Relationships are complicated. Good relationships can thrive past these differences and a great connection can be maintained. But toxic relationships can cause trauma, and result in mental health disorders.
According to Psychology Today, mental health and traumatic triggers are linked to bad relationships, and vice versa.
Effects of a Toxic Relationship:
Toxic relationships can damage your mental health in a way that lingers even after you leave the relationship behind. The chronic emotional toll can make you feel insecure, leaving you feeling drained, pressured you to change your physical appearance or behavior, and physically or emotionally scarred.
Such trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, disordered eating, low self-esteem and self-harming behaviors.
Toxic relationships also impact your physical health. According to Hopkins Medicine, bad relationships often lead to chronic stress, which can put you at a higher risk of developing heart problems. A 2015 study showed that divorce is a big risk factor for heart attacks.
A 2003 study found that stress contributes to increased heart rate and blood pressure. It can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as excess food consumption, heavy drinking and smoking.
The first step to improving your mental and physical health is to recognize that you are in a toxic relationship. The second step is to leave that relationship. Finally, you must focus on bettering yourself emotionally and physically and find a positive way to move on.
Self-blame is normal during the aftermath of a relationship, but it is important to remember how that relationship left you feeling. Acknowledge that your peace of mind and mental health needs to be your focus.
Taking Care of Yourself After Leaving a Toxic Relationship:
According to Psychology Today, ways to take care of your mental and physical well being include:
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
- Practice self-care and what that looks like to you
- Fight off feelings of self-doubt or regret about leaving the relationship
- Take time for yourself and talk about your feelings
- If needed, seek professional help
- Make new friends
For more information on how to care for yourself in the aftermath of a toxic relationship, visit www.PsychologyToday.com.