How To UnSubscribe From A Toxic Relationship

I am notoriously bad at keeping on top of my e-mails. Yesterday I checked my personal account and discovered, to my horror, that I had over 3000 unopened e-mails. Of these I would estimate that 2985 of them were junk that, if I never ever read, I would still die a happy man. My account still looked a giant mess, however. So I decided to have a clear out for fear that buried deep within those 2985 is the one from an international publisher offering me a six figure advance for my as yet unfinished novel.

Because stuff like that happens, right?

As I began to wade through the electronic debris I realised that I was subscribed to numerous mailing accounts who regularly bombard me with communications that frankly I have little or no interest in. I must have been interested at some stage of my life, otherwise I would never have subscribed to them. Although I have no recollection of subscribing to a lot of them. Perhaps I was drunk at the time? Had my account been hacked? Companies selling my e-mail address to other companies?

In order to unsubscribe from these you have to open the e-mail, scroll down to the very bottom of it and hunt around for the minuscule ‘unsubscribe’ link which you then click. You then have to complete a questionnaire explaining to the company why you no longer wish to avail of their service before they graciously announce that your request will be processed within the next 7-10 days.

In the interim I will no doubt continue to receive more garbage from them. Just in case I have a Road To Damascus moment and decide to resubscribe again because life has proven unbearable without them. The entire procedure left me exhausted and a tad dejected. I felt as if I had let the team down. I could see the disappointment and disapproval etched on their faces. I had been made to feel guilty by an anonymous, automated mailing account.

You can only imagine then the problems I’ve had in recent years ‘unsubscribing’ from a number of relationships which I realised had become toxic and unhealthy for me. These were tortuous, complicated extractions where all manner of tactics were deployed in order to shackle and oppress me. Bullying, guilt and emotional blackmail were all utilised and I admit I fell hook, line and sinker for them on numerous occasions. Breaking free took a momentous effort.

These relationships were poisoning my perception and knocking my moral compass out of the ball park. They were incredibly bad for me yet I hung onto them for grim life. I was miserable and unhappy but it took me a long time to realise that they were the primary reason I felt so. I only realised this when I finally cut the cord. The scales dropped from my eyes and I saw the damage and pain that these relationships had been causing myself and the people who truly cared for me.

If you find yourself in a toxic relationship and what I have written strikes a chord then my simple message to you is this – GET OUT! It can be a relationship with of a person; it can be a relationship with food, pornography, alcohol, drugs, anything. Make the cut. Make it quick and make it clean. Because it is a one way relationship of take and no give. The other party is sucking your soul dry. You do not have to justify your self worth and value through them or it. You are better than that.

It won’t be easy. Dragging yourself from quicksand never is. But if you look around you will see others willing to reach out and pull you free. They might be people you have known your entire life. They could be complete strangers. But they are there and they are waiting. The rest is up to you. Either sink back into in the sands of narcissistic abuse and scramble back into the life you were born to live. Choose well. Choose wisely.

Have you escaped a toxic relationship? Or are you currently ensnared in one? We would love if you could share your thoughts and experiences with our online community. Just comment below and get involved.

46 thoughts on “How To UnSubscribe From A Toxic Relationship

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  1. Oh my goodness …. I am living a parallel life with you. I have to explain. I spent yesterday in the garden with my iPad deleting twenty one thousand messages, posts etc etc … that is 21,000 !! That’s from January to date. It has taken me until this morning to get rid of them all … I couldn’t work out how to block delete them. You see I read everyone’s posts through the WordPress website and haven’t been using the GMAIL email account thingy that I guess I’m supposed to do … so they had rather mounted up. I then panicked that I’d deleted a message I sent to you and you might have replied (!) so put your name into ‘search’ and your latest blog came up on … DELETING EMAILS! Hilarious! Anyway, I shall now read your latest post properly and please forgive me if I’ve accidentally deleted any messages to/from you. Katie

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    1. Great minds think alike lol. I thought 3000 was bad. Shame on you. I got your e-mail. Sorry only got replying to it this morning. Let me know what you think of the post when you get round to reading it properly.

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      1. I am not saying I am totally toxic. But I have just acknowledged that I go through patterns where I need to purge some defects of mine through specific experiences. Which explains a lot of what has happened to me….

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  2. I have ‘unsubscribed’ from a few toxic relationships friendships and relationships over the years and it’s definitely as hard as going through the Trouble of unsubscribing from a mailing list but so glad I did it because my life is much more comfortable and calm from doing so xo

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  3. This is good … I have had various “friend culling” sessions in the last couple of years. They were not friends to me. They used me and put me down in order to boost their own morale and confidence. Why and how did they suck me into their lives? I don’t really know, except that I was in a fairly low place and vulnerable. They took advantage of that and pushed and pushed me until I was no better than the dirt under their feet. I don’t think that I could actually see what was going on before my eyes and it took someone else spelling it out to me before I realised. Eventually I ended the friendships. There are some pretty bad people out there and there will always be vulnerable ones too. Sadly there is only one outcome. Katie

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          1. The problem I have with cremation relates back to an old Bond film where our hero is trapped in a coffin with the flames only inches away. Arghh! I think just pushing me out to sea would be better. A Viking burial minus the fire. 🛶

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  4. When ending a crazy-making, long-term toxic relationship, it can take time to root out the remnants that arise to blight one’s life. Practicing “thought-stopping” can assist. Someone attending a self-help group offered a statement they had found effective: “I won’t give that person free rent inside my head.” Repeating something like this reminds you that the toxic person cannot now control your life.

    Used consistently, thought-stopping is an effective way to break habits of thinking. A classic example is provided by the character Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With the Wind. Scarlett is something of a toxic person herself, and she uses thought-stopping throughout the story mainly to stifle her conscience, but her essential humanness is illustrated by her need to cope with stressful obsessive thoughts and compulsive worries, too. The author accurately describes the thought-stopping process and its results: ‘She had become adept at putting unpleasant thoughts out of her mind these days. She had learned to say, “I won’t think of this or that bothersome thought now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Generally when tomorrow came, the thought either did not occur at all or it was so attenuated by the delay that it was not very troublesome.’ (Chapter XI)

    Another thought-stopping tactic is to think, or, even better, say aloud, “No!” (Shout it, if necessary.)

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  5. Good for you! Unsubscribing from emails is time consuming but I find it freeing. This subject is a tough one for me because I am a listener and an encourager by nature and toxic people are very attracted to that type of personality. I have had to cut out one long term friend and it caused me extreme guilt and self-doubt but I’m so thankful God helped me through it. And then I met a new running friend with almost the same toxic behaviors, but significantly more twisted and skilled at it. I was able to distance myself faster from that one. I feel sad for them but I can’t let them destroy me and they will. Sadly, I am married to a very negative and somewhat toxic person, but at least he has some good traits. It’s hard to know what to do when it’s your spouse and father of your children. I pray a lot.

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  6. I left a toxic relationship years ago. At the time, I really couldn’t see it for what it really was. Things were okay at first but then a year into the relationship, I saw signs but ignored them, thinking that I was giving up too easily. He would yell at me, say I was too sensitive, and would criticize my personality. I was shy and had low self-esteem back then so I didn’t stand up for myself. I didn’t really know how to communicate. Whenever something went wrong, he liked to blame me and the world. Eventually it all became tiresome and draining. My family warned me that he didn’t respect me but I wasn’t trying to hear it. I was with him for 6 years (the yelling wasn’t for the entire 6…maybe for a year? But still…). Finally, God gave me the strength and courage to leave. Once I did, that was it. And once I left, I could FINALLY see how bad this relationship was.

    Last I heard, he was dating a former friend of mine. A couple of years ago, she had posted a partial pic of him on Facebook and I thought, “Why does her new guy look familiar? Hey, wait a minute!” LOL. I’m got out when I did. No telling what else he would’ve done esp. with her if we were still together.

    I can definitely relate to having to unsubscribe from a lot of emails. I sign up for stuff because it looks interesting but then I don’t have time or the desire to read them. I think I have 4,000 and something unread. Time to do a purge.

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  7. I have had to learn to set healthy boundaries with some “friends” and sometimes that involved cutting them out of my life for a time and maybe even forever, depending on them. It was difficult when I was more of a people-pleaser. Now though, it’s easier for me to see when people aren’t good for me, or when I might need to draw a few boundaries with them so that we can remain friends. I call it “friends with boundaries,” and I still do struggle sometimes because I’m such an “all or nothing” type of person. I’m learning that there are some friendships that aren’t meant to be deep, but those friendships can still be meaningful and valuable.

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  8. Oh yes, and life has never been better. It was scary at first. By the grace of God I was able to break from it, though they are occasional after shocks but they’re just annoyance now. I turn my head and shake it off like Taylor Swift said.

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  9. I was blessed and fortunate years ago to leave a toxic relationship…and then God brought my husband and I together.

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  10. Thoroughly enjoying your posts. How we can all relate to those thousands of emails we just couldn’t live without subscribing to at some point. I’m probably one of the select few that has a second thought when they start asking “Are you sure you want to unsubscribe?” Then I start thinking, “Maybe I’m not thinking so clearly about unsubscribing to this Allrecipes subscription. What if I decide to actually start cooking one day..”. It’s ridiculous the things I tell myself.. congrats on the one year mark!!! 👏🏻👏🏻🙏🏻

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  11. I have had several toxic relationships in my life. Some I have left behind without regret. Others still have their hooks in me. One of the hardest aspects for me is I hate to see this person fail. Once upon a time, we were as close as family. This is no longer true, but I still have a great deal of hope for her and I just cannot bear to see her suffer.

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  12. One by one i am removing every single bit of toxicity from life. I have come off several platforms of social media. I feel these sites do people no good what so ever. I find it laughable.

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  13. Thank you for a wonderful insight! That’s right. If you’re in a toxic relationship, GET OUT. Thanks mostly for reiterating the right decision i’ve made. For several months now, I ave decided to go out of a toxic relationship with my first boyfriend (we lasted for 5.5 years!). It hurts at first but God helped me heal ever since. Now, I am going back to my real self, bringing this peace in my heart. ❤

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  14. Reading this after severing ties from a toxic friendship. As a Christian, O struggle between, am I doing the right thing, should I just forgive and trying make amends and forgive and put down the boundaries. I am sticking to the latter while volleying back and forth about ‘is there a better way to deal with toxic people? Or just forgive and move on.’

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