Losing someone in your life, that is still alive, can sometimes feel like a death. Not as bad but the grieving process is very similar. Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve become a lot more aware of the toxic people that have surrounded me. Some have been friends, some have been family, some took more out of me than others and some were easier to say goodbye to. Regardless it is still hard! I’m not sure if this is what happens as we get older but I feel like, over the last 5 years, I’ve cut a lot of people out of my life. The quote that my mom has been telling me forever could not be more true: “As we get older, we don’t lose friends. We just find out who the real ones are.”. This is true with family too.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’ve come to the point of cutting the toxic people out of my life. Oddly, it’s been a soul-searching, therapeutic process. Here is how I’ve realized certain relationships were toxic and was able to remove them from my life.
Who likes drama?! Not me! When I was younger I had a little bit more patience for it, it fueled some of my (bad) fires. Now that I’m older- it’s not fun. I don’t look for it, I don’t want it. In every family and friend relationship there is always some drama, we are human. But when I noticed that the drama was causing me to have anger constantly, consuming my days and putting walls up around me- I realized this isn’t “normal” drama. Toxic people cause drama intentionally in order to manipulate the situation. Be aware!
Whether it’s physical or verbal abuse, neither is ok! Thankfully, I’ve only ever dealt with verbal abuse on a couple occasions and most of the time directed at someone I love. Someone that verbally, emotionally or physically abuses another person has no room in my life.
Loyalty to me is everything! But there is a difference between loyalty and blind-loyalty. Loyalty makes a family or friend relationship solid and is supportive during success or not. Blind-loyalty is going along with someone, even though you know it’s wrong, just because they don’t want to upset or anger another family member or friend. When someone is not loyal or has blind-loyalty, it is 100% my breaking point within the relationship. There have been a few situations (too many) in my life where family members or friends have spoken badly of me (or someone I love) and have told lies (lots & lots!) to the point of reputations being damaged. There have been other friends or family members that have blind-loyalty and just go along with it. This is when I know, without a doubt, that it is a toxic relationship. When loyalty is broken, it is easy for me to walk away.
One of my biggest blessings are the healthy relationships I’ve developed and nourished over the last few years. I’ve been taught that we can be happy for each other, support each other, forgive, talk it out and love each other. These relationships have showed me what love is and what a toxic relationship looks like. I’ve come to know who my real friends are. I’ve said goodbye to some family members that were extremely toxic. But I’ve held on super tight to the really great relationships I have!
You Can’t Change Them
When I realized I can’t change someone and how they feel, it was my “aha moment”. I’ve talked until I’ve been blue in the face, begged, pleated and nothing changed. If someone doesn’t want to change, they won’t! I’ve spent too many days and weeks, driving myself crazy, trying to convince someone how their toxic behavior effects our relationship. It didn’t matter what I said- if they don’t want to change, they won’t change.
I’m not perfect by any means. I’m learning and growing everyday. One quality that I have, that I love, is my ability to eliminate toxic people from my life. It’s not easy, it’s really, really hard but my health and happiness is my #1 priority. Toxic relationships are just that…toxic! They are toxic to your health, to your emotions, to your stability, to your life and to your mental state. Toxic relationships have no business in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member or a friend of 10 years- they can be a part of your history but not a part of your life.