Cutting ties with someone

What is a Cord Cutting Ritual? How to Perform One to Get Over an Ex

I once heard someone refer to breakups as a "luxury problem," and I would like to respectfully disagree. When you deeply love someone, a breakup can feel like part of your soul has been ripped out your chest. Breakups aren’t just emotional torture—they can even feel physically painful. Someone who was your go-to text buddy—perhaps even live-in partner—can go from emergency contact to enemy in a single moment. You may rightfully feel like your life is in shambles as you process the grief and reconfigure your daily routine sans your former love.


So how do you move forward? Witches use a method known as cord cutting—a ritual that can help you let go, heal, and meet someone new. In some cases, it can even reunite you with your ex (if it’s truly meant to be, that is).

What is a cord cutting ritual?

A cord-cutting ritual is a type of magic that allows us to sever ties with a person, relationship, place, or even a state of mind that no longer serves us. One of the most common uses of cord cutting is to help get over a breakup or former romantic partner, but cord cutting can be done after ending toxic relationships with former friends, family members, jobs, or even intrusive thoughts and insecurities. 

The imagery is relatively straightforward. Have you ever felt that an ex, or a family member's cruel put-down, is tethered to you? You want to let it go and move on, but it feels like the words, person, or experience have become a part of you?

Cord cutting allows you to visualize that cord and then cut it. This ritual can be done literally using a string, rope, or another form of a cord –  it's a form of sympathetic magic, which is based on imitations of life. You don't even need an actual cord – many practitioners find that visualization is enough. As a result, before you start, it's beneficial to imagine you, the other party, and the cord connecting you two. And remember, it's okay to cut cords with someone temporarily. This isn't a ritual to fear but to embrace, to move on, and allow yourself to live happily rooted in the present.  


"Cord cutting is a very useful form of energetic cleansing used to help separate yourself from toxic people and experiences from the past or present," says Hoodwitch writer Michael Cardenas, the head brujo and owner of Olde Ways Apothecary. Cardenas practices cord cutting personally, as well as offering it to clients as one of his spells.

Most witches use cord cutting rituals to move on from breakups. It simply severs unhealthy ties between you and another person, helping you to let go without directing any harm at anyone.

"If you think of the bonds and relationships and connections you have with the world around you as being energetic cords, cord cutting is cutting ties with people, places, or things that no longer serve you—or are actively harming you," says Kristen J. Sollée, the author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. "The practice is frequently used with relationships—platonic, romantic, or sexual—but I personally think you can harness it for addictions, fears, and other traumas that might be holding you back as well," she adds.

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If you’re in a healthy relationship and looking to reconnect or reignite passion, cord cutting isn’t the spell for you. Think of cord cutting like getting rid of split ends: You may not want your hair shorter, but if you cut off what’s damaged, you’ll be rewarded with growth. In some instances, a reconciliation of some form may be possible, but first you have to sever yourself from the diseased past.

"If you do want to get back with an ex-partner, you have to do a cord cutting first," Cardenas explains. "You have to sever those ties to that past relationship because otherwise all we’re going to do is that you’re going to have the same exact problems."

Cord cutting requires self-reflection, honesty, and the willingness to take a scary leap that can help your life move on to healthier, more beautiful relationships. "Give it some time," Cardenas advises. "Cut the cord. And I guarantee somebody else is going to come through and you’re going to attract someone from a completely different vibration and you’re going to have a better experience."

There are many ways to cut cords. You can cut cords mentally by visualizing it in your head or using actual thread and scissors. For instance, once Sollée had a friendship with an ex that was painful and draining. She didn’t want them totally out of her life, so she severed the dead ends through visualization. "I did a cycle of deep breathing, closed my eyes, and envisioned an electric-pink, glowing cord tethering us together. I used that link to send love and strength their way, thanking them for what they had added to my life," she says. "Then I pictured cutting that cord as I imagined the draining aspects of the relationship dissolving away. I meditated on this image for at least 15 minutes or so, and then went about my day."


While such visualizations can be extremely powerful, it’s sometimes helpful to use actual cords so you can see and hold them, and witness the process take place. Cord cutting can be done on an as-needed basis; while the waning phase of the moon is a great time to perform such rituals, everyone knows that breakups don’t exactly coordinate with the lunar calendar.

I asked Cardenas if he’d be happy to give me instructions for a cord cutting ritual. I was in emotional pain due to a falling out with a dear friend who was once a lover, but is a much better fit as a friend. I’d already moved on romantically (the woman I’m now seeing even helped me stock up on the supplies to perform this ritual), but I still felt sad about the loss of my friend.

Hours after performing this ritual, he called me. We talked and agreed to forgive one another for all past hurt and to make space for each other to move on as friends. He was also genuinely happy that I had met someone and was doing well. Below is the ritual that Cardenas shared with me, which can be done alone or with a friend.

Cord Cutting Ritual, courtesy of Olde Ways Apothecary

You will need: a black candle, white sage, Florida water, several yards of black cotton thread or yarn, scissors, and a cauldron or fire safe container.

Instructions: You can do this with another person or alone either seated or lying down.


Step 1: Open all the windows and doors if possible to let out all of the negativity you will be releasing. Burn sage and spray some Florida water throughout your home to create sacred space.

Step 2: Light your candle and center yourself. Take some time to focus on what you want to release from your life and set your intentions.

Step 3: When you’re ready, bind your feet together with the thread and say, "This is what blocks me from moving forward on my path." The thread represents the toxic cords that connect you to negativity.

Step 4: Next, bind your wrists together and say, "This is what keeps me from receiving all that I have been asking for."

Step 5: Sit and meditate on toxic experiences from the past and allow the cords to absorb that energy.

Step 6: When you feel ready, cut the cords with scissors on both hands and feet. As you do this, you can say, "I release the ties that bind. I claim that which is mine. I move forward in light and freedom. So be it."

Step 7: Spray yourself with Florida Water to seal your energy field.

Step 8: Burn the thread and bury the ashes away from your home. It is done. (Note: If you’re a city witch and don’t live near good dirt, make sure the threads are completely burnt to ashes and then flush them.)

For Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating the breakups that shaped us, in all their messy glory. Because love is just as much about heartbreak as it is about romance. Read all the stories from our Love Bites series here.

What's in the stars for you in February? Read your monthly horoscope here.

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This article was updated for clarity. It was originally published on February 15th, 2019.

How to Cut Ties with Negative People

This entry was posted in Addiction Recovery and tagged addiction recovery, family therapy, healthy living, recovery, substance abuse on by awakeningstreatment.

Addiction is a complex brain disease that does not heal overnight or even within a few months. Rather, recovery is a lifelong process that requires a balance of therapy, healthy lifestyle choices, nurturing relationships and treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions. As you may know from experience, there are some things you need to give up in order to have a healthy, drug-free life. One of them is negative people or toxic relationships. 

There’s a general rule in addiction recovery: you have to cut ties with negative people in your life. Not only are they bad for your recovery, but also they can put you at risk for relapse. You should never have to jeopardize your sobriety for someone else. 

That said, cutting ties with people in your life isn’t easy, especially when you may lack essential social skills and coping strategies. So, how can you go about promoting a positive atmosphere while cutting out the drama? Here is our guide to doing exactly that. 

Evaluate Your Relationships 

It’s possible that you aren’t aware of the toxic people in your life. Some people are obvious, such as those who are still addicted to drugs and alcohol, but others are not as clear. And, if you have been in bad relationships for a long time, you might not realize what a healthy partnership or friendship looks like.

The first step is to evaluate your relationships and identify which people are hurting your recovery. Here are some examples of people you may want to cut ties with. 

Friends from the past.

Don’t be surprised if many of your so-called friends are nowhere to be found once you are sober. Now that you’re not using drugs and alcohol, you may not have anything in common. However, it’s possible that some old friends may still hang around. These people are the biggest threats to your recovery because they make it easy to relapse. 

Choose a new social circle that is not built on getting drunk and high or participating in risky behavior. You can make friends at your 12-step meetings or by joining an activity like a cooking class or book club. Or, spend more time with supportive friends and family who genuinely care and support your sobriety. 

Drama-filled people. 

Some people seem to always find themselves in the middle of the drama. Stay away from friends and significant others who only focus on themselves. You don’t need to be on an emotional roller coaster this early in your recovery. Save your energy for yourself and staying sober and put this into attending meetings or trying a new hobby. 

Enabling relatives. 

Do you have any family members who are extremely overprotective? It’s possible that they may turn to enabling, which is a huge trigger for relapse. Generally speaking, enabling relatives have their loved one’s best interests at heart. However, their enabling behaviors allow the addict to continue using drugs and alcohol with no consequences. 

If you have a loved one who does this, you may need to “love” them at a distance right now. You don’t want to fall back into negative patterns. Family therapy can also help your loved one develop healthier behaviors that support your recovery. 

In the end, all of your relationships should have your best interests at heart, be willing to support your new sober lifestyle and make you feel good about yourself. 

Tips for Cutting Out Toxic People 

There’s no clear-cut way to end a relationship with someone. Plus, the approach you take depends on the type of relationship you are in. It’s much easier to tell an acquaintance that you need to focus on your recovery as opposed to a significant other. Before cutting ties with people, speak with a counselor, therapist or mediator who can offer tips and guidance on how to make this process smoother.  

In general, there are some tips that can be applied to most relationships. Here are some pointers we give to clients looking to end a relationship. 

  • Establish boundaries. The first thing to do is to create boundaries. Do you plan to cut this person out completely? Will you still have interactions with this person because of mutual friends or family? Establish boundaries that you can follow, such as blocking the person on social media or ignoring phone calls. 
  • Phase-out the relationship. If you’re not prepared to be direct with the person, it may be best to phase out the relationship. Reduce your interactions with the person, be less available and don’t return calls or texts right away. Eventually, the friendship should phase out on its own.
  • Be honest and direct. Not all people get the hint when it comes to phasing out a relationship – they’ll just push harder. And, you never want to put yourself in an uncomfortable position to make someone else happy. So, you may have to be honest and direct. Tell the person that you need to end the friendship for your own good. 
  • Plan what you’re going to say. If you do plan to be honest, take some time to practice what you’ll say. This will make the actual discussion easier. Remember, you don’t need a long explanation. Stick to the basics – you’re starting on a new path and need a fresh start. A letter can also be effective. 

Dealing with Guilt When Cutting Ties 

As sensible as it sounds to remove toxic people from your life, this doesn’t translate to real life. We are complex human beings, and there are reasons why you were friends with these people in the first place. Many of the clients we work with have friends from the past who were there for them during tough times. They may have given them a place to sleep or money to eat. To turn their back on them because they are clean and sober feels wrong – and you can probably relate. 

The problem is that people with substance use disorders have difficulty understanding the importance of sobriety. Even though old friends may say they’re happy for you, it’s going to be hard to continue the friendship when they are still active drug users. Re-engaging with these individuals makes it easy to slip up when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or sad. 

Your true friends will support your recovery – even if that means ending the friendship for now. If your friends choose to get sober one day, you can be friends with them again. In fact, your courage to admit your problem and get help may motivate someone else to get the help they need, too. So, saying goodbye to old friends doesn’t have to be forever. 

In the end, you should never feel guilty for doing something that will better your life – and keep you alive. 

Rebuilding Social Connections 

Early recovery can be tough for people. It’s normal to feel like you’ve had to give up everything to be sober – drugs and alcohol, the lifestyle you knew, the fun you had, the friends you kept and so on. But remember, these things were slowly killing you. Now you have the chance to live. 

During your time in treatment, you have the opportunity to build relationships with other people who are in recovery. Group therapy is also an excellent way to develop social skills, practice active listening and share your fears and emotions. Outside of treatment, the goal is to continue building social connections by staying busy, spending time with friends and family and attending your 12-step groups. 

Here are some opportunities to meet new people: 

  • Sports and activities. Join a softball league or sign up for a scrapbooking class. You’ll be putting your time to good use and learning new talents. You can find these types of activities at your local park district, community center or library. 
  • Volunteer opportunities. Pick a cause that’s important to you and find ways to help. For example, animal shelters need help collecting donations, walking the dogs, cleaning cages and fostering. You can meet selfless people this way.  
  • Skills classes. Want to get better at a particular skill like typing or coding? Take a class and meet others with the same interests. You can often find these classes for free or low-cost at your local library or park district. 
  • Part-time work. When you’re ready for a part-time job, check the online job boards or local listings. You can earn money, build up your experience and be part of a team. 


Even though recovery is a fresh start in life, it’s normal to feel like you’re starting over. But, don’t let this stop you from moving forward in your journey. In order to stay on track with your goals, you need to cut toxic people from your life. The good news is that the world is filled with plenty of positive, uplifting people who will support your journey and love you for who you are. 

Awakenings Treatment Center is an outpatient drug rehab in Agoura that offers a compassionate, supportive environment for all clients. Contact us today to start your journey to sobriety.

20 signs that it's time to end a relationship


Relationship crisis Man and woman

When we fall in love, we often lose ourselves, dissolving in a partner. It should be remembered that it is possible and necessary to show love for another without giving up oneself. Check if any of these signs are in your relationship. If yes, then it means only one thing - it's time to pack your things and leave.

1. You began to doubt your own worth. This feeling should not be, because a loving partner will keep you feeling that you are the best. nine0003

2. Your partner often blames you for something. If he considers you the root cause of any problems in relationships and in his life in general, this only says one thing - he is not able to admit and take responsibility for his own mistakes. You do not have to forever play the role of the guilty and correct them for him.

3. You constantly quarrel. Of course, conflicts can also arise in happy relationships. But if the fighting doesn't stop even for a day, think what are the chances that you will actually be happy in the future. And in no case do not confuse scandals with passion. nine0003

4. You can't be yourself. You should not forbid yourself something so that your partner loves you. If he can't accept you for who you are, he probably doesn't deserve you.

5. You have to apologize for your partner. Protecting loved ones is natural and normal, but constantly coming up with excuses for their bad deeds is not.

6. You often wonder if your partner is angry with you. Anxiety about relationships is not good for anyone. If you are wondering, “Is he angry with me?”, “Well, what did I do wrong again?”, The relationship is far from healthy. nine0003

7. Relationships are bad for work. It is normal to maintain contact during the working day. It is not normal if the partner continues to write and call, knowing that you are busy or sitting in an important meeting.

8. Relatives think that you have become unlike yourself. Relatives and friends notice changes in us faster than we ourselves. And if everyone says that you are not changing for the better, you need to think about it. Perhaps the reason for the change is in your partner.

9. There is no trust in relationships. And it doesn't matter which of you doesn't trust whom. Lack of trust will ruin any relationship.

10. The thought of parting brings relief. Of course, everyone sometimes wants to be alone or spend time with friends. But if you are better off without a partner than with him, then parting will be the right choice.

11. You don't feel safe. It doesn't matter if this feeling is constant or only a couple of times. In a relationship, you should never feel threatened. nine0003

12. You are a bad influence on each other. In a worthwhile relationship, partners inspire each other, help each other become the best version of themselves. If both of you (or one of you) click on the points that awaken a monster in the other, it is unlikely that something good will come of it.

13. You realize that you could be happier. The previous items may not apply to you. But if you feel that you are not very happy, or think that you deserve more, is it worth it to stay? nine0003

14. Your partner gives you ultimatums. For example, threatens to break up if you do not do something or, on the contrary, do it. This is primitive manipulation, which means that the partner is not confident in himself and is trying to control you.

15. Your partner's needs have become more important than yours. In a healthy relationship, the desires and needs of partners are of equal importance - a healthy relationship cannot revolve around one person. If a partner is not ready to compromise and take into account your desires, there is no question of equality and respect. nine0003

16. You are afraid to speak out loud. Because the partner will be offended, angry or leave you. But you have the right to say what you feel and what you want. And if fear stops you, think about whether you really want to be with such a person?

17. You have to ask permission. Taking into account the feelings and desires of a partner when making decisions is absolutely normal and even correct. But the partner cannot be the one who allows or forbids you something. The final decision should still be yours. nine0003

18. You stopped communicating with friends and family. Or they began to communicate with them less. If you invest all your time and energy in just one person, you will lose everyone who loves you.

19. Relationships are like swings . It's good, it's bad, it's great, it's disgusting. It may seem that this way you will never get bored, but in reality it will end in a “shaken” psyche or a nervous breakdown. Healthy relationships need stability, not jitters. nine0003

20. You feel stuck. If you are not leaving because you are afraid that you will be left alone or that you will not find someone better, then it is definitely time to leave. At least in order to work on self-esteem and develop self-love.

Text: Polina FrankePhoto source: Getty Images

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How to properly end a relationship that has ceased to bring joy

January 10, 2017 Relationship

A happy ending is an obligatory attribute of children's fairy tales, but in life everything is much more prosaic. We often find ourselves hostage to our love stories. And you just have to learn how to end complex and difficult relationships on time with minimal losses for both partners.

In an episode of the cult relationship series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw is suddenly dumped by one of her many men. No explanation, just a yellow apology sticker. Even if you have not watched this series and this is the first time you hear about Carrie, this story has an important message: leaving without explanation is bad (Brodsky's or Akhmatova's poems on the sticker still do not count). nine0003

Yes, sometimes it is necessary to end a relationship, and for both parties. This will not only help the one who decided to leave, but also give the second person a chance to free themselves from one-sided attachment in time and meet their true love.

Recognizing the problem is the first step to solving it.

Don't think that you are unique and the first to encounter a similar problem. From time to time, many of us find ourselves hostage to our own relationships. Ties begin to press like a heavy stone, do not allow you to breathe deeply. Sometimes you really want to get rid of this oppression in order to stop breaking the wings of yourself and your partner and finally start living alone. nine0003

And yes, there is nothing wrong with the fact that the startup of your love did not take off. Find the strength in yourself to recognize this in order to move on. In love, as in business, there are failures.

Of course, there are some signals that the Rubicon has been crossed and it is time to end the love story. Analyze your relationship, deal with yourself and your desires. And make a decision.

The longer we turn to memories and think about the past (that is, we think about what no longer exists and will not happen), the further we ourselves push back the real prospects for a happy future. Besides, if everything was really smooth and perfect in your relationship, you would hardly be reading this article now, right? nine0003

Don't delay: it's better now than later

The ideal moment for a breakup won't come, don't keep your hopes up. There is no right time for anything in life. If things are really bad, the rule works: "The sooner the better."

Give your partner the opportunity to meet a person who will truly love him.

Let's be honest: don't pull too hard. At stake are the chances of not becoming that “goat who sailed for years, but never married.” So don't let me down. nine0003

How not to do it

Real life story. I have a very smart and very beautiful girlfriend who for several years met with an equally smart and handsome guy. The guys could easily act in any American film about couples in love, where all the characters and, of course, their relationship is ideal.

One day this guy was going to his friend's house for a bachelor party. It wasn't a surprise and no one was against a weekend with friends.

The young man kissed his girlfriend before leaving and promised to miss him very much, and already from the taxi to the airport wrote to her to look in the closet for “something”. Nothing foreshadowed trouble, and the girl happily suggested that she had been given a nice surprise. nine0003

There really was a surprise. A discreet letter was waiting in the closet, in which the guy calmly announced that he had fallen out of love and it was over. He told the now ex-girlfriend to take out all the things before he returned. Well, yes, he already asked a friend to feed the cat.

This is a very cruel scenario for breaking up a relationship. You can't do that.

How best to talk about the decision to break up

It would seem that in a world where gadgets and social networks rule the ball, there are many good creative ways to end a relationship. Send an SMS with a sad emoticon or a sticker with a deep meaning in Telegram, change your Facebook* status from "In a relationship" to "Single", write an email with the subject "I'm leaving", after all! New realities and modern technologies really offer a wide range of contexts for human communication. But it's not that simple. nine0003

Researchers of modern communications believe that people choose different types of communication (phone, e-mail, Skype, and so on) depending on what emotions they want to convey at a particular moment.

Maybe there is some way to use technology to break up painlessly?

Can I limit myself to SMS?

No. No messenger can replace a live heart-to-heart conversation. Do not forget that emoticons and stickers in messages hide real people with real emotions, and the process of parting with you can be much more difficult for them than for you. nine0003

Respect the person you loved. Treat your partner with sympathy, if only out of a sense of gratitude for everything experienced together.

Remember: the more seriously a person took these relationships and the more he invested in them, the more difficult and painful it will be for him that everything is over, the more difficult it will be for him to recover.

Have the courage to look your partner in the eye and voice what is going on between you. Give thanks for everything that was.

Maybe not all is lost? After all, sometimes over the years of a relationship, feelings become a little dull and we sometimes forget how much we love someone.

In principle, there are two scenarios:

  1. You discuss problems and start doing something together to kindle an extinct fire.
  2. You act decisively and part ways.

Never humiliate anyone

Never go too far and do not insult. If at parting you say a bunch of nasty things to your girlfriend or young man, you will give rise to a bunch of complexes in her or him. And your life won't get any better. (By the way, if you do this, most likely you have complexes.)

Put all the blame on yourself. Like, honey, you are very good and generally beautiful, I’m just a complicated guy with my cockroaches and I will always be like that. Or say something about Prince Charming and your complex relationship with your own inner world.

Of course, we remember that in a problematic relationship, both partners are always to blame. But if you decide to leave when it's not expected at all, it's better to say that it's about you. So it will be easier for the partner to recover from parting, but do you remember that we are responsible for those we have tamed? nine0003

When leaving, leave

If you decide to leave, then do it irrevocably, once and for all. Don't give too much hope if you're just bored.

You don't have to write to your ex-girlfriend out of nowhere, if it suddenly seems to you that beautiful snow has fallen outside the window. You don’t need to send a photo of yourself in a swimsuit to an abandoned guy, because they suddenly remembered how they went to the sea together.

Leave him or her alone and give him a chance to live his life.

Constantly appearing in the life of a former partner, but not wanting to be with him, is extremely selfish and not very nice of you. Love can also be an addiction. Have you ever seen alcoholics advised to drink red wine once a week, or drug addicts to take small doses of coke? nine0003

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