“Girls you’ve gotta know when it’s time to up the anchor and sail on.” ~ Unknown
How do you break away from a destructive relationship? It is so much easier said than done, but easy or not, you can do this. Begin by making a list of the reasons why you are anchored into this destructive relationship. What is preventing you from breaking free? Be real honest with yourself. The relationship is giving you something you are afraid of losing.
Next, write down what it would take to eliminate each reason on your list. What would need to change in your circumstances or partner? Do you need to make more money so you can buy health insurance, find childcare, or pay for schooling? Is there a home or life style you don’t want to lose? Are you scared of being alone? Are you holding on to hope? Look carefully at what you have not been willing to give up because herein lies why you won’t end the relationship and anchor up.
“When you’re true to who you are, amazing things happen.” ~ Deborah Norville
The very nature of a destructive relationship leaves you feeling bad about yourself. You act in ways you wouldn’t normally act, say things you wouldn’t normally say, and think in ways you wouldn't normally think. Overtime, you slowly become a weak and wounded version of yourself that leads to feeling powerless to change your circumstances. Not only do you lose sight of your true self, you lose sight of what you are capable of doing and who you are capable of becoming. You have been high jacked by these weak and wounded thoughts. It is only after you remove yourself from the relationship that you can begin to correct these false beliefs and perceptions.
“Change your perception of things and you will change your reality.” ~ Unknown
Write down the pros and cons to staying and leaving the relationship. What are the financial and professional costs? What are the emotional and physical costs? How are your choices affecting family members? Write down each member and how the relationship is affecting them. It is important to understand that it is NOT possible to remain in a destructive relationship and ever become your best self. And, it might even be more important for you to understand that no one else in the family will ever become their best self while living in a destructive environment. You will NOT be the best version of yourself, nor will they; not as a mother, daughter, son, sister, brother, friend, student, professional or human being. These are difficult truths to accept, but they can also act as an impelling force for change. And change...is only a choice away. The limitations you have put on yourself today, will not be the same limitations you face tomorrow. You've got to be willing to take that first step believing there is a brighter tomorrow.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” ~ Martin Luther King
Imagine right now living your best life! Start by closing your eyes and imagining everything you ever wanted in your life. What would your life look like, and how would you feel? What things would you surround yourself with? Where would you live, and what would you be doing? See yourself happy, laughing, dancing around the living room. Smile as you imagine being this woman and living this great life. Maybe you use to know her because you use to be her. Maybe she existed before you became entangled in this destructive relationship. The point is that you are not imagining a life you are settling for. You are imagining your absolute best life and best self. There is a difference here, and it is a big difference! There is no compromising in this exercise of imagery. For the next week you need to spend time thinking about this ideal life and woman. Meditate on her when you get up in the morning, in the middle of the day, and before you go to bed at night. At the end of the week go back and review the list of why you couldn’t break away from the relationship. Review only the costs of staying and the benefits to leaving. Do you see possibilities that you hadn’t seen before? Do you feel empowered to act? At this moment, you have the power to move towards those possibilities.
“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, they make them.” George Bernard Shaw
Put yourself on a timeline. How long are you willing to stay in the relationship? There has to be an end point, and it needs to be a hard stop! Two days, two weeks, two months, whatever your timeline is... it is. Just set it! Buy a pocket size calendar that you can write in and begin to set the dates that you will take specific actions. Put everything you do on a schedule. It may sound like a lot, but this action will immediately help you to feel more confident in your ability to create a new and better life. You are creating momentum, and this is paramount to your future success.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
While you are putting together your exit plan, fill your free time with learning something new. Engage in your favorite activities whether you feel like it or not. Push yourself. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did! When you go out and do exciting things, exercise, or accomplish a goal, dopamine is released, and this feel good hormone can help get you through painful experiences feeling less pain.
While you are still in the relationship, plan out your behavior. Train yourself to keep conversations short, use a calm voice and maintain your composure. When you are unable to do this, remove yourself from the negative environment. Leave your opinions out of conversations, do not criticize or critique him or anyone else in his presence. Seek third party intervention as necessary.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
Focus on the good all around you and find at least ten things you can be grateful for everyday. Meditate on those things, especially when your mind begins to wander into the negative or the environment becomes negative. Be very strict on what you allow your mind to think about. It will want to drag you back into destructive thinking patterns. You will need to pay close attention to those patterns so you can quickly intercept them.
“You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction.” ~ Jim Rohn
Don’t believe that who you are today is who you will always be, or that the circumstances of today will be the same in the future. That will only be true if you allow it to be. The power to change your circumstances is within you, you just have to imagine it. Start imaging now! Choose to move toward that ideal life and woman. Don’t wait; go create her and the life she was meant to live.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~ C. S. Lewis