#6| The Toxic Rut: How Can You Get Out Of It?

How do you get over a situation where you feel like you’re stuck, as long as you are present there physically?

A toxic relationship. The person you are only dating for two years and not moving forward. An unhealthy friendship. Love not reciprocated back.

It is a maddening dilemma, and thinking about this rationally is sometimes impossible. In solitude you think you’ll act a certain way, but then you get into the situation again, and all your resolution melts away.

It’s damn hard. You’ll find reasons to justify your behavior to stick to the situation, no matter how messy it is, because being in that situation gives you pleasure, a feeling of excitement. It gives that momentary flood of Dopamine and Serotonin inside your brain.

But it’s actually toxic and eroding your persona over time. You can feel yourself changing for the worse. However in the moment you console yourself that a little change is not that harmful.

Slowly, this change digs into you like a river carves a canyon, deeper and deeper, until there’s no easy way out. You still say to yourself, “It’s not that hard. I can still get out of this when I want. Let me feel happy in this situation right now. Let’s see what happens.” But you don’t get out of it.

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Being in a toxic situation also means you are compromising your integrity, your values and morale, your dignity and sense of justice.

To explain, maybe that situation is creating harm for you and for others, but in that fleeting pleasurable moment, you don’t find yourself caring about that. You find the harm a non-priority, a secondary variable in your list of important things in life.

You can even foresee a bleak future if you keep going down that damned path, but you stubbornly keep promising yourself that you will deal with the consequences.

From an outside perspective, one might argue that it is so unlike you, that it is clearly wrong and obviously you should get out of it as soon as you can.

But once you get too close to the matter, you’ll realize that this pleasure creates something akin to an artificial environment of addiction. You’re drunk. To you, everything is “fair in love and war”.

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So how to get over this?

Here are some of the solutions I think might help in the short and long term.

Short term solutions:

  1. Be very conscious about what you are doing. Don’t empower your subconscious and your impulses. I know it is very hard, but you have to start here. Stop yourself from making rash decisions. Stop talking with that person. Everyday it will seem almost impossible to restrict yourself, but see that as a challenge which you have to achieve. Tell yourself repeatedly that you cannot give in to temptation.
  2. Practice makes better, if not perfect. Keep practicing every day. Wake up every morning and take a verbal resolution to yourself that you’ll not get involved in it. Make it your mantra, make it your habit.
  3. Ignore the texts and calls that beckon you into that situation. Block them if feasible.
  4. Whenever you are feeling low or down, you’ll feel the need to rush into that bubble to be more comfortable. That is only a temporary hit, and you know it. So instead of doing that, seek comfort in people who can genuinely help you. If none are there for you at the moment, go out and take a walk, force yourself to start watching a movie or a sleuth of funny videos on the internet. There are hundreds of things you can distract yourself with.
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  5. Make out a list of those things you love doing, that gives you actual happiness or a sense of accomplishment. Keep that list in front of you. Read that everyday for a minute. The more you read it, the more you’ll find that list handy during the lows.

 

Long term solutions:

  1. Distraction will serve for so long. Now what you need is something constructive. Work on something you can build on and feel a sense of achievement from it. Focus is on your work now, a bit everyday. Once you achieve something, you’ll feel so empowered that you’ll be ready to take on the world!
  2. Make it a habit to wake up as early as possible. Ban late night shenanigans, because for the whole day afterwards, you will feel too lazy to go about your day and achieving something. Go to sleep early, have a comfortable 6-8 hours of rest, and wake up energized, go to Gym… start your day!

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  3. At least once a week, go out and socialize with people you don’t interact with that often. It accomplishes two things. Firstly, you are going into a new environment, providing a fresh breeze in our monotonous life. Secondly, you get to interact with people and exchange new concepts, ideas, discussions and experiences. We will always be enriched by this, and gradually start to see our lives too from other perspectives. The world is much bigger than what goes inside our heads.
  4. Start reading, if you are remotely interested by it. Maybe you don’t have time, and you can only spare for things that is related to your work. It’s all good, read that! Develop that habit. Finishing a book in itself brings a sense of accomplishment, and in the process, you might be wiser and doing yourself a favor!
  5. Bring your family into the loop. They are the people you can always count on. They will never betray you, but support you in times of crisis. Whenever you have bouts of depression or cannot make up your mind, consult them. If you don’t have a stable dynamic with your family, or do not have one, then confide in that person who is almost like a family substitute. But never feel like you have to head out into the unknown alone. You have help all around you. Just look.

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The most essential step you can take RIGHT NOW is forget that person, that situation.

And going back to that person after the situation has died down, usually doesn’t lead to anything good and stable. The same problems will crop up, and you’ll spiral down that same path again. Life is too short for repeating the same mistake over and over. Try to really MOVE ON by following these little tips. If you have got any other advice in mind, please share below in the comment section. Would love to hear from you! Thanks!

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