Why You May Feel Sickly After Leaving a Toxic Relationship

Why You May Feel Sickly After Leaving a Toxic Relationship why you may feel sickly after leaving a toxic relationship
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If you’ve recently left an abusive or toxic relationship, you may find yourself experiencing strange physical symptoms and illnesses in the aftermath. Headaches, exhaustion, nausea, body aches — you might be surprised at just how drained and sickly you feel, even though you’ve removed yourself from that unhealthy situation.

This phenomenon of feeling physically unwell after ending a toxic relationship, despite being free from the abuse itself, is actually quite common. The reasons behind it reveal just how profoundly your mind, body and spirit can be impacted by the abuse you’ve gone through.

The Stress of Surviving

One major factor is the intense physiological stress your body has endured just from surviving in a toxic environment for an extended period. Living in a constant state of hyper-vigilance, anxiety, and fear takes an immense toll. Your body’s fight-or-flight response has been in overdrive as you navigated the landmine of avoiding your abuser’s next eruption or cruel put-down.

This chronic stress weakens your immune system over time, leaving you more susceptible to every bug and virus. Your adrenal glands may be depleted from pumping out excessive cortisol. Muscle tension, teeth grinding, disrupted sleep — all can contribute to physical pain and fatigue building up.

So when you break free from that toxic environment, it’s almost like your body crashes from running that endless marathon of being on high alert. All the adrenaline being pumped through your veins on a daily basis suddenly stops, and you’re left feeling physically depleted.

The Traumatic Impact of the Abuse

Toxic relationships can cause a lot of emotional and mental pain, even if there is no physical violence. The constant manipulation, belittling, and betrayal in these relationships can be very damaging. This kind of trauma affects both your mind and your body deeply.


Many people who leave abusive relationships experience symptoms such as panic attacks, being overly alert, flashbacks, and difficulty managing emotions. The trauma has affected your nervous system, making you feel constantly uneasy, jumpy, or unwell without knowing the reason. On a subconscious level, your body holds the weight and remains of the trauma you’ve experienced. This means that new situations in your life can trigger these unprocessed traumatic memories, making you feel uneasy and often sick.

For example, if you experienced intense criticism in an abusive relationship, hearing even mild criticism from a coworker or friend might trigger a strong reaction. You might feel panic, a racing heart, or a sense of dread, even though the current situation is not as severe. This is because your body is reacting to the old trauma that hasn’t been fully processed.

Lack of Self-Care

In toxic relationships, there is often a codependent bond between the victim and the abuser. To survive, you might have adapted by focusing intensely on your partner’s needs and ignoring your own. This means you learned to overlook your own physical and emotional well-being. After leaving such a relationship, you might feel lost, confused, and physically unsettled. Simple self-care tasks like eating regularly, staying hydrated, exercising, and nurturing yourself can feel unfamiliar. Without your narcissistic partner directing your life, you might drift in a depleted state, struggling with basic self-care. So, without you taking care of yourself you will of course be feeling lethargic, exhausted and sickly.

Emotional Numbness and Dysregulation

To cope with ongoing abuse, you might have developed emotional numbing or dissociation, shutting down parts of yourself just to survive. While this coping mechanism helps during traumatic events, it becomes harmful in everyday life. After leaving the abusive situation, reconnecting with your emotions in a healthy way can be very difficult. You might either feel numb and disconnected from your feelings or overwhelmed by delayed emotions that crash through your defenses. This emotional dysregulation affects your body too, causing panic attacks, erratic sleep and eating patterns, and physical illnesses.


Even after leaving an unhealthy, abusive situation, you might grieve the loss of what you hoped the relationship could have been. You may feel guilt, shame, denial, or wonder if you made the right choice. These feelings are normal stages of grieving the idealized future you had invested in. Acknowledge this genuine loss by allowing yourself to feel sadness, anger, and disappointment. Like recovering from any major trauma, there is a grieving period needed before you can rebuild and move forward healthily. Be gentle with yourself during this period, as you might experience mood swings, lack of motivation, and even physical discomfort. But there’s only one way to go, and that is facing that pain even when it seems or feels overwhelming.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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