18 Steps To Fix A Toxic Relationship | In-Depth Guide
Often relationships seem to start out just fine but over time develop toxic patterns that negatively affect the quality of life for both people involved.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll dive deep into specifically why relationships turn toxic and how in the world can you survive a toxic relationship.
We’ll go through 18 steps that’ll help you build healthy relationships and get your life back to harmony again.
The process of growth in any relationship, especially our love life, is two-sided. Having said that, this process of growth must initiate somewhere and with someone. Make sure it begins with you.
Often people spend years arguing and debating about who is at fault and expecting others to change immediately. This becomes an extremely unproductive and endless loop of blaming and feeling like a powerless victim.
Since it is YOU that is reading this article, we’ll be focusing on what YOU can do on your part.
We will focus on empowering YOU so that by the end of this guide, you will have a variety of tools, ideas, and resources at your disposal so that you NEVER feel helpless again.
In this guide, we’ll cover many dimensions and solutions to fix a toxic relationship and make your relationship healthy again.
We’ll also cover the unintentional mistakes people usually make in their love life, but no “guru” ever seems to touch upon them.
The key, however, is to take initiative and take personal responsibility to apply what you learn, starting today.
Since this is an in-depth, comprehensive guide, you can treat it as a manual and keep coming back to it whenever you go through challenges in your relationship.
What Is A “Toxic Relationship”?
When we use the word “toxic” to describe a relationship, most of us are usually trying to describe certain factors and behaviors that are affecting the relationship such as:
- Lack of respect
- Lack of understanding
- Absence of effective communication
- Usage of bitter language patterns
All leading to feelings of resentment towards the partner.
All of these things can be mentally and emotionally draining, and begin to affect almost every area of our life. That makes it all the more important to work towards fixing an unhealthy relationship and make it healthy again so we are able to have a better quality of life.
If you’re not entirely sure if your relationship is toxic or just going through a rough patch, or if you’re dealing with a toxic partner with personality issues, make sure to check out my other in-depth guide which covers the topic of identifying a toxic relationship, traits of a toxic partner and the difference between being in a toxic relationship vs being with a toxic partner:
Signs, Traits, and Types of Toxic Relationships – The Complete Guide
Can You Fix a Toxic Relationship?
The first question that most people ask is, “can you make an unhealthy relationship healthy again? or “Can you really fix a toxic relationship?”
The short answer is YES. With a strategic approach and consistent effort, you can fix a toxic relationship. That is the objective of this guide, to provide you with insights and strategies to approach a toxic relationship.
The long answer is: it depends. There are a couple of things to consider as you begin to work on your relationship.
- The process of healing a toxic relationship is much easier when both people are consciously trying to make things better. Try to communicate with your partner about working on your love life as a team (we’re going to cover how to communicate effectively with your partner under the 14th step).
If they are open to work, share the steps in this guide with them.
However, if they are not open to the idea, then at least you take the initiative on your part and be consistent with it. When your partner will see the change in you, initially he/she might find it a bit weird, but eventually, there is a good chance that it’ll inspire them to make effort as well.
- The second thing to consider is if your partner is a “good person” overall. If physical abuse is a regular occurrence and if he/she is mentally unstable or even worse, has psychopathic tendencies, then it’s better to seek professional help and prioritize your safety.
Making Your Relationship Work…
As you put efforts towards making your relationship work, know that mending a relationship is a process, it needs time and consistent care & effort to heal.
As you begin to apply the following principles, don’t expect things to go straight overnight. Commit to it and give it time.
1) Stop Adding Fuel To The Fire
Firstly, keep in mind that it’s not actually the relationship that is “toxic”. It’s the behaviors and the usual reactions to those behaviors which turn into recurring negative and toxic patterns.
It’s very important that you understand and internalize this distinction.
From now on, begin to see the patterns. Remember, old patterns can be broken with consistent effort in the right direction and better patterns can be made to replace them.
But what does it mean by “STOP adding fuel to the fire”?
Fire refers to toxic behaviors. Whenever you get into a situation where the other person is behaving in a negative manner, STOP feeding YOUR ENERGY to that toxicity.
If we respond in a reactive manner by losing our calm to any of such negativity, we essentially feed it with our own energy. As a result, we drain our own energy and unconsciously facilitate that negative behavior to grow stronger. Most of the time we become part of the problem by participating in that toxicity.
So how do you stop feeding your energy to that behavior?
Simple. Stop reacting to it in a negative way.
Tap into your consciousness and be mindful at that moment instead of reacting unconsciously and letting that situation take control of your actions.
Take charge of your own behavior and decide at that moment how will you handle this situation. Will you let yourself lose control or will you handle it with calm and wisdom?
It’s a simple yet powerful law of the universe. When you stop feeding something, it begins to get weak and shrink down. If you want the fire to stop, you won’t put more fuel in it, would you?
Just remember this simple principle the next time you have the urge to react. Just stay calm, take a few breaths and relax.
Often what happens is that toxicity travels from one source to another forming a chain
Let’s consider an example of this kind of chain reaction.
Suppose that a man deals with someone negative or a stressful situation at work. He comes home carrying that negative state of mind and then deals with his wife in a poor manner. The wife then gets into a negative state.
She then deals with the children carrying that same state. The children then carry this toxicity to school which is either reflected in their poor performance or their behavior with their fellows.
The cycle can go on and on to the point where the children grow up and replicate such toxic patterns in their own personal and professional lives.
The solution to this is to make sure this chain ends at you!
Make sure you don’t become part of the problem by contributing to this chain of negativity. And that you stop this domino effect by handling it with calm, patience, and peace.
The state of Calm is within you. Start believing in yourself and tap into those inner resources.
You must become the solution
If we just train ourselves to neutralize such situations and stop reacting to them mentally, emotionally, and physically, chances are that over time they will eventually dissipate.
You can learn a few techniques through which you can train and program your mind in advance to handle challenging people and circumstances effectively. Check it out:
How to Train Yourself to Deal with Difficult People?
2) Set Boundaries To Maintain Love And Respect
One of the major contributing factors in relationships going bad is too much unnecessary closeness. Closeness to the point where people cross each other’s personal boundaries and become “clingy” and overly possessive about each other, which ultimately leads to the loss of respect in the relationship.
Everybody needs some personal space.
Remember, we don’t own anybody. Whether it be your relationship with your friend or spouse or even your children, you don’t own them. They have their own freedom of choice. Treat them as separate, respectable human beings, as you would with any other person.
And if things have gone sour and bitter. You can still fix it. It just requires a mind shift. A shift in how you perceive yourself, how you perceive the other person and how you perceive the relationship between you two.
Have you ever wondered why is it that the same person who seemed so amazing to you in the beginning now seems quite the opposite? What happened?
Consider this, when we overdo anything, we tend to get fed up. It’s as simple as that.
If you eat your favorite food 7 times a day for 30 days, you will hate it at one point, won’t you?
A similar thing happens when we get too centered on a particular person/relation and spend too much of our mental, emotional, and physical energy on them.
To learn more about setting healthy boundaries in your relationship, check out my other in-depth guide focused entirely on relationship boundaries. All you need to know about boundaries, how exactly to set them, and how to deal with boundary violations is covered in that guide. Read it here:
How to Set Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship – An In-Depth Guide
The Honeymoon Phase
Here I would also mention the phenomenon of the “Honeymoon Phase” which for many people seems to be over after a few months of marriage. People would describe it as a “loss of spark” in the relationship or losing attraction towards the other person.
Let’s consider an example here to understand what actually happens in our brains.
Have you ever been so hungry that all you could focus on was that plate of delicious food in front of you? It had all your attention. That food seemed so delicious and the aroma captured you.
But what happens after you’ve had 2-3 servings of that same dish and your hunger is satiated, in fact, you’ve over-eaten?
Do you still feel attracted to it?
Do you still enjoy the smell of that food when you’ve eaten too much of it so much so that you can’t even move?
Does it still have your attention or are you done with it, and now your mind is thinking of doing something else?
What just happened??
It’s the same food that captured your attention moments before and now it doesn’t seem all that important anymore, in fact, you might want to move away from it.
What changed? The answer: Our Neurochemistry.
Now that our hunger is overly satiated, our brain is telling us to move on from it, and so we lose interest. A very similar process happens at the start of a relationship for many couples who don’t keep a balance in their lives and relationships.
Too much physical satiation and too much mental/emotional dependency mess with our neurochemistry, and so the feelings toward the spouse, change.
3) Read The Patterns Instead Of Blaming The Person
People operate based on their psychological patterns. Sometimes there is no logical reasoning behind behaviors or situations. It’s just the patterns.
Let’s say someone has a cockroach phobia. Now we all know that in reality cockroaches don’t bite or sting. They are physically harmless.
Yet why do so many people get scared at the sight of it? There is no apparent reason. It’s just that the sight of a cockroach creates a disgusting, defensive, or creepy feeling for them. If you reason with them about how harmless the cockroaches are, will they stop getting scared immediately? You have your answer.
Often our brain spends a lot of mental energy thinking and trying to make sense of things. Trying to find some logical reasoning behind what happened or who to blame.
But in reality, it’s just the patterns.
I get a lot of people saying in utter confusion, “Well, he/she is overall a good person, but I don’t get why sometimes he/she behaves or acts that way?”
The fact is, sometimes there is no logical explanation except that people operate on certain patterns. Often those patterns might not make any sense. The sooner we come to harmony and acceptance with it, the better for our own health and growth.
Anticipating each other’s patterns can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. To gain a better understanding of how our neurochemistry works when it comes to our relationships and why we often face unpredictable behaviors and emotions from our partner,
I would HIGHLY suggest that you read
Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow – From Habit To Harmony in Relationships by Marnia Robinson.
It has a very unique take on intimate relationships and some amazing insights that – guaranteed – would’ve never crossed your mind (that was the case for me at least). Plus it has some very “unique” methods to rekindle the fire and reignite the spark in your relationship. Try it out.
Speaking of patterns, Notice your OWN patterns.
Isn’t this a pattern that we try to find some reasoning or think in terms of “who to blame”?
Notice how you think and react in an uncomfortable situation or during an argument. Notice the shift in your mental, emotional, and physical states.
Acknowledge your own patterns of thinking and behaving. Develop a higher awareness of yourself.
The good news is that patterns can be changed. The key to breaking an old pattern is to stop repeating it and replace it with a positive pattern.
As you notice your own patterns, keep an eye on the other person’s patterns. Notice how they respond to certain words, actions, or situations.
This will help you develop a better understanding of them and thus you can use your inner wisdom to tailor
Understand The Patterns In Your Relationship
As you gain awareness of the individual patterns of yourself and the other person, now notice the recurring patterns in your relationship.
Relationship patterns may go something like this:
Person 1 says or does something (a).
Person 2 then responds to it in a certain way (b)
Person 1 responds back (c)
Person 2 responds back again (d)
This goes on in a loop into a rabbit hole.
Now there must be some good patterns in your relationship and some bad ones. Notice both. Understand how these patterns are working.
Once you gain an
In case of negative patterns in your relationship, the easiest way to break this loop is to change your part of the equation, i.e. when you stop reacting negatively, you immediately weaken the pattern.
When you stay consistent in your efforts toward a positive direction for long enough, the negative patterns will soon wither away because you have cut off the fuel they used to receive from you.
4) Often The Problem Is NOT The Actual Problem
There are 2 perspectives on this. It is important that we take both into consideration at the same time:
(A) The Indicators Of Life
Often times the apparent situation that we see
It is a common occurrence to get into fights and arguments over superficial matters and many people tend to hold on to that “problem” to make sense of things, justify their own position, and blame the other person.
When we get stuck on a certain issue, our mind tries to make sense of all of this. In doing so it picks up the first thing that grabs its attention and perceives it as the actual problem, while in reality, that rarely is the case.
Pain Is The Symptom Not The Cause
Consider this example.
When someone constantly experiences pain in their back, often the first reaction is to consider the Pain as the actual problem. So the person tries to fix it with a painkiller.
The pain seems to subside temporarily but comes back again after a couple of days. The person continues to take painkillers, and the same thing repeats over and over again.
The pain is not the actual problem but a symptom of a deeper imbalance.
The person might be experiencing this pain because of a nerve issue which might be because of a muscular imbalance that gradually developed over a long period of time without them even realizing it.
But, the muscular imbalance is not the actual root either.
The person unconsciously might be doing something that caused that imbalance. Maybe it’s the bad sitting posture or lack of exercise and a healthy diet or lack of rest or maybe it’s because they are sleeping on a bad mattress etc.
Similarly, the challenges we face in our relationships are often a symptom of something deeper. Something deeper within us.
We project outside what we have inside. The state of our lives and our problems tell a lot about us.
Our apparent problems are actually indicators that are trying to tell us that something needs to be fixed and changed within us first.
Take it as feedback that your life is trying to give you and be curious about which areas you need to start working on.
I love this quote which beautifully describes this:
“Circumstances don’t make a man. They reveal him.”
So take some time to ponder over this. What is it that you are projecting onto your relationship?
Is it stress in another area of your life that is being projected onto your relations?
Is it some deeper insecurities or character weakness?
Is it a lack of spirituality and a weak connection with God that is creating disharmony and discontent?
Is it a lack of vision and purpose in life that is unconsciously affecting your mental/emotional states?
(B) A Blessing In Disguise. A Training From God Himself
Sometimes we are putting in our best efforts and yet we continue to face life’s challenges. Such challenges are there for a higher reason.
Life is Not happening to us. It’s happening for us.
If we just make this simple shift in our thinking, we’ll be more content with life.
Begin to see it as training from God. Maybe God wants something higher and better for you and that’s why you are going through this test.
A lot of people find enlightenment, wisdom, and closeness to God in the midst of adversities and problems. Many of the wisest and most successful people on earth emerged from an extremely tough life.
“Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors”
Make the best out of this time and approach it with a learning intent. It might be a great opportunity and a blessing in disguise. Ask yourself, “What does God want me to learn and gain from this?”
“Perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And God Knows, while you know not.”
5) Learn To Become Emotionally Independent
Emotional Dependence, on the other hand, means that a person’s happiness, confidence, and sense of fulfillment rely on somebody else.
When that “somebody” is not in alignment with their expectations, the person gets stuck in an emotional rut of misery and a Victim Mentality.
If you are emotionally dependent, you are at the mercy of other people’s moods, behaviors, and external circumstances.
If you blame someone else or the circumstances for your own miserable state, that indicates that you’re being emotionally dependent upon that person and that is a very unstable position to be in.
Many people fall into the blame-game trap because it is easier to put all responsibility on someone else.
If we blame someone, there is nothing we have to do. All we have to do is to sit and be the victim. That doesn’t take any effort, does it?
But taking charge of our lives takes a lot of courage and a lot of effort. It pushes us out of our bubble of learned helplessness. That is where freedom and empowerment lie.
I know in the beginning it’s a bit hard to digest this concept. That’s okay, take your time and ponder over it.
6) Seek To Understand
Realize that it’s not always about you. So stop taking everything so personally.
That person might be dealing with something in their own head but is unable to express it.
We are often too quick in our assumptions and immediately jump to a conclusion based on what we see or hear.
Instead of focusing on how this person is behaving, focus on what is he/she going through.
Instead of asking “why are you getting angry?” or “why are you behaving/talking like this?”, ask with a sincere and understanding tone:
“You seem a bit stressed today. Is there something that is bothering you?” or
“You seem a bit worried, would you like to sit and discuss, or do you want me to give you some space?”
If he/she doesn’t want to discuss or wants some time in peace then respect their need and give some space.
7) Stop Using Sarcastic/Toxic Language
“When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: ‘Fear God for our sake because we are with you. If you are straight, we will be straight, and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.'”
– Muhammad (PBUH)
We see many relationships get destroyed just because of bitter, toxic, sarcastic language. If only people would just change the way they talk, they would save themselves a lot of trouble.
Sarcasm in close relationships is the root of all toxicity. Stop using sarcasm or any such toxic language patterns immediately if you want to fix your life.
Notice what vocabulary and metaphors you regularly use to describe your state and your experiences.
How Do We Express Ourselves?
Apart from toxic language, we also tend to blow things out of proportion when describing negative experiences. People like to over-exaggerate their negative experiences by using the darkest and most negative words they know.
Many of us tend to be the most unkind in the use of our words and expression when we are angry with a loved one.
It feels cathartic at that time to use such words but unconsciously people are programming their minds for more misery while damaging the relationship in the process.
On the other hand, when expressing love and care, and describing the good qualities of a person and what good they brought into our lives, people tend to understate and underestimate those blessings.
Even if we are reminded of the blessings, we immediately tend to remind ourselves of all the other problems we have. A strange pattern many of us humans have.
It’s like many of us are trying our best not to feel so good.
Because when we feel good we won’t get sympathy or attention from people and we will have to be mentally responsible for our life. Who wants that? Most people are unconsciously comfortable being in the victim state.
Be very careful of what you speak, either internally while communicating with your own self or externally with other people.
Our use of language greatly determines our everyday experience of life. Keep a watch on your language patterns and the vocabulary that you use.
Observe which negative or “Not so positive” words you use regularly and replace them with lighter and positive words.
What Metaphors Do You Use To Describe Your Life?
During communication with other people and with ourselves, we also use a lot of metaphors and examples to describe life.
For some, life is a rat race and competition, where you have to get ahead and beat everyone else, or everyone else will beat you.
While for some, Life is like a beautiful garden where you plant wonderful fragrant flowers through your actions and sow generous seeds of kindness, love, and sincerity that’ll reap luscious trees and colorful fruits in the long run.
Some see Marriage as a gamble.
While others see marriage as taking life to the next level, where you share deep love and respect while growing together. and an opportunity to leave a legacy and make the world a better place by raising good children.
Notice what kind of metaphors you use on a regular basis. The way we interpret and relate to things in life determines how we experience them.
If you want to improve the quality of your life and your relationships, consciously work on improving the use of vocabulary Now. Use positive and uplifting words and metaphors.
Even if you have to describe something negative, use mild words instead of intensely negative words to describe your experience.
8) Stop Being Passive Aggressive
Passive aggression is as bad as sarcasm. It is one of the most toxic behaviors in any relation.
I like to call passive aggressiveness and sarcasm the “silent killer” of a relationship. They are not direct and often they do not usually stir things up into a full-blown fight, yet they gradually eat up the relationship from the inside like cancer.
Pardon me for using such strong metaphors to describe this, but I think it’s very important to get the message across. This IS how bad both of these things are for any relationship.
Both are born out of a lack of proper communication in a relationship.
If you have complain or reservations about the other person, learn to communicate them directly in a calm, respectful, and civilized way.
Be considerate and look for the right time and place to talk about the matter of concern.
We will discuss more on this in the 14th step below where we’ll look into how to establish healthy communication.
9) Avoid Insecurity And Unhealthy Competition
Often feeling insecure about the other person’s growth and competing to get ahead of them (or to take them down) is what kills a good relationship.
Insecurity usually comes from a sense of inadequacy and low self-worth.
If you are feeling insecure about your partner’s progress, it might be an indication that you are not happy with your own progress. Deep inside you know you can do good as well, but you haven’t taken the required actions the other person took.
People who have a healthy and harmonious relationship with their own selves don’t feel insecure if someone gets ahead of them. They value themselves while also respecting the other person’s abilities and efforts.
Their sense of self-worth does not get threatened by someone else’s growth.
Resolve the internal matters of your heart and mind, and develop a harmonious relationship with your own self first. This will have a direct impact on your external relations.
Learn to be genuinely happy with other people’s progress, especially those close to you. Acknowledge and encourage them. Support them if you can. Wish success and happiness for them within your heart.
10) Your Home Deserves A Better Version Of You More Than Your Office
Many of us are in a more productive, understanding, polite, open-minded, flexible, and learning state of mind in our professional lives but as soon as we get home, all of that suddenly goes out of the window.
It seems as if a switch just turned off. Many of us switch into a narrow-minded, traditional, insecure, impatient, complaining, irritated, rude, and non-cooperative state of mind.
Isn’t your family more deserving of your good behavior, manners,
Imagine what quality of family life you would have if you operate similarly in polite and respectful behavior with an open mind and learning attitude.
11) Develop Consistent Bonding Rituals
Have you ever wondered why oftentimes in relationships the initial spark fades away with time?
Have you ever wondered what keeps the spark alive in some couples even when they reach old age?
Maybe they are doing something most people overlook. Remember, there is a
The “spark” doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. There are certain actions and behaviors that lead to it. Identify them. Experiment and see what works for you.
Here’s a hint… “Bonding Behaviors”.
What are bonding behaviors?
Any act that ignites the feeling of love, affection, and deep connection.
- Hold hands
- Smile at each other
- Look into each other’s eyes with love and affection
- Give small but mindful gifts
- Take care of each other’s likes and dislike even if they are small daily routine things
- Do mindful acts of kindness for your loved one
- Switch every distraction off and spend quality time together
- Have a good laugh together
- Indulge in creative activities together
- Help each other out in daily tasks
You name it.
Do any of these seem familiar? Did you use to do it at the beginning of your relationship? Viola! That’s why there was more spark. It’s just that you were doing it unconsciously at that time and weren’t aware of it.
Now that you know, you can reignite the spark when you put conscious effort towards it.
Make it a must to indulge in these simple bonding behaviors on a daily basis. Make it a consistent habit.
12) Focus On Doing Your Part
One of the most common patterns in toxic relationships is people trying to change each other or expecting a change from the other person.
Couples go to therapists, coaches, or counselors with the mindset of changing the other person. Expecting the therapist or coach to help change their spouse.
This is a recipe for eternal misery.
Once we focus on what we can do on our part and how can we shift our approach and strategy towards the situation, we begin to take control of our own lives and live in a resourceful and empowered state.
YOU decide to become the Change Agent.
When you observe the patterns as we discussed above, you become the source of shifting those patterns in your relationship.
Focus on effort, not outcome. If you focus on the outcome, you’ll expect too much and as we know, too much expecting often leads to hurt feelings.
13) Connect With Yourself
A lot of people lose connection with their own selves, especially in the case of marital relations. We become so focused on our spouse and children that our entire identity begins to revolve around them.
This is also one of the major reasons for toxicity and emotional dependence. There must always be boundaries and a healthy balance.
Remember, your connection with your own self will determine how well you connect with other people in your life.
You can only give love and respect to others in a healthy manner if you have love and respect for your own self.
You can only connect with other people successfully when you have a healthy and nurturing connection with yourself.
You can only give others what you have inside.
When we feel angry, irritated, or frustrated towards other people, unconsciously we are angry, irritated, or frustrated with ourselves internally, which we project onto others.
What is within, will come out.
When you squeeze a lemon, you’ll only extract lemon juice, not apple juice.
When life/people/circumstances squeeze us, the only thing that will come out is what is within. I’ll quote it again here:
“Circumstances don’t make a man. They reveal him.”
Have you seen or heard about people who despite facing unimaginable challenges and difficulties, maintained their inner peace and harmony? The kind of people who showed kindness and mercy even towards their haters.
History is full of such examples.
How did they manage to operate on such a high standard of character?
The answer, how you think, feel, and act towards other people in your life regardless of the situation is a direct reflection of the quality of connection you have with yourself.
Your perceptions and your assumption about people and circumstances tell a lot about your inner state of being.
I know it can be a bit hard to get sometimes, especially when we are stuck in a certain situation. But allow this to sink in.
This is the direction of thinking that will liberate you and get you out of the stuck state. This is what is going to put you in an empowering and resourceful state. So take a couple of minutes to digest this and ponder over it.
14) Establish Healthy Communication
Work on establishing the kind of atmosphere between you and the other person where you can sit and calmly converse about the topic of concern.
Healthy communication is when you are able to have a peaceful discussion regarding an uncomfortable matter with the intent to understand the other person’s point of view and come to a
It might take some time and perseverance to build this new pattern of healthy communication if you have been having patterns of miscommunication and misunderstanding for a long period of time. But it’s doable.
Remember, any pattern can be changed and overwritten by a better pattern. You just have to be the one to initiate and stick to it regardless of the initial outcomes.
Good and lasting things in life take time to build. It’s not an instant fix.
Keeping in mind all that we have just discussed up till now, here are 4 specific tips to drastically improve your communication. Practice these tips several times with smaller matters first. Make them a habit
1. Set a Time to Talk
If you want to discuss something important, always remember to set a time for it.
Never discuss important, serious topics or problems randomly on the go. Tell the other person that you have something important to discuss. D
Then ask “When will you be available to discuss it?”
This will give them time to get mentally prepared and free their mind of other things instead of reacting abruptly.
2. Relax and Set an Intention before Discussion
Prepare yourself for the discussion. Take a few deep breaths and Relax completely.
Make a short but mindful prayer asking God to make this discussion productive while seeking His help and guidance.
3. Do some Preparation
Prepare WHAT specifically you have to say and HOW will you say it in a calm and sincere tone. Keep it short and to the point.
Stop yourself from going into any tangents or past discussions at all costs.
4. Brace Yourself for any Outcome
Be mentally prepared for any outcome. Don’t expect anything in return.
Commit to staying calm and composed regardless of anything. Just focus on doing your part. If you do your part right, with consistency, you will eventually experience results. God-willing. Have faith.
You can learn much more about effective communication skills in this detailed guide.
15) Cherish Other Relations In Your Life. Don’t Let Them Get Ignored
We get so fixated on one area of life that often other people and blessings of our life get neglected.
We all have some people in our lives whom we consider a blessing. It might be your parents, siblings, children, a sincere friend, a great teacher/mentor, etc.
We never know how much time we have left with them. So make the most of it. Spend quality time with them. Care for them.
Be appreciative of the little things these people do for you. Be mindful of them.
When you’re sitting with them, instead of getting lost in thoughts of your problems or getting busy with your phone, pay attention to them. Have a good conversation.
Ask them about their lives. Say kind and uplifting words to them. Show them appreciation and encouragement.
Often when loved ones pass on from this world, people are left with the regret of not spending enough time with them, not caring enough for them, not behaving well with them, and not expressing their love and appreciation to the fullest.
You would not want to have those regrets in life, would you?
Cherish other relations in your life.
The blessings in our life are thousands of times more than the problems. Focus on what is good in your life instead of what is not. This is the key to inner happiness and contentment.
16) Take Measures To Stay Motivated And Driven
You MUST take time out to recharge and nourish yourself regularly. Here are a few suggestions to get you started immediately.
Develop Daily Rituals
By daily rituals I mean daily habits that you do at all costs, whether you feel like it or not. Habits that will recharge and nourish your mind, body, and soul.
Being consistent with such habits will keep you on track even if you encounter a few bumps along the way.
A few examples would be daily prayers, exercise, mindfulness meditation, morning walk, eating clean and healthy, waking up/going to bed early, etc.
Develop Regular Learning Habits
Habits like reading good books, guides, and articles, joining courses and programs on personal development, etc.
Develop Healthy And Creative Hobbies
Many people get so stuck in their routine life that they lose touch with their creative side. Get back in touch and explore your inner creativity. Take time out for your hobbies. If you don’t have any, develop them!
Explore new areas of life. Have new experiences. Most people never get to know what talents, potentials, and interests lie within them until they go out of their way to explore them.
Reignite the inner curiosity that you had as a child. This will drastically enhance the quality of your life.
Join A Support Group
Join a group or club where you can connect with other positive people who are determined to grow, improve, and expand. A good influence will inspire, motivate, and push you beyond your apparent limitations, and that is absolutely crucial for growth.
Seek An Accountability Partner Or A Coach
An accountability partner is someone who holds you accountable in the area you want to improve and constantly pushes you toward growth. It can be anyone, a parent or sibling, someone from the support group, or a good friend.
Just be sure that person is mature, open-minded and someone whom you can trust with your personal matters without them being overly nosey, attached, sarcastic, or controlling.
Ideally, a more suitable choice is to invest in a wise and experienced Life Coach.
The life coach won’t be related to you in any way so there will be no issues regarding privacy. Also, a good life coach will be free from passing any judgment about you and will be solely focused on your well-being and growth.
17) Channelize Your Energy Towards A Higher Purpose
If you look into the lives of great people you’ll find that they focused much of their time and mental/emotional energy towards a mission that is higher and beyond their own self. That is why they were unscathed by other resistances, challenges, and problems.
We tend to think excessively about what happened to “Us” because let’s be honest, much of our life is “self-centered” which revolves around ourselves and our family.
We want to do much of things either for ourselves or our families. We want others to approve of us. We want others to respect us. We want our rights. We want to increase our status in society. Furthermore, there are so many emotional and physical/material wants that we have.
When we are constantly living in this self-centered “wanting state”, any violation of our mental/emotional/physical Wants becomes a big issue and the center of our focus.
It becomes harder for us to let go and move forward because we were unable to look outside and beyond ourselves in that particular moment.
As a result, our emotions flare up and we let our emotions take control of us rather than operating from a higher
Spend time discovering the higher purpose of your life. What kind of contribution are you here to make?
What unique talents and abilities do you have, to make your share of a difference in the world?
How can you live your life in a way that impacts not only you but also other people in a positive way?
How can you be a channel of goodness in this world?
What legacy do you plan to leave that will continue to live long after we pass on?
I know this is a deep topic. Here I’m giving you food for thought to initiate a process of higher thinking that will continue to carry on long after you’ve read this guide.
Write the above questions and take your time to answer it. Write in as much detail as you like.
After you do this, you’ll notice a significant change and clarity in your mind. Often what we need during challenging and confusing phases of life is to deeply analyze and clarify our purpose and our values.
18) Be Flexible In Your Strategy And Persevere In Your Efforts
Many people don’t demonstrate enough perseverance and give up too early.
We usually hear them say “I’ve tried EVERYTHING but NOTHING works.”
First of all, I highly doubt that anyone has ever tried “everything” in the world. The possibilities are usually endless.
Let’s be honest, the amount of knowledge we have is very little. We think we know much but in actuality, we don’t.
Most of us haven’t yet ventured outside of our bubbles to explore the sea of endless possibilities in the world.
Secondly, even with the things people have tried, they haven’t been persistent enough in their efforts or flexible enough to take feedback and modify their strategy.
Remember, flexibility and creative thinking are equally as important. If you do something with full effort for a sufficient period of time, yet you don’t get results, you simply change your strategy!
It’s a basic life lesson that we used as a child.
When we were learning to walk or ride a bicycle, we fell or lost balance countless times, didn’t we?
We just invested our efforts over and over again. There was no question of “if it’s possible or not”. We learned from our pain of falling, observed and learned from others who were walking
That is the basic life lesson and the key to producing results in any area of your life.
Be dynamic and flexible in your thinking while having the patience to go through the process of learning.
Avoid coming to conclusions too early. That will only limit your thinking. Instead, become a possibility thinker. Ask yourself, “what else can I do?”, “What more options do I have?”, “How can I create more options and possibilities?”.
Understand the laws of the universe and be certain that when your actions and practices are in alignment with those laws you will eventually get results. The timings may vary. Trust God’s timings. Have 100% faith and zero doubts.
The relations that are most beloved and close to us require a lot of dedication, perseverance, faith, and care.
Lastly, just try to be more around people that have a positive impact on you. Know your priorities and make intelligent choices. Be smart about where you’re investing your efforts.
Talk to you soon!
Ahmed,,,such a wonderful eye opening write up…. I have been on a terrible cycle with my partner…it has been almost a year and a half since we have been together… the toxicity began a few months into our budding relationship. We have had our awful fights and last night was one of them. She is such a mindful person she found your article and forwarded to me, for which I dove in incredulously eager to understand and digest . It has gotten so bad I am seeking professional help… thank you for all you do.
I hope everything turns out well for you both. Toxicity can only be fixed with compassion, empathy, and acceptance towards the other person, while at the same time being mindful and reflective of your own actions. The process of healing a toxic relationship is a lot faster when both commit together to improving the relationship. However, I’ve also seen and experienced that even if one person decides not to feed into the toxicity, and starts working mindfully on building a healthier relationship, the other person eventually lets their guard down and follows the same path of healing to make things better. It also helps a lot to give each other space to breathe some fresh (basically taking a timeout for a couple of days), and have some time to reflect and sort the thoughts and emotions. It also helps in analyzing things objectively.
Btw, it’s good that you’re seeking professional help. Look into getting couples therapy from a good couples therapist if you both are down for it.
I wish the best for you guys. Would love to hear the news of progress! Take care 🙂
This article is truly God sent. I believe I was directed to this article by God. I was about to end my 26 year relationship, but because of your wisdom and your inspiring words I know there is hope. I am definitely going to be the initiator in making things better. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing.
I am really glad you found hope and inspiration for your relationship. I wish and pray the best for you and your partner. May God guide you at every step and ease every difficulty for you. I would highly suggest that you check out the guide on “How to Build a Healthy Relationship”:
This post was truly worthwhile to read. I wanted to say thank you for the key points you have pointed out as they are enlightening.
I respect everything that you have written in this blog. Please continue to provide wisdom to more people like me.
I loved this! I took notes and everything. I really want to fix my broken toxic relationship but it starts inside us first! I will definitely relate back to these steps when I have a hard time 😘
Yess exactly! It all starts from within first. I’m glad you found this guide helpful 🙂
This is the first time of my life I ever comment under an article.
But I really needed to do so. I think you just changed my life. Honestly.
I cried three times at least reading this and I am NOT the type to be emotional… When I read the ayah from Qur’an and the words “asking Allah to make this discussion productive while seeking His help and guidance.” I just couldn’t hold my tears. Your article is speaking to me on a spiritual and emotional level.
You told me what I needed to realize about myself and this relationship. I’ve been telling to myself and my friends that HE was toxic when I actually was initiating this reaction with my crazy behaviors. I truly want to make things work, and I know it is going to be so difficult especially with all theses negatives patterns to stop. I really am scared to give all this effort and to put my pride away by being nice and stop being so bad for nothing. I am afraid, really. I think for now I need to pray, get some rest and analyze my behaviors and his responses, so then we can finally have those deep and productive conversations that will help us go somewhere. InchaAllah, thank you really, may Allah bless you and take you to Jannah. I hope I’ll be patient enough to use your advices well.
Walaikumusalam Wa Rahmatullah sister,
It’s comments like these that motivate me to write more and give me the drive to continue this work. Thank you so much for writing such a generous comment and for reading this guide with an open mind. I really hope and pray that your relationship issues get resolved and you are able to develop a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your partner.
I would highly suggest that you also read my other relationship guides as well on How to Develop a Healthy Relationship, and How to Set Boundaries.
May you be under the shade of the Almighty.
My sister told me that her husband doesn’t know how to communicate, which is why I told her that maybe they should consult with relationship counseling. Well, I guess you’re right that they will be able to fix the matter if they’re willing to try making things better. You are also right that she must stay calm when her husband is showing negative behavior.
Lengthy, but really informative and really gives a deep insight. I hope I would be able to implement. Thanks and lots of love to you man !!
Thank you! I’m glad you found it beneficial 🙂
Thank God for leading me to your article. My marriage is so toxic that I feel so trapped. Now I understand that the change begins from me. And that he is not responsable for how I am feeling. Thank you for writing this article. I will stop being the victim and start changing my ways and be happy.
Hey Grace, I’m so glad that this guide helped you shift the most important and foundational perspective regarding “change”, that change begins with you and that you don’t have to live as a victim, rather you can make conscious life choices towards creating a better and more fulfilling life and relationships.
I hope and pray that things get better for you and your partner (and I have faith that they will, God-willing, now that you’ve taken a new and empowering path).
I have recently published another in-depth guide on building a healthy relationship with your partner.
I would highly suggest you check that out as well. Here’s the link:
A Complete Guide To Building A Healthy Relationship With Your Partner
Thank you so much for this article! I didn’t even realise how toxic I was until I had lost a person I love. Only then I started analysing my behaviours and habits. I can easily relate to most of the above points! I am working on myself, I can see the amazing progress, however I cannot overcome the pain that I hurt my loved one so much. I wish, I have seen this article before it was too late.
Hey Eva, hope you’re well.
We all have our share of tough experiences and mistakes, and that’s how we learn and grow wiser. The pain of losing the person you love can be hard to go through, and yet that might also be the turning point of life, a turn towards betterment and growth. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and begin to consciously forgive yourself. Now that you’ve begun to see, analyze, and started working on yourself, everything is going to be alright, believe me. Just keep learning and growing, and apply your learned wisdom to future relationship to create a fulfilling life for yourself and your partner.
I’m glad that you stumbled upon this guide, better be late than never 🙂
Wishing you health and wellness.
Excelente! Ahmed faraz khan me gustó mucho! Bendiciones …
Gracias Luis 🙂 blessings to you too!
I have a toxic relationship I really need your help
Hey Dineo, hope you are well.
I understand that you have a toxic relationship and this is the reason why I wrote this extensive article to help those who are stuck in troubled relationships. Study this guide and first thoroughly apply the suggestions, advice, and strategies mentioned.
If still, you want further one-on-one guidance and coaching, kindly look into the Life Coaching section of the blog here:
Thank you very much for the thoughts and the amount of effort you’ve put into this guide for people like us who need some answers or guidance in challenging times. I reqlly appreciate the way this is written from a perspective that both parties in the relationship could be toxic, instead of the other partner being toxic. I am going thru a difficult patch with a partner who has issues but it has made me realised too that I may have toxic traits that made things worse.
I don’t know if it is too late now to salvage the relationship but this has been a very enlightening read. I am sure it helps more people than you can know. Thank you very much.
I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing in your relationship. I really hope you both can work this out. It’s never too late to fix things when both people are willing to put the effort into fixing the relationship. It won’t be easy and it will take time, but it’s possible. I pray that God blesses you with whatever is best in your favor and eases the situation for both of you.
Thank you for leaving a generous comment, I’m glad this guide served you in some way.
This has been such a great and timely read. Tons of self-reflecting and self-redirecting. I’m grateful to come across your article. I would need a lot of mental work-out for the application, but which only means there’s so much to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your wisdom to us. Stay awesome! 🙂
You’re very welcome Abi 🙂 Glad you benefitted from it. I love how you put it, yes there is always so much to learn, unlearn, and relearn. There’s so much yet to discover, explore, and apply. In the rut of our everyday lives, we often forget that and that is why we sometimes feel stuck in our problems since we are unable to see other possibilities and solutions especially when it comes to our relationships.
It’s so important to stay open to learning, self-reflecting, and self-redirecting, as you put it. Can’t emphasize that enough. We often cannot control other people or circumstances, but we can strive to work on what is within our control and do our part, which might eventually expand and influence our surroundings (people & circumstances).
The sole purpose of this relationship guide (and the entire blog in general) is to provide a good variety of practical solutions, ideas, strategies, and insights to help one get out of the stuck and helpless state, and work towards empowerment that’ll enable you to make a shift.
Some amazing pearls of wisdom you’ve shared here. Thanks.
Thank you 🙂 I hope it benefitted you.
Thank you for such an extensive guide. Definitely worth the time.
hey glad you found it beneficial 🙂
Wow! I am absolutely amazed at how much wisdom you have when it comes to this topic! Was it from personal experience or through reading? This is definitely very helpful! Thank you and keep up the good work!
Hey Diana, hope you’re doing well. Thank you for such generous appreciation 🙂
Yes it’s mostly from real life experiences, that include my own personal life and the people I’ve coached. This guide literally took me somewhere around 4-5 weeks to complete and I still keep tweaking it from time to time when I gain some new insights or observations on this topic.
I was studying some of your articles and I think this website is really informative! Keep posting.
This is absolutely great!
May God continue to bless and empower you more and more with his wisdom, knowledge and understanding to render help to other humans in the name of Jesus Christ…Amen🙏
Thank you for such kind words Esther 🙂