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How to recognise and remove toxic relationships

Marianne Vicelich
Relationship coach, Marianne Vicelich

Acclaimed self-help author & relationship coach, Marianne Vicelich shares her tips for recognising and removing toxic relationships.

Toxic Relationships Gets Attention

Since drama uses the same mechanisms in the brain as opiates people can come easily addicted to drama. It causes the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to secrete endorphins which are pain-suppressing and pleasure-inducing compounds which opiates mimic.

Thereby drama eases the anxiety of wanting more attention than you are getting. Like any addiction, you build up a tolerance that continuously requires more to get the same neurochemical effect.

This means that you need more and more drama to get the same thrill.

Aim To Find Alternative Solutions

If you are looking for attention, can you get it more directly? If you are bored, what new adventure can you create to your life? The first important step in ‘detoxing drama’ from your life is to recognise and acknowledge it.

Become Aware of a ‘Drama in the Making’

toxic relationship warning signs

Awareness enables you to detach from pre-programmed thoughts and emotions so you can observe your actions.

You then realise that your thoughts, and the emotions they produce are dysfunctional and unnecessary.

Once you can observe your actions, in the present moment as they occur, you are able to respond from a rational mind, rather than react from false, elevated emotions.

Find a person who is honest, and cares enough about you to tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. Use creative outlets to lessen your baseline stress levels such as meditation or yoga. Act as if you are not a drama addict and a compulsive attention seeker and the more you do that the more efficiently those neurons will fire.

Change Your Perspective

A lot of drama takes place in our heads, and it’s usually because we are too deeply immersed in a difficult situation to recognise it isn’t as dire as it seems.

If you see yourself getting overwhelmed by a situation, step back and realise this feeling isn’t permanent – nothing is. Then focus on action steps – on the things that you can control.

Don’t Feed into Other People’s Drama

If someone repeatedly comes to you with catastrophes, give yourself a window of time when you will listen, then take care of your own needs by walking away. Take an inventory of which people in your life leave you feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not. If you don’t want to completely remove a toxic relationship, minimise the time you spend together.

A lot of drama comes from poor communication and confusion. Eliminate it by finding the courage to say exactly what you mean. It may be harder in the moment, but it can save a lot of heartache in the long run.

Sometimes what we are labelling as drama is just someone who really needs us. Instead of expelling mental energy judging the situation as good or bad, focus on being there and being a friend in the moment.

Learn From Toxic Situations

Sometimes it seems like drama happens to us, and we are powerless to remove ourselves from the cause. Another perspective is that every time we find ourselves immersed in something that seems overwhelming, we have an opportunity to learn how to deal with challenges better.

Life will always involve mini fires that we feel desperate to put out. If we can learn from them and our encounters with toxic people, they may be actually be able to light our way in a more constructive and positive way forward.


Marianne Vicelich is a highly acclaimed self-help author, relationship coach, philanthropist,

and entrepreneur. Her books merge empowering psychology with realistic and tangible verse. Marianne teaches women of all ages the importance of self-love, forgiveness, fearlessness and courage.

Marianne Vicelich is paving the way for a new genre of self-help inspirational books for girls and women who would not be caught dead reading self-help.

Destruction – Free Yourself from The Narcissist by Marianne Vicelich shows you how to liberate yourself from draining personal relationships with narcissists and regain a sense of peace, balance and well-being in your life. Marianne Vicelich will help you identify, cope with, and ultimately overcome the destructive behaviour of narcissists.


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