Why is it so hard to leave a bad relationship? In this article, you’ll learn the 7 mindset changes you need to make so you can leave a relationship gone bad.
Letting go of unhealthy relationships may be one of the most difficult things you will ever face. We’ve all heard relationship advice like, if you are not happy in a relationship, just leave.
But following such advice is not easy. Why is it so hard to leave a bad relationship? There are many reasons why we find it difficult to walk away from a bad relationship, but most have to do with our mindset.
Why Do Women Stay In Toxic Relationships?
Both men and women stay in a toxic relationship because we are conditioned to buy into a number of false beliefs. One of the biggest false beliefs that prevent you from leaving a romantic relationship that has turned abusive is the belief that this person is the “love of my life” or soulmate.
Other false beliefs may be culturally imposed or patriarchal beliefs that state “marriage is for keeps” or transcends lifetimes, creating a mental barrier that prevents women from leaving abusive marriages.
A third false belief is that children need both parents to grow up well-adjusted, but this has been proven wrong. Research has shown that kids don’t necessarily suffer without a father in the picture and children in single-mother-by-choice families do just as well as those in nuclear families.
The biggest lie women tell themselves and others when asked why they tolerate abuse is that they’re staying in a relationship because of a child.
However, 82% of young people who have endured family breakups would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy. They do not believe parents should stay together for the sake of the children.
And if you’re allowing your child to grow up in an abusive home, you should know that trauma inflicted on a child, whether physical or emotional, has lasting effects that can actually be seen on brain scans.
7 Mindset Changes You Need To Leave A Bad Relationship
Because many of these false beliefs are hardwired into our subconscious mind, it is hard for us to act against them and leave abusive or unhealthy relationships.
We need to change our mindset first before we can find the courage to leave a bad marriage or relationship. Here are 7 mindset changes you need to make so you can find the courage to end a relationship gone bad.
Growing up, we are not taught how to identify a bad relationship and so we keep wondering whether to leave or not to leave.
Many women are not even aware of the fact that they are in an abusive or bad relationship because they have been conditioned by family and society to believe that this is how relationships are meant to be.
First, we need to understand what is an unhealthy relationship and learn how to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Once you understand the differences between healthy vs unhealthy relationships, you’ll be able to spot the signs you need to leave a relationship.
Many people have grown up in abusive households, so the drama and abusive behaviours seem normal to them and they may even turn abusive themselves.
But if you’re hurting or are in pain because of emotional or physical abuse and don’t know what to do about it, you might find it useful to watch this TED Talk.
In it, Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship — with a romantic partner, a friend or a family member.
In cultures where marriages are based on attraction and love, many people find themselves in a pattern of falling in love with the same type of person, over and over again, even though the relationships seemed doomed from the start.
If that is your experience, it’s an indicator of the “Shadow” at work. Carl Jung stated the shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality.
In Jungian psychology, the “shadow”, “Id”, or “shadow aspect/archetype” refers to an unconscious aspect of the personality. The Shadow is that part of us that is unknown, yet influences every aspect of our lives.
The problem with going about life with an unhealed Shadow is that it will keep attracting abusers to us until we become aware of the pattern. So you’ll just be addicted to bad relationships until you do the work you need to embrace and heal your Shadow.
One of the reasons why good people can’t leave bad relationships is that a lot of highly sensitive and caring people who are healers and empaths seem to attract abusers who are narcissists, which could be an effect of the Shadow side at work.
Psychiatrist Judith Orloff is the author of The Empath’s Survival Guide and specializes in treating and supporting empaths and highly sensitive people.
In this free session on How To Stop Absorbing Other People’s Energy, she shares key insights on how to create strong boundaries and release toxic emotions so you can protect yourself from narcissists and be helpful to others without being overwhelmed by their energy and mood.
2. Self-worth & self-esteem
Do you feel like you don’t deserve good things? Are you neglectful of yourself and how you look, or of your home and personal space? Do you seem to take the blame for everything that goes wrong in your life and relationships?
If all these apply to you, you may suffer from feelings of low self-worth and low self-esteem and these feelings can be made worse and used to control and manipulate you by an emotionally abusive spouse, partner or boss.
To help you overcome negative self-talk, the unconscious “trance of unworthiness,” and other limiting beliefs, watch this free video training on the Power of Awareness.
If you like using hypnosis to create transformation and help you take a whole new view on your life, download You’re Worth It, an audio hypnosis session created by experienced psychologists. Listen to it before you fall asleep for at least 60 days.
In the video below, legendary transformational hypnotherapist, Marisa Peer, shares three powerful words that have literally changed the lives of thousands.
She shows you how you can reset your day in a positive way in just 20 minutes with this powerful meditation that will help restore your feelings of self-worth so you never have to accept less than you deserve.
Want more? Watch this free 20-minute Rapid Transformational Therapy Session with Marisa Peer, designed to rapidly bulletproof you against rejection, boost your confidence, recognize negative beliefs and repattern your mind for better relationships, and increased self-esteem.
3. Self-love & self-acceptance
The lack of self-love and self-acceptance is almost an epidemic among women and most of us have to go through some form of healing to release our childhood wounds and learn how to love and accept ourselves so we can leave an abusive boyfriend or husband.
One of the courses that helped me heal my own lack of self-love and self-acceptance is Unconditional Self-Acceptance by Zen-trained teacher, Cheri Huber.
In this course, you’ll learn how to transform difficult emotions into sources of strength and stop knee-jerk reactions to events with the gentle energy of witness consciousness.
You’ll also learn how to use key meditations for sparking compassionate self-awareness so you can stop the cycle of self-criticism that keeps you trapped in a bad relationship.
One of the traps of relationship conflict is that we end up blaming ourselves for the actions of the other person in the relationship. We often stay in relationships thinking we can help or cure the other person of their demons.
But this is a false belief, because the only person that can cure another person is themselves, and that depends on whether they even want to change.
Instead of beating yourself up, thinking that there’s something wrong with you for not being able to make a bad relationship work, or for not ending a bad relationship sooner, you can cultivate the practice of self-compassion.
In this free, three-part video series with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, you’ll learn why self-compassion is such an important aspect of our ability to be open-hearted and at peace in our lives.
The Buddhists have a beautiful word for self-compassion – Maitri, which means friendship. So self-compassion really means learning to be a true friend to yourself.
In the Living With Vulnerability Course, Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön teaches you to embrace the full spectrum of your own life experience with the same unconditional warmth, openness, kindness and support you offer your truest friends.
You’ll learn how to choose gentle acceptance of yourself and others over harsh judgment so that you no longer hate being vulnerable and, instead of overwhelming you, your emotions become your teachers.
A highly overlooked part of healing the wounds caused by abuse and trauma is forgiveness. As long as you have resentment and anger in your heart for the person who wronged you, you will be unable to move on from an unhealthy relationship.
When you hold a grudge, you’re giving energy to that toxic relationship and in doing so, keeping it alive. If you truly want to end the hold that relationship has over you, forgiveness is the key to doing it.
Ho’oponopono is an ancient art of forgiveness that helps you discover who you really are, helping you get rid of constricting emotions, thoughts and memories from the past.
In the video below, master EFT practitioner, Brad Yates, combines emotional freedom technique training with Ho’oponopono to help you overcome your emotional blocks.
6. Belief in abundance
Many women are scared to leave a relationship because of the false belief that love is hard to find. The belief that, if they leave they will never end up finding love again, keeps many women from ending toxic relationships.
The belief that all the good guys are taken and that finding true love is hard comes from a scarcity mindset. In reality, the right guy for you is probably out there right now, hoping he’ll find a single woman to love.
The longer you take to get out of a toxic relationship and get over your mindset blocks, the less likely you are to find him. You can learn to believe in abundance and use the Law of Attraction to become the person you want to attract.
One of the most important reasons women stay in unhappy relationships is that they’re afraid of leaving a relationship with no money. And this is a valid point as one of the ways that abusive men operate is by cutting off your access to finances.
But even if you don’t know how to leave a relationship when you have no money, you need to believe that you have the ability to become financially independent by attracting the opportunities that will help you make money.
You must also learn how to build wealth and become financially secure with these personal financial planning tips for women, so you never have to be dependent on someone else to provide for you.
7. Conscious uncoupling
Many of us stay trapped in troubled relationships because we don’t know how to break up or leave a relationship on good terms, and let’s face it, that’s not always possible when there’s abuse involved.
But even when we decide to leave a relationship going bad, surviving a breakup can leave scars, and time doesn’t heal all wounds. You may find that you’ve moved on from a relationship physically, but not emotionally.
Even if you have zero romantic desire left for your ex, you may find them creeping into your thoughts (and your heart) subconsciously like a bad dream, and suddenly, you’re reliving the pain of the relationship and breaking up again.
Studies show that the stress of ending an unhealthy relationship is equivalent to losing a family member. But you can learn how to get over a breakup, heal your heart, recover from a bad relationship and even and be happy alone after a breakup.
According to relationship therapist, Katherine Woodward Thomas, we can consciously choose to reject the pain of a breakup and end it in a way that restores our hearts for better love in the future.
So whether your breakup is fresh, or happened some time ago, you can release negative energy from past breakups. Healing your heart will help you in letting go and moving on from a bad relationship.
In Katherine’s Free Masterclass, How to Heal from a Breakup, you’ll experience a powerful 10-minute exercise to release relationship hurts and instantly reclaim your power.
You’ll learn how to shift the energy from brokenness to kindness when ending a relationship, with or without the help of your partner, and a Conscious Uncoupling technique to end your relationship in a healthy way so you and your children stay emotionally happy.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is another technique you can use to resolve seemingly unresolvable conflicts without resorting to criticism and judgment so that everyone leaves with a sense of fulfilment and with their self-respect intact. It has been used by therapists, corporations, and anyone wanting to find a way to improve their relationship skills.
Perhaps you’ve been telling yourself, “I need to get out of this relationship,” but did not have access to the relationship help you needed to learn how to end a toxic relationship with someone you love.
Get free online counselling for depression, relationship counselling, career counselling and more on our free online counselling chat helpline for women, where you can talk about anything personal or professional in your life.
I hope these relationship tips on how to leave a bad relationship help you in letting go of unhealthy relationships and finding the courage to learn how to become a strong independent woman.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended for use as a source of medical, psychological, legal, business, accounting or financial advice. You are advised to seek the services of competent professionals in the medical, psychological, legal, business, accounting, and finance fields.
About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate or sponsored links. For more information, read our disclosure.
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