You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or acquaintance – you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and “continues” to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go. ~ Danielle Koepke
Toxic people – we have all had them in our lives and some even feel that they have “jerk magnet” tattooed on their foreheads. It’s easy to blame the offenders for wronging us and it’s even more easy to say that all we attract is jerks when we constantly feel victimized, but when we get down to the heart of the matter, in far too many cases, we fall victim to our own inability to demand better treatment for ourselves. Other times, we get far too involved with toxic people not by choice, but rather by circumstance.
Whatever the case, many of us find it difficult to say goodbye to those who do us harm. Sometimes, our relationships are so convoluted that we don’t even realize that the person we are involved with is bad for us. They may be charming, fun, funny, intelligent, affluent, or bear any number of other positive characteristics that may cloud or thinking or logic when it comes to evaluating their influence in our lives. For example, many people find love partners who show many of their positive attributes especially in the beginning of the relationship, and because they are so charmed by what is right about their love partner, they either don’t see their partner’s negative behaviors, choose not to see them, or do see them but minimize the effect this negativity may have on them down the road. When time goes on and their love partner is no longer trying to put their very best foot forward, those negative qualities become much more pronounced and depending on what they are, can even be abusive. This is not to say that just because we may see some aspects of our partner’s character as negative, the relationship will inevitably be toxic. However, if we are faced with a situation in which we feel our lives are being affected to the point where our quality of life is being compromised, that relationship definitely is toxic, and we absolutely have to kick the toxic person to the proverbial curb as soon as possible for our own sake and safety.
So how do we do it? How do we get rid of someone who is toxic to us? Oftentimes it is not as easy as it seems. When it is a family member who is affecting us, we are likely to give them chance after chance to rectify the situation. Most of the time, we will choose to be in pain due to the offending party’s actions rather than cut them out of our lives completely, especially if it is our child. What if it is a love partner and we feel that it hurts far too much to let them go – far more than putting up with their poor behavior or even abuse? What if it’s our boss that is making our lives a nightmare but we have worked far too long and hard to give up our position in our careers? What if we depend on the toxic person financially and we feel we have no choice but to put up with their behavior? I don’t have the answer for all of these questions. Every single one of us is in a unique situation which we evaluate differently according to each unique factor which defines our relationship. What I do know is that all too often, we do not value ourselves and that is what makes it hard for us to leave relationships which do us harm. So, the first step is for each of us to take a good, long, hard look at ourselves and ask ourselves why we allow others to treat us this way. Is it because we feel that we deserve it? Is it because we feel that it would be dangerous for us to leave? Is it because we feel that we can’t handle that person not being in our lives? Then we need to follow up the important questions with why we feel that way in order to come up with some honest answers, and take necessary action.
In some cases, it is easy to expel a toxic person from our lives. In others, it’s much more difficult. Depending on our situation, there are resources and help available if we need them if we simply choose to look for them and ask for assistance. None of it can work though if we don’t start valuing ourselves and stop putting those who harm us ahead of our own well-being. ~Gia