Most of us have been through a break-up, but when it’s from a toxic relationship you can need a little extra tlc. And if you know a friend who has been through this, your support will be invaluable.
Have you ever noticed how a simple hug from your loved ones makes your day? And how an ‘I’m there for you’ on a hard day makes you feel loved despite all odds? In case you have, you know that a happy relationship is very important. When you know that the relationship you share is only making you a better person, you learn to live better.
But not every relationship is like this. And like, ‘Every coin has two sides’, relationships also have another side to them. Some of them are a terrible place to be. It is better for people to walk out of such relationships and break their own hearts. Otherwise, the relationship is going to break them apart daily.
Sadly, toxic relationships are not rare anymore. In fact, many of us have experienced at least one. Once you’re out of a toxic relationship, you realize all that you’ve lost during it. From your brightest smile to your peace of mind, everything seems forgotten. People in such relationships are more likely to indulge in self-punishment too. Hence, toxic relationships drain out the best from any person.
If you have friends who have recently been through the same, you already know what I’m talking about. Not only that, you have been trying to be there for them, but not at the cost of making things worse. You are trying but you don’t know what’s going to bring them back. You’ve only been hoping for a livelier version of them. You’ve been noticing the changes that your friend has undergone. And you’ve been trying to help them but everything seems sceptical.
The situation is delicate, but you have to stand by them. After all, your friend needs you the most right now.
Here’s what you can do:
Listen to what they have to say
Don’t talk over them. Don’t stop them. Sometimes, all they need is a listener. Listen to what they have to say about themselves, their other half or the relationship. Let them talk it out. Be supportive. Assure them that you will give them a listening ear whenever they need one. You might want to say something, but let them complete first. Be a listener, before anything else.
Don’t judge their story
Don’t judge what they’ve been living or feeling. Rather, ask them about it. Avoid phrases like: “You could have done this” or “Oh, it must be like this!”. Instead, be nice enough to figure out how they feel about things. Or how do they look at their own story? Chances are, they already know what went wrong and what could have been. Hear them out. They’ve lived the experience, so they’ll know it much better.
Communicate with them and be honest
Talk to them and keep talking. Tell them that you are concerned and what you think could be a solution. But be gentle about it. Don’t overindulge yourself and intrude on their personal space. Don’t go overboard with your opinions and observations. Rather be honest. Voice your thoughts and back it up with a logical explanation. Don’t tell them sweet lies or give them false hopes. If you think they are depressed, make sure they are getting the right support.
Don’t blame or criticise
Attacking or criticising their ex partner won’t help. The chances are that your friend will start defending him/her. This way, you are only going to push your friend back into the loop they are trying to come out of. Don’t criticise your friend, either. Avoid saying, “I told you this would happen” or “You should have listened to me”. Let them figure out things themselves.
Find other things to discuss
Converse and communicate but just don’t keep talking about what went wrong. What’s gone is gone, and is not coming back. Stop bringing it up over and over again and reminding your friend about it. Avoid talking about topics that lead you to the same old loop. Communicating your opinions once is enough to air your concerns. Instead, talk about the brighter things and the regular stuff.
Help them rebuild their lost confidence
It is natural to feel lost and defeated after a bad experience. Your friend may not want to do a lot of things they loved doing before. They might have lost interest in partying or investing in an old hobby. You have to motivate them and gently persuade them into things that will help them move on.
Tell them it is all okay
After all, it is all okay. Isn’t it? We all make mistakes, don’t we? You know you’ve done this too. You know what it was like and how nothing changed after that either. You know there’s a way out. And you’ve to tell your friend the same. Tell them that it is alright to lose people. It is alright to fail. It is alright to be hurt. It is fine to have our own lessons. And that everything is eventually going to be okay.
Keep a check and stand by them
Keep returning to them with ” How are you feeling?”. This simple gesture might not cost you anything. But will make sure that your friend is aware of your presence. Let them know that you’re always a text or a call away. Don’t distance yourself from them. Rather, be compassionate and make sure that you are always there when they need you.