A Step by Step Guide to Recognizing and Removing Toxic People from Your Life
As we enter the beginning of 2018. it’s the perfect time to reflect on our lessons from 2017 and to set new goals.
Another thing to think about and assess? Our relationships.
Relationships are all around us and let’s face it, some of them are more draining than others. I know this because I’ve just recently I’ve rid myself of what I refer to as ‘toxic relationships’.
Toxic in the name of toxicity.
It’s a strong word and I’m not referring to the 2001 banger hit by System of a Down. I’m refering to the meaning of toxicity; when a harmful substance effects humans… similar to the idea of when a toxic relationship can be, well, toxic.
What is a toxic relationship?
One that does you more harm than good. It’s that simple.
The problem we are faced with is that toxic relationships are becoming harder to recognise and there’s one reason why; at one particular point in our lives the relationship we feel might now be harmful, was at one point beneficial to us.
The relationship may have been a friendship, a romance, or a deeper connection like a soul mate.
Most people will deem toxic relationships when one person is either negative, a narcissist, or just not a nice person to be around.
I’m going to dig much deeper.
Which raises this question:
How do you recognize when a relationship (that once had a positive effect on your life) now does more harm than good?
It’s even harder when you’ve formed a deep connection with this person, heck you’ve even invested time in them. Possibly years.
Here’s how you recognize a toxic relationship:
Take note of these warning signs . You might experience several or all of the following.
The more you tick off this list, unfortunately the more toxic the relationships is and it’s time to reign it in and say a big fat “goodbye”.
1. The other person isn’t as invested in you as much as you are in them.
Have you ever spent time with a person who is more invested in their own life than yours? This can be highlighted when you’re in a time of need and they neglect your own concerns because they are more wrapped up in what’s going on in their own lives.
It’s pretty hurtful; they’re the type of person that raves on about the top bloke they’ve just met… while your nursing a bottle of wine crying your eyes out because you’ve just been dumped by ‘the one’ you were seeing for years.
Yep. Shitty isn’t it?
Another way to recongise this is when you find yourself contacting them more than they contact you. You’re more interested in what’s happening with their lives than they are of yours.
A quick way to recongize this is to take note of a conversation with this person. Did they ask about you or anything to do with their life? Or did they only focus on themselves?
You’ll start to notice a pattern when this happens and trust me, it sucks.
2. They close themselves off to you; you feel like you never really get to the core of who they are.
Not everyone is an open book – I get that – but if we are spending a lot of time with someone, and if we’ve formed a strong connection with them, I personally believe that you should know what makes them tick.
This isn’t even about having the same interests, it’s about knowing the ‘real’ version of this person. Their authentic self – the version where they are exactly who they are meant to be. No fronts, no falsities, just them as they are.
An example of this is seeing someone at their worst. It humanizes the relationship. It could be as simple as witnessing someone having a shit day.
Or, they might share a few secrets with you; things that they wouldn’t ordinarily share but because you are close. They feel comfortable sharing information about themselves with you; the good and the bad.
3. They shut you out.
This is one of my pet hates and I’m happy to explain why.
I get that we all experience times where we like to cut off from society. Heck, I’ve done it. I call it “going into hibernation mode” where I like to take a bit of time out – sometimes I’ll even tell my friends about it. But I’ve been on the receiving end and being ignored over and over again is one of the worst feelings in the world.
I know, you’d think I’d take the hint and not bother with contacting people when they are clearly ignoring me, but when this occurs (and my gut is telling me that something’s just not right), I believe this is one of the most hurtful things someone can do to you.
And I’d say it really is the piece de le resistance and where I draw the final straw.
So what do I do now if this happens?
I kick that bastard to the curb.
I wish someone had told me years ago, that when you’re reaching out to someone and they blatantly ignore you or won’t get back to you, they are not someone you want to continue having in your life.
Personally, I now see this as a major character flaw.
It takes nothing to phone, text, or even email someone to say “look, I’m not in the best space at the moment but I’ll contact you when I can. Thank you for thinking of me.”
But it’s important that they actually do.
Not one month later, or six weeks, or worst still… six months later.
Why? Because what’s the bet that they contact you then because it suits them. They aren’t doing it because they are thinking of you – they are plainly thinking of themselves and that’s not how relationships work.
Relationships are two sided, and honestly that is what this whole thing is about.
Here’s What You Do.
Firstly, make sure that you reach out to the person you’re referring to.
You need to make sure you’re not blind siding them with a misunderstanding. We’re all human and sometimes we can be sensitive wee souls so it’s best to check in.
Get clarity and ask the question; have you done something wrong? Don’t be a pussy about it. Just ask the question. If the response is pretty lack lustre, you’ll know that you’re being dumped.
It’s time to stand up for yourself.
Part of releasing toxic relationships is recognizing this – you ARE a good person. You’re not worthless, and you don’t deserve to be treated like a piece of shit.
No one likes to be fucked around.
No one likes to be hurt.
Recognizing and reaching out is part of this process.
After all, if you are investing time into this relationship you deserve to know whether they are going to be doing the same.
Remember that ALL relationships are a two-way street. They require work from both sides.
If you feel like something is off, or toxic within your relationship, chances are you a probably right.
The hardest part is not recognising the signs; it’s making the choice to walk away.
There’s only one you; you may as well give your time to people who deserve it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kylie is a survivor. She’s endured events that no-one should have to experience. That’s why she wants to share her story; to help other women live beyond their pain so that they too can take control of their life, and live the life they deserve.