If you’re an empath, you’ve probably found yourself in toxic relationships before. It’s a crippling, poisoned kind of love that takes away all the joy you have for life and exhausts you, has you walking on eggshells around him or her all the time, wondering what you’ve done wrong.

But you haven’t done anything wrong. Whether your partner was emotionally or physically abusive, or battled problems such as depression or alcoholism by bringing you down instead of seeking the right kind of help, you know now that you were the victim of a toxic relationship. And the relationship is over. But instead of feeling happy, you feel guilty and sad and like you don’t know where to turn.

By providing you with these tips, we hope we can make the process of letting go a little easier, so that before you know it you’ll be building a happier, healthier life for yourself.

1. Don’t contact your ex

Especially in the beginning of the breakup, you’ll want to contact your ex. At night, you’ll miss their body sleeping next to yours, and during the day, you’ll see things that remind you of them—but don’t allow that temptation to make you send that text. Even if you see a LoveProm dress online that looks like the one she always wanted, the one she said she’d wear one day to your wedding, you can’t let those feelings take over.

Because when it comes to a toxic relationship, this is just another part of the toxicity. You’re allowing yourself to fall back into the co-dependency if you feel like you can’t live another day without contacting your ex. So make sure you don’t.

2. Make a list

It’s easy to forget why you two broke up in the first place, especially if you’re in bed late nights listening to the songs you two used to listen to together, reliving all the good memories. But if you make a list of all the bad things your ex did to you, it’ll help remind you why it’s actually good you two broke up—even if you feel miserable now.

For example, what if they didn’t believe in you? All those times they said you weren’t smart enough to be a writer or a tutor, or that you weren’t talented enough to pursue your passion of playing rock music. Now you can do what you want again, and instead of spending time explaining what you did wrong, you’ll be able to spend time on yourself again.

3. Spend time with your friends and family

Even though it may be a challenge to get out of bed every morning, it’s important for you to spend time with your friends and family—they’ve always loved you, will always love you. Unconditional love is an important thing for you to feel when you’ve just lost someone who always made you feel like you had to work to earn love.

And a good friend or caring family member won’t care about what you act like when you’re grieving during the relationship, even if all you do is cry all night or watch marathons of a terrible TV show only you like. They’re here for you, and they care. And they’ll know when it’s the right time to get you out of the house, which will help you crawl out of that dark place you’ve found yourself in, step by step.

4. Do what you love

One of the side effects of being stuck in a toxic relationship is losing your sense of self. After all, it’s likely your ex complained about the time you spent with other friends, spending vacation days with family, and any hours you devoted to what you love. Whether it’s going to a yoga class on Saturdays or spending time figuring out how to run that business online you’ve dreamt about starting since college, you always found yourself feeling guilty, rushing home to spend time with your ex.

Now you don’t have to feel guilty anymore. Now you can finally throw yourself fully into everything you love, and explore parts of life you would have never even dared to. Not only will this help you out in the long-term, it will also distract you from the pain you’re going through. You’ll also start to build friendships and meet mentors who inspire you.

5. Be good to yourself

Believe it or not, being good to yourself can be a real challenge. Especially after a toxic relationship, you might even feel worthless, and like you don’t deserve to be happy at all. But this isn’t true. It’s just your ex talking. The fact is, if you want to move on in the long-term, you’ll have to start being good to yourself. Sure, you can stay out of touch with your ex, spend time with friends, and do what you love, but if you don’t move on to self-love, it’ll be even more challenging to move on.

Being good to yourself can start small, like telling yourself every morning in the mirror that you deserve to be happy. It can mean getting a new haircut or taking a trip to your dream destination. Whatever it is, think of how you can really show love to yourself—and do it.

Have you been in a toxic relationship? What strategies did you use to recover from it?