Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Letting Go of Toxic Relationships

Deciding when it’s time to end a toxic relationship is a lot harder than it looks. I’ve had more than my fair share of toxic relationships. And while in my head I knew that it was negatively impacting my emotional and physical health, I just couldn’t seem to let go. And every time I tried to let go, I just couldn’t get myself to move on. After a while, it seemed like staying in a toxicity pyre was easier than dealing with the painful withdrawal of losing the relationship.

Personally, I don’t think there is a magic formula to doing it, either. So, how do you know whether a relationship is toxic? Sometimes it’s obvious, such as relationships that are physical or emotionally abusive. But other times, it’s not so readily apparent. Ask yourself:

How do I usually feel when I am around this person?

Does spending time with this person leave you feeling energized? Are they a source of support? Is this a friend who has been there through it all? Or are you left feeling drained and emotionally spent? Do you feel “down” about life or yourself?

How do I feel when I don’t spend time or have contact with this person?

Just as important as how relationships impact your well being while you are in them is how you are affected when you are not. Sometimes it can take a bit of distance to realize you are better off without them or that you have a lot less drama in your life when they aren’t around.

Why do I have this person in my life?

If there was another option (such as potential friend or significant other) available, would you keep this person in the picture? Most of the time, the answer is no. Often times we keep a toxic relationship to avoid feeling lonely or alone.

You can choose your friends…but not family

Some toxic relationships are easier to “end” than others – but what if it’s with a family member? Easier said than done, but it all comes down to setting boundaries (and sticking to them). Try limiting your exposure to the toxicity by reducing the number of times you must interact – maybe keep it just to family gatherings. Set boundaries as to how many telephone conversations you’ll have with the person and for how long you’ll stay on the phone. In addition, limiting how much you share about your own life can be an effective way of shielding yourself from toxic opinions and unsolicited advice.

What are your tips on protecting yourself from toxic relationships? Share them in the comments below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • carla-fisher
    12 months ago

    My toxic relationship is with my sister. I have had to constantly walk on eggshells for over 30 years. Last June it finally came to a point where I decided her toxicity was equivalent to abuse. I sent her a text ( I wanted to carefully choose my words) explaining to her how I felt. I told her that until she decides to get some counseling for all her issues that I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. I do endure loneliness a lot as my closest friends live live 4 hours away, but I would rather be lonely than abused verbally. I am not able to sit idly by while she is snide with other people for no reason.
    When I do have to be around her I feel a literal drain emotionally and physically.

  • Poll