The Empath Way of Saying Goodbye to a Toxic Relationship

As an Empath, our relationships with others have the ability to greatly affect our moods in an extreme way. A particularly needy friend or a toxic relationship has the ability to drain our souls from the inside out. Therefore, we have to be picky and choosy about who we let into our lives because we can go from bubbly and alive to dark and down quicker than others. I believe this ability is related to energy transference where we can absorb the emotions of others and sense what is needed quicker than other people. In effect, we can become more intimate and close with others in a shorter period of time, but this perceived closeness can also blindside us to warning signs that we bypass along the way.

Because we feel others emotions, we may not realize it until we wake up one morning and feel particularly drained because Empath’s have the ability to absorb more negative emotions than other people. We struggle with learning the balance of give and take and often when we realize how emotionally drained we really are,  we are already running on emotional fumes.

However, in every relationship I have ever been involved with, saying goodbye is often not easy. Even when both of us want the relationship to end, there is always some linger, because it has been a very intense ride. We make a lasting impact on people in our own way, and sometimes create a co-dependance based on our constant giving nature.

So when we get into a relationship that is toxically draining, what is the best way to say goodbye?

The Art of Slow Retraction. 

So just what is the Art of Slow Retraction?

It is the art of moving backwards and forwards at the same time. Going cold turkey for an Empath usually results in the other person feeling abandoned and out of control. As we can feel the pain of others, leaving a relationship brings about two sets of pain: our own and our partner.

I used to be bad about this and stay in the relationship even when I knew it was beyond done, hoping and praying that they would make the first move to leave. It took me years to realize that the fear of hurting someone else and not leaving caused more damage and pain to the other person than vice versa. When it’s over, it’s over.

Every day we sit around in a relationship that is not going to work out is one more day both of us could have been devoting to find a relationship that could be working out! That is not fair to ourselves or others to do this! However, remember, every relationship is different – if you need to get out cold turkey because of mental, physical, or emotional abuse, don’t let the article stop you! This is just for those that have recognized a relationship is negative and are not sure of the best way to proceed.

The Art of Slow Retraction requires two steps to the side and then forward

1. Step to the Side. The two steps to the side represent the acknowledgment of distance. Slowly start putting distance between each other. If you talk everyday at 5:00pm on the phone, change this pattern to every other day. Start putting distance in the relationship before it ends. This allows both you and the other to gradually start establishing new routines. This should commence for 2-3 weeks on average.

2. Start Walking Forwards. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Clear your head and re-fuel your emotional gas tank so you have the energy to end the relationship. Remember, you will be feeling two sets of pain: you and the other person. Therefore, you need to be emotionally-filled and ready to be strong as your strength .

3. Have a Plan Executed. If you are ending a relationship with a negative coworker, that is different than a romantic partner. Some relationships can never fully end like in the case of family. However, boundaries of distance can be the solver that makes the relationship work out in the long run. The key is to formulate an effective strategy for your relationship so when the conversation of distance transpires, you are able to carry-forward.

The Art of Slow Retraction is designed to work with the inertia of change rather than against it. For an Empath, conserving emotional energy through the process of change is essential…remember, we don’t have the luxury of just feeling our own painful emotions…therefore, we need to flow with the river change rather than work against it!

One comment

  1. I have never really heard of the “Art of Slow Retraction” before but it’s really interesting and makes a lot of sense. I can see it really being helpful to someone trying to exit a toxic relationship. Unfortunately I wish I had known about it when I was trying to get out of a horrible relationship a few years ago. I did, thank God and I am much happier now, but advice like this would have helped. I hope it will help others.

    Liked by 1 person

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