Cutting all ties with a toxic partner, family member or friend is easier said than done. But Dr. Phil McGraw, author of the new book "Life Code," says that it's extremely important to know not just when but how to cut your losses and remove that toxic person -- a "BAITER," as he puts it -- from your life. (BAITER, as can be seen in the clip, is an acronym for Backstabbers, Abusers, Imposters, Takers, Exploiters and Reckless.)
In this clip from "Oprah's Lifeclass," Dr. Phil shares his foolproof method for cutting toxic people out of your life for good -- even when the toxic person is an old boyfriend or ex-husband and temptation is trying to persuade you to do otherwise. It all comes down to one important ability: trusting your gut.
"The first thing you've got to do is, you truly have to believe yourself," Dr. Phil says. "Call it gut feeling, intuition, instinct, whatever -- when you get that feeling, that should send off bells. Listen, listen, listen, listen."
Even those who are able to listen to their instincts and initially cut ties with users and abusers can still find themselves sucked back into the that familiar, toxic world. "I always see people write me and say, 'I've been divorced for, like, nine months. We went out to dinner and I really miss him,'" Dr. Phil says. "No, you don't. You miss who you wish he had been. You miss the man you wish you were married to, not the man you were married to."
Making this important distinction is key in helping you stand your ground in a breakup, though Dr. Phil acknowledges that it can be difficult to unlearn the habits that kept you around the toxic person in the first place. "We romanticize and we fill in all the gaps," he explains. "It's like [looking] up at the Big Dipper -- there's no Big Dipper up there; we have to fill in the gaps to make it a Big Dipper. So, you find a guy… and you're filling in the gaps to make him Mr. Wonderful. The bigger gap you're having to fill, the bigger problem you've got."
A special two-hour episode of "Oprah's Lifeclass" on fatherless sons airs Sunday, May 5, at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.