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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What did you do for yourself after letting go of a toxic relationship?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25799 points ) January 9th, 2014

I recently broke up with my best friend. After a bit of time passed, I began to recognize that I felt free, and it surprised me. I expected to feel sad and grief stricken.

It was only by putting some distance and time between us that I recognized much of her behavior for its passive-aggressive nature and her mastery of manipulation.

I will always have the good memories, and I’m glad for that.

I would like to commemorate those good times and celebrate the release I feel from the yoke of a heavy relationship. If you have experienced this, did you do anything special to mark the transition?

I’m no longer walking on egg shells. I feel so grateful for that. I feel like I’ve got back a part of me I suppressed for a very long time.

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17 Answers

VS's avatar

I dont know how much time has to pass before you can feel normal again, but for me, it was not long. I was ready to let go of the bad relationship for months before it was finally over. It sounds like bumper sticker philosophy, but I rather quickly picked up the shattered pieces of my life and moved on. I knew on an intellectual level that i was so much better off and that the resulting state of Happy would be forthcoming,and of course it did. I have friends now who are not users, manipulators, and just generally bad for my self esteem. Look for people who make younfeel good about yourself and don’t look back with any regret.

DWW25921's avatar

Just breathe deep and smile a lot. It’s over!

laurenkem's avatar

I know this sounds strange, @Hawaii_Jake , but I’m pretty happy for you. I, too, struggled for a rather long time with a toxic friend. We broke up about every six months, and after a few months, she would talk me into making up. Once I finally decided I was DONE, (a year or so ago) the sense of pure “relief” was pretty nice. At first, I remember that all of our mutual friends were saying, “Oh sure, you guys will make up. You always do.” I knew differently that last and very serious time.

After that, I no longer had to walk on eggshells for fear of triggering an outburst, and I no longer had to apologize for her behavior. Plus I had the added benefit of never again being the target of one of her passive aggressive rumor sessions. At first I thought I might mourn her loss in my life, but I haven’t, which tells me that she was not that important to me anyway. While at times she was a good decent friend to me, her nastiness while drunk FAR outweighed any kindnesses she extended while sober.

I did nothing in particular to note the break, as you ask. I’m not really sure what would be an appropriate action – maybe simply a toast to good times. Other than that, bully for you – you made it!

dabbler's avatar

There is nothing at all wrong with Not feeling bad in that circumstance. Good choice and carry on.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

No, I didn’t do anything to mark or commemorate the break. I just felt extremely free and happy after I’d ended a toxic “friendship.” This person would demand and take from me, but was willing to give nothing in return. What a liberation it was to be done with all that.

Seek's avatar

Hi Jake!

I had ice cream for breakfast. And not just ice cream – I baked brownies, there was whipped cream, and hot fudge… It was a ridiculously huge ice-cream sundae for breakfast.

Because it was something that was unthinkable whilst still living under the yoke. And it brought me great pleasure.

Well, that was when I moved out of my parents’ house. When I actually severed the relationship over a year later, there was no immediate victory dance. Breaking up with my mom was literally a life-changing experience, because as a result I was no longer welcome at church – the only place I felt comfortable for the previous ten years. Literally everyone I knew was a member of that church.

So, I’d say I gave myself the opportunity to look at my world objectively. I’m still recognizing scars left behind, a little over six years later. I’m still very gun-shy when it comes to people, for example. In many ways, I still feel very broken. The “Seek Kolinahr” moniker was something I came up with shortly afterward to remind myself not to focus on my emotional issues and to follow the logic that what I’m longing for or missing is something that never actually existed. It’s effective… sometimes.

I’m so glad you’re feeling a release, and you’re able to hold on to positive memories. And you should definitely take yourself out for a nice dinner and a show. You have a LOT to celebrate lately!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d never gloat, but I would celebrate by some personal pleasure. It could be food, a massage, whatever. Just something for closure.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Afternoon of divorce bought a pair of wading boots, went fishing that weekend.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Tropical_Willie A nice meal of streamside cooked trout would be the perfect way to mark the moment.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Actually it was a “catch and release, fly fishing only” stream in Connecticut. No fish cooked that weekend.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Tropical_Willie So you get the rush of bringing them in and still conserving a precious resource. There are a bunch of those stretches on the East branch of the Ausable River. An amazing trout stream.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I started hanging with fun new people, moved & it was one of the best times of my life. A fresh start so to speak.

LornaLove's avatar

It is funny how distance or detachment can throw a whole new light on things. Perhaps closure is opening the door to new and interesting relationships. The one’s we didn’t realize we needed until the ‘egg shell’ people taught us.

janbb's avatar

I joined my walking group and made two or three great new friends. And that. ” has made all the difference.”

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I’m still struggling with losing some friends of mine. I still have that heavy feeling in my mind. I’m surprised that you – someone suffering the same problem as me – can make it. You’re so admirable. Your question may be a lesson for me. I think what I have to do is just move on, like what you did.

Coloma's avatar

If you recognize relief as a major emotion, well, your more than halfway over it.
I let go of two long term friends in 2010–11 and I was ready to let them go. Pretty low attachment at that point. Nothing is forever, and people change, for better or worse, mostly worse. haha

Remember the good times but stay conscious that there was more negative than was healthy or wanted.

cookieman's avatar

The sense of relief and freedom was unexpected but very welcome. I didn’t do anything in particular and certainly didn’t want to celebrate. Despite my life being much better without this person, “celebrating” seems a little crass to me. I do smile more though.

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