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Many people assume that physical abuse is worse than emotional abuse. However, while physical trauma leaves physical marks, emotional trauma leaves lifelong scars on your psyche.

And while many may not realize it – being with someone who is emotionally manipulative is a form of emotional trauma. Even worse, is that you may be so blinded by love, that you can’t even see how far the situation has gone out of control. Before it’s all said and done, you are left feeling lost, confused, and completely unsure of yourself.

Thankfully, this relationship does not have to be the end of the road. When you finally realize that you’ve had enough – you can walk away. And if you are going through a similar situation, you may want to make sure you do it the right way, so you can cut ties and be done with it.

Here are the 7 stages of leaving an emotionally manipulative relationship.

1. You begin to wise up to their behavior.

In the beginning, you may not realize that you are being manipulated. However, as the relationship continues, you will begin to see what is truly happening. As you begin to realize this behavior, a seed is planted. Once that seed is planted, there’s no going back.

2. You start to realize that you need to leave, but don’t know-how.

At this point, you know you have to leave. But at the same time, you doubt yourself. You question if it’s as bad as you think it is. You question whether it can be fixed or not. For every step you take, there’s a question in your mind.

3. You begin preparing.

But, all of your doubts aside, you know you must go. So, you begin taking steps. You read articles like this one. You ask friends and family. You start making arrangements to leave.

4. You take action.

Then, suddenly, you realize that you cannot take it anymore. And you take action. You pack your bags. You take the bills out of your name. You block them.

5. You doubt yourself.

However, because you did have a real connection to them and care for them, you begin to doubt yourself. At this point, they are reaching out and trying to get back together. They promise you they’ll do better, but you know it’s just another manipulation tactic.

6. You finally move forward.

And then one day it clicks. You realize that you don’t need them anymore. You don’t deserve their behavior. You deserve much more in this life.

7. You accept and embrace the new journey.

One day, not only are you able to move forward, you are excited to. Life has so many opportunities, and your journey is only just beginning.