I have a client I'll call Josie who has had three pregnancy scares in the last year. My initial advice was fairly simple, "Start using birth control, yo!" I'd helped Josie get out of a long-term, toxic relationship so she thought that if she quit taking birth control pills she'd be less likely to have casual sex and end up in another inappropriate relationship based solely on hormones and headed nowhere fast. But sex is a sticky-wicket for we mere mortals and the temptation proved to be too much three times in the last year and because she hadn't intended to have sex, birth control was forgotten in the heat of the moment.

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship: First, Remember ...

Addiction to a person is no different than addiction to a substance.All of the same symptoms can appear:
  • Descent into a shame-spiral about the addiction.
  • An inability to control your own behavior often participating in self-destructive, compulsive and furtive activities.
  • The loss of positive relationships with other family and friends.
  • Poor performance at school or work. And the list goes on.
Beating your addiction to the Asshat isn’t just mind over matter, but the first and most essential step toward recovery does come from your mind; which is admitting to yourself (and then to another person and/or supportive group) that you have a problem.

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship!

You know you're doing it, aren't you? Giving the Asshat credit for doing the absolute minimum required to keep a relationship trudging along? What do I mean by Asshat? This:
  • They don't call when they say they will.
  • They don't show up when expected.
  • They brood at social gatherings with friends and family.
  • You're fairly certain they're cheating on you in office cubicles, toilet stalls and perhaps even in your own bed.
These are all the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship. There are some people for whom the dyed-in-Charmin Asshat holds no charm. These emotionally healthy people kick Asshats to the curb once they've disappointed them for the very first time. Then there are the rest of us. We will suffer Asshats gladly for weeks, months, nay years at a time. I was an Asshat-magnet for approximately ten years. Asshats could sniff out my needy co-dependence from 100 miles away as the crow flies. And one of the things that kept me trapped in my Asshatalicious relationship FOR FIVE YEARS was my ability to take the Asshat's bread crumbs and whip them into a rustic loaf, because I absolutely wanted to make a case for staying in the relationship. For example: