I recently ended a serious relationship that had lasted two years.
The heartache was bad, and finding my footing again took time, but what made it even worse was the horrible behavior and actions of my ex.
Talking to friends and reading articles by psychologists and relationship coaches, I came to see that her behavior hadn’t been random.
It was part of a pattern of destructive and hurtful things every toxic person will do at the end of a relationship.
1) Send you toxic, hurtful messages
When a relationship ends it is deeply painful.
The separation may be mutual and there could be many reasons that you are splitting up.
But it still hurts.
My ex and I found that our connection had just dimmed, and I found her behavior overly controlling.
But I wasn’t angry at her or hateful. I just wanted to go back to living my own life.
That’s not how she saw it, and if you’ve broken up with a toxic person they won’t either.
The toxic messages are likely to start right away:
Accusations, angry denunciations, swearing and cursing, wishing you bad luck for the future, threatening to expose past mistakes you’ve made or to nail you for things they falsely claim you did.
2) Trash talk you behind your back
Secondly, they are going to start talking trash behind your back to friends, family and pretty much anyone possible.
This is just an amplification of sending you all the angry, poison pen messages.
They’re amplifying by telling it to anyone else who will listen, trying to sabotage your reputation and make you out to be a monster.
This is a deeply toxic behavior but it’s very common.
Instead of trying to resolve their hurt on their own or talk it out with you, the toxic dumpee feels the need to make it public and get other people involved.
This is a really nasty habit and it can be hard to believe it’s even happening to you, since it’s likely something you would never do.
Would somebody who once claimed to care deeply for you seriously reach this bad of a low?
Unfortunately the answer is yes.
3) Post their pain all over social media
The other thing every toxic person will do at the end of a relationship is publicize it all over the place.
They’ll show off how sad, angry and disgusted they are on social media.
They may brag about how happy they are as well to be free of someone supposedly as horrible as you.
Regardless of who broke up with who, toxic people take the end of a relationship as a chance to burn everything down.
They will try to hurt you as badly as possible, including by spreading the breakup and publicizing it as much as possible.
This may include some really nasty jokes, vlogs (video logs) and even dredging up direct messages and private correspondence between the two of you.
Again, it’s really horrifying to think that somebody you once trusted would stoop to this kind of guttersniping level, but toxic individuals actually will go this low and even lower in their quest for revenge.
4) Try to undermine the past basis of the relationship
The other thing every toxic person will do at the end of a relationship is try to blow up any past basis of the connection.
They will basically claim the relationship was worthless from the start or based on a lie.
Guess whose fault that lie was and who was the one who entered the relationship on false premises?
It was you, of course.
They’re an innocent victim of you, who are essentially the devil.
Always good to know…
This kind of role of being the villain can almost seem funny at first and you may be tempted to blow it off or regard it as childish antics.
Let’s be fair it obviously is childish antics and not worth your respect.
But you need to be very careful in not defusing this from the get go. If you let your toxic ex think they can just rant and rave as much as they want they are likely to take it much too far and become an extreme and destabilizing force in your life.
5) Blame you for the breakup, even if they were the dumper
The other thing that’s always for sure according to a toxic person is that you are to blame for the break up.
Even if they dumped you, it was your fault you got dumped.
No matter what went down in the private times between the two of you, it’s up to you to play the role of a horrible person in their eyes.
You’re supposed to placate this ex and soothe their ego.
No matter how hurt you may have been or how much they betrayed you, the expectation is that you’ll take all the weight on your own shoulders and just submit to the abuse.
It’s frankly very disgusting.
If they yelled at you and treated you terribly? Your fault for not understanding them enough or not being kind enough.
If they stole money from you or even hit you? You made them do it by flirting with another person or not paying enough attention to them.
And on and on it goes…
6) Demand that you take responsibility for their wellbeing
Part and parcel of this gaslighting is that you are expected to be responsible for how your ex feels.
The breakup hurt them, it was your fault, you’re a fraud and so on.
Whatever you did or did not do hurt and betrayed them so much, supposedly, and you are now to blame for anything that happens to them.
This can unfortunately go as far as threatening suicide if you don’t take them back or ingratiate them.
This is where the behavior of an ex goes from being distressing to potentially illegally and you may have to contact even law enforcement.
Trying to make somebody else responsible for the preservation of your life is a very extreme step to take and it can cause you enormous mental distress that you shouldn’t have to bear.
If things go this far make sure to speak with a trusted friend or licensed professional about what to do next.
Far too many people have ended up going back to an ex or letting them misuse them because of guilt about what would happen if that person harmed themselves.
7) Make ultimatums about taking them back or try to guilt you
This thing of making ultimatums is very common for toxic people to do after a breakup.
“If you don’t take me back I’ll do…”
“If you don’t admit that you were wrong I’m gunna leave bad reviews of your business all over anywhere possible online under a bunch of random accounts.”
“If you don’t see why I had to break up with you it’s because you’re a horrible person.”
When this reaches the point of them threatening self harm is when you may have to start considering your next steps at a very serious level, as I mentioned.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t overreact to a dangerous and toxic ex, but you also can’t under-react.
And so on.
8) Try to sabotage the ongoing good things you have in your life
Whatever else you have good in your life, the toxic ex partner is going to do one of two things.
He or she will do their best to actually give you bad reviews, complain about you, ruin your reputation and harm your life.
The second option is that they will spread so much negativity and talk your ear off to such an extent that they try to make you “lose the joy” from all your wins.
“Yeah, you started that new business, congrats. You do realize that entire sector is headed for a massive collapse next year, right?”
And so on…
9) Blame you for future problems they have and dodge blocks
No matter how many times you block this toxic ex, they’ll find a way around it.
New SIM cards, new phones, a phone number on Skype that they can call from, you name it.
OK, maybe I’m giving too many ideas to angry exes here.
The point is:
Whatever happens they will find a way to fill your ear up with their toxic nonsense and they won’t take no for an answer.
This can obviously be distressing in the extreme, to the point that you start hoping they meet someone new and be happy just to leave you alone!
10) Feel jealousy and look down on any future relationship you have
It would be nice to think that your goodwill toward an ex would be returned.
But toxic people almost always take the end of a relationship as a chance to torch your reputation and wish ill upon you.
Whatever success you enjoy or new love you find, they’re likely to be there making sarcastic comments or sneering at you from online.
It’s sad, but that’s the reality.
What’s even more disappointing is that you often don’t realize these are somebody’s true colors until after your relationship with them is over.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
Take the free quiz here to be matched with the perfect coach for you.
Click the above link to get $50 off your first session – an exclusive offer for Hack Spirit readers.