What to do when a bad trip messes up your relationship

When you have a scary, negative, and just generally bad psychedelic trip, it has a tendency to taint things, such as the room you were tripping in or even the person you were tripping with. The vibe of these things or people can get totally messed up because the experience is so powerful and haunting. It’s probably one of the most intense experiences you’ve had in your life up until this point. A room is no biggie. But when the bad trip messes up your whole relationship, it feels like that is just adding more grief, difficulty, and trauma to an already traumatic situation. Truly, it is one of the greatest blessings you can have. It’s forcing you to respond to a red flag that you probably would’ve otherwise ignored.

If your significant other triggered the bad trip

Know that they most likely had good intentions and did not mean to freak you out, upset you, or scare you. But, know that regardless of their intentions, your feelings were real. While it may be hard to accept, this is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore – that is what psychedelics do: they force you to look at red flags that you have been ignoring. You must to take some time to understand what exactly happened and then make decisions from there.

In order to make sense of this, start by writing down everything you remember about the trip, including what triggered it to take a turn for the worse. Write down what your S.O. was doing, how they were interacting with you, and what they did that upset you. I’ve had trips in which a person makes me very nervous simply because they are too active, moving around too much, laughing too much, or pressuring me into going outside too soon. Whatever it is, write it down, and don’t judge yourself for having been upset by things that may seem insignificant now.

What does it all mean?

Next, ask yourself what all this means. In the example I mentioned above, that person didn’t appreciate or respect the quietness of my experience. He impatiently tried to get me to leave behind the flower buds and leaves I was so deeply attracted to, and walking around downtown in our college town (what he wanted to do) make me feel nervous and self-conscious. What’s the moral of the story there? In a normal, sober day in a relationship, we might brush this off as typical relationship compromises that must be made.

During a trip, however, you are dealing with your S.O. at a subconscious level, far deeper than their day-to-day personality. It’s the closest you will ever get to interacting with their core, so you should NOT brush off how they make you feel when you trip with them. In my case, the acid was helping me to see that this person truly didn’t understand my sense of quiet contemplation, stillness, and love of nature. And I truly didn’t understand his bold adventurousness, excitement, and love of exploration.

Having differences is what makes a relationship interesting, but sometimes differences are just plain old incompatibilities. If, when tripping with your S.O., you feel nervous, upset, uncomfortable, afraid, or repulsed by them, it’s probably time to think about moving on. No matter how great things are on the surface, if you feel uncomfortable when you see their core, it’s not right for you because it’s not real. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s only because I want the best for you.

My experience

During my paramount bad trip, I felt that my then-boyfriend was trying to involve me in some kind of spiritual marriage ceremony. I was convinced he was performing rituals on me without my understanding or consent. These “rituals” caused me to develop an unshakable fear that he was going to kill us both. I thought that we would be left to exist together in a sort of spiritual limbo for eternity. And that was the last thing I wanted.

Even after the trip subsided, I was confused about these events. Why had he tried to perform that ceremony? Was he really performing rituals? Where did I get the idea that he was going to kill me? I confronted him with these questions, and he denied doing anything sinister, but I knew what I had experienced. I could no longer trust him… at all. A few months later I ended the relationship, for that very reason.

When dealing with a bad trip, you must never discount your own personal feelings and direct experience for what someone else tells you happened. You must trust yourself, your intuition, and your perception no matter how whacky it seems.

Notice how your significant other reacts to your bad trip

Were they loving and supportive in a way that calmed you and made you feel safe again? Were they impatient? Did they say you were mental, insane, or nuts? Did they stay by your side, or did they abandon you?

If they did not react with caring support, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your relationship. There is no excuse for calling you insane, abandoning you, or treating you with a lack of care when you were in such a fragile mental state. They were your only source of help and support at that time. I hate to say it, but this is a sign of someone who does not truly care about you. Please don’t ignore this red flag. Please don’t accept this kind of person as your lover, even if they seem to be great on the surface.

These can be hard ideas to accept and hard lessons to learn. But, you will soon understand that they are the best, most visceral lessons that anything could ever teach you. The more you can see this experience as a blessing, the quicker you will heal from it – I promise.

Ending a relationship after a bad trip

A good psychedelic trip can be so changing and powerful that you may end up breaking up with your significant other afterwards, based on realizations about yourself, life, and them. A bad psychedelic trip, especially if it was triggered by your significant other, will often lead to a break up. You must trust yourself and know that you know what’s best for you.

Some tips for handling this kind of break up

  • Its possible that your significant other is the only one who knows about your bad trip. Realize that in losing them, you’ll be losing a feeling of support that you get from them knowing what happened. It will help to find someone who you can tell. This person should be one whom you trust, who ideally has experience with psychedelics. If you don’t know anyone like that, at least choose someone you’ve known for a while who will be nonjudgemental. This is simply so that you do not feel completely alone as you work to process this experience.
  • When breaking up with them, you might avoid putting blame onto them or saying that things were their fault. You can also say that you are going to stop doing drugs. If your significant other is particularly involved in a certain scene (such as going to festivals) or lifestyle habit (such as smoking cigarettes), you might say that you no longer want to participate.
  • Immediately after you break up with them, block them and delete them from all social media platforms. You are fragile enough right now, and prolonged contact with them will only make things worse.
  • Rejoice, because you are going to shed your baggage. This will free you up to focus on healing yourself and finding your true self!