Embracing Pain Today for a Healthier Tomorrow: Healing After Toxic Relationships for Professional Women
By Stephanie McPhail, MS, Toxic Relationship Recovery Expert.
There’s a powerful but often misunderstood adage that goes, “Just because it hurts after making a decision doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong decision.” Many of us have been on that emotional rollercoaster, where we commit to a decision only to retreat when we encounter the immediate pain it brings. This paradoxical pendulum swing, between the known pain of a toxic relationship and the unknown anguish of stepping into the new, keeps many professional women anchored in harmful situations.
Our brains are wired to shield us from pain, a primitive survival mechanism that often confounds our rational decision-making process. We convince ourselves that reverting to the status quo, however painful, is better than navigating the distress of change. In reality, this only prolongs our suffering and inhibits our personal growth.
In this article, we’ll explore why embracing temporary pain is crucial to healing after toxic relationships, the role of the ‘people pleaser’ mindset in perpetuating unhealthy dynamics, and the power of reconnecting with our intuitive ‘gut’ feelings.
From Ping Pong Effect to Progress
It’s natural to flinch at the sting of change, especially when it feels like self-inflicted harm. However, what we need to understand is that this pain isn’t indicative of a wrong decision, but rather a transitional phase towards healing and empowerment. Ignoring our needs and returning to the source of our distress won’t make things better, it just amplifies our unease over time.
The People Pleaser Trap
As professional women, many of us have mastered the art of people-pleasing in our pursuit of success. Unfortunately, this approach often extends into our personal relationships, where we sideline our own needs to make others happy. This might temporarily stave off conflict and discomfort, but it prevents us from standing up for ourselves and cultivating genuine happiness.
In toxic relationships, our desire to avoid causing pain to others can cloud our judgment and keep us stuck in unhealthy cycles. It’s essential to remember that your feelings, needs, and happiness matter just as much as the other person’s, and making the right decision for yourself isn’t a betrayal, but an act of self-love and respect.
Embracing Pain as a Pathway to Healing
Seeing pain as an ally rather than an enemy can be a game-changer in your healing journey. Instead of avoiding it, we need to embrace the temporary discomfort that comes with making the right decision. This pain isn’t a punishment; it’s a part of the healing process.
The pain of leaving a toxic relationship or setting boundaries is real and raw, but it diminishes over time. On the contrary, the pain of staying stuck in unhealthy patterns is a lingering poison, subtly undermining your well-being, self-esteem, and potential for happiness.
Rediscovering Your Gut Instincts
One of the most significant damages inflicted by toxic relationships is the disconnection from our gut instincts. We become so enmeshed in cycles of fear and self-doubt that we start misinterpreting our intuition, confusing fear for our inner voice.
Healing involves reclaiming this powerful tool. The more we attune to our gut feelings, the more we can differentiate between the misleading voices of fear and the genuine guidance of our intuition. This reconnection can be a beacon, guiding us towards healthier relationships and more fulfilling lives.
Beyond the Pain: Steps Towards a Happier Tomorrow
Breaking free from a toxic relationship and the pattern of people-pleasing can seem daunting, but with self-awareness, determination, and the right support, it’s entirely achievable. Here are some actionable steps to help you on this journey:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Begin by accepting your emotions, no matter how difficult they are. Dismissing or suppressing them only leads to more harm. Recognize that it’s okay to feel hurt after making a tough decision, and allow yourself to process these feelings.
2. Practice Self-Care: Devote time and energy to nurturing yourself. This can range from physical activities, such as exercising or pursuing a hobby, to mental exercises like meditation or journaling. These actions can help foster resilience and self-esteem.
3. Establish Boundaries: Healthy relationships are defined by clear boundaries. Define what is acceptable and what isn’t in your relationships, and learn to communicate these boundaries effectively. It’s crucial for your emotional health and self-respect.
4. Seek Professional Help: Sometimes, the journey can seem overwhelming, and that’s when a professional can provide invaluable guidance. A relationship coach or a therapist can help you understand your patterns, heal from past trauma, and build healthier relationships.
5. Trust Your Intuition: Learn to trust your gut feelings again. Your intuition is a powerful tool that can guide you away from situations and people that harm you and towards those that nurture your growth and happiness.
The journey to healing from a toxic relationship involves navigating the often uncomfortable terrain of personal growth, but you don’t have to walk it alone. Remember, it’s okay to feel pain when making decisions for your well-being, and it doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.
Embrace the pain as a sign of progress, and learn from it. Every step you take, no matter how small, brings you closer to a happier, healthier future. Listen to your gut, and stay committed to your well-being. Because you’re worth it, and happiness is within your grasp.
Don’t just live your life – thrive in it.
In addition to being a regular contributor to the #1 Online Magazine For Codependency Recovery, Stephanie and her husband David are a husband and wife coaching team who specialize in helping professional women with the guidance, support and tools to break the cycle of toxic relationships, end self-sabotage and become the best version of themselves, so they can create and attract the best that life and love have to offer. Their 10 week Brilliant Life Blueprint coaching program guarantees you’ll experience dramatic improvements in your life and relationships, or they’ll continue working one on one with you for free until you do: https://www.beinglovedshouldnthurt.com/brilliant-life-blueprint