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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Been There Got Out: Surviving (and Escaping) Toxic Relationships

Episode 27 | June 27, 2023

Been There Got Out: Surviving (and Escaping) Toxic Relationships

Lisa Johnson discusses boundary setting during toxic relationships, their division, and moving forward after.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 



Lisa Johnson is the co-founder of Been There Got Out, a high-conflict divorce coach and certified domestic violence advocate who specializes supporting people in high conflict relationships, divorce, custody battles, and co-parenting struggles for the chance of the best outcome in family court and beyond.

Good On Ya Jacinda: Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern resigned – she made the choice to prioritize herself and her wellbeing over the position and stepped down. In opposition to that, John Fetterman, newly elected US Senator had a major stroke during his campaign and chose to push through. Soon after he was in the hospital for treatment. He never gave himself a break. Is there messaging these two decisions send? There’s no shame in asking for help.

Key Takeaways

Lisa Johnson’s Experience

After 18 years together, Lisa decided to end her marriage. Nine years and over $100,000 later she is still dealing with court proceedings with her ex.

Jennifer’s Law

  • Expands the definition of domestic violence to include coercive control, which includes legal abuse – abusing the court systems to keep someone engaged in a relationship.
  • This includes emotional, verbal, sexual, and financial abuse. As well as, stalking and isolation.
  • Only passed in three states thus far.

Toxic Relationships

For those in the relationship it’s often hard to recognize abuse when things aren’t physical. Recognizing emotional abuse:

  • Pay attention when things just feel off
  • Trust your gut
  • Ask for friends and family’s honest opinions
  • Research! Google can be your best friend
  • Learn about love bombing, lying by omission, gaslighting

Here’s a quiz to see if your relationship may be toxic

What to Do When You Realize You May Be In a Toxic Relationship

  • Free resource: Your local domestic violence center – they are all trained to understand all the different types of abuse and you can call to ask or for further support
  • Give yourself grace – it’s like you’re the frog in the pot – things slowly start to simmer it’s often difficult to recognize you’re boiling

Watch What They Do When You Say No

  • This is a great test for the early stages of any relationship to best avoid a red flag
    • Are they mad?
    • Do they overreact?
    • Do they try to convince you otherwise?

Watch what happens when you say no, putting up that very simple boundary. Someone who can’t accept no, [because you have a right to your own life…You don’t have to do everything that they want to do] if they can’t accept it. Watch out!

Relationship Education

Understanding what healthy relationships look like is the best way to set yourself up for success. Unfortunately, our culture can romanticize toxic behaviors:

  • Being pursued, saying no – and then giving in, is not romantic
  • Pay attention to text reactions – you do not have to be accessible 100% of the time

Safety & Exit Planning

Knowing your plan for leaving a toxic situation is extremely important. There are checklists online and domestic violence centers go through what considerations need to be made in terms of safety, custody, etc.

  • Gathering documents
  • Saving money/gift cards
  • Keeping everything elsewhere, at a friends or family members
  • Digital protection
Where to Find Lisa
Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer & Photographer, Jake Donnelly