As much as we believe that there is true love out there, the special someone who will make us feel amazing and blessed, we also know that there are toxic people who damage us in more ways than we’re capable of imagining.

One type of those people are the control freaks, whose manipulation is so well-disguised that we’re not aware of it until it’s too late. But once we’re aware of the situation we’re in, it’s up to us to decide how to deal with it.

So, we gathered some steps that you should be prepared for if you’re stuck in a controlling relationship and thinking about leaving it.

1. Admit that you’re in a controlling relationship

This one may seem unnecessary, but most of us are not ready to admit that we’re in a controlling relationship. Even when we have all the signs pointing at it, we still hope that there could be some love left there, that it’s not all manipulation.

We still hope that we can work this through. If you’re considering leaving such a relationship, you have to assure yourself of a clean cut. In order to have one, you must to admit to yourself that you’re in a controlling relationship and it’s none of your fault.

2. List all the reasons why you should leave

Leaving manipulators is always hard and frightening because they have a way of making us believe that we will be nothing without them. What you need to do next is to find reasons for leaving them.

Think of all the things you used to love doing before you met your controlling partner. Think about doing them again, think about being that person again.

Think about all the people you lost because of this relationship. About spending time with your friends, about chatting with random men, feeling free and spontaneous. And if that’s not enough, think about not living in fear anymore.

Think about never feeling anxious about them anymore. Instead of worrying how he will react, you can finally enjoy your life to the fullest.

3. Gather support

You will need support because no matter how well-prepared you are, no matter how determined you are about leaving him, he’s still a manipulator.

He will still try to convince you into staying and that’s exactly the reason why you need to find support—whether it’s support you will give to yourself or support from friends and family.

The moment you confront him, you need to have them in your mind, their kind and encouraging words. You need to know that you’re being loved and wanted, even if he tells you otherwise.

4. Expect the unexpected

No matter what kind of confrontation we’re planning on, we always make sure that we are well-prepared. For this one, you’ll have to be prepared even more.

Make sure that he has nothing on you. If he threatens to cut your finances off, be prepared to have something on the side. If he threatens to throw you out of the house, have someone you can go to.

If he tries to manipulate you in any way into staying, stay firm and know your worth. Know why you’re doing this—chose yourself for once.

5. Follow through

Cut him out off your life. If he tries to reach out for you, block him. If he starts following you around, avoid him. Go to the police if necessary. If he tries to get back into your life, convincing you that he has changed, don’t do it.

No one can change overnight and no matter what he says, manipulators will stay manipulators. No love, no woman can change that.

Understand that ending a relationship isn’t just a one-time event, it’s a process. You will need time to heal, to erase him from your heart and mind.

You will need time to move on and that’s more than okay. Just remember that you always have the support of your friends and family, and you have support from thousands of women who survived the same thing.

6. Practice self-care

Don’t let him get the best of you. Take your time to heal because you may be damaged even more than you can see at the moment. Make small steps every day. Make sure you have your breakfast.

You take a walk every day or maybe just control yourself on only one glass of wine instead of the whole bottle. We all have different needs and methods in healing, so take your time and take care of yourself.

There’s a long road ahead of you, but you got this.

7. Understand that feelings can be mixed

You can still love him, even if he broke you. You can still miss him, even if he put you through hell. You can still want him back, even though you’re the one that left.

We don’t have power over our emotions, but we have power over our actions. It’s hard to forget someone you thought will be the One. It’s hard letting go of something you put so much of yourself into.

It’s hard giving up on one person you believed will never give up on you. Feeling broken, insecure and scared is completely normal, especially after what you’ve been through. Embrace your emotions and don’t let your fears hold you back.

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