"They're just having a bad day, that's all." - We try to find excuses. Day after day, until it becomes wonderfully clear - it's nothing but a densely woven pattern of human toxicity. Each and every one of us has met, welcomed, and loved a toxic individual. Better make that a plural. "Smile though your heart is aching; smile even though it's breaking" - Nat King Cole. And so, we do; we smile, and we persevere. We embrace their low blows and histrionic episodes. We say: it's idiosyncrasy. - Until it becomes too much. The moment we cognize our own suffering and detriment, that's when it all changes. We get to hold the reins. Someone else's punching bag? Sleepless nights? We say: I've had enough, thank you. Here's how to cut off toxic people from your life.
Are they really toxic?
We're never really sure, are we? That's why we second-guess everything, mostly ourselves. "Maybe it's me; it’s not them. It couldn't be them. Right?" Discerning a difficult personality from toxicity is not an easy task. The truth is dysfunctional personalities inherently tiptoe along the forever bubbling, fluorescent green abyss. Have they turned? When will they tip over? - It's all pretty subjective; we all have a different threshold for dysfunctional people, as well as mechanisms and values. However, there are some clear signs that our friendship or relationship has become toxic. They:
Yes, it's absolutely horrifying. Articulating ugly truths is not what we'd call a soothing affair. However, it needs to be done. It's not about them anymore; this one is for us. Bottling up our emotions can only affect our mental health and our overall sense of well-being in a negative way. (if suppressed, negative emotions can lead to autoimmune disease onset) It's all connected. We're not there to argue or fight; we're there to calmly assert ourselves and speak our truth: "You're hurting me. I don't enjoy it. This relationship doesn't feel good anymore." Letting go of toxic relationships (especially after rehab) is crucial. What are we scared of? Are we really that masochistic? It's time to let go of harmful relationships. If they fight back (and they probably will), refrain from sinking to their level. Head up high!
Toxic times call for healthy measures. Hence, distance. If we want to put a definite end to the relationship, cutting off all contact (pulling the plug) is the way to do it. It may seem a bit "over the top" or "aggressive" even, but adopting a more subtle approach to ending things can be misread. (i.e. there's still room for negotiation.) However, we all have different stories; if it's a family member, cutting off all contact may prove to be nearly impossible. That said, we should then try to establish a healthier routine:
A hard "No."
Stand your ground! For toxic people, saying goodbye is simply not an option. - it has to be on their terms. They hold the strings; they decide whether to call it quits or prolong the onesided agony. Addiction treatment experts from brightfuturestreatment.com share: "Toxic relationships are known to induce substance dependence in individuals with low self-esteem. We see it all the time." That's why setting - and, more importantly, maintaining our glass-legged boundaries is absolutely paramount. Toxic individuals prey on human weaknesses; once they find a crack, be it of microscopic proportions, they will find a way to claw right back in. Or at least, they'll try. - And we won't let them, will we?
So, instead of spending our precious (and finite, may we add) time and energy on dysfunctional people (no matter how endearing and witty), we should surround ourselves with people who genuinely wish us well. We need contrast; we need someone who sees us and accepts us for who and what we are. "I'm here for you. All of you." - that's whom we want by our side. So, how do we know if they're really good for us? Here's a list:
Walking away from toxic relationships is almost never easy. - And it certainly doesn't happen overnight. Surely, we can block them on social media, block their number, and avoid their "go-to bars" route. Creating physical distance is the easy part; what happens on the inside is the tricky bit. We are allowed to grieve the loss. The person, the relationship. They, too, have their beautiful parts, parts worthy of our love. Processing conflicting emotions can take time. And we shouldn't rush it.
If you're determined to cut off toxic people from your life, please remember: Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiveness allows us to close the toxic chapter and move on with our lives. As with every life lesson, there's something to be learned from dysfunctional relationships. Never settle for less. Find people who will appreciate you for your authentic, unyielding self.
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Turning Point Counseling
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