A toxic relationship can happen to anyone. You. Me. Our parents or children, siblings or relatives, friends or coworkers. And they do happen to people—all the time. They always have, and they always will, so long as the world turns and people continue to interact.

If you find yourself in one, you may not know what to do. You may be afraid of the other person already. Or you may have tried to end things and part ways more than once, but they still won’t leave you alone. Maybe you’ve tried to talk it out with them or work through it and, well, that hasn’t worked, either.

In the twenty-first century, there’s a better way.

You can get a restraining order from the court of your county that forbids the other person from bothering you anymore. The order can accomplish a lot else, too. And if the other person violates it, they’re going to jail.

Everyone knows them as restraining orders, but they’re also referred to as protective orders, and there are different kinds. There are emergency orders, temporary orders, and permanent orders. There are civil orders, criminal orders, and special orders for kids, elders, and the workplace.

In the next two posts, we’ll review the two main types of restraining orders in California and how they can help you peaceably free yourself from a volatile situation.

Because when it comes to toxic relationships, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.