What Is Toxic Breakup Shame and How To Deal With It
If you recently went through a toxic breakup, you most likely feel overwhelmed with shame for staying too long or getting involved in a toxic relationship at all. Toxic relationships are those that impair your self-esteem and your happiness and make you feel drained, inadequate, and worthless.
In a toxic relationship:
- There is a toxic level of control
- There are no boundaries
- You and your partner cannot communicate without tension
- You start avoiding each other
- It feels bad all the time
- Passive-aggressive behavior is a norm
- Nothing ever gets resolved
- Your other relationships start to suffer
- Anger, conflicts, and unhappiness become ordinary
Everyone experiences shame from time to time. It is an emotion like any other. However, when shame becomes toxic, it can damage your health and prevent you from growing and developing. Unhealthy shame is counterproductive and it’s stopping you from moving on. It causes you to conceal and suppress emotions or act with rage, at the same time feeling deeply isolated from others and yourself. Toxic shame alters your self-image and may cause you to feel devoured with self-judgment and self-loathing.
When a relationship falls to pieces, especially if it was a codependent or toxic one, the most important thing is to overcome bad feelings such as shame. To achieve this, you need to start practicing self-care and learning to love yourself again.
How to Deal with a Toxic Breakup?
If you are in a toxic relationship, you will be more and more hurt by staying in it. However, leaving a toxic relationship and moving on is easier said than done. Toxic relationships usually have toxic endings too. Being aware that your relationship is toxic is crucial in setting boundaries and protecting yourself.
1. End Victimhood
Try to focus not on the one who caused you pain but on what you need to do to overcome the injury. People often tend to internalize shame that belongs to the offender, assuming that the maltreatment is somehow their fault. The main aspect of shame is a feeling that something is fundamentally wrong with you. But keep in mind that you have a choice and can decide to take responsibility for your mental health and happiness. Accept the past experiences and emotions that they provoke and acknowledge that you have control over your life.
2. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Toxic relationships are contagious. So, spend time with positive friends and family members as their support is vital in getting over a toxic relationship.
3. Practice Affirmations
A daily practice of repeating positive statements about yourself will improve your self-esteem, help you cope with negative thoughts, and boost optimism.
4. Heal Shame Through Self-Forgiveness
Focus on your feelings and mindfully acknowledge them without self-judgment and self-criticism. This can help you switch from blaming to understanding. Self-forgiveness is a choice. Understanding this will help you heal and move on.
The best way to overcome shame is through acceptance and self-compassion. Self-compassion involves your ability to relate to the self with the same kindness and love you have for the loved ones. Self-compassion can help you overcome negative self-talk, treat yourself with understanding, and be more forgiving to yourself and others.
Not seeing yourself as a victim releases you from a feeling of being an object of your toxic partner’s behaviors, allowing you to return to yourself with self-love.