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How to Cope with the Toxic Past?

Written By:
Syra Salam

Life is truly not a bed of roses as one has perceived in childhood or what social media portray nowadays. It’s a package of bitter-sweet days. As we move forwards with life, we form various relationships. Some are the ones that bring smiles to our faces. Meeting whom is therapeutic, and we look forward to the days. At the same time, some relationships for a few people out there have nothing to offer except for the scars of the toxic bond. Even if one is lucky to escape the toxic relationship, the past memories are haunting enough to make life miserable. Here we will discuss ways ‘How to cope with the toxic past.’ We will highlight the specific qualities that the survivor of abuse should inculcate to move on with life.

Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic Abuse is the term used by professionals to depict the negative effects of being involved with a narcissist. Abuse can be of various forms. Abuse can take the form of psychological abuse, mental torture, physical or sexual exploitation. The person with a narcissist mindset and attitude will go to any length to cause visible or invisible harm to the victim. But, on the other hand, the victim will, unfortunately, feel disgraced or accept all the blame on him/herself.

Elinor Greenberg, a therapist on narcissistic conditions, records the approaches to adapt to the consequences of narcissistic abuse. These are:

  •    Notice what individual convictions are holding you back from pushing ahead and challenge yourself to manage them. 
  •  Discover what was making you support the victimizer and fault yourself. 
  •  Record what your psyche says about the circumstance. 

Five qualities that a person with an abuse history should instill to cope with the toxic past


The survivor learns the skill to recover from any given difficult situation. Based on the bitter experience, A person learns to deal with all sorts of emotional roller coaster. These can be complex emotions ranging from shock or any trauma. Eventually, the survivor should learn to move on and bounce back to life. If not, it can lead to severe depression and, in extreme cases, self-harm too.

Self-love comes first

The survivors gradually accepted the fact that it was their fate and they were not to be blamed. Once successfully exiting the toxic relationship, the Survivor takes a sigh of relief after all these years assuming to be worthy of misconduct and abuse in the past. One now understands that he/she deserves respect,  love, and happiness. This follows up with self-care and prioritizing oneself.  This is achieved through sleep, yoga, going for a walk, reading,  meditation or merely reaching out to loved ones.


When the survivor of abuse finally gathers the courage to open up, one discovers they are not the only ones suffering alone out there.  Many other people are suffering who are the victims of similar abuse. The survivors do not get into self-pity. Instead,  they positively channel energy to help and counsel others who are in distress. Contributing to ending the vicious circle and breaking others’ silence make them empowered and compassionate.


The person who successfully gets out of the abuse and survives understands well the significance of maintaining boundaries and making others abide by them. No one now can take him/her for granted as in the previous relationship. One starts to take responsibility for deriving happiness.  There is no need to depend on anyone else to search for contentment and true joy in life. The survivor will explore the means to be financially and emotionally independent and will strive in the best possible way.


Believing in oneself is what confidence constitutes apart from self-esteem and dignity. There was a time when the survivor of narcissistic abuse felt isolated and manipulated. After believing that there is a light at the tunnel’s end, the survivor proudly puts on the scars. Rather than taking away self-worth, the abuse has boosted the confidence to surpass any challenge in life. 

Narcissistic abuse is not the end!

Abuse is unfortunately recurring and damaging unless one makes up a mind to escape it. The healing process might be prolonged and brings along challenges. However, the qualities it brings out in the person are comparable to a precious diamond that was once a worthless rock.

For any assistance, turn to a support group or seek a   professional help. They will counsel professionally to cope with the toxic past.


These are a few of the tips that the survivor of abuse, be it physical, mental,  financial or in any form to resort to start a new life. Of course, depending on one’s own personality and situation, these can be moulded and more strategies can be added. However, the bottom line remains the same, i.e. channelize all your efforts to confront the dark past and be brave to move on. 

The bleak past should not define a person. We hope that these strategies to cope with the toxic past can benefit those who want to start a new chapter in life. Also, those victims who are currently in any form of an abusive relationship and don’t realize it. Being well acquainted with one’s rights is foremost for personality development. After all, self-worth paves the way for making others respect you!

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