My goodbye to Toxic relationships
Listen (well, read). This post is not going to be for the faint of heart. The reason being, in this post, I will be discussing some complicated truths about ALL of our toxic relationships.
I first have a confession to make. I am, by no means, perfect. I do TRY to be, which may or may not be to my own detriment. I have bad days, I get in my own head and often over process like many others. I am, too, still trying to heal from childhood and self-inflicted traumas and help others do the same.
It has always been my hope to find a way to help people to become more empathetic and humane with one another. In the grand scheme of things, we are all hurt. We turn to different things to cope, heal, forget, or process this pain.
I have not had the best tools to make relationships last with people because of my, at times, intense nature. I expect a lot from people because I give a lot. While I am an excellent listener and communicator (most of the time), I have realized this is not the case for many people I’ve interacted with.
What does any of this have to do with toxic relationships?
It is a precursor. Maintaining toxic relationships has become the norm. People do not understand what positive relationships look like or how to navigate through the at times, treacherous waters of relationships.
I can guesstimate for a lot (not all) of people that have had childhood trauma. Unhealthy patterns or coping mechanisms form and become prevalent usually until a person’s death. This is the norm, and what I am proposing is something a little more “user-friendly.”
Toxic relationships manifest in all areas of our life. Familial relationships, friendships, acquaintanceship, and intimate relationships force us to create holding patterns. Not having an awareness of our own toxic behaviors can become detrimental.
I am done (well, to the best of my ability) being toxic to others. I also am done accepting the poisonous ways of others. It is my firm belief as humans, we can transcend the pain. Or find better ways to deal. Let’s face it, love is not enough when you cannot communicate with friends and loved ones.
The basis of toxic relationships, in my opinion, comes from one’s inability to effectively process trauma as a child and later as an adult child. Our patterns and defense mechanisms have become much like impenetrable armor, which mandates people outside of us have to get through in order to reach the vulnerable place that love is all about.
As a child, we have not been taught how to get over things properly, and as adults, we just accept things as is. Why? Do our feelings not matter enough in a world where we must go, go, go? Do we know the importance relationships have in our life? I will explain how some of these toxic relationships manifest from a psychological and human perspective.
One book that has really opened my mind to this is was the Four agreements (check out my review).
This book helped me put into perspective a lot of why I was struggling to be understood by others or to better understand others. There is a kind of smokescreen in front of people, and this prevents them from properly seeing the true nature of things.
In college, as I started to really develop more as a human and young adult, I noticed things about my peers that really forced me to search for this truth. After I left college, I began to see some of the habits and behaviors on a grand scale, and it helped put things in a better perspective for me.
1 – People do NOT know themselves
2 – People will often do ANYTHING to fit in
3 – People are hurting
4 – A lot of toxic relationships exist.
5 – People have a distinct fear of being themselves.
The way we are brought up and raised on lies, abused, misused misguided, etc. does have benefits, but not too many. After graduating from college, I began taking inventory of what friendship really meant to me, and I was honestly saddened by my conclusions. I noticed three different things about these friends that I had around:
1 – Most of my friendships were not based on positive foundations
2 – They did not feel right (the majority of the time)
3 – When conflict arose, they stopped being “friends” until I came back around.
Now once again, my disclaimer is that I too have toxic behaviors, which come from reproducing what I was taught and saw. I might be considered to be the overbearing friend or the one always trying to “preach” to someone.
But not too many people can say that I was not a positive person, overall to them. Either way, I noticed that I did not want to continue these types of relations much longer.
So I started to slowly distance myself from those people I no longer felt aligned with. And to be honest, I was pretty much alone after that.
Oddly enough, I felt better this way anyway, and I see why some adults grow to be loners and do not have too many “friends” because they have been hurt too many times, or the veil of friendship starts to unravel.
Why am I saying goodbye to toxic relationships?
I just do not want that type of energy in my life anymore and only want to create bonds and grow with those that are in my corner. This is not to say you will not bump heads with your friends, fight, or even stop speaking momentarily.
We are all raised with different values, come from other traditions, and have our own wants and needs.
I also do not want to be toxic to my friends with any of my childhood traumas, adult traumas, or negative holding patterns. Overall, I am in a stage where I want to enjoy life and grow physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, and anything that is not on board with at least one of these things, I do not wish to be a part of.
Those with big hearts experience the most hurt and pain; givers will be bombarded by takers; those who have the ability to heal will always be met with people that need healing.
This, too, is a truth, but at the root of it, when we fix ourselves and start to become the best versions of ourselves, we will not attract things that are no longer of our nature. I firmly believe this.
While we cannot be perfect or have perfect relationships, we can work toward making the experiences we have with others less toxic.
Conflict WILL arise, disagreements will occur, but being the best you that you can be and truly understanding yourself can really open up a gateway to a world you never knew existed.
What is a toxic relationship?
Well, the definition of a toxic relationship depends on who is asking and who is responding. Seriously. People have different triggers for toxic things. Some of us do not like yelling, some it may be setting boundaries or abusive behaviors. Maybe, the toxic relationships revolve around false ideals or usury.
No one can decide what is toxic to you, so do not let ANYONE convince you otherwise. Standing up for yourself does take a lot of work, but you can do it. I have spoken to a lot of clients, friends, and family members, and a lot of people seem to think being alone is one of the worst possible things that could happen.
Well, let me break it to you, there is something worse than being alone; it’s being unhappy. You can have moments of goodness, but in a toxic relationship or toxic situation, the toxicity hovers over like a cloud, waiting to rain down on you.
Toxic relationships often make us feel like we are prisoners or helpless. It can spiral into depression, and with what is going on in the world, do we need anything extra to negatively penetrate our psyche?
I don’t think so. We all decide what we believe toxic relationships are, and we are the ones responsible for determining how we can get out.
What is wrong with toxic relationships?
Well, in a nutshell, we have been bred to accept these negative experiences that occur in our life. We normalize the trauma, the abuse, and the passive-aggressive nature we feel when dealing with others that have wronged us.
The majority of us have not seen too many healthy relationships to learn from in our life. And, for those of us who have, we get to participate in them via the lives of our peers and family members. These let us know that we could be one step away from the same situation.
Toxic relationships do happen. They may even be necessary evil used to provide a template for creating healthy boundaries or learning how to love yourself. Either way, the maintenance of a long toxic relationship is work—a LOT of painful labor.
We can make an excuse for how people are, or say “that’s just how life is,” but one thing is sure. We have the ability, more importantly, the choice to decide what we allow in our lives. This does sometimes involve acceptance of some uncomfortable truths that things could possibly get tense.
When we have to establish a goodbye to toxic relationships, this will come to the shock of those people who have not begun to heal themselves or filter their relationships. It is okay and NORMAL to experience resistance. With the change, there comes pain, there is discomfort, and some uncomfortable experiences.
But, the benefit is worth it. Of course, only if your life is filled with toxic relationships, and you want to do something about it. Otherwise, just disregard this post (not completely, just until you are ready).
All I know is toxic relationships, what can I do?
As I said at the beginning of this post, I am saying goodbye to them because I have matured and realize they no longer serve me. I will be limiting the existence of toxic relationships in my life. Cutting people off that I love and enjoy spending time with so dearly can be a lot of work.
It does pay off if you do decide to let them go. Or maybe that is too extreme for you. What advice would you like to hear? That people will change and get their act together, and everything will be okay? No. It only works that way in Disney.
If you are not able to cut the toxicity out of your life, then you can limit the interactions. Being around a toxic person for a long time can be draining on us, more than an overspent bank accounts. These poor relationships take over our minds, emotions and can alter our physical health.
Limit your time with these people, even if it is family. If you are not able to do so, it is important to begin to establish boundaries. You can start to tell them you are going through a lot, and it’s not personal, but you just need some space. They may not be accepted at first, but continually reinforcing your boundaries will begin to cement.
This process can be frightening or liberating depending on the person, but provides you with a chance to take charge of your life and establish what you want it to be going forward.
My Conclusion about Toxic Relationships
I am afraid toxicity has been normalized to the point where we have been conditioned to accept negative behaviors. Do not mistake me; we all have SOME toxic traits about us due to our upbringings and unresolved traumas. That is NOT an excuse to continue to be toxic or to accept another person’s toxicity.
If you are not able to find healthy ways to get out of a toxic relationship, slowly distancing yourself or limiting interactions can be helpful. In the end, we do all seek happiness, even if we do not know what it looks like. We can sometimes start at minimizing the things that take away from us instead of adding to us.
This process of “detoxification” can be used for anything in life. To eat healthier, to manage your time better, etc. Start removing the negative pieces until you have a healthy balance.
Everything in life is not supposed to be all rainbows. It isn’t supposed to be all storms either. You determine this healthy balance. You decide more things in your life than you think. Act now. Start detoxifying and start creating healthy relations.