How To Stop Talking To Someone Who Is Unhealthy For You

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson
Updated October 12, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Free support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

For many, it can be challenging to stop talking to someone who doesn't positively impact their life. If you're involved in a close relationship with someone or they are a part of your family, you might love them, despite their impact on you. Although friendships and relationships can have occasional disagreements, it might be the healthiest option, in the long run, to end contact if you're in an unhealthy relationship with another person.  

Once you have decided that you do not want to talk to a person anymore it may be a good idea to think about the process of setting boundaries. Setting boundaries is a healthy aspect of living a stable life. Moreover, an unhealthy relationship can negatively affect your health, with increased stress leading to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and poor health. By learning strategies to end relationships that are no longer serving you, you can respect your needs and find healthier connections in the future. A transformational life coach or licensed therapist can help you move through this process.

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Communicating The End Of A Relationship

Romantic, platonic, and family relationships can all end. However, if you are interested in ending a relationship it is important to know that it may not be neat, easy, or pleasant. Healthy communication and conversation can be essential to a functioning relationship and can also aid in ending a connection. Identifying your communication style could empower you to speak up and allow you to feel comfortable leaving a relationship on your terms when the moment comes.

Forms Of Communication

The three classic forms of communication are passive, aggressive, and assertive. Many people use components of all three when putting thoughts into words and talking with others. 

The following are common traits of individuals who communicate passively:

  • Prioritizing the needs of others before their own

  • Talking in a soft or quiet voice  

  • Struggling to express their own needs and wants

  • Being prone to suggestion or manipulation from others 

  • Lacking confidence 

  • Having low self-esteem 

  • Maintaining poor eye contact with others 

The following are common traits of individuals who communicate aggressively:

  • Using criticism, dominance, and humiliation to control conversations

  • Speaking loudly or in an overbearing manner 

  • Becoming frustrated easily

  • Acting disrespectfully toward others

  • Refusing to listen to others or constantly interrupting others while they are talking or trying to explain something

  • Unwilling to compromise or negotiate with others

The following are common traits of individuals who communicate assertively:

  • Advocating for themselves (using direct language when expressing needs, wants, feelings, beliefs)

  • Listening to others without interruption while conversing

  • Standing up for their own or others' beliefs or rights

  • Displaying a confident tone while speaking

  • Willing to compromise and negotiate with others

Although how you communicate and respond during conversation may change in different situations or with different people, it can be healthy to know how you communicate most often. According to research, assertiveness is the healthiest out of the three styles and tends to be the most effective form of communication in social interactions. 

If you identify with traits of passive or aggressive communication, compare those trait descriptions to the ones listed under the list of assertive communication traits to consider how you might adjust your communication style. Assertiveness can take time to learn and develop, but anyone can form healthy communication styles. It can also help you interact with other adults at work and in daily life.

Once you have identified how you communicate, use the channels that make you most comfortable to end your relationship. It may be necessary to tell a person, either in person or by message, that you do not wish to continue a relationship, would like to stop talking, and have no interest in having further contact with them. After you have talked with the person take a moment to get some space and reflect on the conversation. If the person in your life is acting abusive or manipulative in any way, be prepared to stand your ground and take additional steps to stop further contact including blocking phone calls or reporting the issue to authorities.

If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for support. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.  

How To Focus On Yourself After Ending A Relationship 

In addition to handling any needed communication, try focusing on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Ending a complicated relationship can be stressful or feel sad, and you may benefit from self-care to help you feel comfortable.

While you may never forget the pain of ending a relationship, there are ways to improve your mental health and move forward. Below are a few suggestions and tips for ways to take care of yourself when you decide to end a relationship. 

Block Them On Social Media

If you end a relationship with someone and seeing them online makes you tempted to engage with them, consider unfollowing or blocking them on social media. If this person has accepted the end of the relationship and is not active online, you might be able to let them maintain an online connection. Do what feels best and healthiest for your situation. If the individual continues to message you when you asked them not to, blocking them may be the healthiest choice to stop the unwanted contact.

Build Self-Compassion And Self-Love

Show yourself the respect and gentleness you would offer a friend going through a difficult time. Remind yourself that you deserve rewarding, genuine, supportive relationships, and anyone who makes you feel otherwise or hurts your feelings may not be healthy for you. If you make a mistake or catch yourself wanting to return to an unhealthy relationship, keep in mind that you are human, and mistakes can be a natural part of life. Use this example as an opportunity to learn instead of being upset with yourself.

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Find Ways To Have Fun 

Life often requires seriousness and structure, but as you look for ways to recover from ending a toxic relationship, allow yourself to spend time on self-care and fun, either on your own or with trusted loved ones. As you schedule time for daily tasks and obligations, try to schedule a time to unwind and enjoy yourself. It can lift your mood and boost your confidence, helping you to feel good.

Participate In A Hobby Or Learn A New Skill

Consider returning to your hobbies, learning a new activity, or finding new coping methods. Beginning a new sport, class, learning a language, or developing a new craft are all potentially stimulating endeavors. Learning something new can help you improve your self-confidence and mood, engage with people, enhance your occupational skill set, or prepare you for a new job. Do research to find out more about projects or activities you may enjoy. For example, there may be online classes or a club you can hang out with in your city. You might write a short list of hobbies that you’re interested in and try them one by one.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise offers various mental and physical health benefits, including the following: 

  • Increased energy

  • Improved mood

  • Improved sleep patterns

  • Improved overall physical health

  • Enhanced cognitive ability

  • Decreased risk for cardiovascular disease

When you routinely exercise, your self-esteem may improve, and your anxiety or stress may decrease. Physical activity, like a morning run, can be a healthy outlet for releasing negative energy and pent-up emotions. It also allows you time to focus on yourself and your health instead of thinking about the person in your life. 

Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and sleeping well can improve your energy levels and strengthen your immune system. Eat well-balanced, proportioned, and regular meals with fruits and vegetables. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and try to decrease fast food outings or meals that contain large amounts of grease, sugar, or salt. 

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and high-fiber foods can help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and help increase your resilience to stress. In addition, try going to bed and waking up at the same time regularly. Reduce your sugar and caffeine intake before bedtime if you are having trouble getting to sleep and to help you get a whole night of rest. 

Avoid Using Substances To Cope With Life

Substances can worsen emotional distress after leaving a relationship. If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.

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Seek Professional Support 

If you are seeking advice or looking for answers on how to end an unhealthy relationship or how to stop talking to someone, you may already be on a path toward strength, independence, and improved mental health. Trust your instincts in recognizing a toxic relationship; know you deserve kindness and support. While it may be difficult, stopping communication with an unhealthy person can help you focus on yourself. 

Research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders reported a strong association between negative partner interactions and an increased risk for anxiety and depression. Even with trusted loved ones to help you through this painful kind of breakup, you may find that additional support is needed to keep your spirits and focus clear. A transformational life coach or another licensed mental health professional may be able to provide the guidance you deserve. If you struggle to find a therapist in this busy world within your budget or location, you might benefit from online therapy. 

Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp may be able to answer your questions while providing flexible, affordable, and effective online therapy. By choosing between phone, video, or live chat sessions, you can meet with a therapist from a location that feels safe to you and many therapists have flexible hours that can meet your needs. Research shows that online therapy can be effective in different circumstances and is often more affordable than in-person therapy

Counselor Reviews

"Mary Smith is very thoughtful and a great listener. I can tell she has a lot of experience dealing with many situations and people, which gives me comfort. She always stays on track with my concerns and goals, and always offers relevant suggestions and tools to help me to conquer issues. I definitely recommend Mary Smith to anyone who feels stuck in their toxic ways formed by difficult past experiences, but you want to overcome. I believe Mary has the skills to help someone who really wants to change for the better."

"Stacey is absolutely the best! She is very understanding, and I feel like she not only listens to me, I feel like she understands me and always helps me to find clarity and work through my problems. I hate that it's taken me so long to write this review because I've been working with Stacey off and on for almost 2 years now, but I can guarantee you that she's definitely gotten me through some extremely hard times and is also always there to encourage me even when things are going seemingly well and helps me to appreciate the small wins! From test anxiety, to fear of failure, to past bouts of depression, to help with toxic relationships, etc., she has helped me through it all! I will forever be grateful to her for helping me regain confidence and peace in my life."

Takeaway

If you have realized that you want to stop talking to someone who is unhealthy for you, you might benefit from additional support to learn about ways to stop talking to them and end the relationship. While assertive communication can be valuable, an online counselor may also help you handle a painful situation. Take the first step by reaching out to a professional for further guidance.

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