job I had become closely connected with the community, business leaders etc) but she said no.
One Monday she came in after a horrible weekend and I said to her, "I won't come to your funeral!"
Not long after that she moved. THEY moved..to who knows where and I lost touch with her. They never sent for the kids' school records.
I got it; I understood on the one hand but on the other, not so much.
You have shared this so eloquently and it deserves to be read by all
I am sorry I have been away for so long; I am always glad when I visit .
voted up++++ and shared
Angels are winging their way to you this evening. ps