Solutions for a Toxic Relationship.

Via Tracy Crossley
on Aug 12, 2013
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"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, directed by Richard Brooks

Soulmate relationships turned toxic are an opportunity to grow.

In a soulmate relationship there’s an intense feeling of connection and more than likely an inability to disengage from that person…even if it’s over or they need space. We just can’t let go, move on or get a grip on ourselves.

The way to feeling empowered is to get our power back, no matter what happens in the relationship.

In each of the tips described below, the outcome isn’t meant to change the relationship, it’s meant to allow someone an opportunity to grow and create a healthier relationship with ourselves.

The goal is for self-realization, greater confidence and building self-esteem.

Tips on how to use your toxic soulmate relationship as a growth experience:

1. Take control of you.

Stop giving away your power to your mate.

They don’t know what to do with it and it’s how you help to create a toxic environment. It’s not easy, but speak your truth—even if it scares the crap out of you. Do it and you’ll become more confident, especially when your focus is not the outcome. It’ll more than likely also create a different response from your soulmate too.

2. You create boundaries.

In your heart, you know the standards you want to live by, it takes courage to speak them and put them into action. In a soulmate situation, we may just accept what is crappy and not live into our own standards.

There’s no reason to be offensive or disrespectful to your soulmate when declaring your boundaries.

First, get clear on what you absolutely cannot tolerate, what are your non-negotiables?

Be honest and listen to your truth.

Knowing your truth and expressing it, equals vulnerability. It’s your true strength. No need to overpower or win, you’re just establishing a few ground rules on how you need to be treated. You may or may not receive respect for your boundaries, but when you stick to em’, embrace how good you feel!

If you can do this in a relationship of this intensity, you can do it anywhere.

3. If you keep doing the right thing, acting the right way and are programmed by other people’s thoughts about what you should do, stop!

There’s no greater cost then doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

When your strategy is to kill your soulmate with kindness; give into what you assume they want from you or go out of your way for them just to gain their approval or their love, you can stop now.

It’s manipulation and the other person is aware. They will be more resistant to you. It doesn’t work and it makes you feel worse. Instead, start treating yourself to small acts of kindness. Do things for you, which engender your own love, kindness and warmth. It makes a difference.

Gain clarity on the beliefs you have about yourself, understand somewhere along the way you picked up the idea that you deserved this treatment. The intensity you feel with this person is actually the familiarity of what you grew up with and what you believe about yourself—t’s self-induced. Even if the other person feels intense too; it’s about old stuff.

4. Don’t feel shame, please realize you’re human.

Not a super hero. You may stay in an untenable situation, because you have a perfect dream. And well-meaning friends and family can make you feel worse for your inability to leave.

We want this soulmate to fit that perfect dream. It’s time to deconstruct the dream. Nothing is perfect and relationships aren’t fairy tales.

Make a commitment to see the relationship through to your emotional end. It’s not a mistake. Meaning, use this time to dig deep and realize your humanness, your lovability, your needs and the three previous tips. Stay with it (unless there is physical abuse), until you have a complete understanding of how you landed here in the first place.
Use the relationship for learning how to have a deeper acceptance of yourself.

Self-acceptance is key to a healthy relationship and there is something keeping you in a relationship in which you are rejected in some way, so be Sherlock Holmes and figure out why.

5. Your mate is a mirror; use the reflection to find answers.

You’ve probably heard what you don’t like in yourself is reflected in others.

It’s true.

Unfortunately, in a toxic soulmate relationship, it’s more about insecurities. Your insecurities are mirrored right back at you, Big Time!

If you don’t trust your mate, it’s probably the same for them, but they may exhibit it in a different way than you.

You may be outrageously jealous, and they may cheat—abandonment and distrust guaranteed! You set up these situations over and over until you gain self-awareness.

Why are you here?

What is the benefit in being in a relationship with someone who makes your insecurities feel out of control?

There’s always a benefit. It may be that you really fear a real commitment, so your imperfect soulmate keeps you safe from having to show up and be emotionally present in a relationship.

Get clear on your insecurities. If you don’t trust your mate, ask yourself what you don’t trust about you.

It’s really about you not trusting yourself to handle the disappointment of whatever your soulmate says or does. You live in the anticipation and yet the fear of disappointment.

These tips will help you to establish and create your best relationship yet…with yourself. As you become healthier, the intensity will fade; the attachment, and feeling like you can’t breathe without them will also decrease.

In its place will be more confidence, happiness, peace and openness…a true space of freedom where real love can be expressed and lived fully.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise




About Tracy Crossley

Tracy Crossley is a hyphenate: female, writer, curiosity quencher, artist, poet, gardener of real gardens and existential ones, clairvoyant, and momma to grown ups. She owns Intuitive Reinvention Inc. She is currently speaking, writing and mentoring people on getting out of their heads and dysfunctional relationships and into living an authentic, anxiety-free, happy and loving existence. If you want to learn more about her and how she can help you, check out a complimentary discovery session with her click to learn and schedule., Or find her on social media, facebook page, blog and on twitter, she always follows back. She also has a free weekly podcast show on many topics she writes about here click here to listen.


10 Responses to “Solutions for a Toxic Relationship.”

  1. Jeremi McManus says:

    Some great thoughts Tracy, thanks for sharing. I particularly resonate with how much of a mirror partners and spouses become in our lives.

    I've got some food for thought… ready? Shame is a primary emotion so we all experience it. The three things it needs to grow are secrecy, silence, and judgement (Brene Brown). When I hear "Don't feel shame" (#4), I feel judged and like I need to go underground with it. The tool that begins to undermine shame is when we can share it and the other person can respond with empathy, something to the effect of "Me too."

    Thanks again for your article, keep the great thoughts coming!

  2. A reader says:

    I like the concept of the article, but really…

    "Stay with it (unless there is physical abuse)…"

    No, don't, ever.

    Telling someone to hang around and be abused just because the abuse doesn't lend itself to superficial scars is f*cked up advice. It also belittles the plight of one who has been emotionally abused as less than one who has been physically abused. Physical or non-physical, abuse is still abuse. You don't need to learn that lesson more than once – get out quick. Emotional abuse leaves damage that takes a lot longer to heal than a broken bone. Drawing a distinction between physical and any other type of abuse is based on a false premise that essentially ignores the, bodymind concept. Which, by the way, is no longer even controversial or cutting edge.

    "Make a commitment to see the relationship through to your emotional end. It’s not a mistake"…

    Yes, it, is.

    As a healthcare professional* I see the damage that emotional abuse does to physiology, it's horrendous. Does physical abuse cause emotional scars? Is the converse true? You bet.
    Hanging on "to the emotional end"… Ok, so how are those kidneys doing?

    This is no different to saying, "Get beaten for a while, it will toughen you up and heck, the worlds a rugged place, so use the opportunity to appreciate JuiJitsu and grow a little – just make sure to leave before you end up in a wheelchair".

    If you're being emotionally abused, chances are it's just what your partner does. Emotional abuse is manipulation and power seeking – usually due to insecurities and shortcomings (as for physical abuse). The only 'lesson' to learn from this type of toxicity is how to end it fast – despite your feelings of love etc.

    You don't have to go around looking for emotion abuse. When you see it call her/him on it. If it happens again, end it. Ending it might be tougher than other relationships because the abuser may seem so 'perfect' otherwise. Often the reason they seem so 'perfect' during the other times is they made themselves into your 'otherwise perfect' partner because they're an insecure manipulator. Walk away ASAP.

    Why not hang with the abuse to learn a lesson? Apart from the bodymind damage it can cause, abuse 'physical or emotional' is not the beginning of the lesson you had to learn, it's the end of the lesson. The beginning of the lesson were the little hiccups that didn't add up but you ignored. The lesson was to acknowledge your gut way back when and bravely step out into being single again. That's where your insecurities are being mirrored by the insecure, abusive partner.


  3. Tracy says:


    I understand your statements.And I am approaching this with respect to your profession as a mental healthcare provider. In my practice and in my own life, the statements I wrote are true.

    Very true.

    This article comes from having clients who have suffered incest, gang rape, abandonment and many other horrific life experiences. These tactics do work, because if you don't have a capacity to understand how you got into the relationship in the first place and why you continue to repeat the cycles… will find another to suit that space. And that's if you are able to ever leave.

    Many of my clients have gone thru therapy, years of it….and still cannot disengage from toxic relationships. Many feel that on top of being stuck, they also feel shame, because everyone is telling them to leave and they do not have the strength or understanding to know why they remain in such a miserable, disheartening and soul-sucking experience.

    I know I have felt compelled to stay in a relationship when I should have left in the past, it took me a long time and a lot of understanding by staying until the emotional end to finally connect the dots along the way. I stopped pressuring myself to leave, when I had no ability to leave and wanted to rip the connection I had to this person out of myself.

    So….if someone is going to remain and not get out, the tactics I mention are helpful…very helpful.

    I had a client who I could not help. She was in an abusive relationship emotionally and physically. She had gone thru years of therapy, was presently on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds….and I worked with her, she needed to leave, we discussed it over and over…..and no matter what, no matter what tools, what understanding and even the fact that much of what I coached her on had been covered in therapy before…she wouldn't and couldn't leave.

    It was embedded in her belief system since childhood and even with the recognition of the "whys" she is not done…she hasn't hit that place to leave, so she practices some of these tools in the relationship, so she can get strong enough to go.

    On the road to self-love, self-confidence and defining for myself what a happy relationship is and how I had to get there first, my story stands in support of it, as it does the others I have helped to go on and have happy, healthy relationships.

    Thank you for your comment.

  4. Tracy says:

    Thank you Jeremi for your comment! I love Brene and her books!! And she is the shame expert!!! The other thing with shame is that if we can ask someone ahead of time if they can accept where we are and be supportive before we talk to them, not telling us that we're wrong (cuz we already feel that way) or what to do, then we are also empowering ourselves to ask for what we want….and not set up a situation where we will feel worse from sharing.

    Thanks again!

  5. Penny says:

    Really nice advice, Tracy. It is very honest, helpful and succinct. It's interesting to think that toxic relationships may spring more from "soulmate" type of relationships. I think you are absolutely right that the first thing to change is giving away your personal power. It is so important to live by your standards and not constantly readjust your standards to cling to a relationship that is toxic and slowly chipping away at your spirit and sense of sense. I have lived through that cycle for a long time and am just beginning to try and break it once and for all. I read an interesting article about the psychological defenses behind why we are often draw to toxic relationships. I will share it here in case anyone is interested ( Thank you!

  6. Tracy says:

    Hi Penny~ Thank you! I am glad you find it helpful. It seems there are a lot of us out there who find ourselves in this type of relationship space. I know for myself clarity came in bits and pieces, the recognition of why I was there and what I was receiving was life-changing. It's funny sometimes, when I see how I used to feel about me and how I feel now, I almost feel I was in costume dressed up for a play as the lead actress in the past. Thanks for sharing the article too. xo

  7. CHS says:

    In some ways I would agree but sometimes a toxic soulmate is just that toxic and you need to walk away. I am contemplating getting out of a toxic relationship. My fiance drinks excessively every weekend. I have adopted a healthy lifestyle that includes eating organic whole foods and substance free. This relationship is very difficult and feels like it is stifling me emotionally. At one time I was exactly like him drinking every weekend but now I have chosen to live a healthy, spiritually connected life. I contemplated for the last year about this and know that it is the right thing for me. The point that I am trying to make is that it is not always good to stay. Sometimes people need to move on for their own mental stability and growth

  8. Audrey says:

    This article was EXACTLY what I needed to read. Everything in it described me to a t up until about a week ago when I realized finally that I am free and in control of my life. I feel a kindred soul in you, or else you’re just an amazing therapist. Thank you so much for your words.

  9. Michael says:

    What a wonderful article. I just left a toxic soul mate relationship, and I can relate to everything here.

    Going through this experience has taught me more than I ever thought I could know. It has also been one of the most difficult and heart wrenching experiences of my life.

    My toxic compatriot and I seemed to amplify each other's fears and insecurities, in something like a positive feedback loop. No matter what we did, it just seemed to get worse and worse. And yet it was so hard to let go.

    I have been going to therapy for a long time, so I thought I could handle anything, but this relationship threw me for a loop. I would tell my therapist how I knew I needed to let her go, but I could not seem to do it. I truly did love her, and kept thinking that if we could just figure a couple things out, we could live in bliss forever.

    Obviously, that didn't work out.

    But because of this relationship and the things I learned along the way, I sought out some truly transformative 12-step programs. These have helped me see the light as far as why I continued to choose this kind of relationship, and why I continued to stay in them. They also gave me a safe and stable base from which to grow–the thing I had been constantly searching for in relationships, but could never seem to find.

    I just let her go a few days ago. I'm dealing with the emptiness that came along with losing her from my life. But as I grow and become healthier, I realize that this emptiness is far preferable to the pain and anguish that I felt when I was with her.

    My heart is once again my own. I know she is not a bad person, but simply has more growing to do. As do I.

    I wish her luck, but I know that right now, I cannot be there with her on that journey.

    I have a journey of my own.

    Thank you. I truly appreciate your insights.

  10. Arricka says:

    As someone who has been out of a toxic marriage for three years now and looking back, I can see where I followed some of these tips to help a person in the bad relationship to deal with it while deciding if the relationship is worth it or not to stay. Was he my soul mate? Well when we first got together I thought he was the one who would save me and be my rock of strength, we couldn't be apart even when we tried to break up….so we got married for the wrong reasons. I was really wrong about expecting him to be my rock of strength.

    It took two years of constant fighting, stress, depression, boat loads of emotional abuse and a job loss before I decided to stop blaming myself for the relationship failing and holding on at the price of my own happiness and sanity. The marriage lasted 5 years total and looking back there was more toxic negativity being with the person than wedded bliss. I thought I could hold on and make it work and I thought I would never be strong enough to leave. I loved this person so much but it was more painful to be together than to be happy together. In the end I had enough of trying to change myself, bending backwards, avoiding my family and friends for this person who totally had no respect for me and me for him. I was done and fed up living like that and could not envision being in that unhealthy relationship 20 years down the road.
    In the end that marriage helped me to understand myself so much better and I learned so much from that experience. I basically grew up and became a better version of myself within those five years. I am in a better functioning relationship currently but I now have a frame of reference to draw from to help me keep this relationship healthy and know when things are getting stormy. I also know how to choose my battles and be a better communicator, and to be happy in a good relationship you have to be happy with yourself first, otherwise you will be drawn to the same doomed relationship structures and the wrong person who mirrors all of your insecurities and flaws.