By Andrea Watson February 26, 2021
We all know how to take care of our bodies, even if we don’t do it very well. We know we need to stop smoking and drinking (if we do), we know we need to eat right and exercise, and we also know not to put up with people who abuse us. It can be hard to leave an abusive situation, just as it can be hard to stop bad habits and eat the right foods and maintain an exercise routine. But what about people who are bad for our well-being? Sometimes it’s very difficult to identify those people because we love them, or feel like we need them. It can be extra hard to get rid of these people too, either because we don’t recognize them for what they are or because we don’t think we can live without them, or because our own mindset is also toxic. It can be a variety of reasons.
Today, I found out that my supposed “boyfriend” has been using meth in my house and lying to me about it. Now, not only was I supporting him, providing a roof when he had no other, providing food when he couldn’t provide for himself, and paying for all the utilities and transportation, but I was also foolish enough to believe his lies when he told them to me. But this morning I actually found evidence of his drug use and he couldn’t lie anymore. So I kicked him out.
I believe it was the right thing to do for myself and my son, even though some people might argue that I should have helped him through it. This is one piece of a toxic mindset that I had up until this morning. And we’ll go over that later. But for this introduction, suffice it to say that I am absolutely fed up with being lied to and he absolutely had to go for the good of my little family.
Mentalfloss.com has a great article about getting rid of toxic people and it’s called, “7 Tips for Eliminating Toxic People From Your Life”. Because it is so good, and because I just can’t put it any better myself, I will be going over it here with you today. The article says that “Just like any toxic thing… toxic people are extremely dangerous”. I have found this to be true, especially if your mindset has in the past been just as toxic as theirs. I believe this is because it is easy to slip back into that toxic mindset with them and stay there for long periods of time. In this case, I am a recovering drug addict who was up until this morning living with another drug addict who was lying about his use. If you think about it, it would have been easy for me to slip back into my drug use and let my chosen “partner” stay.
The article continues on to list seven tips for eliminating these types of people from your life. These seven tips include:
1. Identify the toxicity-this is the first step. This includes recognizing the fact that something is actually hurting you. Toxic people are manipulative and often selfish.
2. Be firm. Toxic people will often try to dig their claws in and not let go of a person or situation whom they are hurting. They won’t take “Go away” very easily. They will probably just ignore it. You have to be very very clear that they are not welcome and stand firm if you want to get rid of them.
3. Set boundaries and stick with them. You have to be sure to stick with your boundaries for the long term if you don’t want a toxic person to try and weasel their way back into your life. It is your responsibility to keep the guidelines clear and your expectations evident.
4. Don’t be too nice. Although it sounds mean or harsh, toxic people will take advantage of every nice thing people do for them and any kindness that is imparted. They get their energy from draining other people. Do not let them do this, if you really want to end the relationship.
5. Realize that it’s not your job to save them. Right now your mind may be screaming “But wait! What if…” and I’m going to stop you right there. No, it is absolutely not your job to save anyone else but yourself. I don’t care how you feel about it, if you are really doing the right thing for yourself by breaking this bond, then you are not responsible for what happens to them or where they end up after the relationship has ended.
6. Know that when it’s done, it’s done. They will try and come back if you let them. When you are ready to make a permanent break, then make sure that it is actually permanent and do not let them back otherwise they will always cause trouble and drama in your life whenever they can. If you are dealing with family, then it may not be feasible to make a permanent complete break, but you can still set very firm boundaries. This is probably even harder, but if you have a toxic family member and it is best for you to be separated then you need to do it.
7. Treat your separation like the breakup it is. Be selective about where your focus is, and try to focus on the relationships that are more supportive than painful. Not only will this help you be more successful, but it will also give you more time for spending with the people who bring you happiness and uplift you.
I realize now that I have been struggling with these seven things in my head and in my heart for a while. For some reason I always feel like it’s my job to take care of other people, to save them from whatever haunts them, and to bring them happiness while disregarding my own. This is my toxic mindset. It is toxic because it’s harmful to me and that harm can also trickle down to my son. Sometimes we need to do inner work in order to really get rid of toxic relationships. And that’s okay. Working on ourselves is always good and if we do it to benefit our lives, then it is even better.
Remember that getting rid of toxic relationships and people can be difficult and we may need time to get to a point where we can actually do it effectively. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Being too hard on yourself is actually one of those toxic things that we need to get rid of. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself the time that you need. Hopefully you will be able to get to that place where you can set clear boundaries and be firm enough to eliminate those things and people that are doing you harm. If you need help doing this, therapy is a great way to get help. A good therapist can guide you to that place and empower you to take the steps you need to take in order to be successful. If seeing a therapist seems like it’s not for you, then turn to those people in your life who are uplifting and who do bring you happiness and support. Those types of people will be more than happy to help you through a difficult transition that you may need to make. Until next time,