Most of us know the experience of heartache or being taken advantage of. It’s not something we would wish on anyone, especially our close friends.
So, when we see someone close to us fall victim to a toxic relationship it’s only natural to want to rescue them from it.
However, it’s not always as simple as telling them what they should do or how they should leave. When it comes to toxic situations there is usually a lack of self–love and therefore an absence of confidence or direction, which in turn gives us the strength to break free.
So how do we support them in such a way that they learn to rescue themselves?
Here are 5 quick tips to help you guide them whilst still keeping your friendship intact:
1: Hold them accountable
Accountability may not always come across as love, but it is an action that helps keep things in perspective. In most cases, your friend will either be in denial or justify their partner’s actions. They may have moments of weakness, vulnerability or guilt, so it’s good to keep an eye on them and say something to help them see beyond the circumstance.
2: Remind them of their worth
When we lose our value, we fall prone to being taken advantage of. Encourage your friend daily with positive affirmations and help remind them of their own worth. We find strength when we realise just how valuable we are and what we are worthy of.
3: Set some boundaries
For the sake of your own happiness and the friendship, it’s important to set some boundaries. You don’t want to constantly be feeling drained or responsible for their progress or lack thereof. We cannot force people to make better choices, we can only guide, model and encourage them to do so. It’s easy for them to start to use you as a crutch, so just make sure you aren’t accommodating for their fear or lack of understanding to want to break free.
4: Suggest some exit plans
When we can bring achievable strategies into place, we feel more certain about the outcome. Do some brainstorming of how the toxic behaviour can be resolved, whether it’s going to a counsellor or getting financial advice. In times of emotional turmoil, the best thing you can do is up your emotional intelligence.
5: Know your limits
If your friend refuses your support or to get help and starts to play the victim, that is a sign that you need to walk away for a period of time. We cannot rescue people who don’t want to be rescued. Ultimately it is up to them to want to do the things necessary to break free.
However, helping them should never come at a cost of losing your own peace and happiness.