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Getting out of a toxic relationship

Community Member

I have been in a relationship with my partner for 16 years. I love and think the world of him. However, I have reached my limit and have decided that enough is enough and it’s time to let go.

The last few years were hard. The worst is that I realised I have been emotionally abused and weren’t even aware of it. He always appeared to be very charming and kind, that he would go through length to make someone feel special and loved. But behind all the nice and considerate gestures are the constant criticism, contempt and stonewalling.

I used to feel I am responsible for everything because he guilted trip me on everything. To the point where I thought I were the most useless, self centred and good for nothing person. Everytime we had a fight, I used to run after him begging because I couldn’t imagine a life without him and that maybe I can’t survive on my own if he isn’t around.

One of my good friend introduced me to a therapist a couple of years ago. And she made me realised self worth and that everyone deserved to be treated with respect and love. He took me for granted and felt entitled for everything that I gave unconditionally. I supported his dream, ambition and career while putting myself second yet nothing is ever enough. A set back and next thing I know I am responsible for all things that went wrong with his life.

He resents me for making him settle down and start a family, ruining his life and opportunity. But the truth is in the last decade, i constantly supported him financially and emotionally and enabled all stepping stone opportunities for his career and life. I admired his talents and would happily continue to support his ambition if he weren’t taking everything for granted ..or at the very least appreciate the compromises and support that I gave him.

I feel much relieved now that I have decided to walk away. But time to time I would feel very upset and when I think about all the good things we had, I can’t help but feel shaken and shattered. I guess getting over a long term relationship isn’t easy considering we are still in the same house because of covid lock down.

Can anyone be kind enough to share how to move on gracefully and how long it would take to get over this ? And also how to avoid falling back to the trap ( I kept letting him to come back over and over hoping it would change and it will get better but I realised now it won’t )

33 Replies 33

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hi Mooioio,

I'm really happy that you were able to take a step outside of the relationship and recognise it for what it was- emotionally abusive. That's a huge step to take.

You really did a lot for this person and it's a shame he can't see that. When I was in councilling I said I do so many good things and the councillor replied, abusive ppl don't see what you are doing.

Considering you were together for a long time it will also take a long time to get over it and let go. As you said there were also good times. Your grief will be unique to you. Some ppl never fully get over things but you can learn to live with them. I personally hope you do get over him quickly.

It doesn't sound like he treated you right which could give you ammunition to get over him faster. I'd want him out of my system asap.

To not fall into the trap of letting him back in I'd suggest writing down the negative aspects of the relationship and keep those in mind.

A lot of people in abusive relationships stay bcas they think they will change &/ or get better but the sad reality is this rarely happens. In more cases they actually get worse.

You wouldn't be leaving if things were good.

Nurture yourself through the grief, surround yourself with supportive people and focus on hobbies and things you like so you have other things in your life to keep occupied.

It's not going to be easy fully letting go but I think you are doing the right thing for you.

Call in anytime


Community Member
Your post could so well be describing my life right now. Thankyou for being so eloquent in your description. I am still in the relationship and have been for twice the time you have been in yours. I couldn't get out, for many reasons. Now, I am so confused and I cant stop the noise in my head. It is a constant questioning of whether I am the problem or not. "Am I overthinking things? Could I have got all this wrong? Is he actually a really good person and I just have high expectations? Am I just being unfair? No one will believe me even if I tried to tell them, because he is so popular and charming to everyone? And there is no outward damage to show. And now, he is working on building his relationship with the kids, so they may not believe me either? " ....But then, the flashbacks start - all the yelling, the abuse, the anger, the aggression, the arrogance, the emotional blackmail, the put downs, the sarcasm, criticisms, the accusations of all the wrondoing...it was and is always my fault, everything. His failure in life, his tarnished reputation, everything is my fault, eventhough in reality, I am the one who has supported him. .all the times I was left feeling like nothing more than a dirty rag, wrung dry and left to rot in the corner of the room...all the days I started to take off work, because I just had nothing left in me to do anything or function normally....the time I tried to take my life, because I could not face him another day, and also because I really believed I was wasting the space that I occupied on this earth. I survived of course. I don't know what to do anymore and i have left it till all this time, I now no longer know what is right and what is wrong. I cant concentrate on anything...everywhere I turn, it is always these thoughts that end up taking over my mind, no matter how much work I need to get through. I am always late finishing my tasks, because concentration is so impossible. I hate this situation and I do not know how to get out of it. I am afraid of what drama he will cause and how much disturbance he will create with all the people around me. And now as I write this - I am left with guilt - maybe I am doing the wrong thing even saying all this...maybe I have just got it all wrong.....may he is right and I really am the bad guy here.......

Hey Saraz,

Welcome to the forums, and thanks for reaching out to our community today. We are so sorry to hear about your situation. We understand that after so many years in this relationship it must be really difficult to know what to do. Please know that you are strong, valuable and you have a right to live free from abuse. We are also currently getting in touch with you through email as we are worried about you. 

We would strongly urge that you contact 1800RESPECT. They offer confidential information, counselling and support 24/7 for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. The lovely supportive counsellors have a lot of experience offering advice to people in your situation. You can contact them anytime on 1800 737 732 or visit https://www.1800respect.org.au/

If ever you feel unsafe, please contact triple zero and ask for the police. 

We know it has taken courage for you to share your story today, so thank you. We hope that you can find some comfort here in the forums and if you feel up to it, you are also welcome to create a new thread to expand on your story, and our community will be able to offer you as much support, advice and conversation as you need.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hi Saraz,

You do not deserve domestic violence and being made to feel like the bad guy. It does sound like you're overthinking things.

They break you down, make you feel insecure, and reliant on them. Abusers are scary. I've had my fair share of abuse throughout my life. When I left such a big weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could breath again. Walking on eggshells is now a thing of the past.

Sorry to hear of both of your situations.

It's so good and healthy to talk about your situations and I'm really glad you are letting us know and reaching out. As hard as that can sometimes be.

The best thing I ever did was leave. It's not us it's them. They're the perpetrators of abuse making us feel small, chipping at our self worth, confidence and self esteem. They can make us doubt ourselves.

There is no excuse for abuse.

Saraz, do you know what you want to do? Do you want to leave this relationship? If you do there is a lot of support for you to make this transition. 1800 respect are an excellent starting point.

By overthinking things I meant the constant questioning and noise in your head. Sorry, I just reread your post...hope I haven't upset you.

Community Member

Dear Sophie,

Your lightning fast response and email literally brought tears to my eyes. I dont know how to thank you properly for such a compassionate show of support. It made me feel validated about what I have constantly been denying - that it is not ok to live in such a relationship. Your responses have filled me with hope and I will respond for sure. For now, I just wanted to assure you that I am ok and safe (maybe mentally spent) but physically ok. I had only thought of reaching out via your forum today out of sheer desperation and now I can see why I should have done this a long time ago. Thankyou again and again - really feeling very blessed.

Community Member

Hey Saraz,
How are you doing? I hope you are doing ok. Of course I understand how confusing the whole situation for you. I am also constantly back and forth in my head “Maybe I shouldn’t have done it this way, maybe I shouldn’t have said this and that …and maybe I really the one who contributed to the issues that we were having”….but do not let him put words in your thoughts.
But really, it doesn’t matter what he tells you, there is no right or wrong in this kind of situation. And noone deserved to be treated badly, everyone deserved to be heard and felt. And if they are that charming and kind and wonderful then they should have been even kinder to you and not putting you down constantly.
You have been more than wonderful and kind to try to understand his point of view and even taking the responsibility for what went wrong. And he is very lucky to have your support. But he does not deserve you. I know it is always easy said that done as I’ve always been on and off for a long time. I too also give people too much benefit of the doubts and hoping when he achieve this, or when I do this or if I change that it will be better…but I think you have been trying really hard so hard for such a long time as well. It’s time to think about yourself more. Please take care and reach out whenever you need too.

Hey Saraz,

Thank you so much for letting us know that you're safe, and we're really glad that reaching out here has made such a positive impact. We're all here to help you through this, so please do feel free to continue reaching out and expressing your thoughts and feelings here on the forums whenever you feel up to it.

Community Member

Thankyou to everyone who is showing me so much kind support. I am feeling very very overwhelmed and ever so lucky. I have no other words except to say, love to you all. You are all such beautiful and compassionate people.