toxic, poisonous, venomous, virulent, noxious, dangerous, destructive, harmful, unsafe, malignant, injurious, pestilential, pernicious, environmentally unfriendly;
In life we have different types of families. The family we are born into, the one we marry into, the blended ones our parents create and the one we create. There are also adopted families, second families, work families, school families and friends that become family. Probably even more that I’m not thinking of. I have multiple relationships that are a priority to me. I have multiple people that I would go to bat for without question. My loyalty and love is with them no matter what. At the moment my ‘ride or dies’ are amazing. But what do we do when those relationships change and become toxic? What do you do when a certain person in your life is sucking the energy out of your soul?
Before I go any farther, here’s a list of questions to ask yourself:
- Does this person ever admit fault in their behaviors or actions?
- Does this person have empathy for others and remorse when wrong?
- Does this person respect the boundaries you have made?
- When you voice your opinion, is it heard? or are you met with anger and denial?
- Will this person go above and beyond to make your relationship work?
As a young child, I was raised that family was everything. One example: I was told repeatedly that I was to always stand up and defend my brothers. If we had a disagreement it stayed in our house. I was never to talk down about them to anyone. I was also reminded that one day my parents wouldn’t be here and all we would have is each other. I am beyond blessed that my brothers believe the same thing. This mentality could be the reason we are all so close. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d stick around if my brothers weren’t amazing men, who have always shown me the same love and support I hope I’ve given them.
I’ve had friendships that I believed would last forever. Blood relatives that were my everything. People that came into my life and were so wonderful that i just fell in love with them. My mom once told me that my problem is that once a person was in my circle, I felt they could do no wrong… I’m sure there’s some truth in that. I’ve always felt that I was a great judge of character. When relationships crashed around me, I was devastated. My heart still breaks when I realize I’m wrong about someone. Pay attention to the little things that don’t feel right.
If you are explaining hurtful words away by telling yourself:
- They were just joking
- They don’t remember saying/doing something
- They’re having a bad day
- I feel so sorry for them because….
- You just don’t understand how they grew up….
- They’ve been through so much lately….
Toxic people are emotional abusers! They may not hit you or threaten you physically, but emotionally they are like leaches that you can’t flick off. The sooner you realize who your leaches are the better.
- Do they constantly bring negativity into your life?
- Do all of your conversations revolve around their feelings and helping them overcome problems in their life?
- Are they always sharing what other people think of you? Creating doubt about other relationships in your life?
- Do you find yourself constantly worrying about how to clear your name?
- Are you always on the defense?
- Do you dread when you see this persons number on your phone? Or even worse when you know they’ll be at a location you’re going to?
These are all reasons to run! As humans we can only take so much. There has to come a point in your life where you decide that your marriage, your children and the home you created are top priority. Everything else should be background noise. I can look back on so many times in my life that I dropped everything to help someone else out. I have no regrets BUT I should have handled those situations differently. When called with a problem I should have thought “Are they dying?” If the answer was no, my next thought should have been “I’ll be there when I can.” Instead, I’ve always had a problem getting too wrapped up in other peoples problems. Yes it’s good to be there for others. When helping someone comes at the expense of your own mental sanity, this is a problem.
I can’t urge you enough to take inventory of the people in your life. If you aren’t benefiting at all emotionally from the relationship, cut ties and run! Pretend your doing that new “does it bring me joy?” craze….
If you can think of a person and say “I’ve seen them do this to other people for years, I just never thought they’d do it to me.” You have subconsciously known all along that this was not a positive force in your life. It is not your responsibility to bring validity to someone else’s life. It is not your job to be someone’s personal cheerleader 24/7. You cannot change other people. You should never take on the problems of others at your own expense. These people are adults! The same way you have figured out your right from wrong, so can they. It is not wrong to set boundaries in your life for what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. I have spent countless hours in therapy learning this!! So trust me when I say, your only responsibility in life is to protect the life you’ve created at all costs.
When I see someone constantly talking about others, I automatically wonder what they could be saying about me. We live in a world that is so hung up on acceptance. Have you ever stopped to think about that? Why do we crave the acceptance and love of people who aren’t capable of it. We teach people how we want to be treated. Fool me once shame on me, Fool me twice- I’m an Idiot…. Seriously, how many times in your life will you accept someone treating you as less than? Look up the definition of insanity. The truth is that most people don’t want to change. The ones who do want to change, will. You don’t have to be around someone to wish them well. I’m not saying to cut ties and tell the whole world why you’re right and that person is wrong. I’m saying to break the cycle of insanity.
When relationships of any kind end and the dust settles, we always look back and see the signs were there all along. Tell yourself that you deserve better and believe it. My dad used to say you only needed one good friend to walk through life with. I never understood that when I was younger. The older I get, the more I appreciate the people who came into my life and never left. The ones who held my hand and dried my tears. The friends and family that will listen to my problems but also laugh with me for hours. I love those that make fun of my dumb comments, 20 second delay, lip quiver and endless sarcasm. When it comes to chaos and confusion, I want the boring life. Life is too short to be unhappy. Surround yourself with people who make you believe that you can do anything or be anyone you want to be. Remember, surround yourself with the people you want to be like. Because, if you surround yourself with shit, you’ll become shit. Also, don’t let your children see dysfunction! If you wouldn’t let your son or daughter be treated a certain way, why is it okay for you? Take some time to love yourself enough to want more.
They say Blood is thicker than water. Oh, but love is thicker than blood. -Garth Brooks